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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I'm new to SGW, and had a couple of questions regarding the performance of the Baretta AL391 Urika or Rem 11-87 in cold weather (-10 F to approx. 30 F above here in Alaska). I am an avid hunter and want to get a shotgun for ptarmigan, grouse (currently use my .22), and eventually pheasant. Any overall opinions on these two guns are appreciated.
 

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Well: I have the Beretta 391; A Co-Worker has a 11-87. His cleaning habits are not the same as mine. We are in Texas so temps will be different too. Although it is 18 this AM.
My 391 functions better than his 11-87 (cycles).
Dirty, lack of lubrication, heavy oil/lube???
Even in Sept @ Dove hunts my 391 cycles better :wink:
Not much help :oops:

Randy
 

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They should both work in cold weather if they are clean and not overly lubricated. No autos in extremely cold weather are reliable when they get wet. I've shot ducks more than once in 10 degree weather with snow and sleet. After an hour, the only repeater in the blind was my 870.

I think if I were going to buy a bird gun for Alaska, it might be something like a 20ga Ruger stainless O/U.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Regarding the 20ga O/U, I was leaning towards the semi-auto 12ga because I'd like to also get into sporting clays as well. Kind of a jack-of-all-trades gun, though I know there are compromises when going that route. I've been researching 12 gauges on this list for a few evenings now and the consesus seems to be strong towards the AL391 auto.

Rick
 

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aknitesky said:
Regarding the 20ga O/U, I was leaning towards the semi-auto 12ga because I'd like to also get into sporting clays as well. Kind of a jack-of-all-trades gun, though I know there are compromises when going that route. I've been researching 12 gauges on this list for a few evenings now and the consesus seems to be strong towards the AL391 auto.

Rick
Why would you not consider a 12 gauge over/under? Sporting clays requires only two shots max each target, so a semi auto has zero advantage.

FWIW, having owned a Beretta 390, and shot a friend's 391 several times, I ended up with an 11-87 for clays.

For waterfowl, nothing beats the reliability of a pump or a double. I chose a pump because they are cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
From what I understand, an O/U is heavier to carry on long hikes (which I will be doing at times with snowshoes). I am however open to all ideas, as I am not very knowledgeable about shotguns outside of what I've learned from SGW and friends. I just want a good reliable, light upland bird, sporting clay gun that if I eventually try some ducking hunting, I can use as well.

I'm still not sure what to get.

Rick
 

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My suggestion would be the Winchester Super X2, 3". This gun has become very popular at sporting clays shoots and hunters really like them. Their "pointability" and dependability seems top notch. I really like the sight plane of the X2 with it's somewhat high rib, it seems to come up and fit me well. Winchester also has a $100. rebate which ends on 12/31/05 too.
I have in my stable a 391, and 2 1100's (both 2 3/4"), of which my Beretta has been into Beretta's repair shop (warranty) twice. My 1100's have been flawless, and this includes shooting the Central Flyway in -20 degrees temp! I use BreakFree CLP and keep the tube and action slightly "wet". You can find excellent condition used 1100's in the $300-$400. range, and barrels, parts, etc., are readly available.
Good luck and see if you can find a Super X2 to a least point it. I think it's my next gun...I mean, what if my others break down?? I just want to be careful and cover my base....LOL
Shoot well.
 

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aknitesky said:
From what I understand, an O/U is heavier to carry on long hikes (which I will be doing at times with snowshoes). I am however open to all ideas, as I am not very knowledgeable about shotguns outside of what I've learned from SGW and friends. I just want a good reliable, light upland bird, sporting clay gun that if I eventually try some ducking hunting, I can use as well.

I'm still not sure what to get.

Rick
Weight is independent of gun configuration.

The 12 ga 11-87 weights 7 3/4 lbs. The 12 ga Beretta 391 weights 7.3 lbs. The 12 ga Ruger Red Label (o/u) weighs 7 3/4 lbs. The 12 ga Beretta White Onyx (o/u) and the Franchi Alcione T (o/u) both weigh 6 3/4 lbs. Those weights are catalog list for 28" barrels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well......I thought I had it narrowed down to the AL391, but it's now as clear as mud. From some of the threads I've read on SGW, it appeared O/Us were heavier, but apparently not so. I think I do still want an auto. Now I just need to figure out which one to get myself for Christmas. ;-)

Thanks for the help!

