Reviews Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol: This Is My Boomstick [Hands-On Review] Steven Kuo May 1, 2023 3 Comments, Join the Conversation For just a moment, put aside the unpleasant stigma of creepy Uncle Joe associating shotguns with self-defense, or even uttering the word “shotgun” at all. As much as we love rifle-caliber platforms, shotguns are still fantastic and versatile weapon systems. A load of 00 buckshot can deliver eight or nine pieces of lead, with over 1,500 foot-pounds of energy on target, all at once. Not to mention a hefty 12-gauge slug, which can produce twice as much energy as that. Then, load up some birdshot, adjust your choke, and you can hunt birds or play some games with your very same gun. However, most repeating shotguns come with limited-capacity tubular magazines, requiring you to continually think about reloading and to proactively manage differing ammunition types for different needs. There’s a reason people refer to shotguns as the thinking man’s gun. Invest the time and effort into the art, and you’ll be rewarded in kind. Beretta’s excellent 1301 semi-auto 12-gauge shotgun is one of our favorite tactical shotguns. We reviewed the 1301 and have customized them in previous issues. However, it retails at over $1,700 in tactical guise, so it can take quite a chunk out of your wallet — even more once you trick it out. So if your eyes are bigger than your bank account, Beretta now has an alternative for you. A300 ULTIMA PATROL Behold the new Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol. Retailing at $1,099, it comes ready to go right out of the box. The only thing you need to do is mount up an optic, if you want one, a weaponlight, and a sling. That’s it. Based on Beretta’s A300 platform, the new shotgun has a 19.1-inch chrome-lined barrel with a 3-inch chamber and interchangeable chokes. Ours arrived with an Improved Cylinder choke installed and no other options included in the box; the chokes are Beretta’s Mobilchoke system, if you want to get some extras. A large front sight post with a red fiber-optic insert adorns the muzzle, matched with a ghost ring rear sight on the receiver. A full-length magazine tube that holds seven rounds stretches to the muzzle, with a polymer sleeve capping it off. A plastic barrel clamp includes QD mounting points for a sling and M-LOK slots for accessories. Its forend is comfortably slim with aggressive checkering and includes M-LOK slots at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock at the muzzle end. The aluminum receiver features a short piece of Picatinny rail on top for optics. There’s an enlarged loading port with extended carrier for smoother loading, as well as extended bolt handle and bolt release controls. The A300 breaks down in a straightforward and predictable way. One notable difference compared to the 1301 is that the recoil assembly extends into the buttstock; note the rattail on the bolt assembly. The oversized cross-bolt safety is located in front of the trigger, and the carrier stop button is nestled at the rear of the carrier on the bottom of the gun. Also included with the gun is a piece of custom-cut adhesive Velcro that you can apply to the left side of the receiver to attach shell caddies, a thoughtful touch. As it’s a tactical configuration, the Patrol comes with a shortened traditional buttstock with a 13-inch length of pull. The stock can be adjusted with spacers to fine-tune drop, cast, and length of pull. The two included LOP spacers are 1/2 and 1 inch in length. The A300 operating system is gas-operated, with a “self-cleaning” cylinder and piston. A compensating exhaust valve bleeds excess pressure from hotter loads to prevent overcycling, while still allowing low pressure cartridges to cycle reliably. The assembly is attached to the barrel and slides over the magazine tube. A connecting rod with a sleeve aft of the piston rides on the magazine tube and runs the bolt. The A300’s bolt has a falling block lock-up design, as compared to the 1301’s rotating bolt in its BLINK operating system. Also differing from the 1301, the A300’s recoil assembly extends into the buttstock, with a rattail on the end of the bolt. Practically speaking, this means that the A300 has less flexibility in buttstock options and doesn’t cycle as quickly as the lightning-fast 1301. But unless your last name is Miculek, you probably won’t come close to outrunning the A300. To disassemble the A300 Patrol, lock the bolt to the rear and ensure it’s completely clear. If you have the barrel clamp installed, remove it. Then unscrew the ratcheting mag tube cap and slide the forend forward. Pull the barrel assembly out of the receiver, and remove the forend adapter. Gently release the bolt forward and yank out the bolt handle (this is easier said than done until it begins to loosen up). Slide the connecting rod and bolt assembly forward and out of the receiver. The gas-operated A300 features a “self-cleaning” cylinder and piston. A compensating exhaust valve bleeds excess pressure from hotter loads to prevent overcycling, while still allowing low pressure cartridges to cycle reliably. Removing the trigger pack is easy; there’s just one retaining pin to drift out. Note that the trigger guard is made of polymer. KITTING OUT THE BOOMSTICK The included ghost ring sight system is perfectly serviceable, but this is 2023 for crying out loud, so we had to mount an optic. We started with our trusty EOTech XPS-2, whose gray color coordinated nicely with the gray receiver on our sample gun. While it sat pretty high, EOTech’s iconic, blindingly bright circle-dot reticle was super quick on the range, becoming the circle of death to any offending piece of steel nearby. We then swapped it out for C&H Precision Weapon’s new Duty optic, a closed-emitter design. Compact and rugged, it features 10 brightness levels (including two night vision compatible settings), 50,000 hours of battery life, and shake awake functionality. It might be a bit bulky on the shotgun, but the EOTech XPS-2’s gleaming circle of death reticle spelled the demise of any steel targets within reach. It has an ACRO mounting footprint, so we clamped it