Beretta A400 Xplor Unico
Beretta A400 Xplor Unico Semi Automatic Shotgun w/ KickOff, 12 Gauge, 30" Barrel, (2 ?" Chamber, J40UY10
Part Numbers: J40UY10, j40uy10
UPC: 082442113661, 82442113661
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By Gary Girvan
The Next Generation of Beretta Autoloaders
With two very successful gas-operated autoloading shotguns already in their catalogue, youd hardly think that Beretta would need another new model. Since its introduction in 2000, the various models of the AL391 have proved to be very popular in the eld and on the range. Chambered for 3 inch cartridges, the 391s versatility and ne handling qualities have ensured its success. First introduced in 2003, its bigger cousin, the 3 in-chambered Xtrema, has become the ultimate gun for the serious waterfowler. Weighing in at 3.72kg (8.2lb), its a big, heavy gun. The Xtremas weight helps soften the punishing recoil generated by supermagnum loads, but the gun is not designed to cycle light target loads.
Beretta A400 Xplor Unico Autoloading Shotgun
ach of these ne shotguns, in its own way, has set the bench mark for gas-powered autoloaders. But Berettas designers have not been resting on their laurels. Their next generation of semis, the A400 series, is intended to combine the best features of both of its predecessors and to add some further renements of its own.
A400 Xplor Unico
The rst version of this new A400 family is a wood-stocked model. Its Xplor and Unico labels need some explanation. Xplor designates this as a eld gun for which camouage and synthetic stocks will no doubt become available soon. Versions designed specically for clay target shooting will be given a different designation, yet to be announced. Unico, (Italian for unique), describes the A400s versatility. Currently, it is the only autoloader designed to function reliably with shells ranging in length from 2 3/4in to 3 1/2in and with payloads as diverse
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Above: The A400s trigger group is a new design. Top: The A400 will cycle as fast as you can pull the trigger. Here, two empties in the air, the third about to be ejected.
as 24 to 63 grams (7/8oz 2 1/4oz) without any adjustment being necessary. A unique versatility indeed! As supplied, the Xplor is tted with a magazine plug that limits its capacity. Once this is removed, the gun becomes a 4-shot (3 in the magazine, 1 in the chamber) with 2 and 3 inch shells, and a 3-shot with the super-magnum 3 s providing plenty of repower for the eld shooter.
The Xplor demonstrates that Italian air for design. Its a very smart-looking shotgun with attractively slim lines, modern and stylish without going over the top. It is stocked in a medium grade walnut but the grain and the guring have been enhanced by a dyeing process and then given a durable oil nish. The effect is a very attractive one. The latest laser-cutting technology enables designers to indulge their imaginations when designing chequering patterns. The Xplor has conventional chequering, cut at 24 lines per inch, on the pistol grip, but the pattern on the elegant, slender fore-end wraps completely around the underside of the
Above: Fancy laser-cut chequering on the fore-end. Top: Recoil is tamed by Berettas Kick-Off plus the Micro-Core recoil pad.
fore-end and incorporates the Beretta three-arrow logo. Even the gas exhaust ange at the front of the fore-end has been redesigned to t in with its slim prole. The gun comes with a set of shims which enables adjustments to be made to stock drop and to cast. Despite having to accommodate 3 shells, the Xplors alloy receiver is signicantly smaller than that of the 3 Xtrema2 and only marginally longer than that of the 391. It has been nished in an attractive matt grey-green colour which is very practical for a eld gun. The trigger guard, in a black, heavy-duty polymer, has been stylishly shaped and is big enough to accommodate a gloved
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nger. Even the safety button has been redesigned. It is now a triangular shape, bigger than those of its predecessors and more convenient to use.
