Monday, July 25, 2016

Beretta A400 Excel Piston Ring

I ran onto a shooter that had a piece broken off his Piston Ring (part of the piston assembly) . 

He said his gun was still working. 

I did some reading on the subject, as always interested in what spare parts to carry.

First off.  The piston assembly on the A400 needs to be inserted into the barrel cylinder before inserting the barrel into the receiver.  If not, you can bend the ring. 

Will something else cause it to deform?  Have no idea. 

I've read some have a habit of sliding the barrel cylinder on the part where the forearm cap attaches and not into the barrel cylinder.  They marry up once the barrel is installed, but I guess not always 100%.  If I hadn't read this could be a problem I wouldn't have never given it a second thought.

The piston ring bending (deformed) is not common.  If your at a shoot you can try to bend it back into shape and you should be able to finish.

My readings didn't come across a broken ring, but seeing is believing.

You can remove the old ring and install the new one yourself.

The serrated ring needs to be squeezed to reduce the diameter before inserting back into the gas cylinder.

A replacement ring at Cole Guns is $18.05.  Shop around you may save a few bucks.  If you have an A400 Xtreme it's a different part number.  Make sure you purchase the part for your model.

Speaking of Barrel Cylinder.  Next time you clean your A400 take a light (I took mine outdoors) and shine it on the area of the gas port.  I found a good bit of buildup.  After given it a good cleaning I made sure the gas port was clear.  Nothing fancy in regard to the gas port, used a large toothpick.  You may feel safer using a thin drill bit.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

D/U Sporting Clays Shoot @ Guan Ho Ha Fish & Game Club

Guan Ho Ha Fish and Game Club, Scotia (Schenectady), New York.  The website is lacking in regard to Sporting Clays, but trust me they do have a course.

A 2hr 20min drive and we didn't have to leave at some ungodly hour in the AM to attend.

Registration at noon, shooting started at 1pm. Shotgun start. 50 target event.

An old club that just this March opened an eight station sporting clays course.  I suspect the most clay targets thrown this year then in the last five years combined.  The club threw its 50,000 sporting clays target in this first season in mid July. Several told me the game plan is to expand the course to 12-14 stations.

A hot day, but thank goodness for the wind, as it made the course bearable.   Part of the course built along the skeet/trap fields, but skeet and trap machines not used.  The remaining of the course is in the woods.

I talked to a couple of new shooters and they were having a blast.  They didn't hit many but when they did you could hear the roar two stations over.

Got lucky with the Lewis and won a trophy.

A meal was included in the price of the shoot, to include soda.  Ducks Unlimited had the raffles that you see at such an event.  My arm length of tickets ended up being a donation to the cause.

Good shoot.  Everyone friendly and we had one good time.

We use a Rugged Gear cart at most shoots and used it today. I think that if I had a truck load I could of sold more then a few.

We hit two rain storms (one minor and one major) on the drive home and saw a deer standing in the right lane on I-87 a couple 100 yards ahead.  Well, north of Lake George and little traffic. When you see a deer in the distance you learn to go from 70 to 25 really fast : )


Saturday, July 16, 2016

T&S Shell Catcher for Beretta A400 Excel Blue and Multitarget

I shoot trap singles with my A400 Excel Sporting (30 inch barrel / No KO) and use the T&S Shell Catcher in order to not bounce shells off the shooter (or gun) to my right. 

Works perfectly, much better then the one I use on my 1100's.  Snaps in place and doesn't slide.

I've been wanting to change out the bolt button release on the A400 for a Beretta EZ Bolt release lever, but had been holding off as I was going to have to cut the tab off the T&S A400 Shell Catcher so it would fit with the EZ installed.

Long story short.  The wife shot my A400 a few times and at first had problems with the bolt button release.  She got better with it, but I knew it was time for the upgrade.

I saw mention on a talk board that someone was using a T&S that he cut down on a Multitarget and asked him if he was having any problems.  No problems and he brought to my attention that T&S had come out with a shell catcher specifically for the Multitarget (that comes with an EZ Bolt release installed).

Without the tab,$18.95.  With the tap, $13.95. 

The T&S Multitarget works with the A400 Excel and saved me the work of cutting off the tab.  If you don't have a gun with the EX Bolt, you want the one with the tab.

