Beretta A300 Outlander
- 2 Comments
- Last updated: 22/05/2018
I have always liked the Beretta range of semi-auto shotguns, as they have a workmanlike quality that gives reliability, yet still manage to have a good aesthetic appeal too. The A300 is a progression of that lineage that culminates in a shotgun with great credentials and performance to boot.
The Outlander model is designed to be a cost-effective version that will lend itself not only to rough shooting but pigeon decoying and wildfowling. Its tough synthetic stock and price point of £1000 makes it good value for a Beretta; especially so as this Beretta is a genuine Beretta, with Beretta parts made in Italy. You have a choice of 26-, 28- or 30-inch barrels and at present only 12-gauge is available but all barrels are HPS, so steel proofed and multi choked.
I had the 28-inch barrelled version and from first impressions it was going to be a good gun test.
The Outlander has a good overall feel to it, not too heavy, not too light and well-balanced with the supporting hand just in front of the mag loader that increase in length as the cartridges are loaded in.
At 3.25kg you can heft this around all day and its gas system will also reduce the recoil felt still more, yet the barrel length and balance allows a good progressive swing.
The stocks have a good textured finish in black, more charcoal really and so have a nice feel to them for grip, which is further aided by the chequering; this is moulded in to the two stock halves for both forend and rear butt section. It’s quite narrow and long on the pistol grip but with a good ‘edge’ to grip. There is quite a bit of cast off and with standard comb height and feels comfortable to me, even with a short 13.75-inch length of pull.
The recoil pad is excellent; large, soft and really grippy, yet allows a fast mounting to the shoulder. You also have a moulded in sling swivel stud that is good idea, as a sling fitted to carry the A300 to a pigeon or duck hide allows you to carry your decoys.
The forend is more comprehensive at 12-inches long, with Outlander embossed to both sides at the front. There are shallow finger grooves to both side at the top and a full covering of chequering, with panels to the side and underneath.
The barrels are marked ‘Alloyer CR.MO. quenched high tensile steel’ and are Beretta’s famous alloy mix of steel that gives a hard-wearing finish and structure for longevity. You a have a choice of 26-, 28- and 30-inch barrels, which makes sense to me, as I’m increasing drawn towards the shorter barrels for woodland use. This Outlander wears the 28-inchers, which are the all rounders but all are multi choked and supplied with alternate chokes for any range or game species.
The rib is 7mm in width and has a plain, non-serrated finish and a single bead at the muzzle end with nine vents beneath to allow sufficient cooling of the sight picture from a heated barrel.
The chambers are 3-inches, so good for all loads and are HPS tested, so steel shot is no problem, doubling the usefulness of the A300 semi.
The barrel is ported with three holes, as this is a gas operated system, and so allows the pressure from the expanding powder gases to force a floating metal seal onto a metal piston, to drive the action bars rearward to cycle the action. This system is easy to clean and can handle a good variety of cartridges and load weights and still achieve good reliable functioning.
The action is a machined alloy body, finished in anodised black with blue/black side anodised panels. That characteristic Beretta rounded rear section is instantly recognisable at 8-inches long and it has scope dovetails cut into the top section. I like these, as I do use red dots and scopes for slug or buckshot use and are handy to have even if you do not use them. The bolt is polished and blacked, which so much more sensible in a hunting arm compared to some other semis that have bright polished steel?
There is a single claw extractor and an insert ejection spur set into the wall of the action and is removable by a rolled retaining pin. The bolt does not have a rotating head section but does have a good length serrated bolt handle for easy grip and positive loading. There is a single bolt release button to the right side and cartridges are loaded via the polished steel ramp. There is also a nice mag block button at the base of the load ramp, that when pushed in, locks the follower and thus blocks the mag for a safe and speedy unload.
Finally, the trigger is a smooth silver finish with an average weight of 4.5lbs and drops out of the action as a a single unit, like many semis, for easy cleaning. There is a generously-sized trigger guard and the safety is a large push button affair in the trigger guard that when operated left is in the FIRE position and right is SAFE. (It only operates when the action is cocked).
I fitted the half choke to the A300 and shot some pattern boards at 30-yards to judge load density, spread and point of aim.
Gamebore Clear Pigeon is a great all-round performer and one that, as its name suggests, is aimed at the pigeon decoying fraternity. The 70mm 30-gram load of No. 6 shot gives a good blend of weight and dense patterns. I had a total of 198 pellets total on the boards with 60 in the inner sector of 15-inches and the remaining 138 evenly spread on the 30-inches. I had perfect function from the Outlander. with positive ejection and smooth controlled recoil for an easy sighted second shot.
Eley Grand Prix HV is an old name to many but it’s still a goody in my book. It uses a useful 32grams of No. 6 shot with a fibre wad, so good for game or vermin and that extra velocity can help stop an otherwise pricked bird with its extra energy. I had a dense pattern of 243 total pellet strikes, distributed as 97 inner strikes with no holes for a bird to sneak through and the remaining 146 pellets around the outer sectors. Again, very good function and light recoil despite the heavier load.
Finally, Lyalvale Express and the Pigeon Special, which has a lighter 29-grams of No. 6 shot in a 2.5-inch case it still functioned flawlessly with a gentle push on recoil, so three in a row was no problems, handy for decoying or roosting pigeons or ducks. A total of 165 pellets with 110 outer strikes and 55 pellets within 15-inch inner circle.
Difficult to find a fault with this one. A good price point, coupled to good looks and features. Light recoiling with a reliable action and really good consistent patterns with a variety of cartridges and shot weights. It’s one of those semis that feels good and competent to use and with that synthetic stock and mainly anodised finish you are focussed on hunting/ shooting and not scratching it.
A good all-rounder that I am sure will be found in many a pigeon hide or duck blind.