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Old December 14, 2009, 03:17 PM   #1
BigJimP
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Beretta UGB25 XCEL - break open semi-auto

I just got my new issue of "Shotgun Sports" this weekend - and the editor, Johnny Cantu, has a very detailed article and test of the new Beretta UGB 25 XCEL Break Open Semi-auto shotgun. I don't know Johnny personally - although he's been a registered Trap shooter for many years / but I do trust his insight - and enjoy his comments and reviews in the magazine.

This new Beretta has been in development for quite a few years / and I started to hear of it about 4 years ago at events where Beretta had a table set up discussing their new products. Its a little bit of an odd beast ....

https://www.berettausa.com/e2wItemMa...360:3100001381

where the gun breaks open ( like a single barrel Trap gun ) - you drop one shell in the chamber and close the gun / the 2nd shell is placed into a carrier on the right hand side of the receiver - where it cycles into the chamber. The gun ejects out of the bottom of the receiver ....

I understand the retail price on the gun is around $ 4,000 / but for a good Trap or Sporting Clays gun - that's not out of line. If you don't subscribe to the magazine ( you should ) - if you shoot clay targets at all .... but at least pick a copy up at your local bookstore.

http://www.shotgunsportsmagazine.com/index.html

Personally - I don't think I'm in the market for a semi-auto that will only fire 2 shells. I have been very happy with the Benelli Super Sport semi-autos in both 12 and 20ga ( and I certainly haven't worn them out ..) ....and my primary guns are all Browning O/U's ... and it would be hard to give them up... but its still an interesting review / and an interesting gun.

If you have one / or have shot one - let us know what you think of it !
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Old December 14, 2009, 03:39 PM   #2
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Got to shoot it when another famous gun writer had it out for a review about 6 months ago or so. Designed strictly for targets some said it is an answer to a question that has yet to be asked - at least in the US. In other countries, semis are banned for safety reasons - folks cannot easily ascertain open bolt from a distance - this solves it. It is also one of, if not THE, softest shooting shotgun I have ever shot - between the action, recoil system, etc. - it is SOFT on the shoulder. It cycled everything we had on hand that day during a round of sporting - 7/8 oz reloads to 1-1/8 running almost 1300 plus fps - no issues.

Jim - your bionic shoulder might like one of those.........
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Old December 14, 2009, 03:45 PM   #3
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Interesting ...
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Old December 16, 2009, 02:31 PM   #4
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Nobody else interested in this gun / that's hard to believe ???
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Old December 16, 2009, 02:45 PM   #5
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I think the lack of interest has to do with the $4000 price tag.

I occasionally get weird looks when people see I dropped $1400 for a new Remington 105 CTi II; new, different, and expensive tend to be a poor combination among shotgun enthusiasts (who seem to be even more reactionary and cantankerous than revolver purists).

For the UGB you can easily be talking a perfectly good O/U, maybe even one with a 4 barrel set. It won't shoot as softly, but that doesn't seem to be a concern for most. It's an interesting concept for a gun, but the market just seems quite limited. It's whole reason for being is to provide a sporting semiauto that's acceptable where traditional semiautos are not (in favor of break actions). Seeing as how there's precious few places around here where regular autoloaders aren't welcome, I'm not surprised at all the UGB is a tough sell.
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Old December 16, 2009, 03:10 PM   #6
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You might be right / the Benelli Super Sport is up to $ 1,875 now ( and I think I paid about $ 1,500 for one 2 yrs ago ).... and $ 4,000 takes you to another level ... and at least with the Benelli you have a 3rd shell option so its more than just a clays gun. But even at $ 1,875 that gun is a tough sell to a lot of budges - when there are a lot of semi-autos less than $ 1,500.

There is no doubt the only thing the UGB is really good for is Trap, Skeet or Sporting Clays shooting / where O/U's in the $ 2,500 - $ 7,500 dominate today - and since I reload, I'd get tired of picking up my hulls / so I'd have to shoot it with throw away shells from RIO, etc. - like I do with the Benelli Super Sport most of the time anyway.