$5 more without the tab (shorter production run I assume).  Paying for the convenience.  Purchased two (2) as I know I'll misplace at some point. 

I visited several sites, but not in stock.  In stock at Gamaliel Shooting Supply.


Today was the first time using the Beretta EZ Bolt release lever.  Wished I had installed it sooner. 

Did I say my wife shot my Beretta previously.   Her gun stayed in the cart after the second sporting station and she shot mine all day.  Seems to fit her well.  Never worried about how man shells we both put through it in one outing, as it seems you can shoot it almost forever before needing a cleaning.


Also, today I experimented and shot STS 1 1/8 shells in sporting practice.  I switched between the STS and 1oz RIO that I've been shooting. 

Recoil wise, no difference that I could detect, but I'm sure there had to be. 

When you hit a target good with 1 1/8, it sure looks pretty : ) 

Will be attending a benefit shoot down in the Albany, New York region next weekend and will give them another workout, but 1 1/8 will be what I'm shooting when I attend the New York State Sporting Clays Shoot at the end of the month.


We were shooting sporting clays at the La Roue du Roy (Quebec) today and was told by staff that machines were being moved about this upcoming week.   Nice to hear that.  A few clubs I visit haven't moved a machine in recent memory (well, maybe a station or two).

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Beretta EZ Bolt release lever Installed A-400

If it wasn't for the YouTube video I wouldn't have been able to install the upgraded release lever as no directions for removal and install comes in the package.  I watched the video several times before I placed an order and had to go back to it a number of times during the install.

Before you start you need a 1/16 pin punch, a large paperclip, and Loctite Threadlocker Blue, and patience.

When you use the punch on the small pin (see video) I recommend you cover the area with a piece of scotch tape to protect the finish.

I went with a black release.

Did I say you need patience....

First time I had the trigger out. Hey, what can I say, it's an A400, not one of my 1100's.  Wiped down the trigger and also the inside of the receiver.   Not much to clean.  Compared to the 1100, re-installing the trigger took little effort.

I don't see any need for an oversized bolt handle. If the guns working properly the only time you need it is when you lock the bolt to the rear when departing your vehicle.

I thought I was going to have to modify the T&S Industries Shell Catcher Beretta A400 (cut off the tab) that I use for trap singles, but they've came out with a shell catcher for the A400 Xcel Multitarget (without the tab) that will fit without modification.

The shell catcher was suppose to arrive today, but the Post Office failed to put it on the truck at one of it's transfer facilities and I won't receive it until tomorrow AM.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

July Sporting Clays Shoot @ Northeast Kingdom

Northeast Kingdom Skeet & Sporting Clays Club - Burke, Vermont

Up at 5am.  Left the house at 5:30 and arrived around 8:30.  Coming in from New York and part of the trip is a 12 minute ferry ride across Lake Champlain.  Stopped at a McDonalds near the club to put on my rain pants, boots and too freshen up.

A wet, cool day.  Down to an on and off drizzle when I arrived and after 5 or 6 stations I took off my rain jacket.  I didn't have any slippage (mud) issues when walking this mountainous course. 

 Photo taken just off the trail between station 13 and 12.

 Peek a boo...

 My squad

Best hamburger I've had this year.

Surprisingly bugs weren't a problem.

* A number of photos displayed until you get to the video portion.  Peek a boo bear does make an appearance.

15 minutes after leaving the club the downpour began.   Rained pretty good on the way home for about 45 minutes. 

I was trying out RIO 1oz., #7.5 shot shells.  I usually shoot #8's.  I hit the edge and got a visible piece on more then a few targets that I thought I missed.  Maybe the larger shot size? 

I'm sitting on several cases of 1 1/8 oz. shells that I won over the years, but never shot.  The $80 a case stuff.  This weeks practice I'm going to give them a try and see if that's the direction I want to go or stay with 1oz. shells in competition.  Recoil issues over a long day or not?  I have the New York State shooting at the end of the month and the next couple of practice outings will decide what ammunition I'll be using.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Super Sporting Shoot @ Club L'Acadie

After an absence of sporting clays shoots at the club for several years a handful of shooters got together and put on a 75 target Super Sporting shoot at Club de tir L'Acadie.  

