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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

So I took one skeet class and now I'm hooked. Since my tactical shotgun would look ridiculous on the skeet range, I've been shopping around for a true sporting gun.

I did a lot of research and got my hands on as many different makes and models as I could. For a variety of reasons, I think the Beretta 391 is going to be my choice. No surprise there, I guess, from all the great reviews I've read on this forum. Most importantly, it pointed very well for me.

BUT... I'm a little intimidated by how hard it seemed to strip and clean. I've actually watched an experienced gunsmith wrestle with a new 391 trying to get it apart.

This wouldn't necessarily stop me from getting one, but I'd love to hear from 391 owners about this. Did you find that they come apart much easier after they've been broken in? Is it just a matter of finding the little "tricks" to make the job easier? Has anyone had their 391 for a long time and still find it frustrating to strip?

thanks!
 

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I will start with a disclaimer that my 391 is the only shotgun that I have taken apart. My only other experience is with handguns.

When I got mine, I could not get the trigger group out. It was tight but now (a year later) it is not a problem. (It didn't take a year to loosen up, just a few tries.)

It gets dirtier than other action types (I'm told) but on the other hand, I don't clean it everytime I shoot it. I run a brush-thingy through the barrel after shooting it and add some oil to the action before shooting it. I clean it about once a month (maybe). Mine probably has 3000+ rounds through it now.

The one issue I have had is that it comes with two small wrenches to disassemble the piston, and I haven't been able to get that to break open yet. One of these days I'll really set my mind to it. It hasn't been a problem so far. I just would like to take it off the gun because I can! :D

While the experienced gunsmith knows what he is doing, he may not strip 391's often enough to know how to push/pull to get them apart easily. That's just a guess, but I'm thinking that I am much more fluid at taking mine apart than I was the first few times.

The difficulty in cleaning should be true of any gas-operated semi-auto (GOSA). So the 391 is no worse in this regard when compared to other GOSA's. It only loses points when you compare it to the cleaning effort for an O/U or pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Casual... That does make me feel a little better.

By the way, what length is your barrel? And are you shooting skeet, traps, SC, or all of the above?
 

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I have only had pump shotguns before my 391. I got my Beretta about 2 weeks ago and have been very happy overall. Got a 24 today! I have had one minor glitch with mine though. It seems that about once out of every 25 single loaded shots, the front of the shell doesn,t find the opening of the chamber and it fails to feed. I may try a different load and see if it continues. As far as the breakdown and cleaning, if you have the mechanical ability to open a can of beans, I trust that you will have no trouble in cleaning the 391.
 

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I have the Sporting model with a 30" barrel. Last year I shot mostly trap (and wobble trap). This year it has been skeet. I hope to start shooting more Sporting Clays this summer. A lot of times I can't find anyone to go shooting with but I still go shooting. I just stick to skeet or trap. I'd rather wait on SC's until I have one or two buddies with me.

Today we just shot wobble trap. While I did well, I am disappointed with me scores. I shot 22, 22, 22, and 23. I really wanted a 25. (Who doesn't?!) Funny....a year ago I was happy with 22 and now I'm disappointed. :)
 
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I got a 391 Urika 12g 26" about a month ago. I have shot our sporting clays course 3 times with it. Also, all my buddies wanted to shoot it as well, so I has about 400 rounds thru it so far. I love the gun, it points very well for me, which is why I bought it.
However, It is a bit harder to clean. Beretta's gas system really gets the gun nasty on the inside, but I knew this going into it. I grew up shooting my Dad's Belgian Browning A5. I was taking it apart at about 9. Not much to it, so anything for me is harder to strip. I, like casual shooter, have been unable to get the trigger mech out yet, but I am sure it will loosen with time (gun is brand new). Basically I love it. The other day on the course just as sort of a test, I shot low brass 7 1/2 lights, high brass #6 heavy field loads and #3 steel shot, sometimes mixed together at the same station. The 391 took them all and hasn't jammed so far. I haven't tried 3" yet, but I don't even use them for ducks so I sure won't for clays. I do clean the gun after every round of clays. That is just a habit my dad got me on early.
 

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I dearly love my 391, I've disassembled and cleaned it over 30 tiimes, but cleaning the gun is not without its challenges. The gun does get dirty on the inside, the operating rod w/sleeve, the piston and cylinder, the mag tube and shaft, and the barrel and choke tube(s) all require attention, but the job is made easier if you keep these parts coated with CLP, or a similar product. For the most part, all that is required is to wipe off the surfaces with CLP on a soft rag, unless you detail the gas piston, which requires a lot more attention to detail.

I remove the 2 piece bolt assembly (3 piece if you disconnect the connecting rod from the breech bolt slide) and wipe and oil these parts. I wipe and oil the inside of the receiver with the bolt assembly removed. Although removing the bolt assembly is easy (just pull out the cocking handle) replacing it has never been a slam dunk for me. The connecting rod (the "tail" on the backside of the bolt) has got to be in just the right place at the back of the receiver, as I hold the gun in the vertical position, in order for the bolt to seat correctly as the sleeve is pulled down against the recoil spring. Perhaps someone smarter than I can suggest how I can avoid jamming the bolt in the wrong position when reassembling the bolt. Its always been a trial and error operation for me.

Disassembling the gas cylinder with the two supplied wrenches required putting the barrel in a vise and gently tapping the wrench handles (toward each other) with a hammer until the locking nut and counter nut broke loose. After that it was easy. I've only done this once, and I probably could have put off the procedure for another couple thousand rounds, but I just had to satisfy myself that the darn thing was not fouling up.

