Brendan is a Beretta guy. The guns fit him, he likes them, he has a few. I’m not a Beretta guy, mostly because they don’t fit me. Or haven’t.
At Pheasant Fest this year, I walked into the Beretta trailer and – like I always do – picked up the same model of gun Brendan has that fits me: a 20ga Silver Pigeon V with an English stock. Don’t know what it is about that gun or that stock, but it fits. I can see the right amount of rib, whereas with a normal Beretta O/U I’m way low.
I’m talking to Carlton Nether – Beretta’s knowledgeable and friendly shoots and events manager – and he points me to what I have to say isn’t the sexiest-looking gun I’ve ever seen. I mean, all Berettas look good, stylin’, but this one has a brown metallic-colored receiver, sort of old bronze…and it’s an autoloader, aka semi-auto.
I’m not a big fan of autos. I just prefer the more-traditional doubles – the look, ease of cleaning and obvious safety factor: If the action’s open, it can’t go off.
But I dutifully raise the gun up and…hmm. I slap it up to my cheek and…I’m liking it. A lot. It comes up easily, it’s well-balanced, and when I point it and look, I’m not too low. It fits!
I ask how much, and I hear an MSRP that means a street price of around $1,500-1,600. Not bad.
And then I remember that a buddy of mine, a part-time shooting instructor, had been crowing about the next gun he was going to get (besides a Perazzi): a Beretta autoloader with a blue receiver.
Sure enough it’s right there in the Beretta truck at Pheasant Fest, so I put down the copper-receivered auto and pick up the blue one. Same deal. A little heavier, because it’s a sporting gun, but the same balance and fit is there.
Turns out these guns are both part of Beretta’s semi-new A400 line. The bronze-colored-receiver gun is so new (at the time) that it’s not even for sale yet. Come to find out it’s called the A400 Xplor Action. (The blue-receivered gun is the A400 Xplor Xcel Sporting and costs about the same.)
I’d love to take the gun for a test drive and maybe I will, though apparently not with Beretta’s help since they don’t appear to have a PR department…which is why I can’t get anyone on the phone/email to answer questions about the gun (!).
The bottom line for me is that I think I can now shoot Berettas, and I liked this gun enough – and the price is decent enough – that I’m seriously considering picking one up.
> From an Outdoor Life article on another A400 gun, the Extreme: “The combination of the slick gas system, good trigger [a consistent 5.25-lb break] and excellent ergonomics makes the A400 fast o the draw.”
> The Xplor Action apparently comes with a couple goodies, one being a recoil deduction system that delivers a claimed -60% recoil. Another is the GunPod, a little computer attached to the pistol grip cap that measures, among other things, total shots – not resettable, which could be interesting when it comes to gun resale. Like an odometer. Not real sure how useful it is on a gun, but fun.
> The Xplor Action claims a cycling speed 36% faster than any other semi-automatic, cleaner performance and consistent patterns with steel shot. You can also insert spacers to alter the fit. What’s not to like here!