Three (3) courses with twenty-five targets each was the setup.  Targets for every level of shooter. 

Windy and overcast (and a drizzle or two).  Cool temperatures for this time of year.  The sun did make an appearance.

The shoot ran smoothly and finished quicker then anticipated. 

A limited number of shooters allowed due to the format and slots quickly filled.



Hats off to the crew that put the L'Acadie shoot together and word is a second may be planned this year, but....

Ten years ago in the part of Quebec that I routinely travel there was five clubs that held sporting clay shoots of some sort.  All fun, none NSCA, but a chance to participate at the tournament level.

Outside this Super Sporting shoot all clubs have ceased holding shoots.  The Montreal Skeet Club once hosted the World Police/Fire games. I think they no longer have a course.  Club Roue du Roy held shoots that saw shooters who'd travel for several hours to attend and not uncommon to see the 16 station course sold out for both the AM and PM rotation.

Hoping for a better future...

Friday, July 01, 2016

Another politician supports securing the border and deporting illegals

My mistake, that's the 2006 Hillary....

But, she is against given healthcare to illegal aliens...

And, came under sniper fire...

Next, someone well tell me she used to be pro-gun

But, in the day she was pro-gun....

Today’s staunch advocate of gun control was referred to as "Annie Oakley" by then-rival Obama in 2008.

(Hillary Clinton) You know, Americans who believe in the Second Amendment believe it's a matter of Constitutional rights. ...

I also disagree with Sen. Obama's assertion that people in this country "cling to guns" and have certain attitudes about immigration or trade simply out of frustration. People of all walks of life hunt — and they enjoy doing so because it's an important part of their life, not because they are bitter.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Jun 26 @ Vernon National Shooting Preserve

Taking advantage of attending a wedding in Syracuse Saturday evening we stopped by Vernon National Shooting Preserve near Vernon Center, NY on the way home Sunday morning.

A warm day, sunny and in the 80's, but a wind blowing through the trees on the course made for a bearable day.  Only a handful of stations in the direct sun, the rest inside the tree line (and in the shade).

The clubs website states 14 stations, but 17 stations is what we found.  We shot the course with IC choke.  A walkable course and that's what we did. The club has cart rentals.

Insert the card in the slot and hit the power button.  Remove the card and it turns off.

The V in the stand is for those need the extra room to open and close an O/U.  I found the cross post at an excellent height for youngsters.  With the number of youngsters (and women) I see at various clubs, time to ensure shooting stands meet the needs of people not 6 foot tall.

Station #17.  Could be the toughest targets on the course.  The wind can be your enemy.

Nice verity of target presentations. 

We ran into some very nice people on the course.  I gather they were regulars.

Station #8 you may or may not get to shoot, as it's also the area of the course that long bird practice machines are situated.  If in use you can wait, or pass and return (or take extra targets at other stations).  It was not in use and we shot station #8.

Back in late May my nephew contacted the club in regard to shooting clay targets as part of a bachelor party outing.  They had a blast and ended the day with a cook your own steak at the clubhouse.  The club has rental guns and will provide an instructor if needed.

Thanks to the club for letting us shoot at member rate.

We stopped at Bass Pro in Utica.  Fishing and hunting equipment in ample supply.  No sale on shotgun ammunition.  I'm looking at picking up another Beretta, but seemed all the Beretta guns in stock were hunting guns.

We passed a poor sole on I-87 that just hit a deer.  Looks like he almost missed it, as just the left front side of the vehicle was smashed.  Saw the deer on the side of the road and it didn't look that big, but it doesn't take much with the way modern vehicles are constructed.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A400 Xcel - Beretta Update

It's almost been a year and only in the last few weeks that I don't have to overly concentrate on controlling the swing of the firearm, especially in trap.

I've read that it could take up to a year to get comfortable with a new gun and for me it seems to be true.

A long time Remington 1100 shooter and obviously a much different swing.  After a few months of shooting the A400 I added a forend cap weight hoping to smooth out the swing, as I was shooting over targets and had to consecrate on controlling my swing.  It helped, but I still had to work on it.

I was at a fun shoot yesterday (skeet & trap) and missed two targets.

