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 Post subject: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2021 10:28 pm 
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Some 20 years ago, I had opportunity to fire a 24" barreled A391 Youth 20 gauge. That gun had an incredible natural point with no recoil. It was very lightweight. At that time, I thought it was the ultimate upland bird gun. Why did Beretta DC'd it?

I wish I had bought one. But. at that time, I was focused on Rocky Mountain big game.




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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:27 pm 
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1911-A1 wrote:
Some 20 years ago, I had opportunity to fire a 24" barreled A391 Youth 20 gauge. That gun had an incredible natural point with no recoil. It was very lightweight. At that time, I thought it was the ultimate upland bird gun. Why did Beretta DC'd it?


It was a problem gun from the beginning, with bolt buffer problems, gas piston breakage, and shell lifter problem. The shell lifter problem never was resolved. The 20 gauges were even worse.

Image
Image

My 391 Urika Gold could was a jamomatic without so much as loading it. Beretta wasn't much help, to say the least.

It was also expensive to make compared to the A400, which is essentially a Franchi design that became the 391 Extrema (also discontinued) and then finally evolved into the A400.

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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:38 am 
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Beretta has been is business since 1526, that's no accident. The main reason they have been around so long is they know how to market and make a decent product. They come out with different new models just like any other successful company. As far as the 391 goes, it ruled the auto loading Sporting Clays gun market when it was in production. You see many of them in use today. Much more so than the 1100, Fabarms or Browning in Sporting Clays. The A400 can be found in use more than any other semi automatic in the Sporting Clays world.

Disclaimer: I have never taken any gifts or gratuities from the firearms or ammo industry. I don't have a website that accepts advertisement revenue from the firearms or ammo industry.


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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:59 am 
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Love the disclaimer LT!

Characterizing the 391 as a problem gun is beyond ludicrous and discredits anyone who suggests it. Seriously.

I've owned a couple in 12 and 20. Both were extremely reliable and very nicely finished. Unlike the current trend to use unfinished wood and more plastic the 391 series was a fine gun (at least so much as an auto could be considered fine). The 20ga 391 is, today, one of if not THE most sought after 20ga autos ever. And in fact a very good condition 391 will fetch more than it cost new and i've seen a few draw more than a new a400.

My guess, OP, is that the 391 was expensive to make (they actually finished the wood and filled the pores back in those days) and Beretta was ready to introduce a 'newer better' model to boost auto sales.


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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:32 am 
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My 2004 20ga. AL391 Urika has been faultless, in the grouse coverts and on the skeet field... and I think it's one of the nicest-looking off-the-shelf production shotguns.

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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:56 am 
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My 391s have been great!
New models = more sales.


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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:34 am 
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lt0026 wrote:
Beretta has been is business since 1526, that's no accident. The main reason they have been around so long is they know how to market and make a decent product. They come out with different new models just like any other successful company. As far as the 391 goes, it ruled the auto loading Sporting Clays gun market when it was in production. You see many of them in use today. Much more so than the 1100, Fabarms or Browning in Sporting Clays. The A400 can be found in use more than any other semi automatic in the Sporting Clays world.

Disclaimer: I have never taken any gifts or gratuities from the firearms or ammo industry. I don't have a website that accepts advertisement revenue from the firearms or ammo industry.


Me either! {hs#


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 Post subject: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:59 am 
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My guess is they wanted a cheaper to produce design. Same with the 68x. They keep pushing new designs, which isn’t a bad thing, but I suspect that the older designs are more expensive to make than newer designs which are designed around ease of manufacturing. Manufacturing has changed in the 40+ years since some of those guns were designed. Cnc machines have become much cheaper and have better capabilities. Higher spindle speeds and faster travel while still having good accuracy. This allows for less hand fitting, lowering costs.

Just look at all the polymer pistols. You can buy one for $200-$300. Molding makes the part price cheap if you can do the volume.


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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:36 am
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If somebody wants to speak negatively about the Beretta 391, that is OK by me. It was one of the best Semi Autos every made. That kind of talk will leave more available on the used market for the rest of us that know better :)


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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 1:16 pm 
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Location: So Cal
Thanks guys.

Cost of production forces for-profit companies to explore less expensive manufacture. Less expensive manufacture does not always mean lesser quality, but it usually does, geometrically more so when manufacturers compromise on quality of components.

There's a reason Sako big game rifles are expensive. It guarantees 5-shot MOA with factory ammo. I hand load all of my big game ammo because of superior accuracy. Hence a 2.5k out-the-door Sako is worth its cost when the first shot determines filling a tag, and with little deviation, the first shot at Rocky Mountain big game almost always will determine whether a hunter fills his tag. When I'm fortunate to hold a tag, I rarely load my rifle with more than 3 rounds. I've left hunting camp with only the 3 rounds in my rifle.

