Beretta AL391 Teknys Gold Field
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- Last updated: 13/06/2022
I am a huge fan of semi-auto shotguns, particularly the ones from the Beretta stable, but with the prices of new ones steadily increasing all the time, not everybody can afford a brandnew gun. So, for those of us looking to spend less, we can either buy new from one of the many Turkish brands, or look to the second-hand rack for something from Italy.
One very special semi-auto that can be picked up for around £700- 900, depending on condition, is the Beretta AL391 Teknys Gold. It is a particularly appealing shotgun because it has a reputation for being extremely capable and very reliable. Another bonus is that it’s very easy on the eye and stands out from the crowd because of this. Although there is a sporting version available, the one I have here is the Field, which can easily be identified by the green enamel inserts located at the rear of the receiver on both sides. The Sporting variant is identified by blue inserts.
The alloy receiver on this particular gun originally came with a nickel finish but because of some heavy use out in the field over the years, I ended up getting it Cerekoted for maximum protection and longevity. However, it has still accumulated multiple battle scars since then!
In addition to the fancy furniture, Beretta boosted the appeal of the Teknys by incorporating a detailed pheasant scene on the right-hand side of the receiver and duck on the left. There are also some stylish striations incorporated into the metalwork and they combine well with the scenes, adding a sense of style to the overall appearance of the shotgun. It doesn’t stop there though, as the bolt and the shell lifter/carrier have been jewelled to a very high standard, which really helps to elevate this shotgun above others.
The bolt has very few moving parts, making it simple and effective, plus spares are still available. There is a firing pin with spring, a cocking handle, an extractor and a locking block on top. This all sits on top of a sledge that incorporates a metal ‘tail’ at the rear of the bolt, which 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.
The polymer ‘trigger plate’ is easily removed for cleaning, servicing and repairs. It incorporates the trigger guard, a premium goldplated blade, a reversible crossbolt safety catch and the shell lifter. The bolt hold-open button is located at the base of the lifter and there is a magazine cut-off catch located on the left-hand side of the receiver. The bolt handle is well-proportioned, being large enough to grab quickly and small enough that it doesn’t catch on foliage, camo netting etc.
The Teknys comes chambered for 3”/76mm cartridges and this gun shows a steel 28” chromeplated barrel. This length suits it nicely and the balance and manoeuvrability are a real selling point. It is worth mentioning that mine does not bear the fleur-de-lys proof mark for steel cartridges, which may be a significant factor depending on what you will be using the gun for.
Starting at the muzzle, the gun comes with 5x Mobilchoke screwin choke tubes that measure about 2” in length. They can be easily switched over with the quality choke key that’s supplied and the sizes are F (Full), IM (Improved Modified), M (Modified), IC (Improved Cylinder) and CL (Cylinder). Of course, with Beretta’s range of semi-autos being so popular, there are tonnes of aftermarket choke tubes available. Up top, there is a ventilated rib and a Truglo front sight that accepts different coloured elements depending on user preference.
The gun’s reputation for reliability centres around the gas system. There is a gas cylinder and an exhaust valve assembly mounted to the barrel, just below the barrel’s two gas vents/ ports, while the piston sits on a shaft at the tip of the mag tube and moves in and out of the valve. The system is designed to automatically expel any excess gas created by more powerful cartridges (so less recoil) and to self-clean. Recoil is certainly kept to a minimum and the system allows the use of 24 to 57-gram cartridges. Although described as self-cleaning, the gas cylinder certainly needs checking after every 500 cartridges or so, and is easily disassembled. Personally, I clean the gun and check the cylinder after each outing and as a result, I only experience 1 or 2 stoppages in every 250 cartridges (28-gram loads).
The Teknys Gold comes fitted with selected walnut furniture and shows Beretta’s X-Tra Wood finish. As you can see, it looks pretty good, with the light colour of the wood contrasting nicely against the darker panels of chequering. I like the shape and spacing between the panels on the 13” forend, which seem to continue on from the striations on the receiver.
The gun originally came fitted with a thinner ‘Gel-Tek’ butt pad, however, I soon swapped this out for a thicker, 1” pad, giving the gun a 14.75” length of pull. I also added a foam cheek pad, which is purely for a bit of extra comfort!
Within the hard case supplied with the shotgun, there are some stock drop and cast spacers. These allow you to easily alter the Beretta to your personal dimensions and are very easy to fit and use, so keep an eye out for them.
Overall, the AL391 is not only easy to use but an absolute pleasure to shoot. The gas system and recoil spring soak up basically all the recoil, delivering the remnants in a very smooth and comfortable manner, and it is this that helps identify the gun as a premium piece of kit. It is only after firing the last round that you get a slightly more significant nudge in the shoulder, indicating it’s empty and needs reloading (a particularly useful feature if you are in a pigeon hide!). The lack of weight up front means that the gun can be held in the high ready position, or in the aim for long periods of time without fatigue, which is ideal if you like to shoot a lot of clays/pigeons in one session. So, on that note, if you fancy a second-hand semi-auto then definitely check out one of these!