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 Post subject: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 4:36 am 
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Enough people have asked about it; it is up and running on my site: found under "the latest." http://randywakeman.com/

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 7:59 am 
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Randy thanks for the link and nice job. I can't wait to get a chance to shoot the A400.

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 8:09 am 
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The high price of A400,Browning will sell alot of Maxus shotguns.


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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 9:46 pm 
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And I'd rather have the Maxus.

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 7:03 am 
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Randy, What a GREAT sight. You did GOOD. I'm sure some people will not like to hear the truth but we need straight talk like you dish out. Good luck with your work
Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 9:22 am 
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Randy does do a most excellent job!

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 10:06 am 
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Randy, How does the A400 compare to the Vinci, feel, handling, recoil, etc?

BOB


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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 2:29 pm 
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That is a tough one to answer in twenty-five words or less. What I should do, and hope to do (as soon as this Maxus walnut shows up) is do a three-way comparison point for point, including trigger, balance, felt recoil, shell handling, maintenance, full load spectrum, etc., etc.

My mistake was thinking that people would automatically go the Maxus or SBEII route (and now, the A400) because they wanted 3-1/2 shell capability. Rumor has it that the Vinci will be available, sooner or later, as a 3-1/2 in gun as well but for now it isn't.

Anyway, most everyone would find the A400 to be a better-looking shotgun in any conventional sense. It may be fake-grain walnut, but it still is a sharp-looking gun. As far as weight, the A400, Vinci, and the Maxus are all "7 pound-ish guns." The difference is really splitting hairs, as in the weight of one shotshell, but the A400 is slightly lighter-- no way is it the 6.6 lbs. as claimed, but still a tint bit lighter than the Vinci without the KO. With the KO, it is heavier than the Vinci.

Recoil-wise, I'd have to shoot them side-by-side all the way up to 1-7/8 oz. loads to be precise. With 1-1/8 oz. loads they are both comfortable, but I'd say the A400 has less recoil. Not by a huge amount, but less is less. With heavier loads, the Vinci scales well with hotter loads as the Comfortech starts to take over, so the tables may be turned-- can't say at the moment. What would be the fastest gun on the second bird is going to be close.

There is a substantially different sight picture: the flat rib of the A400 vs. the elevated rib of the Vinci. I have no strong preference either way, but for hunting an elevated rib gives me better visibility of a flushing pheasant, for example-- regardless of angle, you won't obscure the bird.

The Vinci has better shell-handling as its quicker to unload. Not a big factor for some, but for crossing roads and climbing over fences during a hunt when you want to completely clear your gun it's handy.

Trigger-wise, both came with usable hunting triggers. The two Vinci's both broke at 5 lbs., the A400 breaks at 4.75 pounds. I like lighter triggers than that, regardless. I can't say that Beretta has a customer service department, but Benelli customer service has been outstanding. If I'm hunting with a 12 gauge, the Vinci looks to be my primary shotgun, so . . . even though a 5 lb. trigger is within Benelli's parameters, they offered to take a look and tweak it a bit. I sent off the trigger and the Vinci trigger came back in about ten days. It now breaks at 3.5 pounds, a superb trigger compared to most out there.

From a maintenance standpoint, the Vinci has the edge. Even if you want to clean the trigger group you don't even have to knock out a pin-- hit the button on the forearm, off comes the lower and hit it with the air hose once every several thousand shots. No gas array at all to ever so much as look at.

The A400 doesn't have much to clean though, either. Beretta never did provide any cleaning info on the 391 Urika 2 forearm nut. They don't do it now, either, on the plastic internal version they've used on the A400. It seems less likely to seize or freeze than the old stye, so that may be a solution.

The gas piston and its metal scraper ring comes right out of the A400. The valve assembly is apparently not intended to be cleaned by the owner; Beretta tells you not to take it apart. It comes apart with spanner wrenches on the nut like the Urika 2, but no spanners or instructions are supplied. I'm not going to screw with it, but I suspect Seamus would have both the forearm nut and the gas valve array apart, cleaned, and redesigned before he ever shot the gun :shock: .

