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 Post subject: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:11 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Southern Maine
Good day all,

I bought this 12 ga in Japan, 20 something years ago. The barrel is 24 inches, as shown. The external choke tubes make it a lot longer. The receiver is aluminum and the barrel is chrome lined. The weapon is very smooth and I have never had any kind of issue with it. The last photo shows that it was made by Singer Nikko under license of Berretta.

It looks like a AL300, but I am not sure. I want to look for another barrel for it, but am unsure of what model.

Any information on age,history and parts availability would appreciated.

Thanks in advance. Marc

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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:48 pm 
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That is absolutely fascinating to me! I collect Beretta semiautomatic shotguns, and I study their history, but I had never heard of that before! I am aware of several Beretta clones, but one made by someone else under license from Beretta is a new one on me.

It looks like a clone of the A301, which was sold in the US as AL-2. The engraving is different, but otherwise it is very similar. When I get time tomorrow I am going to get out one of my AL-2's and compare them.

I can't read the words on the side of the receiver. I would appreciate it if you could quote them for me.

If it is copied as closely as it appears to be, parts should be interchangeable. If so, a barrel from any of the 30x models should fit, including the AL-1, AL-2, 300, 301, 302, 303, and the other Beretta clones Browning B-80 and Breda Altair (both of which were actually made by Beretta).

I will get back with you tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:17 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:11 pm
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Location: Southern Maine
Seamus O'Caiside,

I'll get you the receiver info tonight, (at the labor camp right now).

Thank you for the help, Marc


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:44 pm 
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Marcduper wrote:
I bought this 12 ga in Japan, 20 something years ago.
Did you buy it new or used? Could it have been as long as 25+ years? I read somewhere that Singer Nikko went out of business in 1986. EDIT: THEY MAY HAVE STOPPED MAKING GUNS THEN, BUT THE COMPANY WAS STILL IN BUSINESS AS LATE AS 1996. They made shotguns for a bunch of American companies (Diawa, Weatherby, Charles Daley, Sears, High Standard, etc) and also sold them in the US under their own name. I am not very familiar with those guns, but I have not seen one before that is a clone of Beretta.

Judging from the shapes of the bolt release button and the forend cover, if this was a Beretta I would say it was made between 1972 and the early '80's. Beretta was being distributed in the US during that time, so my guess is that the agreement between Beretta and Singer Nikko said the SN guns could not be exported to the US.

During that time period Beretta was producing the AL-1/A300 and the AL-2/A301. The A302 came out about 1980, but may not have appeared in the US until a couple of years later. However, SN could have continued producing its gun later.

Your gun closely resembles the AL-2 and A301, not the A302. AL-2 and 301 are the same except for engraving pattern and perhaps a few other smaller cosmetic features. The AL-1 and A300 are the same as the AL-2/301 but with little or no engraving and usually with ribless barrels. The engraving on yours is more elaborate than any I have seen on a Beretta (but I have never seen a Beretta AL-3 Deluxe which is described as having more engraving and premium grade wood).

In summary, I would say yours is equivalent to an AL-2/A301. I can't tell how exact a clone it is without a side-by-side comparison. I would guess that parts interchange, but I can't be certain without checking it directly.

I have never seen choke tubes like those - I am certain they were never used on Berettas. However, they may have been used on the Breda Altair, which was made by Beretta.

I would be interested in knowing all the markings on the receiver and underside of the barrel.

If you would like to sell it, let me know - it would be an interesting addition to my collection. I will pay more than the going price of AL-2's (which is about $500+-).

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My book on Beretta 391 Disassembly is no longer available.
My pen name is Irish, pronounced SHAY-mus oh-KOSH-eh-deh.


Last edited by Seamus O'Caiside on Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:07 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:11 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Southern Maine
O.K.

I bought this one in 1988 while stationed in Northern Japan. It was bought new by a Japanese man that worked on the base. He bought this shotgun to hunt pheasants in Korea around 10 years before. He shot 12 pheasants on his one and only hunting trip. He than sold it to a dealer that sold it to me. You needed a middle man in Japan for such transactions. He probably fired this weapon 50 times while he own it. I transfered to S. Carolina and imported the shotgun. I used it lightly through the years. I own 7 shotguns, and still come back to this one.
I am overjoyed with your fascination with this firearm. Below are a good shot of the receiver markings and the only mark under the barrel. The side markings are in the last posting. I hope this helps. I would sell this shotgun to someone that appreciates its uniqueness, a trade might work as well. Please absorb these photos and get back to me.

