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Old October 21, 2023, 10:53 AM   #1
Jaywalker
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Beretta A400 20 gauge shotgun data

I just had my Beretta A400 20 gauge 26" barrel delivered and thought actual weights and measures might be interesting instead of the "average" data sometimes cited on the internet.

On my postal scale the shotgun weighs 5 pounds 11.3 ounces.

It does indeed have a 14.25 inch Length of Pull. It seems to fit me, which is a surprise because I prefer 13.75". I doubt I will have the stock length cut. This compares to my old Beretta 686 over-and-under 20 gauge at six pounds 3 oz.

Unloaded, it balances right at the receiver/forearm join. I find that delightful as I dislike muzzle-heavy balance.

I haven't fired or even taken a pic yet, but I'll post it when I do.

I have managed to remove the bolt charging handle, de-grease it, then lubricate it, however. I'll de-grease the trigger next.

This will be used for both hunting and clay shooting.
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Old October 21, 2023, 11:19 PM   #2
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I can shoot a manly man 12 gauge just fine, but I love 20 gauge! For Skeet it's perfectly capable of making all the shots effectively. On dove and quail it is perfect and it does well on flushed pheasant too. 26 inch barrels are great for field guns! Short barrels don't balance and swing as well. It is a lot easier to hold a bunch of 20 ga shells in your pockets than 12 ga. The only place I've found an advantage to 12 ga is on the Trap range where it holds a better pattern for farther shots even with 1 oz shells. But if I have to hump a shotgun all over, I love the smaller size 20 ga guns!
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Old October 22, 2023, 07:29 PM   #3
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I hunted upland for 35 years with my Beretta 20ga over-and-under and it was fine for that. Recently, however, my SO expressed interest in shooting clay pigeons, like Sporting Clays. I thought I'd try the softest-shooting 20 I could find with good resale in case she doesn't find it interesting - thus, the 20ga semi-auto Beretta. We'll try it first without cutting the stock to a shorter LOP. Who knows? I may inherit it...
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Old October 22, 2023, 07:47 PM   #4
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Good excuse to buy a soft shooting semi auto.
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Old October 23, 2023, 05:34 PM   #5
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At 5#-11, it won't be as soft shooting as a 7#+ older Rem 1100, BUT it will be more fun to carry in the field
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Old October 24, 2023, 06:55 PM   #6
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Yeah. Still, the only other option at hand was my 686 and that would have been too much to start her off with. I'd like to be able to find a box or two of 20ga 3/4oz 1100 feet per second loads to let her try - basically, a 28ga load on a 20ga frame weight. I can only find them shipped by the flat, thiough. The A400 20ga isn't known for shooting lighter loads like that, so I think we'll try standard loads (7.8oz 1200 fps) and trust to the A400's gas operation to soften it. Fortunately, we have a decent stock fitter nearby.
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Old October 24, 2023, 10:21 PM   #7
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So buy a flat, or reload your own. I reload 3/4oz for 12 and 20, but I run mine at 1275 so they cycle even in my semis.
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Old October 24, 2023, 10:32 PM   #8
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Your gas gun with 7/8 loads shoot be softer shooting than an O/U with the same loads.
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Old October 24, 2023, 11:17 PM   #9
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IF it runs them; which is why I upped mine from 1215 to 1275 in both 12 and 20; all my semis work those and they are soft shooting, even in the O/Us
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Old October 25, 2023, 10:26 AM   #10
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I've been a 12g guy for a long time. But a Weatherby Element 20g just spoke to me, and it has been my main shotgun for Clays and birds for a few years now. At a few ounces over 6 pounds, and basically an M2 pattern, it carries light with the 7/8 ounce loads, it's about the same as shooting my Browning Golden Clays 12g.

Congrats on the Beretta. I think my kid might end up with the same 20g in a year or two. He shoots a Cole A400 12g on the College team, but he wants to shoot 20g in Skeet and the Chales Daly (Miroku) 20g O/U the wife's step dad gave him does not pattern anywhere close to what he wants.
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Old October 27, 2023, 06:15 AM   #11
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I still haven't shot the new A400 20ga yet, but I took advantage of visiting the Sporting Clays National Championship in San Antonio and shot a few demo guns, instead. It's been awhile since I shot anything besides my Beretta 686 20ga and was mildly surprised at how pleasant it was to shoot 12ga in semi-autos, both a Beretta A400 and Fabarm L4S. Either gun would suit me, but the Fabarm comes in a "Compact Sporting" version with a shorter LOP than normal. With it I can easily start with the 13.6" LOP and add more length to it without having to cut the stock on these too-long stocks that are so common these days.

I won't say the felt recoil on the semi-autos 12ga was less than my over-under 20ga because I didn't shoot a hundred shells with them, but the 15 shells each I did shoot might mean I'll pick up a new 12ga semi-auto eventually.

From shooting my old Beretta 686 20ga I learned a couple of things. First, my old recoil pad was hard and useless and I had it replaced. Second, I needed a shooting vest and a ShockEater pad, both of which I was wearing shooting the 12ga guns. I'm certain that new recoil pads on the demo guns and my new ShockEater pad helped make for a pleasant session.

