View Full Version : 391 vs. Browning Gold Hunter?

November 30, 2000, 07:22 PM
I will be graduating A&M in about 2 weeks here and am planning on a new dove/duck gun for the fall. It's going to be a field model with a 28" barrel. My question is which one?

I don't have a need for another 3.5 gun, and I don't like the idea of not being able to shoot 7/8 load in for dove/quail, so throw out the SBE. I know the above are both gas guns, but is the Beretta back-bored? The Browning is. Briley lists back boring and lengthening the forcing cones at $200. They have a tricked out 391 for $1595. Is back boring and lengthening the forcing cones worth that much? (note, this will be a hunting gun, not a skeet/trap/clay gun). I like the idea of being able to shoot my Briley chokes I know have for my Benelli in the 391.

I have shot my brothers 390 and it seems awfully loud. Is that just all gas guns? I admit I have not shot my Sweet 16 or 1100 12 for the past 3 years. It's been my Nova and before that my 870.

Any insight or advice would really be appreciated (lets assume that they both fit me like a glove).



December 1, 2000, 07:21 AM
Assuming both fit, it comes down to handling and the ability of the gun to function with light shells. Handling is personal but I like Beretta's handling over Brownings in shotguns whether over/under or auto. The 391 was designed to handle light target loads up to heavy magnums.

The Beretta is not back bored but there is a school of thought subscribed to by Rich Cole, probably the best Beretta man around, that backboring a semi-auto changes the pressure dynammics and is not good for the gun. Secondly, I've owned guns there were backbored and I don't regard it as a major benefit.

Was your brother's gun ported? That might explain the louder noise. Gun sound also depends on the power of the shell being used. Some light target loads sounds like bloopers while others seem to make the earth shake.

December 1, 2000, 08:18 AM
Well your question is similiar to mine in the 390 vs 391 post. For what its worth the instructor at the GHGC who I have talked to at legnth about gun selection prefers the 390 first then the Browning Gold Hunter but does not care much for the 391. He was an Olympic shooter and knows guns pretty well. His competition gun for clays is a 390. I realize you are looking for a dove gun but all these guns come in variations for hunting or clays. An important concern is how the gun will function day in and out. When you are talking about these brands and quality of guns I don't think there is too much difference.
Earlier this year "The American Rifleman" did an article on the 391 and it got pretty high marks.
Choosing a gun can be somewhat frustrating, until you have bought a gun and shot it awhile it's hard to say what is right for you. But buying a new gun every couple of years can be an awfully expensive hobby so choose well.

December 1, 2000, 09:43 AM

No my brothers is not ported but I was shooting Winchester AASC7.5, 1-1/8 2 1300 FPS.


It’s interesting your Olympic shooter said that. I used to shot competitive small bore for Texas A&M and have many friends in that field. Some clay shooters said they changed the "hump" on the 390 to the 391 to make it fit better to your check for clay shooters.

December 1, 2000, 01:33 PM

That round and it is a little hotter and noiser than most target rounds. I bought a flat and they turned heads when touched off on the skeet range.


Did your instructor give his specifics dislikes? I own a 390 and like it a lot but the 391 I shot seemed just as good.

December 1, 2000, 01:45 PM

I really liked the round for dove hunting. I had very few cripples and when i cleand them, most had double broken wings. But over kill on quail, even with an IC.

[Edited by Drundel on 12-01-2000 at 06:28 PM]

December 1, 2000, 06:13 PM
PJR Basically he feels that Beretta has lessened the durability and consquently the reliability of the gun being that the 391 was redesigned from the 390 to drop over a pound in weight. From a Feb. 97 article in "The Amer. Rman" the 390 weighs 7lb 10oz and in an article in May 00 the 391 is noted as weighing 6lb 8oz. That is quite a weight drop and I guess he figures something got lost along the way. Like I said his prefered gun is a 390 so I don't think he has anything against Beretta. Nor does he have anything against light weight components as his carry gun is a Glock and they are quite light. He just doesn't like all that light stuff in a shotgun. I am not taking his word as gospel only that of a knowledgeable opinion. I do like the look of the 391 over the 390 especially the removal of the hump.

December 1, 2000, 06:35 PM

Good point about what they did to loose the weight. I own an H&K USP. When I first started shopping I didn't like the idea of "plastic" but its H&K, if you can't trust them to design a handgun who can you?

Several people have pointed out the missing hump to me, they said its removal will aid shooters. I kind of liked the look. You knew it was a 390 from far off.

December 2, 2000, 05:35 AM
I love my 1187, it is the best fitting gun off the shelf that I tried (and very different from my BPS). Still, if we assume that they both fit "like a glove" (which they can be made to do) and if you are set on using a gold or 391, there is a very knowlegable gent (Bruce Buck) with a pretty strong affinity for the 391. He contributes to a site (shotgunreport.com) and occasionally speaks directly to this question. His main argument is Berreta's legendary longevity in the hands of those who measure number of shots in the 10K's (20,000 40,000 etc). Not likely a concern for a gun that is for hunting, not the clay sports.
You can get a pretty techical discourse on the benifits of porting, backboring, and cone lengthening there too. Hope this helps

December 2, 2000, 10:37 PM
Well I went with the Browning Gold Hunter Field 28", they have it at Acadamy over off I45 south for $699.