Thanks, Marc

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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:30 pm 
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NICE!!!

Thanks for posting those photos. I love the looks of that gun.

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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:46 pm 
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I won't have time to get back to you until Sunday.

I'm willing to talk a trade.

_________________
My book on Beretta 391 Disassembly is no longer available.
My pen name is Irish, pronounced SHAY-mus oh-KOSH-eh-deh.


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:11 pm
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Location: Southern Maine
Seamus,

Talk with you Sunday.

Thanks, Marc


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:51 pm 
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Very interesting. KFC is not Kentucky Fried Chicken :wink: , it is Kawaguchiya Firearms Co. According to something I read on the 'net, KFC made guns for several other companies and a few of their own branded guns were imported to the US, including the M-250 semiauto. However, the KFC 250 was not a Beretta clone. This gun was apparently made by Singer Nikko for KFC. I believe KFC is out of business now.

The Blue Book describes the KFC Model 250 Deluxe as having "scrolled acid etching panels on both sides of normally black receiver". I guess that must be the type of scrollwork on your KFC/SN gas gun. But as I said before, this one is not a model 250. I found a few pictures of the KFC 250 on the web, and it is different http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewIt ... =253015094

I would really be interested in finding out whether the parts of the KFC/SN gun are interchangeable with a real Beretta. It would not surprise me if some of the parts were actually made by Beretta in Italy, and finished and assembled by SN in Japan. That's how the Browning B-80 was made - parts made in Italy by Beretta, finished and assembled by Fabrique Nationale in Portugal for Browning. However, the Browning receivers carry Italian proof marks, as required by Italian law.

It is notable that the inscriptions on the gun are in English, even though it was made in Japan and apparently sold new in Japan. I have not found any reference to it on the 'net, but I suppose it could have been intended for distribution in an English-speaking country.

Please PM me with your thoughts on what you would like for the gun, in terms of cash or trade.

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My book on Beretta 391 Disassembly is no longer available.
My pen name is Irish, pronounced SHAY-mus oh-KOSH-eh-deh.


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:11 pm
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Location: Southern Maine
PM sent.


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:52 pm 
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Here are a few things I found on the 'net
KFC: 4-2-12 Nihombashi-Muromachi, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo 03-3270-0921

On Wednesday, January 04, 1978, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for KFC by KAWAGUCHIYA FIREARMS CO., (KABUSHIKI KAISHA KAWAGUCHIYA HAYASHI JUHO KAYAKU-TEN), CHUO-KU, TOKYO , . The USPTO has given the KFC trademark serial number of 73154228. The current federal status of this trademark filing is EXPIRED. The correspondent listed for KFC is DAVID TOREN of SIDLEY AUSTIN BROWN & WOOD LLP, 787 SEVENTH AVENUE, NEW YORK NY 10019-6018 . The KFC trademark is filed in the category of Firearm Products . The description provided to the USPTO for KFC is FIREARMS AND PROJECTILES INCLUDING BULLETS AND CARTRIDGES

Singer Nikko is or was the Japanese affiliate of The Singer Co, the famous sewing machine manufacturer.

I found an ad for a gun like the one discussed here offered for sale in 2009 with an asking price of $600 OBO but I don't know if it sold. The etched "engraving" was different, and it did not have the KFC emblem on it, just the SNC logo for Singer Nikko Co. Apparently the gun was really SNC's model, some of which were distributed by KFC, but it should be referred to as a Singer Nikko, not as a KFC. The word "license" was spelled "licence" on that one, too :lol: . That one had also been bought in Japan and brought to the States by the owner.

I will reply to the PM asap.

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My book on Beretta 391 Disassembly is no longer available.
My pen name is Irish, pronounced SHAY-mus oh-KOSH-eh-deh.


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:02 am 
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Seamus O'Caiside wrote:
The word "license" was spelled "licence" on that one, too :lol: .

For what it's worth "licence" is the British spelling
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/License


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:52 pm 
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I decided to update this thread just in case there is anyone out there who finds the gun interesting.

