There are many reported complaints with the Beretta A300 shotgun. Taking a look at the problem reveals a big problem with many users, a big problem that can plague many semi-automatic shotguns.
The shells don’t eject properly, usually flipping out at odd angles in the ejector port before being trapped as the bolt moves forward.
The Beretta A300 has a very fast action so this entire sequence, of ejection, the bolt sliding forward and the shell jamming all occur in a fraction of a second.
What’s going on here?
Beretta A300 cycling problem
This might seem like a problem with only the A300 but Beretta semi-automatics have had this problem for a long time, not an unsolvable, insurmountable problem, these are great shotguns when they work well, but a problem that needs to be addressed in the breaking in process.
My college friend Gino had a Beretta 1200 he was very proud of.
We often hunted ducks west of Laramie, Wyoming on the Platte River. Our armory consisted of my single-shot 12 gauge Iver Johnson, and his Beretta 1200.
The 1200 never worked well when he first took it out. It was a brand new gun, we were poor college kids shooting low brass shells, and while they worked fine in my single shot, and the Mossberg pump, the second shot of the Beretta almost always jammed.
When it did, he had to slide back the bolt, hold it in place and dig the stuck shell out, sometimes with a pocket knife if it was really wedged. The process turned his high-tech Beretta into a very frustrating single shot.
Jump ahead 25 years and that same Beretta performed flawlessly when we went on a North Dakota pheasant hunt at 15 degrees below zero.
The solution for the 1200 then is the same for the A300 now, and here it is with the problem broken down.
Why the A300 doesn’t cycle
A gas-operated shotgun uses the energy released in firing a shell to drive the bolt back, advance another shell, and lock it back into firing position. No matter the brand of shotgun, they all work on the same principle.
This is a carefully orchestrated movement, requiring exacting manufacturing specifications, springs tensioned to the level of a Swiss watchmaker, a clean action, and shotgun shells designed to be used with the gun.
Shotgun shells don’t matter with pumps, over-and-under, side-by-side and single-shot models, why would they matter in a semi-automatic?
The answer is the gas pressure released, it’s not the same with every 12-gauge shell.
How to solve the A300 cycling problem
Take a look at shotgun shells. You’ll notice some have just a small amount of brass at the bottom and the remainder of the shell is plastic.
Others have a much higher level of brass and shorter sections of plastic. The amount of brass represents the power of the shell. The more brass, the more powder, and the greater power measured in feet per second and energy.
The shells with more brass are called “high brass” and the ones with less brass, “low brass” by hunters and shooters.
It’s a generic term used by bird hunters in describing the power of a shotgun shell without delving in grams of powders, shot size, length of the shell, and even style of pellets inside the shell.
If you were to say I’m shooting low-brass 8-shot, that would be enough to know you were probably shooting clays, skeet, or maybe doves. It wouldn’t be something you heard on a turkey, goose, or duck hunt.
Low brass means limited power shells. The shot doesn’t matter, but the low or high brass does. Shotgun shells control the power released on the shot, directing it down the barrel of the shotgun by the brass casing surrounding the lower portion of the shell.
In essence, they control the explosion taking place inside your shotgun when you pull the trigger.
With high brass, there is more powder, a more powerful explosion, and more powerful blowback or exhaust as the shell fires. That blowback is the force that drives the mechanism in a semi-automatic shotgun.
Shooting low brass, low power shells sometimes doesn’t produce enough force to make an A300 work properly. Shooting top-of-the-line high brass shells creates more force and solves the problem. .
But the type of shell is just part of the problem and part of the solution. The full solution requires breaking in the shotgun.
Breaking in a semi-auto
Simple style shotguns like single-shots and over-and-under models work fine the first time you fire one, but if you’ve ever taken a new gun out of the box you’ll note that even these basic designs seem stiff and hard to break open. They need to be broken in.
The same is true of a pump shotgun. You need to fire a few shells, clean the gun, oil it, and work the mechanism a few dozen, or a few hundred times before the action is silky smooth.
The Beretta A300 in question requires the same breaking in.
Nearly all of the complaints with the A300 come just after the new owner has purchased the gun, often on the first venture to the range, or the field.
The action is stiff because the parts require a breaking in process. Breaking in a Beretta A300 requires high energy shells to be fired through it before you ever use lower powered, low brass style ammunition.
The higher energy compresses the spring more effectively, it gets the bolt sliding back and forth with power and it works the action, clearing up minute imperfections in the metal with each cycled shell.
If you’ve read or heard that you need to break the gun completely apart, clean, grease, oil, and reassemble it, think about what is happening.
You’re taking a brand new shotgun, created by one of the leading gun manufacturers in the world, and doing your own home cleaning, restoration since you don’t think they knew what they were doing when it left the factory. If that were true, don’t buy the gun in the first place.
Breaking in the Beretta is the process to solving the ejection problem. Time and motion allow the shotgun to be used as it was originally designed.
A300 final thoughts
My friend was frustrated with his Beretta 1200 when we took it out the first time so long ago. It was embarrassing and he didn’t get many birds the first few times we went out, but he kept using it for ducks and pheasants.
By the time of our hunting reunion in frigid North Dakota, we were all in a better place financially and shot better quality shells.
The shells were a big part of the success of the old 1200 model, but so was time. Gino shot a lot of shells through that shotgun.
At first, it jammed on the second shell every time he took it out, but as he kept using it, the jamming became less frequent. Now with high energy shells, and the breaking in process completed long ago, it doesn’t jam at all.
The same is true if you have the patience to use your new A300 properly in the first few hundred rounds you fire through it.
Time and action, it is the solution to enjoying a very high quality semi-automatic shotgun.