I attempted to remove the trigger group once, got the pin out, but could pull the assemply out with hand strength. I read where this is always difficult the first time, and some kind of tool assisting the process is required. Again, perhaps someone on the forum can share their handy-dandy method of accomplishing the removal.

That's about it. I know the 391 haters out there are going to say, "See, the damn guns are too hard to clean!" But I say, just as my high school physics teacher was fond of saying, you don't get something for nothing. In order to have a gun that cycles everything from light 7/8 oz. loads to 3" magnums, and does it with reduced felt recoil, you've got to give up the ease of cleaning a pump or a stack barrel.

Mike
 

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To remove the trigger group, after removing the pin, you have to hold the breech bolt release-button while you are pulling the trigger group out. The trigger group must move forward (away from the stock) slightly before it will pull away from the receiver.

The latest manuals online show pictures of this along with the instructions.
 
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"But I say, just as my high school physics teacher was fond of saying, you don't get something for nothing. In order to have a gun that cycles everything from light 7/8 oz. loads to 3" magnums, and does it with reduced felt recoil, you've got to give up the ease of cleaning a pump or a stack barrel."

soreshoulder --
I must be missing something. My stackbarrell "cycles" everything from 7/8 oz to magnums....and is easier to clean !

Just kidding ...I have and love to shoot both the Beretta O/u and the 391... They are two different guns, and I struggle to decide which I like best
 
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Just a quick comment I have owned both 391's the trap model 391 and the Sporting lays Techni. In doing research on these guns I found that if you load heavy load to start you won't have the jamming problems later.

This has proved out for me in that all my friends have had some jamming problems and I have not no matter what loads I shoot now.

Dave
 
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Hold the bolt release button down and GENTLY tap the trigger group forward untill it clears the small stud from the back of the hoousing. Then you may pull the entire trigger group out of the gun while holding tthat button down. It will get easier to do after the first time! A brass toothbush looking thing (Wal_Mart) does a great job of cleaning the carbon off the gas piston and rod. A coating of CLP will help for the next time. A spray can of Gun Scrubber does a good job on the trigger group--follow with a spray of Remoil. The rest is elementary. 391's are probably the best auto shotguns made today and no more difficult to clean that any other auto.
 

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:x And, from the other side of the aisle, may I say how greatly I have come to despise my B 391 and cannot wait to trade off that rascal!!! VERY hard to maintain and it kicks like a mule. ///olde pharte/// :cry:
 

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I haven't had much trouble dissassembling or reassembling my 391. Some of the parts are tight at first but once you get the hang of it it is a fairly simple mechanism to operate. I'm not particularly mechanical and it is my first gun but I was able to follow the instructions (and included pictures) the first time out. Then, I had one of the more experienced shooters at the club check it out before I shot it - just in case no sense in blowing my own face off. No problems - nailed it the first time.
 

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You can break the gun in with loads that will barely cycle it.

Heavy loads just do it faster. But not much, which is a good thing.

This is a good, durable gun. I've got a teky in 20 if you ever need a 'it looks this way' picture.
 
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No question --get the 391 if it fits and you can shoot it...

Sure, it is tricky to disassemble, but if you watch this board long enough, you will learn tricks to make it easier. Second, it really isn't necessary to clean it that much --- I am pretty anal about cleaning mine (I have both 12 and 20 ga. 391 Urika's), but shoot regularly with a guy who never cleans his at all. About a month after I got mine, I asked him how to remove the bolt handle so I could remove the bolt--- he had been shooting the gun for over a year, but looked at me with a quizzical look, and said he didn't know, since he had never done it or thought about it ! Same guy took the gun to Argentina last year, shot over 3500 rounds in 3-4 days --said it kept on shooting like the Energizer bunny .... His Browning Auto (think it is a Gold), jammed if not cleaned every 200-300 rounds ...

Bottom line, great gun... and the basic model (Urika) is a reasonable price now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey guys,

Well, this is a pretty old post that got resurrected. I actually did end up buying the 391 a few months ago.

At this point, I can strip and reassemble it with my eyes closed, and I've been telling other people on the forum not to fear the Beretta's reputation as a tough gun to clean.

:D
 
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I just bought a Teknys Gold this weekend and used it for the first time yesterday. Shot like a dream! A little pricey, but workmanship is impeccable. I haven't tried to take it apart yet, but it looks pretty straight forward. Friends say that it's not a problem. I also have a Beretta SP II which I love. The auto gives me some variety.
 

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Sander -

I too initially thought the beretta would be hard to clean. I took the gun to my gunsmith and got him to show me how to take it down and clean it. 500 rounds later (last night), i tried to see how much i remembered and decided to break it down and clean it. It was actually easier doing it yourself than trying to watch somebody else do it. I managed to get all of the carbon off of the piston and the shaft, drop the trigger group, remove the locking block and connecting rod, and i even managed to remove the stock to adjust the spacers; magically, i was able to do all this, clean everything, and completely reassemble the gun in under 30 minutes. Break Free works wonders. To all those possible beretta owners, dont be intimidated by the gas gun. It's really pretty easy.

Matt
 

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I have about 1000 rnds thru mine and I have field stripped it 3-4 times. I have not done a complete detailed strip as I don't believe it is needed. Once a year or 6-9 months depending on your shooting.
:idea: Field strip and clean, lube, shoot again. Period

My $0.02 and I am a Sig Sauer Armourer.

Randy
:D
 
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