Rick
 

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Others here have indicated CLP used as described above instead of oil clears up oil congealing issues associated with auto's cycling unrealiably in cold weather. Hopefully this helps.
 

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In cold weather with autos you need to make sure you are using a quality oil like CLP, FP-10, Miltec. The gun should have light amounts of it. Even the better oils do slow down some when really cold. Making sure your recoil spring and tube are clean is also a big one for cold weather autos. A dirty and gummed up recoil spring will usually rear its ugly head when the temps are low. When the spring is in the stock they are often overlooked and many times don't get attention before problems arise.

With you type of hunting a lighter gun would be a better choice. I would also recommend a B/S or camo model.
I'll list out some good models that I like and would work well for you use. I'll point out some features and pro's and con's for you.

$750.00 and up: Benelli M2 is Inertia operated. They are light in weight and very easy to clean. The have an automatic magazine cutoff and shims to adjust the stock. It has a good safety shape,size, and location. It holds four shells total and more if you add an extention. Some tend to think this design has more felt recoil than a gas operated gun.
Beretta AL391 is gas operated. They are fairly light and have very thin forearms. They have an automatic magazine cutff, bolt lock back lever, and shims for the stock. It holds four shells total and can not accept an extention.This design is more complicated to clean than most.
Browning Gold is gas operated. They are fairly light and pretty easy to clean. They have the speed load feature, stock shims, and a magazine cutoff switch. It has a good safety shape,size, and location. It holds five shells and more with an extention. The forearm/receiver juction could be much better than it is. There is a $100.00 rebate on all Golds to the end of Dec. The Evolve and Fusion (Gold) models are similar to the standard Gold but are very light in weight and balance with more weight towards the stock.

$500.00-$750.00: Beretta 390 and 3901 are gas operated. They are basicaly the same gun with different shaped receivers. They are fairly light in weight, have stock shims, and automatic magazine cutoff's. They each hold four shells and can't accept extentions. They are not too bad to clean. The 390 only comes in B/S with a 28" barrel in 12 gauge.
Beretta Pintail/ES100 is inetia operated. It's fairly light and has a slim forearm. They are very easy to clean and has an automatic magazine cutoff . It holds five shells and can't be extended. Shims are available for this model. This model does not have a magazine release making the unloading take a tad longer than most.
Franchi 612 and 712 are gas operated. They are the same except for the receiver shape.They are very easy to clean and light in weight. They have an automatic magazine cutoff's and shims for the stock. They hold five shells and more with an extention. They don't have the best triggers in terms of weight and creep.
Weatherby SAS is gas operated. It is fairly light in weight and very easy to clean. It has a magazine cutoff switch and shims for the stock. It has a good safety shape,size, and location. It holds five shells and more with an extension. This model was made by SKB first then Valtro for Weatherby. Parts do not interchange between the two.
Winchester SX2 is gas operated. It has decent weight and is pretty easy to clean. It has a high rib and stock shims are available. It hold five rounds and more if extended. This is the only model that does not have a magazine cutoff of any kind. The Light field model is the same but quite a bit lighter and balances with more weight towards the stock. The SX2 models have a $100.00 rebate to the end of Dec..

For 2006 the Browning Gold and Winchester SX2 models will have a weight reduction. The new models will be right around 7lbs.

Look at as many as you can. Take your time and hold different models with different barrel lengths. Pay attention to how they shoulder, point, balance, and swing. Figure out what features and attributes are important to you and pick the one that feels the best to YOU. Most of all, have fun in the process.
 

