Beretta A300 Outlander Sporting
• $1,100 • 12-gauge • 7 lb. 1 oz. • 30-in. barrel
Beretta’s A300 is one of the best series of semi-autos out there when it comes to reliable performance for the price. The gas-operated action has earned a reputation for durability, and we reaffirmed that during our test as we tried to push the new Outlander Sporting to its limits. During one particularly warm string of shooting, we ran 125 rounds though the gun as fast as we could keep it loaded, and other than getting as hot as a branding iron, the gun took it in stride. There’s nothing very flashy about this new shotgun. Aesthetically, it is fairly subdued, with an evenly executed matte finish on the metalwork and a red-claysthemed design on the receiver. The wood is a middle-of-the-road grade, and the checkering serviceable but with some flattened diamonds in the pattern. In terms of performance, the shotgun is on point. The gun swings smoothly thanks to its 30-inch barrel, and it’s blessed with a well-designed stock. The fore-end is trim, and the heft of the gun is situated nicely between the hands. The shotgun is also a natural pointer. It isn’t as snappy as a light upland gun, but we found it could get on speeding targets in a hurry, even when we started from a low-gun position. In addition to its core mission as a claytarget gun, we think this would do a good job on birds as well. This versatility, particularly in light of its price and no-nonsense reliability, made the A300 Outlander Sporting the top shotgun in the value category, earning it our Great Buy award for 2018.