The Beretta A400: My First Auto?

March 29, 2012 | By | 4 Replies More
(Beretta photo, click to see bigger.)

by Jay

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.

Here's the bronze-colored receiver (Beretta photo).

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.

(Beretta photo)

> 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!


Category: Beretta, Shotguns

Comments (4)

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  1. lucas says:


    what do you think about the recoil pad? i’m not a big fan of any thick rubber pads on hunting guns, except ones with magnum recoils. I know you guys do a lot of grouse hunting, so fast shots are the norm, and most upland hunters prefer the solid plastic butt plates.

    I recently bought a Urika 2 al391 ultralight 20 ga. it came with the extra recoil pad, but i’ve chosen to stay with the plate. also, my 20 is super thin, what’s the xplor like? i’m thinking its probably the same style gas system, which i’ve been told is the best around.

    • admin says:

      No idea what to think, never have hunted with a gun that had a recoil pad. If I got the A400 it would probably be a 12ga for pheasants and sporting clays. Where is your 20ga super thin?

  2. lucas says:

    by thin, i meant in the forearm. i’m not a big guy, and a lot of 12 gauges feel very wide, blocky, and uncomfortable when i’m holding the forearm in my left hand. i suppose it would feel normal if a guy shot a side by side at all.

    on a different note, i shot a Remington 1100 for years and loved it dearly, and while i didn’t like the aluminum receiver at first on my Beretta, at least it doesn’t pitt out with rust!

  3. Charlie says:

    A counter on the gun! Now that is interesting; not sure how functional or exactly what it would mean for gun resale. A hunting gun would have far fewer rounds pass through it, but be more beat up than a skeet gun, which would have way more rounds pass through it, but the skeet gun could still look like new. I don’t know that I could tell you if 20,000 is worst than 15,000 if the gun was well taken care of (by that I mean cleaned).

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