Proud new owner of Beretta 3901


January 2, 2003, 09:26 PM
Well, I went to the local sporting goods store and picked up my first sporting shotgun, a Beretta 3901. I thought I was going to get a humpback 390 but after looking closely at the box and the receiver, I realized that this was no Silver Mallard. But for under $500 who could complain?

The shotgun has a matte black finish and has a round receiver rather than the distinctive humpback on the 390. The receiver is non-magnetic, suggesting aluminum. 28" vent ribbed barrel/gold bead with 3 Mobilhokes, IC, M, F, comes standard as does a funky little Beretta choke wrench.

The furniture is black plastic and fairly utilitarian. The buttpad is about 3/8 or 1/2 inch of rubber. The foreend feels a little more blocky than the walnut 391 I had fondled a little earlier.

Manual of arms seems to be pretty standard for a Spaghetti Smoothbore. In other words it makes no damn sense. Pulling the trigger fires the chambered shell, ejects it and feeds another up the spout. Racking the bolt ejects the chambered shell, but no shell is released onto the lifter from the magazine. I suppose it would facilitate doing a select slug or shot drill but is this really performed that often in a sporting situation? To manually feed the next shell in the magazine into the chamber, you have to push a shell stop release button at the base of the lifter. This spits the shell on to the lifter and racking the bolt then ejects the chambered round. The bolt then locks back with the next shell on the lifter and pressing the bolt release rams home the new shell. Furthermore, the bolt cannot be locked back unless the magazine is empty when the bolt goes back or unless the shell stop release is pressed first. What a mess.

What really makes this standout from the 390 is that it has no magazine release, but after all the shenanigans mentioned above, I don't know when in a sporting situation you would want to make things anymore complicated than they already are.

The other things that this gun is missing at least according to the 390 manual tucked in with the 3901 are:
1) sling swivel attachments
2) cast/drop adjustment shims

Looks like Beretta is going after the WallyWorld 390 crowd with this 390/391 hybrid. Seems like a fairly good gun and I'm looking forward to busting clays for the first time with this shotgun, even picked up a do-all trap and a case of W-W clays. Unfortunately, my schedule has prevented me from going out to the range to the dirty deed. I will of course report back how it did with several different types of loads.

Can anyone recommend where I can get the missing items mentioned above (sling swivels/stock shims)? Is there anything else I need to do get this gun ready for shooting birds (clay/feathered)? Thanks in advance for your help!

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Will Beararms
January 3, 2003, 02:41 AM
This is an ingenious way for Beretta to profitably get rid of excess parts left over from the days when the 390 was the flagship. Don't knock em till you try em'. Ole Pietro Beretta of Vardone has been in business in a continuous fashion since 1526-------477 years if it matters.

They are what Browning was to our Grandfathers. You may call Beretta and I bet they will sell you the parts you need.

I like Berettas if you haven't guessed and I will tell you this, I would take a Beretta 84 .380 over the average made in the US .45 ACP. I would take a used Beretta shotgun over a new Remington or Winchester.


January 3, 2003, 03:11 AM
If need ,get assist with fitting
get instructio if need
light target loads to practice, get the basics down with less recoil
pattern board will be your friend

shoot lots!

Dave McCracken
January 3, 2003, 06:01 AM
This is one of the better values out there. Any gun shop should have the sling studs, and any Beretta dealer should stock the shims. In a pinch, toothpicks, business cards, foil, or pieces of old hulls wil do.

Enjoy, buy ammo, use up, repeat....

January 3, 2003, 07:10 AM
From what I've read, the 3901 IS the gun designed to give the Beretta premium dealers an option to compete with the Wally World 390. I purchased one of the Walmart guns last week. It's an incredibly good value. I was a bit confused about the slide not picking up the next round out of the magazine unless the gun is fired or that little button is pushed myself.

January 13, 2003, 10:28 PM
Well, took the Beretta 3901 to the range to bust clays. First time ever shooting at flying objects. Shells ranged from Winchester AA light target loads to Wally World Winchester dove/quail promo loads to Top Gun field to WinAA super handicap to Federal magnum 00 buck.

Reliability with every load tested was 100%. This was with only a minimal lube of the moving parts. Oddly enough, all the hulls, including the buck, deposited in a small 3' diameter pile. I guess the self-adjusting gas system does work as proposed.

Recoil was minimal with all the shells tested though the buck did let itself be known as slightly heavier. Went through around 200 shells or so.

My performance was marginal but there was a friend who was literally dusting the clays from the get go. His first time shooting a shotgun ever...go figure...fewer bad habits to break I guess.

Well, I will be off to the local sporting clay range to pony up $$$ for lessons. Glad the gun did it's part. I will try to post pics later.

Dave McCracken
January 14, 2003, 05:30 AM
Thanks for keeping in touch, JM. Gootas admit these look like a lot of gun for the money.

Your buddy may have shot the thing well because it fits him better than thee. Be sure to pattern.

And lessons? Huzzah!!

January 14, 2003, 05:41 PM
The fit is the most important thing to take care of before you start the lessons.

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