The Gun Doctor Is Not In


I don’t know alot about shotguns so I’m hoping you can help on a problem that I’m having with my Beretta AL391 Urika shotgun. Here’s the problem:

I fire a shot (3″ Mag 1 1/4 oz 4 shot steel) and then next shell doesn’t always make it all the way into the chamber. The breech bolt is left 1/2 way open. It seems like the breech bolt is catching on the metal guide thing on the bottom but that’s just my guess. If I take out all the shells and open the chamber and slowly let it close it will also hang 1/2 open. The problem occurs with different brands of shells.

Is this how these guns operate? The manual was of little help and customer service at Beretta told me I need to send in the gun which I don’t want to do unless I have to (it’s still pheasant hunting season in MN).

Here’s a little more background. This gun is about 2 years old and has had maybe 4 boxes of shells shot through it. I’ve completely disassembed it a couple times and cleaned everything that the manual said. Last week I fully cleaned everything again and the gun jammed after the first shot with the chamber left 1/2 open and the new shell 1/2 into the chamber. I didn’t have this problem until this year. The temps have been around 30 degrees if that may have anything to do with it.

Thanks for any help,


Dear Dave,

I’d love to help, but long range gun malady diagnosis over the internet isn’t one of my strong points. I get questions every day about inoperative guns and I always have to say the same thing- I’m not a gunsmith. Take it to a real gunsmith.

If a particular gun model has an inherent design flaw, then I’d be happy to pontificate on it until the cows come home. I will help you think up new bad names for the designer. But if a gun that normally works, like your most excellent 391, gets the hiccups, you’re much better off trotting it over to your local gunsmith and having him glance at it.

You are quite right in not wanting to send it in to Beretta service, or most other factory services. Sometimes they’re OK, but usually factory service reminds me of the last scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when the Ark of the Covenant gets stored in the endless gummint warehouse. I think some factory service departments work that way.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s all I can do to keep my own guns running when I have them in my possession and fuss with them. I’m utterly hopeless in telling you what is wrong with your gun when I can’t see it. I’d probably be hopeless if I were holding it in my hands too (though I would check the shell lifter for burrs and I would also pull and relube the mainspring).

So, adding to my original Ask The Technoid policy of NO OLD GUNS, I’ll have to add NO GUN REPAIRS. It’s for your own protection from my incompetence. Trust me on that. Why, according to my wife, I even have trouble properly managing my household chores to her satisfaction. Imagine that.

Best regards,

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

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1 Response to The Gun Doctor Is Not In

  1. jon bastable says:

    Bruce: Seems Dave isn’t the only shooter to have Berreta problems: if you Google his shotgun brand and model, several have posted issues with ejection.


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