Beretta A304: A semi-automatic shotgun

Eric Sof

The Beretta A304 is a semi-automatic shotgun produced by Beretta. The Beretta family have been in the arms business since the 15th century, starting as barrel-makers and moving into making complete guns. Their work was divided between sporting and military, though biased towards the latter; after the fall of Napoleon and in the years of the “Long peace” in Europe, the company moved into the mass manufacture of sporting weapons.

Today, they are one of the largest firearms manufacturers in the world, and they have adopted the most up-to-date technology to ensure that their products combine the highest quality with attractive prices. Some of their models you have probably heard about are:

and many others.

Design

Beretta A304 is a lightweight gas actuated weapon using a light alloy (aluminum/zirconium) which it is claimed is as strong as steel but only 65 percent of the weight. The barrel is, of course, cold hammer-forged from high-grade Cr-Mo-Ni steel and is internally chrome-plated, which should give it a very long life. The barrels are fitted with the Beretta style of interchangeable chokes so that the user can adjust the shot pattern to his preference.

Beretta A304 diagram
Beretta A304 diagram (Photo: XY)

Mechanism

When Beretta A304 is fired, some of the propellant gas is tapped off to drive a stainless steel gas piston; this operates a rod sleeve that unlocks the breech bolt utilizing a falling block. The bolt goes back against a recoil spring while the block actuates a lifter to bring the next cartridge in line with the breech. The spring then drives the bolt forward and loads the cartridge; the block rises, and the bolt is securely locked, ready for the next shot. The gas system is self-regulating so that cartridges of varying power can be used without affecting the regularity or reliability of the reloading operation. There is a safety catch in the trigger guard, and there is also a cut-off that isolates the magazine, turning the weapon into a single-shot action.

Beretta A304 firing mechanism
Beretta A304 firing mechanism (Photo: XY)

Stock and fore-end

The stock and fore-end are well-finished and fit the hand comfortably; the stock can be adjusted for drop and cast-off by a spacer that fits between the stock and the receiver so that it should be possible to adjust it off the gun to virtually any user.

There are a number of variants of the Beretta A304 either on the market or in the course of development, including various barrel lengths, varying degrees of finish, and field, sporter, and trap configurations.

Beretta A304 semi-automatic shotgun
Beretta A304 semi-automatic shotgun (Photo: Beretta)

Technical specifications

Manufacturer: Pietro Beretta SpA, Gardone Val Trompia, Italy
Type: semi-automatic, gas-operated
Gauge: 12
Barrel: 28 in (711 mm)
Weight: 6.4 lbs (2.9 kg)
Magazine capacity: Three rounds

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