During my last trip to Gunsite, I finished up my work with Beretta’s A300 Ultima Patrol.
No two shotgun barrels are the same. It’s easy to stand by that statement because they darn sure do not pattern alike. As a result, the starting point for any serious work with a practical shotgun is its pattern with defensive ammunition – this almost means 00Buck for 12-gauge guns, though #1 Buck can be quite useful as well.
Most view Federal’s Flite Control as the gold standard of defensive ammunition. Over time, I have been very favorably impressed by two Hornady offerings – their Black and TAP 12 gauge loads with the VersaTite shot cup – from the same gentleman responsible for the Flite Control up. I have also been happy with the reduced recoil load from Winchester’s Ranger law enforcement line. It has done well for me in a variety of barrels.
I started with the Winchester load in the 1300 Ultima Patrol and fired a series of shoots on Gunsite’s Option (see the photo below). The five-yard shot was well within the palm of my hand and would have stayed within the scoring area for the head. At ten yards, the pattern was still noticeably smaller than the head. While the 15- and 20-yard patterns had opened up, both would have easily stayed within the gum drop-shaped scoring area on the target’s chest.
The A300’s patterns compared to a 1301 with Vang Comp’s barrel work – both using Winchester reduced recoil 00Buck.
At first, I compared a Beretta 1301 with a Vang Comp Systems modified barrel to the A300. Yes, each pattern was smaller, but that was expected, given Vang’s barrel modifications.
I also shot Fiocchi’s nickel-plated and Remington’s law enforcement reduced recoil 00Buck loads for pattern size. Even though I am not a fan of the plastic discs Remington uses as buffering material, their load did not fair too badly.
How a variety of loads from Hornady, Remington, and Fiocchi performed out of the A300.
During the range sessions, I fired a variety of 00Buck and smaller shot loads through the Ultima Patrol, including Fiocchi, Hornady, Remington, and Winchester.
A box each of 1 oz slugs from Federal Premium and Hornady American preceded 30 rounds of Winchester Ranger one-ounce reduced recoil slugs. After zeroing the Aimpoint on paper, I worked on a steel target at fifty yards.
Slugs from Federal, Hornady, and Winchester went through the Ultima Patrol at 50 yards.
As has been long known, less lethal loads will chamber and fire, but they are generally too light to cycle the action. Not the gun’s fault, as these loads are designed for use in pump-action shotguns.
Two things here, one is reliability, and the other is speed.
While shooting the Ultima Patrol, I experienced three failures to eject. Two happened early on with 00Buck loads from Fiocchi. During the last range session, one shell from a mixed bag of loads also failed to eject.
With a bit of work, I got my shot to shot time down this low.
Because of the speed concerns, I re-visited shooting multiple shots on a C Zone steel at ten yards. I did this with a variety of reduced recoil 00Buck loads. After running several 3-5 shot strings, my splits were consistently in .20s. During this time, my fastest was 0.19, and 0.32 was the slowest.
As a left-hander, I appreciate the ability to reverse the mechanical safety so I can use it correctly. The 1301 can do it. While I did not reverse the safety on the sample Ultima Patrol, the A300 design also allows for this.
With a trigger guard mounted safety, whether front or back, you can de-activate it by pressing inward with your trigger finger. There are two different ways you can put the safety back on.
In one of them, I roll my hand under the trigger guard until my middle finger touches the safety button. Then I can push it back outward, into the “on” position.
Working the unmodified safety by manipulating it with my shooting hand thumb.
With the other method, I move my hand off the grip while spreading the thumb and index finger apart. I’ll move underneath the trigger guard with the thumb until it touches the safety button. Again, I push it outward and back into the “on” position.
The two-piece rear sight is not adjustable for elevation or windage.
The rear sight is not adjustable for either windage or elevation. This prevents adjusting the sights to the shot pattern or slug group. While the shotgun is optic-ready, there are benefits to having an adjustable rear sight. According to another Gunsite, the 1301’s rear sight will mount onto the A300.
And, as mentioned in Part 1, I have been shooting this with Aimpoint’s Acro P2 – attached with a B&T mount. I have been using their optics since 1999. Nothing I saw with the one I was sent for this article changed my mind about how good this are.
This is a solid performer. It has a tremendous capability for less cost than other well thought of offerings on the market. This is an excellent choice for agencies looking to have a specialized shotgun program (or individuals who want a very capable gun). The Ultima Patrol can now be found for less than one thousand dollars from retailers. I absolutely recommend buying this gun – Beretta’s A300 Ultima Patrol.