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I hear lots of talk about the Benelli's, but how do the Beretta combat autos do? I see CDNN has the Beretta on sale, and was thinking of getting one.

One concern though is that it only holds 5 shells, whereas most other combat shotguns hold 8. What's up? Did Beretta put a spacer in that full-length mag tube?

Also, can you get chokes for this gun?

I want a home defense gun, but frankly for a little more than the Beretta I could get a Bushy Carbine .223.

Any thoughts?
 

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I have tried hard to like the 1201FP; it is light, handy, and reliable with any factory load I have tried in the ones I have had the use of. I think it would be a primo patrol or defense long gun and for that use I'd pick it over a Benelli, certainly at the CDNN price. It just isn't much fun to shoot; it is a notably hard kicker. I think the short recoil action enhances the felt recoil, it is less comfortable to shoot than my double of about the same weight. You might not be bothered, the owner of the first one I tried did not understand what I was complaining about.
I think the current magazines are plugged, they used to be a 6+1 gun. In fact the Beretta USA site still shows a 6 shot mag, but I have seen that CDNN ad and other references to a 5 round capacity.
All the 1200FP and 1201FPs I have seen were cylinder bore guns with no other option of choke or choke tube.
For actual defense, I'd want one, but for extended shooting like a 3-gun match I'll stay with my Remington. Take a close look at your situation and decide whether a rifle or shotgun would best suit your location.
 

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Don't be too quick to write off the Beretta 1201FP, especially if you are looking for a handy home defense gun. I recently bought a used 1201FP from a MD Police Officer, and I have nothing but good things to say about it.
As Jim mentioned, it is very light and handy, and mine has been faultlessly reliable. The only problems I've had was 1 FTE when I failed to grab the gun securly enough during firing, compounded by the fact that I was firing rather underpowered ammunition.
The 1201FP design is a Beretta made clone of the old Benelli M121 Riot gun (Beretta owns Benelli, after all) and uses the exact same inertia locked rotating bolt. In fact, a graduate of the Beratta Armorer's course mentioned that the bolts were interchangable between the two.

As far as capacity goes, Beretta recently made internal modifications to the mag tube to limit the capacity to 5 2 3/4" or 3" shells. The Beretta, unlike a Benelli M1 or Remington, has the barrel attatch to a threaded plug at the end of the fixed magazine tube. This makes for a stiffly mounted barrel with little slop, but also removes the option to extend the magazine tube. And since there are pistol grip stocks available for the Beretta 1201FP, Beretta chose to crimp the magazine to hold 5 shells instead of 6 to be in compliance with the assault weapons ban.

If you were to buy a Benelli M1 or a Rem 1187P with a full pistol grip stock, you are limited to 5+1, so there is no real loss in capacity. Another point to consider is that like the Benelli, the Beretta will function with a round on the bolt carrier. A bit of bolt manipulation would allow you to hold 7 shells, should you feel the need.

The choke is a cylinder bore, intended for buckshot and slugs, but like many Italian shotguns, the barrels are speced to the minimum dimensions, causing them to pattern a bit tighter than a typical Rem Cylinder bore.
It is a light gun and, while I don't find the recoil objectionable, proper form, a correctly fitted stock, and a good recoil pad go a long way to fight the kick. The Choate adjustable stock adds a thick recoil pad and stock spacers to adjust length of pull. I have the full PG model and it does fit more comfortably, while giving enhanced control of the gun when firing or reloading.

I'm don't wish to debate its suitability for home defense vs a Bushmaster carbine, but the sight of my 1201FP propped next to the wall is very comforting.

[This message has been edited by Cthulhu (edited 09-14-2001).]
 

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Originally posted by Whispering Smith:
I hear lots of talk about the Benelli's, but how do the Beretta combat autos do? I see CDNN has the Beretta on sale, and was thinking of getting one.

One concern though is that it only holds 5 shells, whereas most other combat shotguns hold 8.
When people start niggling about capacity, I am always reminded of the question, variously attributed to Tommy Campbell and the late Bruce Nelson: "Why? Are you planning on missing alot?"

