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Beretta A400 Xcel Multitarget

Beretta A400 Xcel Multitarget

Since getting a Beretta AL391 at the age of 18, I have never really looked back. It still shoots just as well as the day I bought it and that is probably why I have never replaced it! Also, the fact that the drop and cast can be adjusted, means that I have been able to adapt the gun to my body as the years go by. However, recently, I have been keen to see how Beretta’s semi-auto technology has moved on.

Always on the lookout for something different, I asked GMK for an A400 Xcel MultiTarget, as the B-FAST components make this gun interesting and possibly very adaptable. So, let’s take a look.

Blink & action

The USP for the A400 Xcel shotguns is Beretta’s gas-operated, Blink system. Comparing it to my AL391, they have changed the gas piston from a ribbed, loose-fitting part, to a new precision split ring design. By doing so, they have significantly improved efficiency in this area, which, no doubt, is the reason for the claim that the gun can deliver a follow-up shot ‘36% faster than any other semi-auto’.

The AL391 shows a sleeve that sits around the mag tube and this is moved by the gas piston when the shotgun is fired. The rearward energy is then transferred to the bolt via a single metal rod, thus cycling the action. A metal ‘tail’ at the rear of the bolt is pushed through the back of the receiver into the stock, which contains a sprung cylinder that absorbs the recoil and returns the bolt forwards, picking up the next cartridge on the way.

With the A400 Xcel, however, Beretta has completely changed this around. Not only is the bolt a rotating, two-lug design, but it’s attached via two connecting rods to a guide tube that contains a recoil spring. As one large component, this slots over the magazine tube. So, along with a faster cycling speed, the other advantages included easier disassembly and less fouling entering the action. Nice!

Controls

The ‘white’ receiver is nickel-coated and features some decorative striations, along with a logo and some tasteful blue text. Except for the magazine cut-off on the left-hand side of the receiver, all of the controls have been enlarged. Most noticeable is the trumpet-style bolt handle that protrudes 1” from the action body, plus the 1.5” bolt release catch. These are designed for fast and effective manipulation. Just be wary of the latter, as it doesn’t require much force to depress it when handling the gun!

As well as the bolt-hold catch (located rear of the cartridge lifter), the cross-bolt safety also sees a bump in size. It sits in front of the polymer trigger guard and is easy to use. The silver trigger blade is 6mm wide and smooth.

That Rib!

The most striking feature of the MultiTarget is the 2-piece B-Fast adjustable rib. The first piece is a smooth ramp that is attached to the top of the receiver via a clamping system, which is secured via Allen bolts. The main rib is attached at two points, one at each end of the barrel. The ventilated rib tapers from 10-6mm, shows a knurled surface along its entire length and includes a small mid-bead as well as a more significant main bead at the muzzle.

Now, for those that don’t know, an adjustable rib is designed to allow the shooter to adjust the point of impact of their pattern. So, for example, if you want a higher percentage of your pellets to hit above the horizontal centreline on a pattern board, then you can adjust the rib accordingly, moving from 50/50%, all the way to 100/0%. This can be useful for certain clay disciplines (Trap or DTL) where a gun that shoots high is preferable. Alternatively, you can use the system to simply help you adapt the shotgun to your particular shooting style or requirements on any given day. Nice!

The front attachment point for the rib shows a knurled adjustment wheel, a small scale consisting of five notches and an indicator. This is designed to help the user navigate the adjustment range. Once you have loosened the bolt on the first rib attachment point, just adjust the rib height using the wheel - up to shoot lower and down to shoot higher.

With the gun mounted, I was presented with the two beads in a figure of eight formation, which is not my preference. I like to look along the rib, opposed to down onto it. However, I quickly adapted my shooting and was left seriously questioning my preferences!

The barrel and chokes

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Beretta’s barrels have an excellent reputation and the length options are 28” (on test), 30” and 32”. The cold hammer-forged tube is manufactured from ‘Steelium’, shows a 76mm/3” chamber and the bores are chromeplated to make cleaning easier and to minimise wear as well as corrosion.

