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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first post, thanks for having me and being a source of information I looked to multiple times when deciding on my first sporting shotgun. I thought it would help others who are in the search I just finished if I posted a review.

A little background first. I'm 33, did a fair amount of dove/quail shooting growing up, always with my fathers hand me down sears pump 20 gauge. I got a Remington 870 just before college, and that has been my go to gun ever since to drag through the woods or shoot an informal round of clays with my brothers at our farm. We have recently started visiting a sporting clays club, and I enjoy it a lot and started a few months ago to search for a new gun better suited to this.

My personal criteria was I wanted an auto loader dedicated to sporting clays of high enough quality that it will be handed down to my son one day, and he will be proud of it. A 30" barrel, nicely finished wood, and a beretta were also preferences, one of my brothers and my father shoot beretta 391's and they seemed to perform well.

I rented an A400 xcel at the sporting clays club to try, it shot great and felt very comfortable to me. The only thing I didn't like was the kick-off, maybe this gun has seen so many rounds it was worn out but to me it felt like the gun moved around after a shot more than I wanted, kind of bump-stockish. I also disliked the blue receiver.

After a bit of research I discovered the a400 is made in the black edition, the obvious difference the receiver but had a few other subtle improvements. It took a couple months to find one locally I could touch and feel that did not have the kick off stock, but when I found it I took it home. I have never owned what I would call a "nice" shotgun, and this one is exactly what I was hoping for.

I have put 6-700 rounds of 1 1/8 oz and 1 oz target loads so far and it shoots like a dream, no jams or failure to ejects yet. To me the recoil is negligible, I have done a few days of 2 rounds of 100 and no fatigue/redness/bruising. I would like to try 7/8 oz loads but haven't seen them on the shelf around here. I'm 5'10", 170 lbs and the 14 1/2" LOP the gun has out of the box seems to fit well, I haven't felt the need to adjust yet. On that note, on this stock without the kick off it seems like you only have a very small, maybe 1/8"-1/4" window to go shorter, you could add whatever spacer to go longer. I would knock it there if I were shorter.

For my level of shooting, I feel like this was a good choice of gun. Is there better for more serious competition people, I am sure. Better value, yes. For me, if I could return it and start the search over knowing what I know now, I can't think of a gun I would buy instead, I am very happy with it.
 

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Welcome to SW! And great review. If you are really interested in a 7/8 oz load, you might have to order it. The better option is to reload to suit your needs. Go to the reloading forum here and read up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all.

SnowRider1 said:
Welcome to SW! And great review. If you are really interested in a 7/8 oz load, you might have to order it. The better option is to reload to suit your needs. Go to the reloading forum here and read up.
I have been kicking around the possibility of reloading. I need to read up more on this, I read and looked around for 3 months before I found the gun I wanted so it might take me a little while to get going on that!

Joined the NSCA and entered in my first registered shoot this Saturday, looking forward to putting more rounds through the gun.
 

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I have a blackout with the kick off and I like it a lot. You notice the kickoff works best with hotter loads like Nitro sporting and super handicaps.
I bought the blackout just for 3 bird shoots but i find myself using it for all the sporting clay shoots now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A little update after putting the first 1000 rounds through the gun. Have shot mostly 1 oz and 1 1/8 oz loads, whatever I can get the cheapest at Walmart. No failure to ejects, no jams. I give it a good wipe down after every trip a quick spray of oil right before I shoot. Shot 2 boxes of 7/8 oz loads, no problems at all but to be honest I can't tell the difference between 7/8-1 1/8 when I'm shooting, I don't pay attention to it. Not boasting, I think I'm just too much of a novice to accurately assess that.

As a knock on the gun, the carbon fiber vent rib on top of the barrel has a slight rattle to it now, it was definitely tight when I bought it. I am debating calling beretta and seeing if there is a local person that can service that, I would hate to go through all the hassle of sending the gun in for weeks to fix something that small but I also feel that at this price point it shouldn't be doing that after this many rounds. Going to contact them soon and see how to proceed.
 

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You're not the first to have this issue.
https://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=455646

JLW said:
As a knock on the gun, the carbon fiber vent rib on top of the barrel has a slight rattle to it now, it was definitely tight when I bought it. I am debating calling beretta and seeing if there is a local person that can service that, I would hate to go through all the hassle of sending the gun in for weeks to fix something that small but I also feel that at this price point it shouldn't be doing that after this many rounds. Going to contact them soon and see how to proceed.
 

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Nice review!

I'm also kinda off-put by the smurf gun look and don't care if that is Beretta's "color." That led me to the Black Edition.

My issue is that I am fortunate enough to buy at a discount but there is not a single distributor around that has one. Which means that the price gap between the smurf and the black just widened. SO now I'm stuck with order it at MSRP and have it shipped or cerakote the blue away.

~ Rico
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
jjkGURU said:
Have you seen the A400 upland? It's wood with KO, but I'd like to see one in person & shoot - the pics look nice!

My duck/goose/turkey gun is A400 Xtreme ;)
I have only seen this gun in pictures online, I couldn't find one anywhere close to me that I could see and hold in person. If I were a wing shooter and trusted myself to carry a gun through the woods and not beat it up (I don't) I would have bought one in a heartbeat. For the target application I am using it for now, I thought the Xcel sporting had a few more features that I could grow into as my skill level improved.

The upland is a really nice looking gun though, I would still consider adding one in the future.
 
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