Beretta 20 Ga Auto

Dear Bruce,

Based somewhat on your recommendations I purchased an almost new Beretta A-303 in 20 gauge for my neophyte skeet/quail hunting habit (ok its not a 390, but it didn’t cost 650 skins either). At the range it wouldn’t cycle Rem Premier target loads worth a hoot. I’m using light amounts of CLP, as per SOP. Anything else I can do to loosen it up??? I Did get two quail with it first day out, and it cycled the Federal High Velocity shells without flaw.

Dear Dave,

If you paid the slightest attention to what I have written (no one else does either, so that takes the pressure off you), you would have noticed that I recommended the AL-390 in 20 gauge as opposed to the 303 in 20 gauge because the 390 finally got 20 gauge porting right and can handle all strengths of shells. I went on to say that the big problem with most of the 303 20s, especially those with the 3″ chambered barrels, was that the gas ports were too small to permit American 20 gauge target loads to function. This is the reason that so many of the 303 20s are for sale at bargain prices. This “too small gas ports” was also a problem in the earlier 12 gauge Beretta autos with 3″ barrels.

The solution is simple. Just enlarge the gas ports. I don’t know what the gas port dimensions on the 20 are as I have never had one, but Rich Cole Gunsmithing in Harpswell, ME at 207-833-5027 should know all about this and also be able to do the work for you. Please give him my best. On my older 3″ 12 gauge Beretta bbls, I would just get the proper size LONG shank drill bit from Brownell’s, keep the speed up as it cut through the chrome, and zip them out to the right size. The 12 gauge guns worked perfectly with light loads and heavy ones after that. It ought to be the same with the 20.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the 303 20 that correcting the gas ports won’t cure. It’s a good gun. But that’s why you got such a good price on it.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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