Hands on with the Beretta A400 Xplor!

Well I got a chance to check out a few of the new Beretta A400 Xplors that Steve has been following pretty closely. The first thing I noticed was the wood. The finish appears to be a low gloss oil. I was quite impressed with the grain. It’s real figure, not added  “Wood Extra” seen on some Berettas. As with all production guns, some of the stocks were better than others. The stock shape is unique. It starts thick at the toe then thins and tapers forward to the knob of the pistol grip. From the grip forward it goes back to full thickness. It’s almost a reverse of a raised cheekpiece where the stock thins rather than the cheekpiece being raised out.

The green receiver looks good. I like it better than the stainless finish on some of the Urikas. The gun is lighter than I expected it to be. It  is lighter than an AL391 Urika and close to the 686 Ultralight over/under model. This is also available with the Kick-Off recoil system. While this is not new to Beretta autos, it does look a LOT better than it does on the Urika/Xtrema. I got a chance to take it partially apart.
The gun field strips the same as every other pump or semi auto shotgun on the market. Just unscrew the magazine end cap and pull off the forend and barrel. After the barrel’s off, you push the rotating bolt head in about halfway to line up a notch allowing removal of the bolt handle. This should prevent the handle from coming out while shooting. Here’s where it changes. The gas system, action bars, and bolt assembly all come out as one unit. The spring is captive as is the piston which are both covered by a plastic sleeve. For those familiar with the Browning A5, Winchester SX line, Remington 1100/11-87,  there’s no more messing around with friction, piston, gas, or O rings. This should be a pretty easy gun to clean. I didn’t take the trigger group out but it looks like the standard 2 pin set up.
The gun is priced competitively against the other high end autos on the market and the Kick-Off is only $100 more (a great thing for 3 1/2″ loads). I think what will make this gun sink or swim is whether it will cycle lower powered 2 3/4″ shells as well as advertised. If this will cycle the mild loads, it will definitely have the edge.

To give those who aren’t familiar with autos, here’s a list of how many parts you have to deal with:

Browning A5 – Standard/Lightweight – 1 friction ring & 1 friction piece. Magnum – 3 friction rings & 2 friction pieces! Non-captive springs. They have to be in the correct arrangement for the gun to work right.

Remington 1100/11-87 – 1 O-ring and 2 piston rings. Non-captive springs.

Winchester SX2 & SX3 – 1 gas piston and 1 piston sleeve. Non-captive springs.

Beretta AL391 series – This includes the Teknys, Urika 2, Xtrema 2, and a few others. They have a captive spring held back by the piston sleeve which is attached to the bolt carrier (and that’s connected to the knee bone…). It just has a gas piston.

Benelli Vinci – Inertia driven so no gas system but it takes “takedown” to a whole new level. I’ve seen people have problems putting these together.

The rest of the Benelli line is hit or miss as far as takedown is concerned. Some are incredibly easy and come apart like a pump while others have 2 halves that have to be lined up just right.

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