I am a big fan of the Beretta 1201FP3… and before that the Model 1200 version. I've had one for about ten years now, it has always given me superior service, and is, as I like to say, "the thinking gunperson's Benelli alternative at half the price."

Well, the 1201FP prices have appreciated considerably over the past three-four years, and what was once available wholesale for $335, was well over $500 last I looked… I don't know what the CDNN price is that attracted you. Still…
  • With the difference between what the Benelli Super 90 and the Beretta 1201FP3 will cost you, you can get a couple of cases of ammo and some instruction, and you will be w-a-a-a-y ahead of the game.
  • The two guns share many parts in common, and for the greater part are produced in the same facility.
  • It is lightweight as all get-out, yet rugged as hell.

What's up? Did Beretta put a spacer in that full-length mag tube?
Beretta USA is a fierce and formidible proponent of the Second Amendment, as they have proven on many occasions, but they do, unfortunately, turn a little bit Nellie from time-to-time when they start trying to read smoke signals from Inside the nearby Beltway. They have actually discontinued importing the Models 1201FP on at least two different occasions, and then reintroduced them in a "more-PC" variation, The first time, right after the '94 Crime Bill, when they brought the gun back it, it was with a less prominent "pistol grip" on the stock. They next time they pulled it back, it re-emerged as a five-plus-one gun, a la the Models 1200. This was done, not with "spacers," but by changing the geometry of the tube and forend. (Some may also have observed that the standard 1201FP3 barrel was, along the line, reduced in lenghth from 20-inches to 18-inches.)
Also, can you get chokes for this gun?

I want a home defense gun, but frankly for a little more than the Beretta I could get a Bushy Carbine .223.

  • [*] If this is to be a "home defense gun," why are you asking about chokes? (But no, the barrel's steel is a little light gauge for chokes, the only complaint I have about my beauty… Hans Vang can't do his version of the ol' "jug choke" backbore on it because if that.)
    [*] I'm still very comfortable with my 1201FP3 (tricked out by the Gunsite 'Smithy back in '93), but my friend Patty Rogers, probably the foremost proponent, and instructor, of the "tactical carbine" around today, makes a compelling brief for "anything one can do with a fighting shotgun, can be done more effectively and efficiently with an M4-style carbine."[/list=a]

    Jim Watson sez:
    I have tried hard to like the 1201FP; it is light, handy, and reliable with any factory load I have tried in the ones I have had the use of. I think it would be a primo patrol or defense long gun and for that use I'd pick it over a Benelli, certainly at the CDNN price. It just isn't much fun to shoot; it is a notably hard kicker. I think the short recoil action enhances the felt recoil…
    I demur, most vociferously!

    With all due respect, that "hard kick" is more a factor of the mount, than the shotgun, and I wonder if you're trying to mount and shoot it the same way as your double, which you assert gives you no problems.

    But the damage is done, and you've already frightened off young Whispering Smith, who seems to…
    …have a hard enough time already with 12 guage recoil.
    I urge you then to get the Beretta, and take some of the money you've saved on it, and get some instruction! There's a fellow by the name of Rob Haught instructing tactical shotgun who Ken Hackathorn swears has the best, and simplest, recoil management technique going! Check it out, unless you're just into hardware acquisition, and can't be bothered with the software end of it. (He writes, with ill-disguised contempt for thems what are!
    ) Happily, I took a John Farnam Defensive Shotgun course a long time ago, and that has served me well over the years.

    Cthulhu debuts with an auspicious post to which I subscribe enthusiastically in all respects. The man certainly knows his Model 1201FP, and apparently knows how to shoot it!

    Dean, jus' visitin' from The Gun Zone
    (And, in the interests of full disclosure, Senior Scribe and Plankowner. Lodge 1201, John Mattera Chapter - Unspeakable Order of Serious Social Shotgunners)
 

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I am also a devotee of the 1201FP. After years of using various Benellis, I had to purchase a shotgun for my wife, who is at best, an occasional shooter. I quickly found the Beretta. Unfortunately for her, I shot it, now she gets the Benellis. The one improvememt I made was an extended charging handle from GG&G.
 
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