View Full Version : A400 Xtrema, The Adventure Begins.......

Dave McC
November 6, 2011, 11:31 PM
I was absolutely flabbergasted when Beretta offered to send me their new A 400 autoloader to try. This was totally out of the blue. The nice fellow on the other end of the E mail asked me to try it out for the season, give "a fair and impartial evaluation" and let them know what I thought.

I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to be a Beta tester or a shill on this. Other Mods here and on the other fora I herd cats on are also testing out some Beretta products.

I picked it up today. Enclosed with the camo shotgun were a manual, wrench, two more choke tubes(SK and F), a shim kit, and a spacer to add an inch to the LOP. Bought another case of pink shells from Federal, took a fast look at the Fine Manual and went to shooting.

This is a waterfowler, though the flack sheet states it will handle shells from 7/8 oz 2 3/4" to 2 oz 3 1/2". It also says to break things in with "Mid level" shells, 1 1/8, 2 3/4" stuff.

There were glitches. Sometimes the action did not cycle fully. Talking to an employee at PGC, I found out there's some preservative that needs to be removed. I'll do that tomorrow and pattern it.

Today, though, I shot it as is and not that well. Balance is way different from the guns I usually shoot, and it's gonna take a while to change. I could add the included spacer, but this will be used with about six layers of Goretex, Polypro,old fashioned wool,etc. Best to keep it a little short for now, though I'm seeing all the rib when I mount.

One thing's certain. This is a light kicker. All that technology pays off big time. The pad's a new material and design, there's a couple recoil reducers in the stock, and it's a gas action auto.

High tech shotgun meets old school shooter.

More later.....

Dave McC
November 7, 2011, 03:16 PM

Returning to the range this AM, I had an employee show me how to clean the gas system and lube it. Simple job,this seems a breeze to clean, and the chromed bore is spotless after 100 rounds. I then had a trap locked down to throw only straightaways and shot from Post 3 using the full tube.

I was wearing the goose parka and enough stuff to leave me a little warm. Breaks showed no left/right bias, though it's still hitting a bit high. After a box or so there, I went down to the Wobble trap and shot a fast round using those Federal "Pinks". Low 20s both rounds.

Function's improved, only one stoppage today. That's expected, betcha it runs 100% by the time this case of ammo is done.

Speaking of ammo, I stopped on the way in to work at Gunz R Us and bought a box of Federal Black Cloud steel 2s. Having never had nor needed a 3.5" gun before, there was nothing in the shell stash for the Goose Howitzer.

Backup ammo will be my dwindling reserve of 3" Hevishot.

More later.....

November 7, 2011, 04:24 PM
So how did the employee say to clean it? Is it different than the other A400s?

November 7, 2011, 05:19 PM
Dishwasher probably ...:D

Dave McC
November 7, 2011, 09:23 PM
PGC has rental guns, and this employee has to clean them. A simple scrub and lube did the trick. He did use a paper clip on the port. Like many other makers, Beretta ships guns with a preservative on the parts.

You have to understand, the last auto I had was a Model 11, about 30 years ago. For waterfowl, I use an 870, and have since about 1960. So I'm a little behind the curve.

I did have custody of a couple guns for a friend that was deployed and that Saiga, but that's a different critter altogether.

And it's fun to play with a new toy.....

November 8, 2011, 11:23 AM
Have fun with the process Dave ....and we look forward to your comments or impressions on this gun.

November 8, 2011, 11:53 AM
Come on, Big Jim, it's an Italian gun, not from the land of the rising sun -- holy water is recommended for cleaning them. :rolleyes:

Dave McC
November 8, 2011, 12:08 PM
Overall so far, my impressions are favorable, but I'm SO easy when it comes to shotguns.

The trigger's not great, but certainly better than most autos.

Kick and muzzle rise are nonexistent with target loads.

The lines of the forearm are a little more avant garde than I'm used to, but it handles well.

The F/O bead is larger than what I use on mine, but since this shoots high, that's a positive.

The trigger guard is generous in size, even with my big hands I could operate this in mittens. And I may.

I note from the manual there's an optional magazine extension available. Maybe I should get one and take it 3-gunning.