$ 4,000 isn't a lot of money for a good Target gun - if shooters thought it would give them a little edge / but I'm not sure that's true.

I rely on my Benelli Super Sport as a rain gun / easy travel gun on airlines ...but I'd never give up my O/U's in the forseeable future either. But it is an interesting novel gun ...... but for $ 3,000 I can order another 1911 from Wilson Combat too ....and that seems like more fun right now for the money...

Last edited by BigJimP; December 16, 2009 at 03:25 PM.
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Old December 16, 2009, 03:10 PM   #7
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Techno - I think those reactions are mostly here and on THR where the focus of most shotgun folks is on HD/SD and not targets or upland birds. Most on shotgunworld don't blink when a $4G price is mentioned since many of them shoot target guns costing twice that
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Old December 16, 2009, 05:13 PM   #8
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i'm always up for a new beretta

I thought I saw this gun advertised a couple of years ago? is it just coming out now? just couldn't imagine how it would function reliably. If I still shot registered / often , I would probably have one.
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Old December 16, 2009, 05:56 PM   #9
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Yes, they've been advertising it for some time .....but for some reason it has been slow to get into production.

based on what I read / it functioned flawlessly .....and I trust Johnny Cantu to tell the truth on his review - so if it was a dog, he would have said so, or at least not gone on about how well it performed.
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Old December 16, 2009, 07:27 PM   #10
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I watched a video on the thing a while back. Yes, it's a very intriguing concept and something to consider if you're in the market for a new comp gun. I'm reluctant to be the first one on the block to get (or recommend) something this new. (I didn't buy my first 1100 until after the 11-87 was released). It might be a sweet shooter, but if discontinued, you might be the owner of a $4K orphan when it comes to the spare parts department. Before it's taken seriously by the comp shooters, it will need some major wins, like Perazzis at the Olympics, to its credit. If you get one, I'd be happy to give it a whirl.
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Old December 16, 2009, 07:33 PM   #11
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Or, if you buy one - we can weather test it for you up here .....( I'll even clean it ..).

Honestly, as you know, I don't own any Beretta's - and I'd be hard pressed to add a gun this unique to my mix .....but it is interesting / and I enjoyed Johnny's review of the gun.
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Old December 16, 2009, 08:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Techno - I think those reactions are mostly here and on THR where the focus of most shotgun folks is on HD/SD and not targets or upland birds. Most on shotgunworld don't blink when a $4G price is mentioned since many of them shoot target guns costing twice that
No, it was shotgunworld I was referring to. Spend more than a few hundred bucks on something that isn't a B gun or some high dollar O/U, and you're going to get pilloried. Happened to me, so I left them to their own devices; I don't need to be part of a bunch like that.

New, different, and expensive is slow to gain acceptance, especially when there's VERY good stuff available at the same price point or a fraction thereof. It's a gutsy design by Beretta and I hope it find success (I'm in favor of innovation, even if the results are bizarre), but I have a lot of doubts as to whether folks with that kind of money to spend will choose to spend it there.
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Old December 17, 2009, 09:20 PM   #13
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In my view an o/u's weak point is that it only takes two shells. An automatic has problems with feeding, getting fouled and less reliable than an o/u. It seems that Beretta has manage to combine all of the bad points of both guns while charging an outlandish price. I am sure there will be those that purchase this gun. It kind of reminds me of the old Browning Recoiless for some reason.
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Old December 17, 2009, 10:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
In my view an o/u's weak point is that it only takes two shells
When you consider that this is a target gun, and all target games allow no more than two shots, this is not a weak point. This gun loads the second shell from the side and ejects the empties out of the bottom - very quickly.
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Old December 17, 2009, 10:33 PM   #15
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I didn't read every post in this thread so if this info is stated already - sorry.

The gun was made specifically for the European (British?) market where some of the game players wanted to take advantage of the recoil reducing characteristics, but needed by law (or perhaps rules of the game) to be able to "see" the shells. So, a break open gun was (is) the norm.

Necessity is the mother of invention and thus the break open semi was born.

