Beretta Cheetah Range Report


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kannonfyre
February 20, 2009, 11:08 AM
I bought a model 84 beretta cheetah .380 pistol about 3 weeks ago. Today was the day that I finally put it through it's paces. Range fodder was CCI blazer 95gr TMJ and 95gr Fiocchi FMJ.

First off, lets talk about general impressions....

The gun is well made and finished. In comparison to the CZ-83 that the store was trying to sell me, it projects the same toughness while exhuding italian suave and sophistication. Apart from the fixed sights which cannot be adjusted even with a dowel and small hammer, I have no complaints about the outward appearance of this pistol.

Next, mechanical operation....

It takes effort (more effort than its larger cousin, the model 92) to rack the slide. Also, if the slide is closed, inserting a loaded magazine in needs a little strength. Also, engaging the decocker/safety is NOT effortless. Additionally, the rear sight is FIXED which brings us to shooting performance.

Shooting this "full sized compact" .380 has made me realise that.....

1) This sights are fixed causing rounds to land to the left of POA. Thus, to hit the bullseye on ISSF pistol targets, I have to aim off to the right. This is no problem for targets at 15 meters or less but is a serious accuracy handicap when shooting at ranges of 25 meters and above.
2) The recoil is snappy! It kicks harder than the Walther P88 that I used to own or even the full sized 9mm model 92.
3) Magazine springs are tough. Inserting the last 3 rounds is harder to do. This is in comparison to other guns like the Glock, CZs....etc.

Lastly, strange ammo performance....

I have attached scanned target sheets of 40 shot groups. The one shot by the CCI blazer rounds is from the beginning of the range session when I was still fresh. The one with 40 rounds of Fiocchi was shot toward the end of my range time (I was tired). Both groupings shot at 15 meters. My findings are that:

Even though CCI is loaded to milder American standards, it still kicked harder than the Fiocchi rounds. The recoil of the italian ammo was manageable compared to the CCI rounds which was robust. This is despite the fact that on paper, the fiocchi load was supposed to be about 80ft/s faster.

Lastly, this gun has a strange quirk when it comes to field stripping it for cleaning:

When the gun is clean, it can be easily stripped. However, after a 200 round shooting session, the takedown lever for the removal of the entire upper receiver is stubborn and gritty. It takes some effort to fully push the lever down so that the pistol can be dissassembled.

Hence, my two questions for Model 84 Cheetah owners out there is:

a) Have you experienced difficulty in moving the "stripping switch" when your pistol is dirty?

b) Is is possible for higher speed ammo is actually have LESS felt recoil than similarly weighted ammo with less muzzle velocity?

Thanks,
KF

Note: The CCI rounds were actually 95gr projectiles even though it says 98grs on the target sheet.

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steveracer
February 20, 2009, 11:19 AM
I like these guns. If I had to carry a .380, it would be a Beretta Cheetah!!
Steve

usp9
February 20, 2009, 12:15 PM
Hence, my two questions for Model 84 Cheetah owners out there is:

a) Have you experienced difficulty in moving the "stripping switch" when your pistol is dirty?

I've had three of these, a 85 and two 84s. One has a less loose take-down lever than the others, but I've not associated that tightness with being dirty. Some of the initial tightness should loosen up after some use, ie; the safety, takedown lever, mags, etc.


b) Is is possible for higher speed ammo is actually have LESS felt recoil than similarly weighted ammo with less muzzle velocity?

Your Italian gun just likes the Italian ammo better.;) Given all else as equal, the Fiocchi should deliver more recoil. Maybe it was psychological and you just gripped tighter in expectation...who knows.

You may want to research the excellent Pachmyer rubber grips for this model. IMO, they give a slightly better grasp and may absorb some recoil and make for a more comfortable experience.

Guitargod1985
February 20, 2009, 04:41 PM
Some of the initial tightness should loosen up after some use
Sure does ;)

That sucks about your sights, man. Have you tried bench resting it to make sure?

gbelleh
February 21, 2009, 12:16 AM
I have a Beretta 84 that I carry on occasion. My sights seem to be aligned correctly. Recoil is a pretty subjective thing. I haven't really noticed much difference in recoil between ammo. I don't find the recoil harsh at all, probably thanks to the relatively large, wide grip. I agree that it takes some strength to rack the slide and seat the magazine, but my mags load pretty easily. I haven't noticed any difficulty in take down, but I don't think I've put enough rounds through it in a single session to get it really gunked up.

The Beretta 84 is an elegant little gun, and mine has been accurate and 100% reliable. It's one of my favorites.

kannonfyre
February 21, 2009, 12:55 AM
Gbelleh,

How many rounds do you shoot in your cheetah for each training session?

I fire 200 rounds through mine and it is pretty dirty when I try to break it down for cleaning.

To everyone else......

1) How is my marksmanship? Are the groups typical for a model 84 at 15 meters?

2) Anyone here tried magtech .380 FMJ rounds?

gbelleh
February 21, 2009, 01:54 AM
I don't really shoot the Beretta very regularly anymore, but the most I've fired the 84 in one session is probably between 100 and 150.

Your targets look pretty good to me. I don't usually practice much past 7-10 yards.

I've shot quite a bit of Magtech .380 and don't remember having any problems with it.

gb6491
February 21, 2009, 02:45 AM
1) This sights are fixed causing rounds to land to the left of POA. Thus, to hit the bullseye on ISSF pistol targets, I have to aim off to the right. This is no problem for targets at 15 meters or less but is a serious accuracy handicap when shooting at ranges of 25 meters and above.
Isn't the rear sight drift adjustable for windage?
Regards,
Greg

Runningman
February 21, 2009, 05:48 AM
b) Is is possible for higher speed ammo is actually have LESS felt recoil than similarly weighted ammo with less muzzle velocity?

Nope.

I got my 1st chronograph almost 20 years ago. One thing I have learned there is always a difference between factory advertised velocity on paper and what you get in the real world actually checking them. More often than not it is shocking to see how much difference in velocity there is with the same bullet weight in a given caliber only from a different in manufacture.

Fastcast
February 21, 2009, 07:24 AM
The slide and mags will loosen, give it time. They will still be stout but not like when new....Mine has smoothed out beautifully.

The takedown lever functions fine dirty or clean.....Maybe a little grittier if dirty, it's dirty after all!

The targets look fine for 15m....The bad guys would definitely agree! :uhoh:

Keep shooting it! ;)

kannonfyre
February 21, 2009, 08:37 AM
gb6491,

Someone else told me that the dovetailed rear slight could be drifted. However, even after pounding on it with a hammer and wooden dowel it REFUSED to budge! :( I pounded so hard that the rag and cardboard sheets I used to cushion the gun from the table top with showed indentations from the ambidexterious decocker.

I am pretty much resigned to having to aim a little to the right when i shoot. It just means that I can't shoot at moving targets unless they are real close.

Guitargod1985
February 21, 2009, 10:04 AM
kannonfyre,

You will need a sight pusher tool to drift the rear sight properly without damaging/marring the pistol or its sights. You probably will not be able to move the sight without one. Yeah, a sight pushing tool costs a little money, but at least you know your sight won't budge under recoil. A tight fit is good. :)

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