My dear Technoid,
I recently bought a knocked about 1987 model Beretta 303 semi auto, 12g, which shoots fine. The plan was to ‘do it up’, I got it really cheap so can afford to spend a few pounds on it.
The stock was heavily marked, but it turns out that 90% of the marking was in the thick, hard to remove, factory applied finish. Now that is stripped away the woodwork is nearly pristine. The receiver is chipped and scratched so I plan to get that Cerakoted (is that a good idea?).
The real question.. are there any gothchas that I should be looking for on this gun, I will change the recoil spring and firing pin spring… anything else I should be looking out for?
I await the wisdom from on high.
I luuuuuve the Beretta 303! I still have one and it is my favorite of all the Beretta autos. It is so soft shooting, though it isn’t as versatile as the later autos which can handle 3″ shells. As you so wisely mentioned, it is well to keep a fresh mainspring in the gun so that it doesn’t beat itself to death and produce the “death crack” down the right side of the receiver, but that’s bout it. My B-80 Brownings are also basically the same action as the 302/3.
Other than the cosmetics on the wood and receiver finish, once you change the mainspring you will have done all that I do to my guns. I’m not saying that nothing else will ever break, but just about everything else can be easily replaced without permanent damage to the gun.
That said, my total experience with 303s is with only two guns, one of which was high mileage (nearly 80K). One of the B-80s I had was also high mileage. Both guns were running fine when I sold them. Different people have different luck with autos, so my experiences may not be yours. I do keep the gun well lubed with Break-Free CLP, keeping the piston wet with a couple of drops of it. Other lubes may also be good, but the Break-Free CLP was my favorite.
Shotgun Report’s Technoid