From the Beretta USA website:

The Beretta semiautomatic UGB25 Xcel features an innovative locking system with break-open barrel that allows operation in complete safety during competitions. Unlike conventional fixed-barrel semiautomatic shotguns, this new type of break-open design enables the shooter to move from one firing station to another while allowing others to see the gun clearly in "safe" mode with an open action. The second round is not hidden from view inside the magazine tube, but is always visible in its side cartridge carrier.

Last edited by Waterengineer; December 17, 2009 at 10:35 PM. Reason: Additional text
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Old December 18, 2009, 12:28 AM   #16
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Actually I was thinking that all the target guns I have had that were pump or auto actually took at least three rounds. I was comparing this gun to target guns like a Classic Trap, SX-3, Silver Lightening, and guns of such ilk. Something that I have been trying to recall is if there are any other auto's that will only hold two rounds?
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Old December 18, 2009, 03:30 PM   #17
BigJimP
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Like others said - its a "competition gun" so it only holds 2 shells .....

As we all know, a pump or common semi-auto will hold 3 shells (with the plug in the gun ) to meet rules for hunting in the field ...but rules for Trap, Skeet, Sporting Clays and 5 Stand - all specifically prohibit the loading of that 3rd shell.

At least with an O/U you can select different chokes in each barrel - where you have to compromise with a single barrel .....and in Sporting Clays or 5 Stand, that may be a big deal, depending on how the pair is presented...
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Old December 25, 2009, 08:55 PM   #18
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UGB

Guys,
I've shoot one quite a bit. It is a very different sensation from shooting any other shotgun I've fired. There is just 0 muzzle rise, which is great for what it was designed for, international trap singles and doubles[ in international single, or Bunker trap as it is called, you can shoot a second shell at the bird if you miss with the first ].....either way, you can get to the second shot very quickly. Also, as hit on above, in international trap, the rules state that the gun must be "broken open" as you move between shooting positions. Since almost everyone shoots a o/u in Europe, nobody has complained about that rule, which would drive us to riot over here

Well, BERETTA wanted to build an auto for that game. The result is the UGB25. Enough interest has been given it from the Sporting Clays world that they now have a slightly lighter Sporting model. Some of ya'll may have seen shooters practicing by breaking the bird, then as quickly as possible, breaking the biggest chip left. This is a good drill for keeping your for keeping your focus out on the clay. The UGB is easiest, fastest gun for breaking chips I have ever shot, because the barrel rise away from the target in muzzle rise/recoil ....it just stays right there with the bird. Truly amazing.

If there are any other questions I can answer about the UGB, or any other BERETTA target guns, just ask away
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Old December 26, 2009, 11:32 AM   #19
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Just checking, BigJim, did Santa happen to leave one of these bad boys under your tree? It would be right a home along side your other Italian stick guns.

From Will's description, the UGB25 XCEL sounds irresistible if you're one of the bunker boys. However, there aren't that many true 15-trap bunkers (and bunker shooters) in the US.
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Old December 26, 2009, 11:51 AM   #20
BigJimP
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Nope, no new guns up here Zippy ........ How about you, one show up down there ???

I thinks its an interesting concept / but I don't think I'm going to go there.. besides you're the Beretta guy ... not me ...
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Old December 26, 2009, 11:58 AM   #21
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That is a cool gun and if it were a 4-6 rounder, I might coulda rethunk my spartan life. But I got to the 2 round limit and decided them birch wood Mossberg semi's don't look so bad...
Brent
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Old December 26, 2009, 01:02 PM   #22
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Nope, no new guns from Santa this year. Not much shooting going on down here. The range is still closed while they do more environmental testing and report writing.
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Old December 26, 2009, 06:56 PM   #23
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The downward ejection is designed to stop trapshooters from dinging hulls off the guy to their right.

I like the UGB concept. It's iffy as to whether the market in these times will support an unusual, non traditional design in the mid level price range. Time will tell.

And when Will Fennell talks shotguns, I listen.....

Dave McCracken...
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