Browning A5 VS Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus | Shotgun Showdown with Surviving Duck Season

shotgun showdown Nov 18, 2021
 

Which shotgun is better? I have had a lot of requests for this shotgun showdown so here it is! I compare the A5 and the A400 Extreme Plus shotguns side by side to determine which shotgun I would choose if I could only have one. I'd love to know which one you would choose, the A5 or the A400 Extreme Plus?

Special shoutout to my friend Joel for joining me for this showdown. Check out his channel,  Surviving Duck Season! 

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MSRP

 Quick Specs

  • Both 12 gauge 
  • Both 3.5" chamber 
  • Both 28" Barrell 
  • The A5 is 7lbs 5oz, The A400 is 8lbs
  • A5 Length of Pull 14 1/4" A400 is 14 1/2"
  • A5 Drop at Comb 1 3/4" A400 is 1 1/2"

Quick A5 History!

  • Designed by John Moses Browning in 1898
  • Patent received in 1900
  • Manufactured (Originally) from 1900-1998
  • Browning redesigned and reintroduced the A5 in 2014
  • Current design is based of the original design
  • All operating components have been modernized and updated (Obviously)
  • FUN FACT - The action and barrel of the original A5 used to move forward, and back together to initiate recoil upon shooting

Ergonomics/Look & Feel

Browning A5

  • Feels moderately comfortable! I wish that it had more texture to the grips
  • Mounting up was a bit awkward - the top of the receiver is fashioned in a humpback style which made getting my face into the gun a bit more challenging. It looks great; just something to get used to
  • Receiver is drilled and tapped (Very versatile)
  • Controls are mostly oversized - Always a win for me. Only the Wicked Wing comes with the larger controls
  • I wish the charging handle was a bit larger, but I'd still consider it efficient 
  • Trigger guard was certainly a comfortable size  
  • Cross-bolt safety is rear-mounted and easily accessible - super easy to toggle
  • Fiberoptic front bead, ivory mid-bead (Once you're mounted, IGNORE THE BEAD!) 
  • I noticed its balanced nicely but a bit rearwards - inertia guns are typically lighter up front due to less components - Browning did a good job balancing this one out
  • The front side of the loading port is milled out - the rest is not, and kind of sharp
  • Stock and recoil pad is nice!
  • Overall, this is a great looking, unique gun!

A400

  • Very nicely balanced in the hands
  • Rubber inlays are great (Pistol grip is a bit wider than I prefer)
  • Oversized charging handle and bolt release are smooth - the bolt release is very soft and easy to utilize
  • Forearm cap is great - comes off with a single twist
  • Reversible cross-bolt safety in front of the trigger - I prefer rear-mounted safety's
  • Loading port is milled and very nice - magazine tube has a green cap to ensure that the gun is empty

Trigger 

Browning A5

  • 5lbs 7.5oz (Average)
  • Felt a bit heavier than I expected - feel was deceiving to true weight
  • I enjoyed the crisp pull of this trigger a lot
  • I believe it felt a bit tighter than it actually is because of how new I am to this gun, but it felt great!

A400

  • 5lbs 1.8oz (Average)
  • Crisp trigger with little travel - Feels good
  • Trigger guard is a bit smaller than I prefer - still very solid

Quality of Build

Browning A5

  • I always look at the quality of the build relative to the price. Everything comes together great! Very comparable to my Maxus 2
  • I'm in love with the wicked wing finish that Browning has to offer
  • My favorite point here is that Browning puts a 5 year, 100,000 round warranty behind this gun - I respect any manufacturer putting that much confidence behind their product 
  • Nickle Teflon coated bolt is awesome looking and easy to clean

A400

  • I always look at the quality of the build relative to the price. The Xtreme Plus overall lives up to the price point
  • Steelium barrel is drilled, reamed, and cold hammer forged. The forcing cone is also longer (14") and is more typical in competition guns.
  • 7x7 Stepped rib
  • Nice steel mid bead
  • Drilled and tapped to receive picatinny rail
  • Very nice tolerances - only comment would be on a little bit of squeeze in the forearm, but nothing to serious 

Ease of Breakdown

Browning A5

  • As expected this inertia gun came apart simple with minimal parts - hats off to Browning for keeping it easy
  • This is nit-picky but I prefer trigger groups with one pin
  • Overall, very easy!

A400

  •  One of the simplest gas guns I've ever broken down - Forearm cap is only a 1/2 spin to take off!

Recoil

Browning A5

  • Noticeably harder recoil than my guns such as the Maxus 2
  • Its very manageable - appreciated that it goes right back into my shoulder vs. my face
  • Hunting loads certainly punch more than the target loads
  • As expected, the 3 1/2" loads can be a workout, but all around the recoil is quite manageable. 
  • Not as great as come gas guns, but impressive for inertia

A400

  • This gun sports the Kick-Off recoil reduction system and claims 70% reduction
  • The stock has a rubber inlay that actually flexes when you shoot, reducing recoil even further
  • No problems whatsoever when shooting 3" Target loads. 
  • 3 1/2" rounds where (obviously) more noticeable, but I think it handled them well, and cycled just fine.
  • Overall, I'm really liking this recoil technology 

Reliability

Browning A5

  • From the shoulder, this A5 pretty much tanked through every shot which made speed shooting go faster
  • It somewhat handled target loads from the hip and from over the head, but as expected, I had some hang-ups
  • I'm also not surprised by some of these failures - this is a 3 1/2" gun shooting target loads and is brand new. With that said 3" had zero issue. I also believe that there's a break-in period on every gun so I'm not too discouraged
  • I believe that some of Browning's claims on reliability aren't necessarily true - they claim cycling through "hell or high waters'... unless you shooting target loads ;)

A400

  • From the shoulder, this gun handled pretty much everything I threw at it. It even took 3 1/2" rounds from the hip just fine 

Speed Shooting

I find this evaluation valuable because it tests how all the moving parts really come together. From getting on target, having an appropriate trigger pull, recovering from the recoil, and cycling good enough to get back on target. 

  • The fastest time I could accomplish with the Browning A5 today was a 1.12 
  • The fastest time I had with the A400 was a 1.14 

In summary, there are so many things to like about both of these guns. I simply cannot look at either of these guns and be completely upset with any part of them! But at the end of the day, Joel and I unanimously agreed that overall by a slight margin, the Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus is the gun that we'd both choose to take out in the blind.

Would you like to see a head-to-head comparison with another semiauto shotgun?

Whether our targets in the field or our targets in life, we will only hit what we are focused on so live the #targetfocusedlife

 

Stay Target Focused,

Steve

 

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