Or hookup with someone for a late season snow goose massacre.

Anyway, I'm having more fun with this T&E than should be legal....

November 9, 2011, 06:22 PM
I like how the 400 handles, but having the safety in front of the trigger kills it for me. I have stubby fingers.

Dave McC
November 9, 2011, 09:43 PM
Not for me, my hands have big meaty palms and average fingers. I can reach darn near anything, but it is something to consider.

The other ergos seem good. After using my Beretta O/U these last 4 years or so, the radical curve of the grip seems natural.

While the forearm looks a little too twee, it feels good and I can stick my forefinger out straight when I swing on a target.

November 10, 2011, 12:49 AM
Do your competitors tremble in fear after catching a glimpse of the tell-tale blue receiver as you step to the line with the new A400? Does it really have technical precision with human passion?

Dave McC
November 10, 2011, 02:21 PM
This thing is camo'd up to the point of invisibility, K man. I'd better not lay it down in the field.

And my competition is the clays, not other shooters.

Few of them seem to tremble....

November 10, 2011, 05:01 PM
My crude attempt at a joke, Dave. I was quoting the marketing rhetoric for the A400 at the webisite. http://www.berettausa.com/products/beretta-a400-xcel-sporting-12-ga-3-ko/ I noticed you had a camo otherwise I was going to ask about the X-Tra Grain wood.

November 10, 2011, 05:07 PM
The A400 I have (actually it is the wife's gun) has nice walnut, not X-tra grain, and it is a field gun - overall, I give them an A- to A, only because I am LH and RH ejection can still hit you in the face with something - that has happened to me. BUT, this gun has shot 3/4 oz loads, regularly handles all 7/8 light target loads, and the Briley extended Optima HP IC choke absolutely SMOKES targets to 25 yards with ease

For someone looking for one gun for clays and field, this is definitely worth a serious look

Dave McC
November 10, 2011, 07:52 PM
The Humor Police may kick your door down, K man, but it wasn't me that ratted you out.

When I finish the write up, you can bet the farm it will not be a puff piece or an ad in disguise. If that means I never get to write for the major mags, so be it.

1 oz, my hunch is this just needs a higher round count to imitate that. I may try that Skeet choke out in the next few days and also some 7/8 oz reloads.

This,I'm sure, is intended to be that mythical All Around Shotgun.

It's not. It does come closer than some, but 7.5 lbs is a bit much for the uplands, it's a bit ungainly for the brush, and most folks can live happy and productive lives sans 3.5" capability.

As a dedicated waterfowler,though it shows promise. Let me point it at some Canadas once the season opens, and I'll let you know....

November 10, 2011, 10:46 PM
Dave McC:The Humor Police may kick your door down, K man, but it wasn't me that ratted you out.

What makes you think I put it back on its hinges since it was last kicked down? H(e)ck with the humor police. Lately I have more concerned with the plain old police.

Oneounce: I am not looking for a field and clays gun, just an all around clays gun (as if that isn't asking a lot).

November 11, 2011, 10:06 AM
TKM - look at their sporting model. You might want to look at a USED UGB as well from Beretta

While they run about 4K new, used are much less and in line with your O/U budget. They were designed to allow a gas gun on the Euro trap fields, as it breaks open to allow it to be seen as safe from a distance. Hulls eject downward, not sideways, so you won't be pelting your neighbor either.

Had an opportunity to shoot it - VERY soft with target loads

November 11, 2011, 12:32 PM
Thanks oneounce. That is a model that caught my attention and while I am still interested in the semi's I will probably stick with the plan, if they can get me an XS Skeet.

November 11, 2011, 02:02 PM
The Klawman is waffling .....Oh, no ........( my hemmeroids are starting to bleed again / from trying to push him around and keep him on track ) ....:(

November 11, 2011, 03:26 PM
After that last experience with the O/U, I might be waffling a little as well. Never hurts to try all of the other guns - might as well start looking for gun number two as early as possible!

Dave McC
November 19, 2011, 08:35 PM
An update......

The Beretta went to the range today again. Shot a bad score at SC, but the misses were mine.

