Review: Beretta A300 Outlander Shotgun Is an Easy Win
It’s hard to imagine a good lineup of auto-loading shotguns that doesn't include something from Beretta. The European manufacturer is one of the oldest pillars in the firearms business. The company is well known for many notable firearms, but they are known in these parts for their shotguns, and the A300 Outlander is the one we are playing with today.
My Father is a bit of a shotgun junkie. Things being as they were when I was younger, I was exposed to some very nice shotguns. I also got to shoot many of them. Dad wouldn’t let me bring my $200 Remington 870 when he had a couple of fancy Italians on standby. Whether it was a fancy double-barreled gun or a handsome autoloader, I was happy to give it a go.
Beretta makes a broad assortment of semi-automatic shotguns, whether it is a 1301 for tactical scenarios or today’s A300 field gun, there is a Beretta to fit your needs, and who better to test this one with than my dad.
What is the A300 Outlander?
The A300 Outlander, like many of Beretta’s semi-auto guns, is a gas-operated system. The action is operated by gas pressure vented from the barrel to a piston, which pushes an operating rod, disengaging the bolt and cycling the action. It sounds pretty simple because it is. Perhaps that is the reason it is such an effective system used by so many firearms. The gun is fed from a tubular magazine that can hold up to three 2.75-inch shells with the plug removed.
This model came with dark wooden furniture, but the gun is also available with synthetic options and camouflaged coatings. The 28-inch barrel features a 3-inch chamber, which allows you to shoot any 2.75 or 3-inch loads, and the muzzle uses an assortment of replaceable chokes to adjust your shot pattern to the ammunition and expected shot distances.
The controls of the Outlander mirror most semi-auto shotgun patterns. So, whether you are learning on the A300 or coming from a different model, you will find the controls familiar and easy to operate. I grabbed a few boxes of Winchester and Fiocchi ammunition, both of them with 1-ounce loads of 7.5 and 8 shot. With a couple cases of clay targets, my dad and I headed out for an afternoon of bustin’ clays.
In the Field
Of course, dad was going to bring a couple of his own guns, giving us something we could compare to the A300. His Benelli and Winchester SX3 would make great company to the Outlander, and we were both familiar with them to help with our comparison.
We started throwing targets to get a little warm-up going. Before long, we switched over to throwing doubles and report pairs. The Beretta felt great in my hands, and I felt a little bit of a squish on the cheek to get a good view down the rib. As I continually swung the gun after targets, I found that old familiar feel of pacing the flying target with the bead.
To my surprise, I did quite well shooting the A300, better than I had done with the other guns anyway. A good bit of time passed before I managed to miss a target, and, as it invariably happens, that wasn’t the gun’s fault.
Following the faster targets that came from the side, I was able to maintain a good sight picture down the rib, and it felt great to watch those clays turn to dust. The modest recoil from the 1-ounce loads was easily manageable, and follow-up shots were quick to get on target.
Proper shooting with any shotgun requires a proper setup. We did change out the full choke for something a little more open. Hand-thrown clays can often be more challenging to hit than mechanically thrown targets, and many of the shots we made were fairly close. So, before we started, I swapped the choke out for a modified one to get a little broader pattern.
I managed to talk my dad into putting his gun down for a minute to see what he thought of the Beretta. He, too, was able to make good hits with the Outlander, and his old guy “hmm-haw” of approval was well deserved.
After cleaning up a pile of shells and heading back to the house, it was time to clean up this beauty. Disassembly of the A300 was quite easy, resulting in an easy cleanup. Removing the barrel is done by removing the magazine cap and sliding it out. The piston assembly and spring are easily serviced if needed, and the bolt and operating rod can also be removed to get all the gunk out. I’m a bit of a clean freak with shotguns, but I do come by it honestly.
Growing up, I spent countless hours in the marshy wetlands around the Great Salt Lake. Bad weather always made for the best hunting days back then. So, it was common to bring home my old shotgun with both water and other marsh crud attached. It usually required a near full disassembly to get everything clean. If I were to do it all again with the A300 Outlander, I think it would have been easy for a 16-year-old me to get it torn down, lubed, and put back into shooting order.
Pros and Cons
The A300 seems to be an entry-level autoloading shotgun. There are surely less expensive semi-auto 12 gauges. But while it’s not a cheap gun, the reputation that comes with a Beretta makes it fairly priced. The controls of the Outlander also made it very easy to shoot. The safety is a bit larger than many, which I found to be a pleasant departure from the norm.
The gun is also a bit no-frills, which is okay if you’re just trying to bust clays. I would have liked a brighter bead on the rib, perhaps a fiber-optic type. But I also would have probably gotten one of the various camouflage-coated models as well to better fit the kind of hunting I would likely do. Of course, these aren’t marks against the Outlander, but it is nice to know you have the option.
There are so many great options for shotgunners in today’s market. You can spend as little or as much as you’d like. That said, I think the Beretta A300 Outlander is an easy bet to win. No doubt it will serve your needs in the marsh or the wooded hills in search of feathered game.