Beretta AL390

Comment: hello my name is nick, i am just getting into duck hunting and and dove hunting as well. I just bought a Beretta AL390 from a friend of mine, the 1st question i have is that i paid $250 for it and it seems to be in good condition, no rust and just really dusty and a little dirty from not being cleaned or used in years, Im wondering if i got it at a fair price? Also i have been looking into different types of ammo for duck hunting i was wondering if the Federal Premium Black Cloud  3″ 1 1/4OZ #3 Steel Shot will be ok to shoot in this shotgun? Also they recommend using a Carlson’s Black Cloud Choke Tube is this ok to use with my shotgun as well? Im not sure what the difference between lead and steel shot does to a shotgun and when to use it and when not to. Any advice or help is much appreciated, thank you !

Dear Nick,

$250 for a Beretta 390 in decent shape is a very nice price indeed. You are fortunate. This is basically the same gun as the Beretta 3901 being sold in the big box stores. The 390 isn’t Beretta’s latest, but it was a darn good gun. The new Beretta 400 auto is $1,500 and up and your gun works just as well.

If you are going to use the gun for waterfowl, you will be using steel shot or some other non-toxic blend. No lead for waterfowl in the USA since 1991. Since you can get steel shells for about half the price of the tungsten matrix and bismuth alternatives, steel is very popular. And it does a good job within sane distances.

The 390 uses the Beretta “Mobilchokes”. There are two kinds: the standard Mobilchoke and the Mobilechoke SP.  Beretta does not recommend the standard Mobilechoke for steel shot. If the choke is marked “Mobilechoke SP”, then the Beretta manual says that it is OK for steel. The “SP” means “steel proof”. The Beretta 390 manual says that for best results use the modified SP choke with steel as the full choke doesn’t increase pattern density and may distort the pattern. It’s all in the 390 manual which you can read at if your gun didn’t come with one.

Which choke and steel shell combo is best? Darned if I know. #3 steel is about equivalent to #5 lead and that was the favorite duck pellet when lead was legal. It’s also for sure that the new steel shells are a whole lot better than the first steel loads of 20 years ago. Those first steel loads were cripplers and probably caused more duck losses than lead ever did.

Before you go out and buy new chokes, why not pattern test the ones that you have? Yes, I know that it means actually patterning a gun, but you will learn a lot. Make sure to pattern at the distance at which you think that you will be shooting your ducks. Will you use decoys or will you be pass shooting. The former can be 20 yard shots with open chokes. The latter could be 40 yards and require a tighter pattern. Your 390 should be fine with 3″ shells as it has a 3″ chamber.

All the best,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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2 Responses to Beretta AL390

  1. Ville says:

    Hi, i’m wondering is the AL 390 Lioness technically same gun like the AL 390 models or is there some differences between them? I’m going to buy that Lioness or one of those A400 series guns, but i dont really know which is best for me, i’m going to hunt and shoot some targets too with that gun. Is that Lioness only very nice lookin gun and limited edition or is it also good hunting gun? What you guys woud buy? And if some one know the year when those Liones models made I woud be pleased? Thx.


  2. D. Chinn says:

    IMHO you don’t need 3 inch ammo in a 12 ga. for duck hunting. And I would pass on steel shot; Hevi-Shot is the ticket for waterfowl hunting. You won’t be shooting near the amount of ammo waterfowl hunting as you will dove hunting so the cost issue is not a factor. Over decoys I would use an improved cylinder choke with Hevi-Shot #4’s for ducks. You must pattern you shotgun with whatever choke constriction you choose. Go to your local appliance dealer and get a few cardboard cartons appliances are shipped in (usually available for free). Once unfolded and staked onto the ground they make great patterning targets.


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