The Xplor uses a similar system to that used so successfully in the Xtrema2. It has a breech bolt with a Benelli-style rotating head. The bolt is connected to two operating rods and the whole assembly, bolt and rods, is mounted on a polymer cylinder which ts over the magazine tube. This cylinder also encloses the mainspring which also wraps around the magazine tube making the spring easily accessible for routine maintenance a great improvement over its butt-stock location in the 391 series. I like the system that locks the bolt handle into place. It
Above: The Xplors light, fast handling makes it ideal for use from a layout blind. Left: The rotating bolt and return spring assembly. Below Left: The receiver sports a matt grey-green nish. Note the new shape of the safety button.
and target ammunition, but we didnt clean the mechanism at all during the test. Our photographs of the gas system were taken at the end of the testing and show just how clean the gas action remained. This is not to encourage sloppy habits. With a gas powered auto, the best way to ensure reliable performance is to give it a thorough clean after every use. This operating system results in a very fast-cycling action. In an impressive display of speed, our testre gun cycled shells and spat out the empties as fast as we could pull the trigger.
Optima-Bore HP Barrel
The Xplor demonstrates that Italian flair for design.
eliminates any chance of the handle ying out during ring and rendering the auto useless. Its not an uncommon event. Some hunters who have had that frustrating experience have taken to carrying spare bolt handles with them in the eld. Since the introduction of the 391, Berettas gas system has shown a constant evolution with each new model. Each has retained the usual gas chamber mounted under the barrel with its spring-loaded self-regulating gas valve in front of it. What has changed, is the design of the piston. The A400 has a small, sharply-waisted piston which features an expanding washer around its neck. This washer has a serrated edge so that when it expands, it acts as a gas seal and also scrapes carbon and powder residue from the inside of the gas cylinder. Berettas publicity claims that during their testing of the A400, they red 10,000 rounds through the gun without cleaning the gas system and had no malfunctions! Our testing couldnt match that number of shots. We red only about 300 rounds of eld
48 ROD & RIFLE
Beretta are well-known for the quality of their barrels and the Xplor was no exception to this. Designed to cope with steel shot, its 28in chrome-bored barrel was lightweight yet very robust and featured Berettas Optima-Bore HP internal prole. This incorporates a very long forcing cone with a moderate degree of over-boring - 18.6mm (0.732) designed to enhance pattern performance and, to a degree, to reduce recoil. I was surprised to nd that it came with only three choke tubes: Cylinder, Modied, and Full. For a gun costing the thick end of $4000.00, you could expect to be provided with a full set of ve tubes, however, the Imp-cyl and Imp-mod tubes are available as extras.
Shooters familiar with convenience of the magazine cut-off and the easy unloading system of the 391 and Xtrema will be pleased to see that the Xplor comes equipped with both these features. As well, this gun is packaged in a newly-designed ABS carry case which bears the Beretta logo.
Light Weight vs Recoil
When every one of our testre shooters rst handled the Xplor, their initial comment invariably was about the guns lightness. It weighs only 3.2kg just a shade over 7lb and is, in fact, signicantly lighter than a 28in-barrelled AL391 which typically weighs around 3.4kg. This light weight makes for a lively, fast-handling shotgun, but it does raise fears about the pain factor generated by the recoil of magnum and supermagnum shotshells. To counter this, the Xplor incorporates three features. It is
tted with Berettas recoil-taming Kick-Off device as tted on the Xtrema2. This system consists of two oil-damped cylinders which compress under recoil to spread and ease the effects of recoil. To complement the Kick-Off, a new, third hydraulic cylinder has been incorporated into the butt-stock. Its function is to absorb the impact of the bolt against the back of the receiver as it reaches the end of its travel. Finally, Beretta have designed a completely new recoil pad which they call MicroCore. Constructed from an open-cell technopolymer foam, this soft pad performs its cushioning job very effectively. Pads of different thicknesses are available so that the length of pull can be adjusted to suit. Our testre would determine how effective these recoilreducing features were.