on American Defense Manufacturing’s lightweight ACRO mount with titanium lever. This worked very well to slay yet more menacing steel targets. Cheek weld was acceptable, though you can’t co-witness the iron sights with this setup. You could get your optic even lower by opting for an aftermarket direct optic mount that replaces the factory top Pic rail. A weaponlight is the next essential accessory. We installed SureFire’s new Turbo Mini Scout Light Pro, a high-candela light that punches out with a scorching 95,000 candela using the included 18350 rechargeable battery. Its reflector concentrates the beam with minimal bounce. The M-LOK-compatible low-profile hinged mount attached easily to the Beretta’s forend, tucking the light tightly against the gun. The business end of the Beretta. Note the fiber-optic front sight, interchangeable chokes, full-length extended magazine tube, andM-LOK slots on the forend. We then installed SureFire’s DS07 pressure switch, securing it to the forend with double-sided tape and tidying up the cord with a Strike Industries rubber Bang Band. This makes the light very intuitive to activate without modifying your support-hand grip. To attach a sling, Beretta provides a QD socket on the bottom of the buttstock (not our preferred location) and QD sockets on either side of the barrel clamp. Clearance on the sockets is tight; we tested an assortment of QD sling swivels from our gear drawer and some wouldn’t stay locked in. Overall, the A300 Ultima Patrol is a great shotgun — an excellent package at a reasonable price. We’ve seen similar complaints about this from owners on gun forums, so before relying on your sling, make sure the swivels work reliably — you might need to cherry pick them. We’re not the biggest fans of barrel clamps, which can affect your slug zero; you can always use other sling attachment methods or take advantage of the M-LOK slots on the forend. GOING BOOM WITH THE BOOMSTICK Beretta tuned the A300 Ultima Patrol to run Federal LE127 Flitecontrol 00 buckshot, so we did the majority of our testing with it. But we also tested a wide range of other ammo, from light target loads to full power slugs and turkey loads. The Beretta digested everything we fed it, with no malfunctions or cycling issues at all. Beretta clearly hopes that agencies will take a hard look at the Patrol, and we hope they do too. The shotgun ran perfectly, pointed naturally, and handled very well. We passed it around to several shooters with differing backgrounds. Our LEO tester loved it, appreciating the short stock and wishing his agency would issue him one to replace the 870 in his squad car. Our experienced shotgunners also very much enjoyed the gun, though we both preferred a longer buttstock. Felt recoil fell somewhere between inertia guns and the softest shooting gas-operated shotguns on the market. Back to back with a similarly configured 1301, it was difficult to discern a notable difference in shooting feel. Loading was relatively easy; Beretta hogged out the loading port even more than on the 1301. We were able to quad-load the Patrol, though 3-gunners would want to open the port even more, tune it, and possibly extend the carrier further. Even with the extended factory carrier, those with skinny thumbs or sloppy or rushed technique can still get snagged. The trigger isn’t bad for a shotgun, but you won’t confuse it with a match trigger. Our sample was a bit mushy and broke at around 5 pounds. A trigger job is probably in its future. When you get a new shotgun, you should pattern it with your chosen ammo — in other words, shoot at paper to see how the pattern opens up at various distances. Since shotguns deliver a payload downrange, this will give you critical data on what to expect at different distances. At 5 yards, Federal LE127 Flitecontrol buckshot punched out a ragged 1.5-inch hole. At 10 yards, the pattern spread out to about 2 inches. And at 20 yards, the Federal buckshot spread to just over 9 inches. In comparison, Winchester RA1200 buckshot covered 2.5, 4, and 14 inches, respectively. Since you’re responsible for each piece of lead that you send downrange, your patterns are critical information to always keep in mind — depending on the situation, you might wish to switch to slugs. In the name of science, and not because it was fun, we also shot groups with slugs. Our best group with Winchester Ranger slugs was 3 inches at 25 yards. This was with iron sights. We subsequently mounted optics but weren’t sufficiently motivated to repeat the not-particularly-comfortable process. Hand cycling the action was unusually stiff at first, like a novice politician at his first press conference. It’s loosened up as we’ve put more rounds through the gun, but it’s still nowhere near as slick as a 1301 or our own buttery-smooth, heavily customized 3-gun Benelli. To be clear, the gun has been 100-percent reliable for us in live-fire, so this is more of an annoyance, especially for dry-fire practice. Overall, the new A300 Ultima Patrol is a great shotgun. Beretta has put together an excellent package at a reasonable price. Besides your preference of light, sling, and optional optic, it really is completely ready to go from the factory. It puts pellets where you point it, every time. Oh, did we mention that not only is it available in black and gray, it also comes in tiger stripe camo? Time to reach for that credit card. SPECS: Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol Caliber: 12-gauge Capacity: 7+1 (23/4-inch shells) Barrel length: 19.1 inches Overall length: 38 inches Weight: 7.1 pounds MSRP: $1,099 Accessories: C&H Precision Weapons Duty optic: $465 American Defense Manufacturing ACRO Mount Titanium Lever (Low): $139 SureFire M340DFT Turbo Mini Scout Light Pro: $399 SureFire DS07 Weaponlight Switch: $185 Strike Industries Bang Band (5-pack): $11 Total as tested: $2,298 Explore RECOILweb:Hollywood HeatersRECOILtv SHOT Show 2019: Really Right Stuff Tripods and GearSavage Improves MSR 15 with Its Recon LRPFirst Look at Magpul Gloves: Core FR Breach, Patrol, and Technical NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. 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