The best fitting guns yesterday I tried were the two Zoli over-under 28ga, an RB Pernice (field gun) and a Z-Sport FR (flat rib). They made me keenly aware of how much I was accommodating myself to my 686, rather than have it actually fit me. Still, I've taken quite a few birds with it over the years so it must be almost okay.

Bot release buttons: The demo Beretta came fitted with the Briley aftermarket extended bolt release, so I'll definitely get that installed on mine; the factory button is very, very stiff. The Fabarm is better-than-okay without going aftermarket; it's a big, flat button I could slap with my left hand after feeding a shell into the chamber. I liked it.

I may continue the tour today and see how the Benelli inertia actions guns feel, if I can find a parking place.

ETA: I found a parking place and got the A400 extended bolt release and extended charging handle installed. I was surprised to discover that there were no Benelli shotguns there. In retrospect, it shouldn't have been surprising as Benelli isn't a big player in Sporting Clays. It was disappointing, though.

Last edited by Jaywalker; October 27, 2023 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Update
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Old October 28, 2023, 09:42 PM   #12
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I believe the gas guns have proven more reliable with the lighter loads in each gauge than inertia guns.
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Old October 29, 2023, 10:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I believe the gas guns have proven more reliable with the lighter loads in each gauge than inertia guns.
My M2 has comp springs in it. Runs longer and 100% reliable. But, I don't shoot anything Magnum or 3" in it.

It's just setting up the gun for the load. Typical gas shotguns are similar to my M2 in that if you shoot Magnum or 3" shells in them, without adjusting the piston, you will beat them up, and into failure.

That is why I so like the ARGO system. M4s are insanely expensive and the Remington's are well, QC challenged. I am hearing better things about the V3, and it appears that the VersaMax won't be coming back.
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Old October 29, 2023, 03:32 PM   #14
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My A400 Xplor Unico is designed for 2.75, 3, and 3.5" ammo without changing anything. Sine my wife uses it for occasional sporting clays, it will only see 2.75" loads, including my 3/4oz reloads in 12 gauge. Great gun for an all around use
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Old October 29, 2023, 03:59 PM   #15
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My A400 Xplor Unico is designed for 2.75, 3, and 3.5" ammo without changing anything.
The Blink system is great, but it's not designed for all those shell lengths. It runs them due to a wide operating window, and yes it is reliable and rugged. Good for most clay target sports and bird hunting. But it's not a great option for 3Gun or Slugs.

The ARGO system is still superior to the Blink system. I really wish Browning or Beretta would just go ahead and make a shotgun line based on the ARGO system. Personally, I think they would be better than the Rems or the Benellis.
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Old October 29, 2023, 05:03 PM   #16
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I'm aware that some A400 20ga have a reputation of working best with heavier loads and choking on standard target - 7/8oz @1200 fps. I'll follow Beretta's recommendation and put the first 100 shells though it with heavier loads - 1oz at 1300 fps. At least I think that's their recommendation - they wrote something like "mid-power 1-1/8oz," but I believe they were writing that for 12ga loads.

Fortunately, I live close to a Cole's Gunsmiths and I've already asked them how they would approach standard power choking. (FWIW, they'll try other things before opening up the gas port.)

Worst case, I'll trade the A400 20ga for a 12ga semi-auto that will shoot 1oz loads. There's a lot of highway between that and now, however. I can shoot it next week.
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Old November 2, 2023, 06:45 PM   #17
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For posterity I would have edited my previous post, but can't seem to find an edit button...

I found a review by an owner on the Beretta site who said Beretta told him to use medium-powered loads for 20ga - 7/8oz at 1300 fps - for break-in, but didn't define how many shells constituted break-in. I'll assume 100 shells should be enough, but may buy a flat of them in any case and will go ahead and shoot all 250, just in case.

My wife will shoot singles of the Winchester AA 7/8oz at 1200 fps for introduction. Maybe they'll eject.
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Old November 8, 2023, 01:29 PM   #18
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We finally had an opportunity to fire the new A400. The first 50 shells were Monarch (Academy) 7/8oz at 1300fps. They worked fine and ejected about nine feet. Then we fired about 30 Winchester AA shells - 7/8oz 1200fps - and they also worked well, ejecting about five feet. I believe I'll buy a flat of 3/4oz at 1080fps, though I doubt they'll work as well. We'll run them through the Beretta 686 if the A400 won't work them.

Trigger pull is reasonable at 5-1/2 pounds, with very little creep.


It's a nice shotgun, and not as finicky as I expected.
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Old November 13, 2023, 10:22 AM   #19
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There have been a few minor disappointments with the purchase of the A400.

First, it does not come with a paper manual, and the Beretta site was down for the weekend after I received it and so it wasn't available when I wanted to de-grease it. Also, AFAIK, there is no A400 manual to be had. Best I could find online was a Beretta "Auto" manual which included both the A400 and A300. This is pretty weak, especially when they specify, "Please keep this manual with the shotgun at all times."