We were able to give the Xplor a good workout in the eld and on the range. It proved to be a very pleasant gun to shoot. Its light weight made it a very fast-pointing and responsive shotgun. When using high speed steel loads Federal 1 1/4oz in the 3 inch case, recoil was perfectly manageable. Berettas recoil management system performed admirably. As expected, recoil was more pronounced when using 3 1/2in loads in this case, Federals high velocity load of 1 3/8oz of Tungsteniron and steel. The recoil was felt not so much a sharp, painful punch, but as a giant push against the shoulder which made the muzzle ip difcult to control for subsequent shots. It was an impressive performance from a gun as light as this. As promised, the gun performed awlessly with target loads as light as 24 grams, and the guns handling proved to be ideal for skeet and for ve-stand clay target shooting. When youre shooting big steel pellets such as US#2s, its difcult to get consistently satifactory patterns. However, our pattern testing at 40 yards using the Modied choke and Federal ammunition showed that Berettas Optima-Bore HP produced consistently well-distributed Full choke patterns which averaged around 78%.
Specications Make & model Type Gauge Barrel
Above: Evolution of Berettas pistons: (l. to r.): 391, A400, Xtrema2. Top: The gas-operated system will handle all these loads reliably.
Retailing at $3999.00, the Xplor is an expensive autoloader, but you are getting a lot of gun for the money. It is a very attractively presented shotgun which has been manufactured to the highest standards. Its versatility, reliability, and ne handling will endear it to all eld shooters except, perhaps, to those who might need to use 3 inch ammunition more extensively than most. For a dedicated Canada goose hunter, the Xtrema might still be the preferred option. But certainly, with the introduction of the A400, Beretta have again raised the bar for their competitors in the gas-operated autoloader market.
Beretta Xplor Unico with Kick-Off Gas-operated autoloading shotgun 12 gauge Length: 71 cm (28 in). Chambered for 89mm (3.5in) cartridges Optima Bore HP interchangeable choke tubes Bore: 18.6mm ( 0.732) Chromed bore 6mm ventilated. Single sighting bead. Grey-green anodized aluminium alloy Cross-bolt with triangular button at front of trigger guard 3+1 in chamber Material: walnut with Xtra-wood and oil nish Laser-cut chequering at 24 lines per inch. Style: pistol grip stock with slim fore-end Dimensions: Length of pull: 362mm ( 14 1/4in) Drop at heel: adjustable 50-65mm Cast: adjustable for l. or r. hand with shim kit Recoil pad: Kick-Off with 16mm recoil pad 3.20kg (7.0lb) Fitted ABS case 3 choke tubes: Cyl, Mod, Full, plus wrench Sling swivels, oil, handbook. $3999.00 Beretta New Zealand. www.berettanewzealand.com
Rib Receiver Safety Magazine capacity Stock
Typical pattern with high velocity steel.
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A400 Xplor Unico Product Specifications
Gauge Chamber Functioning System Locking System Receiver Finishing \ Engraving 12 Unico (2 + 3 + 3 ) Semiautomatic shotgun featuring the new Beretta gas system BLink Rotating bolt with reinforced lugs New aluminum-alloy receiver New colored anodizing process Technical engraving with scratches and logo Barrel Optima-Bore HP featuring the exclusive Steelium technology (specific Beretta Ni/Cr/Mo steel, deep hole drilling, cold hammering and vacuum distension) Barrel length Chokes Rib Trigger Trigger Guard Safety Front Sight Wood Stock 26 - 28 - 30 Optima-Choke HP (High Performance) 6x6 ventilated rib Chrome plated Trigger guard with Xplor logo Reversible safety button with new ergonomics for better grip Metal bead New X-Tra Grain technology with oil finishing Pistol grip stock, stock drop 35/55 mm (with adjusting drop spacers), new fore-end with frontal polymer insert, available also in Kick-Off configuration Stock Length Recoil Pad Checkering Accessories 14,5 (14,25 with Kick-Off) with 0,75 pad New Micro-Core pad New checkering with Beretta logo New dedicated case with stock drop spacers, quick detachable swivels and 3 chokes with wrench Weight 6,6 Lbs / 3 Kg (with 28" barrel)
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