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aknitesky,
I know what ground you hunt as I chase ptarmigan up there for a week or so each year around Labor Day. I would go with the 391 myself as it is a relatively lightweight gun that will stand up to hard use. the 11-87 is not a bad choice but I don't think it is quite the gun the Beretta is and costs nearly as much plus is generally a bit heavier. My buddy up there uses a 390 for the same purpose for the same reasons. The only difference is he has his in 20 ga as that shaves nearly another pound off that of the 12 ga. The major difference I see is the 11-87 has better parts support from the factory while the Beretta has an extensive aftermarket industry for parts due to poor factory service. I get all my Beretta parts, the little I've needed, from Cole Gunsmithing out of Harpswell, ME. If he doen't have a part, no one esle does either but he will have it first when they do come in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I went to a local gun shop and 'tried on' all makes of shotguns. The Beretta AL391 Teknys in 12 gauge 28" was by far the best fit and feel for me, not to mention a really good looking gun. It really felt great and light. I'm just not sure about the nickel or whatever coating that is on the receiver and wish it was available in something other than blued (due to harsh weather conditions here in AK).

Rick
 

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I usually suggest to friends that in the winter, VERY little oil to none will work best. Most hunters are not going to wear out a gun, even with basically no lube over the course of a hunting season. Now, competitive shooting is a different thing, but hunting, how many shots will you actually take. Not enought to destroy, or even harm a good gun. I used to oil my guns a lot and have had several misfires because the oil gets too thick.As I said, little to none works for me. I do keep the outside well lubed to protect against the weather though.
 

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i would probably go for the standard 391 over the Techny. I have heard and seen too many problems with it including loosing the plastic rib. Two Beretta sponsored shoters have also told me the same thing in no uncertain terms. One pays an awful lot for flash on this gun as it is merely a spruced up 391. You might try to find a 391 with a synthetic stock or even one in full camo. I don't know how well the camo protects the gun nor how scratch resistant it is but that is an option.
 

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When we hunt in Labrador on snowmobile, we remove every last bit of oil off our guns. No oil at all. We leave our shotguns in the shed the night before we leave to get them cold. If taken out of a warm house into the elements snow will melt on the gun and freeze up the mechinisms. We never take the guns into the warm. We leave the guns in the snowbank overnight. We are talking -30 to -40 degrees celcius here! We are anal about not letting the guns get wet. If they do then your hunt is over! You won't have such a problem cause it won't be as cold. I'm just letting you know what works...

As far as guns are concerned, I know of nobody who would trust an auto in these conditions mentioned.... Up there, the pumps rule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the info all! I've learned more here than some of my buddies knew who own shotguns!

Rick
 

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I would add that any of the popularly available autos, properly maintained would work in the cold weather about the same as any other. That's just saying that in most cases if you have a gun that's unreliable, it won't work anyway, but if you have a good one, it's probably as good as any other. I've shot 1100's, 390's, 391's, A5's, and Gold's in cold weather and they all shot well. Any gun that gets water in it's innards during freezing weather is in for trouble functioning.
On the other hand, my son has a Gold Golden Sporting that is a jam-O-matic, and has been from day one. It will spit-up about 10% of the time, maybe slightly less as it is now broken in. We've kept it clean, used different types and amounts of oil, and nothing seems to work. It's maddening, because it works most of the time and then in the clutch, it craps on you. We've taken it apart and inspected every last part and all looks the same as any other Gold, just the darn thing doesn't always cycle. For the kind of money he paid for it, I'd be hoppin' mad. That's why I stick with my 391, I don't think it's every jammed.
You'll hear guys cuss and discuss them all, the bottom line is, I like the fit of the Beretta and it's a good gun. My son has a Gold or two and likes them even with the problem with the one. His other Gold is totally reliable. I've used 1100's without a hint of a problem, and you can get rebuild parts for them easily, so that's a big plus. I don't like them as well as Berettas, but that's just me, they're a fine gun. Pick the one that fits you, meets your weight requirements for carrying and shoot it and don't worry what someone else is using. It's not the gun that'll beat you, it's the guy that knows how to shoot it and has practiced that'll get you every time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Today or tomorrow I will be heading to the gun shop to pick one out I hope. I really lean to the 391 because it fit me well (probably the Urika).

Rick
 
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