It still will not cycle 7/8 oz loads 100%, but function with heavier stuff is 100%.

If I can get a chance, I will take the A400 to a shooting pit I know and run some leftover heavy stuff through it. There's a handful of the 1 3/8 oz Rottweil Brenekkes in 3" and some 1 buck I've been meaning to use up. That should help break things in.

My general impression is still good.....

November 20, 2011, 09:06 AM
It still will not cycle 7/8 oz loads 100%

Really? -That is surprising. I've not handled this gun before, but imagine it has to be very close to the Xtrema2. I've not had an issue cycling 7/8 oz loads. I use either 7/8 or 1 oz hand loads in mine (700X) when I'm tuning up at the range for bird season. I'm pretty sure I have run off the shelf light targets through her as well without issues.

Dave McC
November 21, 2011, 03:36 PM
There's been less than 400 rounds through it, so I'm willing to allow some more breakin time.

And, I may need to clean more vigorously and often.

The bad score bothers me more. This just doesn't fit me right. Time to pattern....

November 21, 2011, 04:53 PM
What 7/8oz loads? When I left my 3/4 and 1200fps 7/8 oz loads in a car for three days with temps nearing freezing, the wife's gun became a single shot - otherwise, it has handled all of my reloads and factory light 7/8 oz Kemen's

Dave McC
November 21, 2011, 08:47 PM
Hasn't been that cold here, 1 oz.

The load's right from the Hodgdon site....

STS or Nitro hull.

Win 209.

Claybuster clone of the AA12SL wad.

17.6 gr of Clays.

7/8 oz of Lawrence Magnum shot.

I did use old hulls. Still usable, but about used up.

November 21, 2011, 10:49 PM
Dave McC: I must have something wrong, but I used to use the 7100 psi and the 8900 psi current Hogdon recipes and what you have may have been published in the past but I don't see it, now, even if there is nothing wrong with it.

Lead Shot 12 7/8 oz. Clays Win. 209 WAA12SL 15.9 7,100 PSI 1200
Lead Shot 12 7/8 oz. Clays Win. 209 WAA12SL 17.1 8,900 PSI 1250
Lead Shot 12 7/8 oz. Clays Win. 209 WAA12SL 18.2 10,000 PSI 1300

If I have it right, your load is between the medium and hottest load.

November 22, 2011, 12:55 PM
Dave, your load SHOULD have worked that action easily enough. Only thing I can suggest is to check the ports.

Dave McC
November 22, 2011, 02:17 PM
Kman, it just falls in between. I check the drop every time I load a batch, it was dead on 17.6. Next summer. I'll drop down a bushing again.

That's my guess, 1 oz. A little PM in the ports may be all that's needed.

Overall, my impressions are quite favorable.....

November 23, 2011, 09:31 AM
This just doesn't fit me right. Time to pattern....

Have you done any shimming for drop or cant? (assume it comes so equipped as most other Beretta's do.)

Dave McC
November 23, 2011, 03:13 PM
Not yet. I do have a set of shims. Once I pattern, then I'll shim.

December 15, 2011, 08:44 AM
Any additional thoughts on the Beretta?

Dave McC
December 15, 2011, 02:28 PM
Not yet. After just 500 rounds I can't expect to have all known.

I do have a goose trip coming up. That will give a better idea of how it works under field conditions.

Interestingly enough, the friend who invited me is doing a similar test on a Versamax Remington sent him. Maybe we'll do a Gun Mag type thing together, a .....

3.5 inch SHOOTOUT!!!

Versamax vs A/400!!

Or maybe not.....

December 15, 2011, 09:35 PM
My son shoots lefty because of his eyes. He likes my old Ithica Model 37 because it also drops the fired hulls out the bottom. I might as well just let him have it, I have plenty of other shotguns and I shoot righty. At $4K that's too rich for my blood but that Beretta sure sounds like a nice shotgun.

Dave McC
December 16, 2011, 02:07 PM
IMO, it IS a good shotgun. MSRP is about $1800, so this verges on affordable for a lot of folks. My guess is this can cover a lot of bases and last a few lifetimes. So,a one time purchase pain and it's over...