Second, the shotgun came with only three choke tubes - Cylinder (!), Modified and Full - no Improved Cylinder (IC). Since I expect to leave an IC installed 95% of the time this is something that I need to fix immediately. Fortunately, Beretta is having a sale on their Optima HP tubes and I ordered an IC from Amazon for $35.

Third, the cheap plastic choke wrench Beretta included does not work with the Cylinder choke, The plastic fingers just slip down inside the choke and don't grab it at all. It works okay with Modified, and I'll see if it works on the IC choke when it arrives. Fortunately, I have my good choke wrench from my 686, and I suppose I can use a dime if necessary. Weak, Beretta.

My next outing will be with a couple of new to me factory loads, the Baschieri & Pellagri Competition One, and some 3/4oz 1075fps from flats I ordered.
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Old November 14, 2023, 09:56 AM   #20
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I have personally used mostly full choke with 20s or sometimes Modified. I like to keep my pattern as dense as possible to reach out a bit. I rarely shoot with IC but for skeet that would be a good one. I know the pattern is a bit smaller than with 12 gauge but it's better to have a smaller pattern that smokes targets than a bigger one with holes your clay targets can pass through.
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Old November 14, 2023, 01:17 PM   #21
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True enough. When I hit them with modified there was nothing left but dust. Maybe I'm still living in the past with game birds, wanting something left to eat.
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Old November 14, 2023, 11:00 PM   #22
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You can always let them birds fly a little further. The other place IC might be warranted is on running rabbit and squirrels you plan to eat. On dove I always used full because they were out there a bit. On pheasant sometimes modified.
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Old November 15, 2023, 05:34 PM   #23
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Quote:
First, it does not come with a paper manual, and the Beretta site was down for the weekend after I received it and so it wasn't available when I wanted to de-grease it. Also, AFAIK, there is no A400 manual to be had. Best I could find online was a Beretta "Auto" manual which included both the A400 and A300. This is pretty weak, especially when they specify, "Please keep this manual with the shotgun at all times."

Second, the shotgun came with only three choke tubes - Cylinder (!), Modified and Full - no Improved Cylinder (IC). Since I expect to leave an IC installed 95% of the time this is something that I need to fix immediately. Fortunately, Beretta is having a sale on their Optima HP tubes and I ordered an IC from Amazon for $35.
Both of mine came with paper manuals - maybe something new to save costs?
Secondly, are you sure it is a Cylinder? The typical 3 choke combo from them is IC, M, F.
Personally, I run Trulock LM (what they call SK2) in my guns - great for birds, clays and all around.
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Old November 18, 2023, 09:13 PM   #24
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Saving costs? Sure. I also got a cardboard box with it.

Absolutely sure it's Cylinder - five notches on the rim.
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Old November 25, 2023, 08:55 AM   #25
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This is my last planned update of the function of my new Beretta A400 Xplor Action. I've completed its break-in with Monarch moderate power ammunition with an additional 50 rounds, bringing the total to one hundred rounds. They work fine and I'll have no hesitation about using them in the future.

As previously, AA shells with 7/8oz at 1200 fps also worked flawlessly, though I've heard others have had problems.

I also used Baschiere & Pellagri Competition 1 - 7/8oz at 1210 fps and they also worked fine. For no particular reason, these will be the ones I buy when I can find them.

For an extreme test I tried Fiocchi Extra Low Recoil - 3/4oz @ 1075 fps, number 7-1/2 shot. They fired 100%, and did not eject or load the next round, but I didn't really expect them to. The instructor was watching the charging handle during the test and said it did not move. He suggested the way to use the rest of the flat was to use a standard power round in the chamber and these low power Fiocchi rounds as a second shot in the magazine. That way I wouldn't have to bend over to pick up the empties on the last shot. That's one way, while the other would be to reserve them for the 686 - basically making it a 28 gauge.

Recoil on all these different brands was interesting - with the A400 I could not tell the difference, even the Fiocchi. Thinking about it, it occurs to me that with the Fiocchi, I was getting no semi-auto recoil reduction, just as if I were shooting them from the 686 over-under. Basically, then, all of the loads felt like 28ga from an O-U. The Fiocchi were more pleasant than 7/8oz loads when firing them from the 686. However, while it might have been my imagination, the time of flight seemed to be a little longer. If I wanted the Fiocchi to function semi-automatically I'd need to generate more velocity than 1075 fps, but I see no point in that and will stick with 7/8oz at 1200 fps for all of my target shooting as they seem to work well.

I started this thread to document any problems I might have with the A400 and low power target loads in the A400 20 gauge - I've read about a few. I didn't find any problems with standard target loads, two brands, and one inexpensive hunting load. I have read about 12 gauge semi-auto shooters using 7/8oz successfully, but my A400 20 gauge can't step down so proportionally, at least at very low velocity; if I find a faster load in the future I'll try it. I conclude that the Beretta A400 20ga Xplor suits my needs for a combination hunting and recreational Sporting Clays shotgun.
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