Proofed for use with steel, the barrel features the company’s Optima- Choke HP (OCHP) system, which was designed from the outset to withstand significant use with heavy non-toxic loads, like steel. The test gun arrived with three extended chokes (Cylinder, Improved-Cylinder and Improved- Modified). The 3.5” chokes can be swapped over by hand and the design means that they shouldn’t get stuck/ stiff, even after a lot of shooting.

Furniture

Beretta has selected grade 2.5+ walnut furniture with a BTS oil finish for this shotgun and I have to say, I think it looks really smart. Effective panels of chequering can be found on the pistol grip, along with a stylish panel on the forend, which favours the underside. The Montecarlo B-Fast stock looks very swish and the darkness of the wood increases as you get closer to the 0.5” thick Microcore recoil pad. The length of pull measured 14.5” and I am sure this can be increased with spacers if necessary.

The B-Fast spec means an adjustable comb, which is a quality component. Simply loosen two Allen bolts with the tool provided and lift off the cheekpiece. This exposes a perfectly fitted metal insert that shows two vertical pillars. The user can add/remove washers to adjust the height and angle of the cheekpiece and can then adjust its position laterally to suit. I love adjustability in rifles and shotguns, so I enjoyed tweaking this a lot.

The forend measures 13” in length and shows a polymer, vented tip. This is where you will find the B-Fast balance system. Essentially, the knurled end cap that secures the forend to the gun can accept weight-wads to alter the balance of the gun depending on the user’s preferences. Excellent!

Although the test gun did not come with one, the MultiTarget is also available with Beretta’s Kick-Off recoil reduction system at an extra cost. I found felt recoil was pretty much nonexistent without one, so I am looking forward to testing a gun fitted with it to see what it brings to the party!

Glorious

I decided to see if the MultiTarget lived up to its name by tackling some sporting clays. So, with that in mind, I adjusted the rib to the top of the scale to bring the pattern down to as close to a 50/50 setting as possible. I also adjusted the comb to get it the way I wanted it and fitted the IC choke to give me a bit more margin for error as I got used to the gun.

After loading and shooting the gun for the first time, it immediately felt like an old friend, and although seeming quite large and imposing, the extra weight (albeit minimal) of the B-Fast rib didn’t negatively affect the handling. Different? Yes. But I quickly adapted and its characteristics soon started growing on me.

I worked my way through rabbits, teal targets, L/R crossers, incomers, high birds etc. and after I got used to the view down the rib, this A400 made short work of all of them. Unsurprisingly, due to its design/configuration, it was particularly effective at goingaway targets, while crossers seemed a little more challenging for me.

Function wise, ejection was ‘energetic’ and the cycling speed was certainly an improvement over my AL391. I was using Gamebore Velocity+ cartridges (28-gram / #8 / Fibre) and the firing cycle was smooth as well as refined – I wouldn’t expect anything else from Beretta! I used 200 cartridges in one session without a single hitch and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Conclusion

Overall, I can’t help but get a bit excited by this gun. It suits me down to a tee! Not only does it cycle faster but it’s significantly easier to disassemble and clean, with far less fouling finding its way into the action. The adjustability is a huge bonus and the fact that you can tailor it to a wide variety of tasks/disciplines by adjusting the rib is a huge bonus. Personally, I found the different view down the rib and the adapted shooting style I took on while using the gun, a pleasant and enjoyable surprise.

I will sign off by suggesting that everybody should at least try an A400 Xcel in whatever guise they can get their hands on. They are great!

  • Beretta A400 Xcel Multitarget - image {image:count}

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  • Beretta A400 Xcel Multitarget - image {image:count}

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  • Beretta A400 Xcel Multitarget - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Beretta A400 Xcel Multitarget - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Beretta A400 Xcel Multitarget - image {image:count}

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gun
features

  • Name: Beretta A400 Xcel MultiTarget
  • Type: Semi-Auto, Gas Operated
  • Calibre: 12-gauge only
  • Weight: 3.5kg
  • Price: From £2500 (SRP)
  • Contact: GMK Ltd - www.gmk.co.uk

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