Gas Gun Maintenance


Dear Master of Lead Scatter:

I have a 12 gauge Beretta A390 ST Sporting Clays shotgun that I purchased in 1995. I’ve pumped about 38,000 rounds of Winchester AAs through it with no trouble except for a loose trigger pin.

Would you be so kind and give me your recommended “spare parts kit” list for the A390?

I know you recommend a fresh recoil spring once in a while, but I’ve forgotten the rest of the stuff on the shotgun that needs TLC.

Because Beretta has a penchant for changing their guns like I change socks, I figured I should “stock up” on spares that may not be available in the next couple of years. And, if the parts are prone to break, maybe my shotgun’s running on borrowed time.

Thanks for humoring me,

Russ

Dear Russ,

“The best set of spare parts for a gas gun is another gas gun.” The Technoid. or “Gas guns are like sheep. They know when they are alone and they don’t like it.” also The Technoid.

Have these timeless aphorisms engraved on a brass plaque and post them somewhere conspicuous.

I’m approaching 70K through my current 303, 0 k through my backup 303 plus about 40K through a B-80 (same as 302) that I sold last year. Other than prophylactic replacement of the mainspring about every 10K, in all that time I broke two links, two hammer struts, one bolt, one shell lifter and one trigger group pin. The latter three all went at the same time when I was testing 1585 fps 1-1/8 oz loads of the new Longshot powder.

I use my backup gun as a spare parts cadaver. When something breaks on my working gun, I pull a fresh part from the backup. When the replacement part comes in, I stick it in the backup and I’m ready to go again. That’s probably excessively anal retentive, but there it is. If I were more sensible, I’d just lay in a new link, a pair of hammer struts and one or two spare main springs. Short of a nuclear accident, that ought to do you. The new links are specially hardened and are supposed to last longer. I’ve not broken any yet. You can get them from Rich Cole or Joel Etchen or occasionally even from Beretta USA themselves.

A broken link shouldn’t take you by surprise. When you clean the gun, pull out the bolt carrier assembly with the link attached. Inspect the head of the link just where the two legs join together about 1/2″ behind the cross pin that holds it to the bolt carrier. One leg will break before the other. The link usually works fine with one leg broken, but you know that it is time to replace. There is no way to tell when a hammer strut is about to go. Like the links, the new hardened struts are supposed to last longer.

The new 391 Urikas come with the new hardened links and struts. I don’t know what breaks on the 391s yet, but you can be sure that when one thing gets fixed, something else crops up. That’s the way of the gas gun world.

The Beretta gas guns really are superior when you compare them to what we used to go through to keep Remington 1100s running. Everyone who shot the 1100s carried around little parts boxes and tool kits. Right around 35,000 rounds the guns would really start to eat stuff. A lot of guys who were serious shooters just replaced their 1100 every year and started all over again. Nice handling guns though.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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2 Responses to Gas Gun Maintenance

  1. I redacted that line. The store was long ago and far away…… We no longer do it.

  2. Bob Howard says:

    You mention a store at the following link: http://www.shotgunreport.com store and I can’t seem find a store on that link. What is the correct link for your store ?

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