Unfortunately the Baikal is to often overlooked...they may not have the fit and finish of the big names but their built like a tank. If your on a budget, it's what I'd recommend. I've had mine for 3 seasons...shoots good and no jams, it's easier to clean than any other semi/auto of any type that I've ever used(including military guns)...The big brands may look nicer, be lighter, a few may even patten better...But none beat it in rugged reliability(some may match it) and nothing come close in bang for your buck...mine was $358 new, and that includes the $40 my local gun shop tacked on to order it. Sure I'd love to have a Benelli or a Beretta...but i feel I get more birds putting the extra $1000 into my decoys, dog, etc than spending $1300 on a gun....
Well I went with the Beretta A400 Xtreme.
How's this for a break-in?
50 Shells of Winchester AA #7 ½, - 2 ¾ DR.EQ.
100 Shells Win. Universal #7 ½, - 3 DR.EQ. (Cheapest/Dirtiest Walmart Shells)
Rem. Gun Club Target Loads
25 Shells - #8's, 3 DR.EQ.,
25 Shells - #9's, 2 ¾ DR.EQ.
I'll admit, that I was indeed doubtful that a 3 ½ Mag. Waterfowl type Auto-Loader would be able to cycle the lightest loads reliably or without a malfunction. I was just waiting to see a FTE with the 2 ¾ DR. EQ #9 Loads. However instead, I just saw clay after clay shatter as the Rem. Gun Club boxes were ate up with ease.
I started the journey of purchasing a new Auto-Loading Shotgun before the 2011 Duck Season. Since then I've fired almost every single shotgun produced in recent years and some extensively with exception to the new A5.
It's been an awesome researching adventure and I'm glad I waited and took my time.
Thanks for all those who voted and posted.
I am late to this thread but you did good! You took your time looked at a lot of guns. Had I come to this thread earlier I would have suggested an Extrema 2, the previous model. Mine will cycle anything, I shoot a lot of clays and reload a 12 ga 3/4oz lead target load that run about 1250 fps, my Extrema spits them out all day long, and can go to 3 1/2 inch anytime I feel the need. But I almost never feel the need for 3 1/2, I just love my gun. Unlike the other A400 models, the Extreme has the same gas system as the Extrema 2. The other A400 models use the 391 valve system with the forearm recoil spring. You can get an Extrema 2 for around $1000, but you went whole hog and got not only the new model but that new optifade camo. I hear it is like Harry Potter's cloak-will make you invisible(LOL).
A cleaning hint-get some Militec-1 oil, get your gun completely clean and coat everything including the mag tube with this stuff. Then go out and heat it up shooting. This stuff will bond into the metal with the heat. It will also fog into the trigger group. Then clean it again but only use the Militec as a cleaner, do not use gunscrubber or any strong solvent as it will strip away that bonded film. You will see the mag tube looking horribly dirty but it will literally wipe away with a paper towel. Get into the valve on the barrel and get the Militec down in those little holes. This stuff will not bake on the metal, in fact once I had shot clays which leaves a fair amount of residue in the valve, but without cleaning I went duck hunting. Those high power shells of duck loads blew everything out and the valve was very clean since the Militec kept the stuff from drying on the metal.
Go to Brownells and get a "Port cleaning brush" There are 2 sizes get the smaller one. These are for cleaning ported barrels, but it is the perfect size for scrubbing the two gas ports that are in the top of the valve going into the barrel. Keep those clean. The only place I really use solvent anymore is the barrel, need a solvent to get it really clean. once in a while I will put a bronze brush on a cleaning rod and use a drill to really scrub the bore. Everyplace else is cleaned with the Militec, including the grooves in the receiver where the bolt rides.
I have had Beretta for years and now have 2 Extrema 2s-got a great deal on a lightly used one, so my backup gun is identical to my main gun. If you have ay questions on these guns feel free to PM me and I will try to help you out.
Nate Baxter, DVM
Thanks Nate. I'm a fan of Frog Lube and considered using it on the Xtreme but after these 200 shells I took it apart and everything wiped clean like it was polished. As if it already had a coating.
I think the Xtrema is a little different with the gas components too. I saw a nice comparison slide show here;
Is that what you were talking about?
Eitherway I read somewhere that the Xtreme was coated with something on the internals and I'm looking into that now. Like I said, everything wiped clean like it was polished. There wasn't a single baked on powder on anything so it would seem there is something on there.
I picked this gun up for exactly $1650 and not a penny more. Had to put $500 down to order. It arrived in less than a week and I brought the remaining $1150 and walked out in less than 12 minutes.