The A400 is Beretta’s latest Semi Auto in their already impressive stable. The A400 has an all new gas operated action with a rotary bolt head which, in plain language securely locks & seals the chamber. The gun also has a modified feed system and an Opti bored barrel made from Steelium [Berettas newly developed alloy] for which they claim many advantages. Berretta manufacture over 100,000 Semi Auto’s every year making them one of the largest manufacturers in the industry.
The A 400 will handle a wide variety of loads from 24 to 64 grams, 2 ¾” to 3 ½” and a wide variety of high performance steel shot. CAUTION, it is always essential that you check the manufactures handbook / instructions for information relating to the guns load capacity especially where steel shot is concerned. The all new action is quoted to be 36% faster cycling which is a massive increase. Berretta also claims a 60% reduction in recoil with the new kickoff 3 hydraulic reduction system. The A400 Explore also has a third damper attached to the back of the receiver to further reduce recoil and mechanical stress. I am sure that this will come into its own when hunting with heavy steel loads or shooting a lot of trap in one session.
This is a very impressive gun and as with all Beretta’s, the finish quality is excellent. The two models we tested [Explor & Excel] had attractive wood and well finished actions sporting a clean look. The laser chequering on the stock and fore-end is crisp and has a neat design layout. The fore-end is comfortable to grip and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The polymer trigger guard looks and feels good, it is not cold to the touch and won’t distort when bumped like some steel alternatives.
This new design was 3 years in development, 2000hrs of testing and more than 100,000 rounds test fired. Every time I go to a gun range I now see several models of this new gun being used, which is a testament to Beretta’s design and engineering expertise. The A400 is a very innovative design and I am sure it will remain popular for some time to come.
Both Guns handle well and at 6.8lbs and 7lbs [model dependant] they are lighter than many other semi autos’. The overall performance was good on both guns and we smoked a lot of clays on our test day. One thing I did notice was, that when closing the breach on the trap range [which had an audible speaker release system] clays would prematurely launch due to the level of mechanical sound emitting from the action of the gun. No big deal, and easily remedied by turning away from the speaker slightly when closing the breach.
The new self cleaning piston appears to function well, both guns had little fouling after firing 100 rounds. A stainless steel carrier has replaced the old plated version [the silver tongue you press down to load shells into the mag]. Both models have a magazine cut off, this is useful for changing loads mid stream when out hunting. When the cut off is deployed the magazine will stop feeding the action and the last shell fired or manually ejected will leave the breach open and ready to accept an alternative load when required.
The new Steelium Barrels are claimed to be stronger and are produced by using a combination of deep drilling and hammer forging along with some vacuum process. Beretta put a lot of R & D into its barrel technology which is clearly evident in the all new DT11. We hope to test this impressive gun later this year. Anything that improves the performance of shot delivery is, in my book, a good thing.
Shooting & Overall Impressions.
First impressions are that the A 400 is a fast & easy to handle shotgun. Its quick handling ability would make it a great all round gun for use in the field as well as on the skeet range, when it comes to trap my preference is for a heavier gun but that did not stop us breaking one bird after another. The recoil is very soft, perfect for those who want to shoot a lot in one session, or for anyone who may have medical concerns regarding recoil. You may need to consider investing in a shell catcher for the trap range as the spent shells were consistently whacking my neighbour, much to his annoyance.
Both Guns are presented in well made polymer carry cases Green for the Explor and Grey for the Excel. I believe this gun to be good value and one that will offer the owner a lot of shooting options and fun to boot.
Tech Spec: –
|Model/s tested: –||A400 xplor unico||A400 Xcel|
|Chamber: –||3 ½ “||3″|
|Barrel: –||Optibored 26″/28″/30″||28″/30″/32″|
|Chokes:-||Optima H/P Cylinder, Mod, Full||External Optima H/P|