390 Misfires

Dear Technoid:

I have a 390 Beretta Superskeet that will snap on about 3 shells in 100. The hammer falls and the primer is very lightly indented but no bang. I have tried replacing the mainspring, firing pin, shooting wet with Break Free, polishing all the rough surfaces inside the gun and everything else I know to do to no avail.

The gun has been backbored and long forcing cones by Ballistic Specialties and I am a little reluctant to send it back to Beretta. The gun does this with new shells or reloads. I use the gun in competition and have come to the point that I need to somehow get this corrected.

Do you have any idea on things that I should check or someone to send it to. Your help will be greatly appreciated!


Dear John,

Intermittant misfires are just about as troubling and hard to fix as intermittent electrical failures on a car. The 390 is NOT known for having this trouble, so it shouldn’t be impossible to fix.

I have no idea what Ballistic Specialties has done to your gun (though I do know what they have done to your wallet). Still, I doubt that they messed with the rim cut or altered head space in anyway. I don’t know if they have fooled with anything else which might have caused the problem. You just never know. Since you have done all the obvious stuff and have been smart enough to try shells with different primers (primer depth does vary with manufacturers), I think that the only thing left to do is to “borrow” parts.

Here’s what I mean. Since there are a ton of 390s floating around, why not just swap your bolt for the one in a friend’s gun for a day’s shooting. You use his, he uses yours. See if that shows anything. Also try swapping the trigger groups, but don’t do it at the same time as the bolts. Piece by piece, swap everything you can think of. Your buddy shouldn’t mind as you will give him back his own parts once you have identified the problem.

I use Rich Cole at <www.colegun.com> for all my Beretta stuff. He gets Beretta parts when Beretta can’t. He’s a good gunsmith and really knows these guns inside and out. If you end up deciding to send it out, I’d give him a try.

Like you, I also prefer gas guns for competition. I also like the Berettas, but I don’t like them modified other than having Timney do the triggers and replacing the link and struts with hardened pieces. Other than that I leave them alone. One thing that I do make a habit of is always buying my competition gas guns two at a time. That way, I have a spare gun just in case. It would come in handy in your situation. Gas guns are like sheep. They know when they are alone and they don’t like it.

Best regards,

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

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