I've cleaned enough "self-cleaning" gas systems over the years to have a feeling that sooner or later that valve array is going to carbon up. How long, I don't know, but 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 shots down the line it is going retain some hard crud. There is apparently one barrel gas port, but two ports coming from the barrel to the piston, along with another five ports parallel to the valve body SEVEN holes in all. Sooner or later it's going to carbon up. It may well be later, much later as Beretta theorizes but still-- I think that the owner should be supplied with the tools and the instructions on how to clean and reassemble it properly, rather than having to rely on "a competent gunsmith." You've likely seen the "four hulls in the air" photo from Beretta to try to display how fast the gun cycles? It appears to be bowlsheet, as the magazine capacity of the A400 is two, maximum. The only way to get a fourth hull in the picture from a factory A400 is to hang it from a string or load up some two inch hulls.

Nevertheless, the choice between a Vinci and an A400 is going to be more personal preference than anything else. I'd personally opt for the Vinci as a hunting gun, but would be more inclined to the A400 as a clays gun, likely with a 30 inch barrel rather than the 28 inch I tested.

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 4:36 pm 
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I would take the Maxus over the Vinci or the A400 if I was buying a new shotgun.But the old AL 390 still does the job.


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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 9:23 pm 
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I'm good friends with a management level Benelli USA employee. He told me that a 3 1/2" & a 20 ga. Vinci will be hand delivered to the Benelli booth at the 2011 Shot Show, Sat. @ 12:00 noon,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,by ELVIS. Start saving your quarters if you want one, they'll be at your gun store a week later.

BOB


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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 10:30 pm 
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Hasn't Elvis been shooting them all year?

Spoonbill, you've injected twice that you'd rather have a Maxus. What is the basis? How many rounds have you put through various Maxus and A400 models, and what are your impressions?

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:28 am 
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RandyWakeman wrote:
You've likely seen the "four hulls in the air" photo from Beretta to try to display how fast the gun cycles? It appears to be bowlsheet, as the magazine capacity of the A400 is two, maximum. The only way to get a fourth hull in the picture from a factory A400 is to hang it from a string or load up some two inch hulls.


Randy, you can remove the mag plug. Mine came with an extra little aluminum rod, I originally thought was to punch out the trigger pin (which it does work great for). This rod is actually a mag plug to make it a 2 shot. You can unscrew the piston guide at the end of the mag tube to remove or swap plugs.

I regularly load 4 2-3/4" shells now.

I can also vouch for the carbon buildup in the gas valve. I've been doing a small torture test in mine by not cleaning the gas valve for about 2k rounds. it was a little thick in there. The actual piston was fine, and came clean with a bronze brush, but inside, around the gas port holes was pretty thick. I had to work on it for a good while with a bronze brush on the end of a drill, and lotsa Hoppes....

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:32 am 
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Yes, I have "the rod"-- it looked to me like a pin from one of the case hinges. So this is the 'reducer plug' (operation to be performed by a qualified gunsmith)? :s

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:56 am 
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Does it say in the manual only to be switched by a gunsmith?

"That don't make no kinda sense," if it does. I didn't even look, or think twice. When I couldn't get that 4th shell in the gun, I went on a quest..

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:17 am 
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Thanks for the review Randy! I may need to put an A400 on my wish list.


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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:21 am 
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Yes, it does (page 14).

The "NEVER DISASSEMBLE" the exhaust valve assembly is on p. 30. On the back inside cover there is a picture (labeled '30') of spanners around the valve nut, with a big orange X through it.

It seems they really, really don't want you to clean the valve assembly.

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:32 am 
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BigAL33 wrote:
I may need to put an A400 on my wish list.


I think it is on a lot of wish lists, although some of it has got to be wishing it was $500 less. :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:41 am 
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RandyWakeman wrote:
Yes, it does (page 14).




:lol:

:roll:

So we are qualified to shoot the gun, but not pull the plug?


Riiiiiight.... :shock:

That's as silly as calling the barrel steel something goofy like Steelium...

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:42 am 
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RandyWakeman wrote:
BigAL33 wrote:
I may need to put an A400 on my wish list.


I think it is on a lot of wish lists, although some of it has got to be wishing it was $500 less. :shock:




$1,000 Less! :?

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 Post subject: Re: Beretta A400 Unico Xplor Review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:00 pm 
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Image

With the A400 factory "Full" and B&P F2 Legend 1-1/8 oz. # 7-1/2 shot, the patterns were centered, slightly high, but showed good distribution @ 40 yards.

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