Beretta A400 Upland
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- Last updated: 23/03/2020
The A400 Upland is a combination of all of Beretta’s latest technologies moulded into one and designed to have that classic semi-automatic look but function at another level.
You have an alloy action design with rotating locking head and gas operated system coupled to a new Kick-off recoil arresting stock design to reduce felt recoil by up to 50%
The overall look is striking with its nickel finished action, laser engraving and enhanced walnut stock finish. Priced at £1725, the new Beretta is built to a high quality and is built to last so represents good value for money. It’s a gam gun really but because it is light weight and has very little recoil for a 12-gauge can be shot by most ages and for clays or game.
The nickel-washed alloy with rising quail and pheasant engraving to both sides is fine laser cut and looks like a good etching on a polished nickel flat background. It has the appearance of brushed aluminium or stainless, very classy. The borders to the action have a contrasting stippled finish with the usual model and maker designation engraved also to the sides.
The upper action top has the twin dove tail scope mounting positions with an 8mm recessed groove counter rib that leads the eye into the 6mm barrel rib very gently which is also aided by the soft swept back action profile at the rear.
The usual reversable cross bolt safety system with push right to fire and left for safe in this model from the nicely shaped triangular push button. You also have enough space for a gloved hand with the trigger guard slightly enlarged at the front edge and a smooth bright polished chromed finish trigger that broke at 5.15lbs with a little creep but of no consequent on a shotgun.
The magazine cut off control on the left of the action allows you to unload the chamber of a round without dumping cartridges from the magazine, a nice safe feature if you need it. The steel polished ventilated cartridge carrier is easily manipulated for loading new cartridges. There is also the customary small blued button to the of the right action face which is the bolt release after the last round is fired.
I really like the same polished blued bolt body with rotating head that locks the two large bolt locks into the stainless steel bolt carrier and rear of the barrel. The single large claw extractor to the right face of the bolt has a good gripping face for even shallow rimmed cases and the black anodised 0.75- inch grooved bolt handle is sufficient for bolt operation.
The 6mm rib has a single red dayglo rod element at muzzle, no mid sight but is fine for me, some like silver or brass beads this works for me. You also have nine 2.25-inch vents beneath the rib that characteristically get lower as at the muzzle end as the barrel has that upward stance. To this 30-inch barrel you have Optima HPO chokes which are a flush fit, you get three, but this test gun only had the ½ choke supplied which is no probs as that my preferred choke anyway.
Back bored slightly 18.6mm bores or Steelium material handle high pressures with ease and al Beretta`s barrels have a reputation for longevity and uniformity. Inside the short forcing cone, common to semi`s and a 3-inch chambering and proofed for steel shot too, so all manner of loads can be shot through the Upland.
The receiver bolt carrier part of the barrel is brightly polished with an inset ejector spur which can be removed. All the fit and finish is excellent with very few machine marks if any which is why even after the cartridge test this semi automatic looked remarkably clean.
The gas operated system is rated at 32-gram loads for the initial run in period. This is common to nearly all well-made semi-automatic shotguns. It allows the moving parts to synergise together to produce a smooth and reliable operating system I the future, see field test.
You have the usual ported barrel union beneath the barrel where the forend cap attaches that houses the piston and sprung forend pressure spring. On firing, this piston pushes back on a unified twin rail carrier system of steel rods with a polymer shroud to save weight and shed debris. There is no spring set int the stock to return the bolt to battery instead a sprung system inside the action achieves this very well. By all accounts, it’s a clean and self-cleaning mechanism, so build-up of unburnt powder or powder residue is kept to a minimum.
This is where it gets interesting as the Beretta A400 Upland uses the new Kick-Off system for the butt section that is designed to eliminate up to 50% of felt recoil. The wood used has Berettas enhanced wood tech finish that I had on my own Xplor light 28g.
This finish is very good looking and natural on the Upland further enhancing the overall look especially against that classy nickel finished receiver.
The forend is long at over 13-inches with a polymer cap where the securing cap locks and a set-in rotating sling swivel sits. Beneath that cap is the three chevron ventilated section to vent combustion gases. You also have a very generous near full length checkering to the underside and a slim checkered panel to both sides above this. The wood is very thin and therefore light so take care when you slot it into the action not to over tighten the locking cap.
The rear butt section has spacers between the pistol grip and action to adjust cast etc. to your tastes and recoil pads can be exchanged for thicker ones to increase length of pull if desired.
The overall walnut finish again is really nice with dark walnut colour and classic defined figuring. There is no palm swell but the pistol grip is generous with again good checkered panels for grip.
What immediately stands out is the Kick-off plus technology seamlessly blended into the stock at a couple of inches behind the pistol grip. At first, I thought: “What the?”, but your eye really does get used to it and it becomes part of the unique feature of this Upland model.
The black polymer/rubber section is semi concertina formed so that on firing the stock slightly compresses at this union and thus reduces felt recoil of up to 50%.
On the box it states use only 32-gram loads for the run-in period. Sound advice, so we did. Jake shot a few boxes of Hull High Pheasants through the Upland to run her in, as with all semis a very good idea. We then worked up and down in load weight to check for reliability. We shot magnum Remington 3-inch loads, steel shot loads and then progressively lighter loads from 34- to 32- then 2-8 and at 24-grams. We had a few not quite recycling, but only on the 24-gram fibre wadded cartridges, the plastic wad 24- gram loads were fine. So, in reality all the major brands and normal 28- to 32-gram loads that you would shoot will be fine.
As with my old Xplor light 28-gauge the Upland as its name implies is a sweet shooting lightweight gun for brush and woodland type walked up shooting. It`s very light and even with the 30-inch barrels balanced very well, I prefer 28-inches but I had no problems with this longer 30-incher. Recoil was noticeably soft; semis shoot soft anyway, but that Kick-off design takes the snap out of any recoil for a controlled movement away from the face. It makes it very easy to shoot and certainly allows a heads-down and second shot still looking down the rib at a second target or one you missed!
We took the Upland out for a bit of a `walked up see what appears` evening loaded with Hulls High Pheasant Extreme cartridges loaded with 34-grams of No 4 shot. Great cartridge and worked superbly in the A400 action and Jake soon had a couple of flushed pheasants in the bag from the fast handling and highly pointable Upland.
Wish I hadn`t sold my Xplor 28g now! we both enjoyed shooting the Upland, as it was easy to shoot with no gimmicks, just good looks, reliable action and superb barrels. It functioned with all but the lightest fibre waded loads and is good as an all-round game or casual clay gun, and at £1725 represents a good value semi-automatic gun.