Built to withstand harsh conditions, the Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus would be a welcome companion in any hide or on a fleet or foreshore, says Michael Yardley

Product Overview


Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus review



The test gun this month is the latest Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus 12-bore semi-automatic with a distinctive green Cerakote stock, action and barrel finish. Boasting a 3½in chamber and 28in steel-proofed barrel, the gun weighs in at 7lb 11oz. Its comprehensive specification also includes an extended bolt handle, an oversized bolt release and an enlarged loading port (which distinguish it from the previous Xtreme and facilitate operations in adverse conditions). The 7mm sighting rib is raised and ventilated. At the muzzle there is a small-diameter fibre-optic rod-type bead and long (90mm) Optima HP extended chokes (five of which come with the gun). The barrel is the latest Steelium Plus type, similar internally to the 694 over-and-under with a lengthened triple forcing cone.

The gas-operated Xtreme Plus can shoot payloads from 24g to 64g in case lengths from 2¾in to 3½in. It has an evolved action with a rotating bolt head (like all the 400 series) and Beretta Kick-Off Mega recoil reduction. There is a rubberised rear and comb section combined with a hydraulic arrangement using small shock absorbers and return springs – two positioned rearwards and one inserted in the stock bolt tube acting as another dampener. The B-Steady comb does not move relative to the face on firing; instead, the section of the stock between the grip and comb telescopes slightly and almost imperceptibly. Rounding things off is an 18mm MicroCore polymer recoil pad at the butt end with, as tested, a ½in lengthening spacer fitted (another is supplied).

Initial impressions are of a modern gun with all the bells and whistles. The green finish to the barrel, rib and action is attractive and water-repellent. Aesthetically, it may trump more showy camouflage but, like camo, you would not want to accidentally lay the gun down in a wood or field. The gripping surfaces are black and rubberised (contrasting with the green that predominates), and the gun has a functional, almost militaristic appearance with a bit of Italian design flair thrown into the equation. Everything looks right and feels ergonomically efficient. Details are nicely done, and when you mount the Xtreme Plus the gripping shapes are pleasingly proportioned and offer good purchase. The stock feels more substantial than many synthetic ones.

My only initial issue with the gun had been putting it together. The assembly routine is simple enough – the barrel goes on more easily than with many semi-automatics – but the B-Lok fore-end cap was stiff to use. It took all my hand strength to get it to click into the required position (a short twisting movement). My first reaction was that an old-fashioned screw thread might have been preferable but the B-Lok concept makes sense if it could be eased off a little.

Looking at the Xtreme Plus disassembled, one notes a synthetic shroud over the magazine tube; this retains a long return spring and the cradle carrying twin cocking bars acting on the bolt assembly. The rotating head at the front of this, locking into the barrel, will be familiar to all who know the 400-series guns and Benellis using a similar bolt. Vacuum pressure on firing keeps the bolt in place in both. In the Beretta, exhaust gas bled from the barrel drives it back, while in later-model Benellis the bolt unlocks by means of a short, stiff, inertia spring between bolt and bolt head.

Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus

What of the Steelium Plus barrel? It is hammer-forged alloy steel, vacuum treated and unusually bored with a triple section extended forcing cone. Beretta describes the manufacturing thus: “Made with the exclusive Beretta steel (nickel, chromium and molybdenum), different from all other commercial steel, the Beretta barrels are deep drilled and cold hammer forged. Beretta realises the barrel distention phase in a specific chamber with a vacuum atmosphere. The Hyper Vacuum Technology, exclusive to Beretta, enhances the reliability and the resistance of the barrels.” Hype apart, Beretta barrels are certainly exceptionally tough and long lasting.


The A391 Xtrema was the first rotary bolt-head Beretta, the firm having added the feature to its Xtrema long-chambered guns after acquiring Benelli. The gas-operated Xtreme Plus traces its direct lineage through the Model 60 Beretta, and the 300 series evolving into the 391 (which adds a sprung pressure relief system at the gas shroud), and on to rotary-bolt AL391 Xtremas, A400s and Xtremes. In the Xtreme Plus we see an improved gas relief valve and self-cleaning piston combined with the rotary bolt head (which Beretta calls ‘B-Link’). As on previous Xtremas, the test gun’s main recoil return spring is positioned over the magazine tube rather than involving a hinged connecting rod at the back of the bolt acting on a plunger and spring to the rear of the action. Recoil forces here remain in line.

Shooting impressions

The Xtreme Plus seems lively between the hands with 28in barrels (providing no less than 35in of sighting plane with receiver top channel included) but 30in would suit it too. Its raised sighting rib is excellent, reminding of early Browning designs, and the rubberised grip provides first-class purchase, as does the well-sized fore-end. Function of the gun with a variety of 24g and 28g Lyalvale loads was impeccable. An easy-touse oversized bolt handle was less fiddly than a traditional one and the trigger broke cleanly at just over 4lb. Forgiving in use, the Xtreme Plus encouraged a natural shooting style without prevarication. This is a gun that seems exceptionally well sorted. I was aware of the cycling mechanics (which are notable on other 400s) and out-of-the-box drop at heel is a bit low at 2½in (but easily changed with a shim supplied). Overall, though, this is a terrific modern repeater with low felt recoil. It’s pricey but good.

Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus information

Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus Green ATS 12-bore

RRP: from £2,250

GMK, Bear House, Concorde Way, Fareham, Hampshire PO15 5RL

Tel: 01489 579999