Randy, the A391 Urika Youth Model I fired was flawless. A lightweight 20 gauge with a 24" barrel is the ultimate upland bird gun. I am curious of where you got your info. Can you cite a source?

I watched the guy who bought it for his son drop a high flying crow at what I had assumed was beyond the range of a 20 gauge. He dropped it with one shot using inexpensive practice ammo.

Even though it was a youth model, it fit me perfectly. Its short barrel and lightweight made it a treasure to carry all day in pursuit of upland game.

On the day I fired it, the owner must have put a case of ammo through it without a single malfunction. He loved that shotgun and used it more than his kid did. He used it on all upland game. I can't remember his missing a single clay pigeon with it. He had a mechanical clay pigeon thrower. It allowed me to place clay birds along a rail to vary flight path. I tried to get him to miss. I cannot remember his missing a single bird. Now that his kid has grown beyond a youth model, my guess is it has become his primary upland bird gun.

Not buying one was one of my extreme dumb side decisions.

I still love Rocky Mountain big game hunting. But scarcity of tags has forced me to pursue other hunting opportunities. And I've always enjoyed the physical challenge of upland bird hunting. The fluttering of a flushed covey of valley quail will test one's hand-eye coordination.

I can remember old outdoor shows that had off-season baseball players pursuing upland game. For a professional baseball player who can hit a Major League fastball, wing shooting upland birds appeared easy. The reality is wing shooting flushed quail is a lot harder that it appears on TV and TV is edited. It doesn't show the many birds that hunters missed.

An A391 Urika 24" barreled 20 gauge would be on my very short list of ultimate upland bird guns.


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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 1:23 pm 
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1911-A1 wrote:
Randy, the A391 Urika Youth Model I fired was flawless. A lightweight 20 gauge with a 24" barrel is the ultimate upland bird gun. I am curious of where you got your info. Can you cite a source?


Beretta and Cole Gunsmithing. There are dozens of threads here on the subject.

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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 1:24 pm 
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I can’t comment on the jamming, but I recall back in the day that they did have a widespread problem with the shell lifters

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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:21 pm 
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Seamus wrote this: https://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewto ... 7&t=101242 . Seamus also wrote a very good book on the 391, now out of print.

Tfie first 391's had buffer problems. They also suffered gas piston breakage. The problem was widespread enough that Briley made a replacement, as well as aftermarket forearm nuts to replace the nutball Beretta design. There were aftermarket wrenches to get rid of the clumsy spanner wrenches as well.

The twisted lifter problem of the 12 gauge 391 was never resolved. The fix was to use a 390 lifter instead which Cole sold by the thousands.

Image

Why? Just, why? :shock: :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:47 pm 
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RandyWakeman wrote:

Why? Just, why? :shock: :shock:


...don't you post a link to your own article on the subject? https://www.randywakeman.com/TheMysteriesOfTheBeretta391.htm
I never knew the reasoning behind that complicated magazine cap before reading it. Thanks. I think my AL390 Silver Mallard has the same spring-loaded cap.

My 20ga. AL391 Urika has a manufacture date in 2004, which doesn't make it what I'd guess would be an "early" model. (AL391 production began in 1994, right?) But it does have a shell lifter with the end angled down that looks the same as the one in my AL390 12ga. I bought the gun new, so it never had a straight lifter that was replaced. It came with the one that's in it now; the one with the bent-down end.

Do you suppose that's why my 391 has performed as intended, or am I just lucky (so far)? I really do enjoy that shotgun...

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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:54 pm 
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It is a long story, something I've discussed with Randy Bimson of Beretta in detail and in person. along with Jim @ Cole.

Despite the myriad issues, Cole can get a 391 running well. Several were disappointed when the 391 was dropped. I felt that way about the 390-ST, the last of the superb Beretta autos.

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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:56 pm 
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All 20 gauge 391's had the bent lifter. A certain person never misses a chance to take a shot at Beretta. I wonder why?
Disclaimer: I have never taken any gifts or gratuities from the firearms or ammo industry. I don't have a website that accepts advertisement revenue from the firearms or ammo industry.


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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:04 pm 
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If the 391 was so good, how come they dropped it and made a more simple A300 at half the price?


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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:12 pm 
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It's called marketing. And Beretta made the budget 3901 ($598) while the 391 was out. The replacement for the 391 is the A400.


Last edited by lt0026 on Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:17 pm 
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The 303 is the best semi auto that Betetta ever made. Why did they drop it?

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 Post subject: Re: Why was the A391 Urika DC'd
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:50 pm 
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Other than the goofy "sticking" fore-end cap, I have never had any issues with my tribe of 391's. I think I have 6. Of course, I never had any issues with my 303's either, which is why I skipped buying the 390 back in the day. When you see someone shooting sporting with a semi in this part of the world, half of them are still rocking the 391. I can't really warm up to the A400.



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