I also dislike the fake grain of the Xtra Wood; I’d prefer something plain but unenhanced. On the other hand, the Xtra wood finish is weather-resistant and dings and scratches don’t show up as white scars. It looks and feels much better than synthetic. It had been a long time since I hunted waterfowl with a wood-stock gun, and I enjoyed the feel of the checkering in my hands as I waited for the ducks to fly.
The A400 is the first 3 1/2-inch semi-automatic I would consider owning. I’ve never been interested in 3 1/2-inch autoloaders because in my mind the rare instances that call for 3 1/2-inch ammunition are outnumbered by the many occasions I would like to shoot super-light target loads out of my hunting gun for practice. While most 3 1/2-inch guns will cycle nothing lighter than 2 3/4-dram, 1 1/8-ounce target loads, the A400 handled everything from my soft 7/8-ounce reloads to the stiffest goose loads, all with minimal recoil and even less hassle when it finally became time to clean the gun.
Cutting edge technology comes at a price—in this case, $1,725 with the Kick Off system. I am old enough that I am still getting used to the idea of $1,000 semi-automatics, so $1,725 seems like a lot of money for a gun with only one barrel. For instance, for the price of one Xplor you could buy two of Beretta’s excellent 3901 synthetic-stocked “Citizen” semi-automatics. That said, here’s how I feel about the A400: My trusty 391, which I used to believe represented the ultimate in semi-automatic technology, now seems outdated. Rationally or not, I want to trade up for an A400.
Having already eaten my words about the 391 being so good there will never a 392, I am not going to say there will never be an A401. In fact, I’m sure Beretta will top the A400 someday. It will have to be quite a gun, though, because the A400 sets the bar very high.
Manufacturer: Fabbrica D’Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A., Brescia, Italy
Importer: Beretta USA Corp.; (800) 929-2901; www.berettausa.com
Gauge: 12, 3 ⁄2"
Action Type: Semi-automatic shotgun
Receiver: Green anodized Ergal aluminum
Barrels: Blued, cold-hammer-forged “Steelium;”26, 28" (tested) or 30"
Chokes: Interchangeable Optima Bore HP tubes; full, modified and improved cylinder
Trigger: Single-stage, 5 lbs., 8 ozs.
Stock: X-Tra Grain oil-finished walnut with Kick-Off 3: length of pull, 141⁄2"; drop at heel, 21⁄4"; drop at comb, 11⁄2"
Overall Length: 49" (with Kick Off)
Weight: 7 lbs.
Accessories: Plastic fitted case, stock pacer/shim kit, quick detachable sling swivel studs, three choke tubes, choke tube wrench
Suggested Retail Price: $1,725