Launched a few months ago, the Beretta 1301 is quickly establishing itself as a choice selection for semi-automatic shotgun competitions.
Aptly named the Beretta 1301 Competition, the shotgun comes out of the box set up for run-and-gunners with a slew of features not common to most factory shotguns. And while some competitors may find a thing or two here and there to tweak, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole lot to like about this shotgun.
Unlike many semi-automatic shotguns, the 1301 comes with a very large, beveled loading port designed to suck up ammo fast and an enlarged ejection port to get spent shells out of there without complication.
Likewise the charging handle is oversized and textured to make the action extremely easy to cycle manually, as is the bolt release and safety.
The shotgun also has upgraded sights, with a fiber-optic front sight and mid-bead sight on its raised, steeped rib. The receiver is also drilled and tapped for shooters who run their shotguns with optics.
The length of pull has been reduced to 13 inches, as competition shooters move towards shorter stocks and more aggressive postures when handling long guns. This also brings the weight closer to the shooter in order to make the gun handling quicker with less leverage at the muzzle. The length of pull is adjustable with spacers for anyone looking for a more traditional stance.
Also helping with speed of handling, the shotgun is just plain lightweight at 6 pounds, 12 ounces. It uses Beretta’s new, lightweight and clean-running “Blink Gas Operating System,” which is designed to cycle as fast as possible.
“So far I really like this shotgun,” said competition shooter Brian Vaught to 3-Gun Nation. “I have not seen a shotgun more ‘out-of-the-box’ ready, and it is about $1,000. Loading port, bolt handle, follower, QD swivel position in buttstock — all I did to mine was add a magazine tube, barrel clamp and longer fiber-optic bead.”
“It has a longer forearm than my other shotgun, with aggressive texture — which I really like,” Vaught added. “I have put about 500 rounds of various birdshot through it without a hitch. Using the mid-rib bead as a rear index, it shoots slugs to point-of-aim out to about 75 yards.”
About the only thing that isn’t competition-ready is the magazine tube. Beretta ships the 1301 with a vanilla 5-round magazine and no extension. Still, magazine length is one of the things most competition shooters want to customize anyway, and they often have specific capacities in mind.
So that, and maybe a more complete set of chokes is what’s necessary to get a 1301 ready for running and gunning. It uses Optima Bore HP chokes but only comes with one improved cylinder choke.
The 1301 Competition sports a suggested retail price of $1,240, but as mentioned, can be found in stores for much closer to $1,000. It is available in two models, one with a 21-inch barrel and the other with a 24-inch barrel.
If you’re looking to get into the world of competition shotgunning and don’t want to go through the process of converting a conventional shotgun to a race gun, you may want to put the 1301 on your short list.
For more information, check out the product page.