I ended up buying it from the OP, Marcduper. I estimate that the market value of it is around $300, but I paid more than that because I "got the fever" to put it in my Beretta collection. It is just as Marcduper described it, in real good condition. (Well, there is that one rubbed spot on the stock, but for a gun of this age it is in good shape.) It has a Pachmeyer recoil pad on it, which may be a replacement (Marc, do you know if it is original?) The figure in the wood is better than in the stocks of Berettas from that era (late 1970's).

I took it out on the sporting clays course for a test. Using the Full choke, I shot a 93 on a course that was mostly the same targets used in a recent registered funshoot, where the top 4 scores were 95, 95, 92, and 92. :D It feels and handles like a Beretta 300-series gun, which is what I am used to.

It shot fine with a Beretta barrel and a Browning B-80 (made by Beretta) trigger group. Upon close examination, I am pretty sure that the major componets (barrel, receiver, mag tube, wood) were not made by Beretta. Some of the small parts could have been, but there is no way of knowing, so I assume none of it was made by Beretta. It is a very close copy, however, and as far as I can see all the parts are interchangeable with Beretta parts, except for the chokes. The choke tubes seem to be copies of the external-thread tubes introduced by Breda (an Italian gunmaker) perhaps as early as the 1940's, and used on Breda shotguns for years, including the well-known Breda Brescia, and (I think) used on some early Fabarm models.

The reason I was so interested in who made parts for the Singer Nikko is that Breda sold a Beretta clone called the Breda Altair, and I believe it was actually made by Beretta (the Altair is still being sold, but now made in Turkey). The SNC seems to be an actual copy, not just a re-labeled Beretta like the Italian-made Altair was.

I did have a few failures to fire due to light firing pin strikes (I was shooting Rio shells, which I have found to be very reliable). In Berettas, that is usually (not always) caused by a weak hammer spring, so I put the B-80 trigger group in it and was surprised to get a couple more FTF's. I then put the Beretta barrel on it, and never got another FTF. I suspect the SNC barrel has what could be considered excessive head space - IOW, the rim part of the chamber is cut a little deeper than usual. Upon close examination and comparison with a couple of Beretta barrels, I believe there is a difference in head space, but it is practically impossible to measure with the tools I have available. It may have been made that way on purpose because some shells have thicker rims than others - I used to have a Beretta O/U that was hard to close on Fiocchi shells due to thick rims. A new firing pin may take care of it, and if not I could modify a pin to give it more protrusion beyond the bolt face.

The bottom line is, I am very happy with this gun, both as a shooter and as an addition to my Beretta collection.

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My book on Beretta 391 Disassembly is no longer available.
My pen name is Irish, pronounced SHAY-mus oh-KOSH-eh-deh.


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:11 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Southern Maine
Very glad to hear that you are happy with it. Real bummer about the FTF. It has not been used a few years and might need a run through. I have shot a ton of birds and a few deer with it.
All I wanted was a new barrel, and now it is yours. Enjoy.


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:37 am 
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A local store has a large number of these japanese-made beretta clones for sale...some are marked KFC and some singer-nikko.They also have japanese made Franchi clones...they are all nicely made guns at least as good as the originals.BTW the Breda-type choke tubes most of these these guns use (with the external thread on the barrel) although appearing identical to the italian made tubes,do not interchange.The threads are not quite the same (although they appear to be at a glance) and the Italian Breda tubes will not screw on the japanese made guns.


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:17 am 
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I appreciate that information, Caerlonie. Both Breda Altairs and Singer Nikko Gas-Autos are scarce as hen's teeth here in the US. My guess is, when Beretta gave those companies licences to produce their clones, they specified that the clones were not to be marketed in the US, because Beretta had an importer in the US for its own guns and did not want the competition. That's just a guess, but it seems to make sense. Both Breda and Singer Nikko did export other models of guns to the US, but not the Beretta clones.

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My book on Beretta 391 Disassembly is no longer available.
My pen name is Irish, pronounced SHAY-mus oh-KOSH-eh-deh.


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 7:09 pm
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Hi Seamus:

I am pleased that you got this gun to add to your collection. The gun is where it belongs, in a collection where it will be appreciated by a student of the Beretta gas guns!

Well done!

Stay well,

Leomat


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 Post subject: Re: Little help with an ID, Please
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 2:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2020 1:54 am
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I'm trying to id this shotgun and I think it's similar to yours. Looks the same but with different engravings and artwork. What do you guys think? I'm pretty sure all the parts are original on this one




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