Bourjaily: A Closer Look at Beretta's A400 Xplor 'Dinosaur Gun'

As their one condition of taking me to me Italy and putting me up in absurd luxury, Beretta asked that I not release any of my own photos of the A400 until this week. I was allowed only to use their pictures, which didn't show what the gun looks like. But the embargo is over, and here's me, with the A400 at the Lonato Shooting Club, in front of the dino foot photo backdrop. Also, here are a bunch of European gunwriters photographing the A-400. The guy in the sunglasses, stubble and striped shirt is a Russian gunwriter, by the way. As a rule, we gunwriters are not a fashion-forward group, but no one told this guy.

Anyway, as you can see here The Xplor looks -- in my opinion -- modern without being ugly. The receiver is anodized to a gray-green color just to be different (Browning, of course, offered red, green, brown and silver receivers for the odd but awesome Double Automatic 50 years ago, so that's not a completely new idea).

The A400 is light and handles well, at least in a limited test. I only had a chance to shoot about 25 rounds through the gun, and that was a mix of everything from 24 gram (7/8 ounce) 1325 fps International Target loads up to 2 ¼ ounce lead. The Xplor cycled everything fine, and it is as soft shooting as a sub-7 pound, 3 ½-inch chambered gun can be thanks to its gas action and the recoil reducing system in the stock.

However, I am not going to get excited about the Xplor until it comes out in a standard-chambered sporting clays version. At that point I may - just like the compound bow owners I make fun of - decide to trade in my "obsolete" (read "perfectly good") Beretta 391 Sporting gun for an A400.

There is talk of a 20 gauge next year, as well as rumors of a possible 28 gauge down the road. That would be cool.