The week prior I attended a trap shoot and the winds were blowing.  Rained on in one round.  Shot a 92.

I think I was on the money in a few outings previously, but had problems with background and overcast skies, having a hard time picking up the target.  Maybe time to think about a different lens color for gray skies.

I couldn't tell you what spare parts to carry, unlike for my wife's Remington 1100 where I carry spare parts to replace anything that can break.  For the A400 I have a spare bolt handle and I did lose a mid bead and when I ordered a preplacement, got two.  I used Loctite when I seated the bead so I doubt it will be a future problem.

The gun is working flawlessly.  I wipe the barrel down with Remington oil after each outing and really don't touch the receiver.  Every three or four weeks I'll take the forearm off, remove the bolt and give it a bit of a cleaning. 

I don't have the KO recoil system and shooting with a 30 inch barrel.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Odds & Ends (Jun 2016)

Not having shot registered trap, nor been on a full squad since last year I was off my game shooting on a full squad at my first registered shoot of the year.

A different pace from shooting with one or two, then being on a full squad.  Didn't even think about it, but noticed quickly.  Also, in the last month I've been shooting trap practice with a tree background.  At the shoot I experienced various backgrounds, depending on the field. The target would just fade from view while trying to keep focus. It wasn't until the afternoon that I was able to keep 100% focus on the target.

Now, what do I take away from this?  Getting older and have to change the way I prepare for a shoot.

There is a couple of clubs in the region where I should of shot practice and assured full squads.  Also, by hitting a few different clubs I would have had the opportunity to shoot different backgrounds.


I was at a sporting clays benefit shoot and the second shoot I was at this year where for a few stations you had to snap shoot the second target, as if not, lost in the trees or hitting the ground.  Attention target setters.  We all don't have eyes of an 18 year old or the reflexes of a baseball shortstop. For sure I don't!


Thankfully, I not yet had the opportunity to eat warmed over hamburgers at a shoot, but I know it's coming : (


I posted previously I ran into a sale on RIO shells at Dick's.  My advice when you hit a sale, buy more then you can afford.  I'm shooting shells that I picked up on sale last year and under no pressure to buy at full price.  Push comes to shove you can always sell at a profit.


One bad knee (cortisone shots) and a second knee that the doc says is worse, but for whatever reason is not painful and not needing a shot.  I can shoot with the knees, painful or not, but throw in a bad back and doesn't make for a fun day.  Back went out at a shoot over the winter and it was maybe 4-5 weeks before I could move freely.  I pop two ibuprofen tablets just before I pick up a gun.


Almost a year I've been shooting my Beretta A400.  So reliable that I almost forget to give it a cleaning from time to time.  Shot everything from expensive to not so expensive shells without issue.  I couldn't tell you what spare parts to carry.  I carry an extra handle, shell catcher, and a mid bead (lost one). 
For my wife's 1100 I carry spare parts for almost anything you imagine that can break during a shoot. I always give the 1100 a good cleaning with Breakfree after every outing.


I ran into a shooter that I've known for a few years.  He always ran a youth skeet program at his club.  Asked how many shooters he had this year, he said none.  A new person in charge of the clubs skeet program basically told him to get lost.  So, because of a clash of personalities, no youth skeet program at the club.  Don't we as a shooting community have enough problems with people trying to close clubs and taking away the right to bear arms and we have this crap going on. 


Pat on the back.  We took our weed wacker to the club today.  We did the fields, around the club house, and the entrance gate.


Received my shoot confirmation for the New York State Sporting Clays Championships being held at Rochester Brooks at the end of July.  Travelling by my lonesome.  5-6 hour drive.  Don't know who I'm shooting with, but should be a good time.


A county in Southern Florida is putting in a new county run gun club.  All the bells and whistles that you can imagine.  For clay target shooters; skeet, trap, 5 stand, sporting clays, and 5 combination Olympic Bunker and International Skeet fields

The sporting course and 5-stand  is suppose to be in this year,  The Bunker and the other clay target disciplines sometime in 2017.

Major Olympic Bunker and International Skeet shoots a given.

I'm assuming at some point an official training facility for Olympic Bunker and International Skeet. 

I imagine a stopover for serious bunker/skeet practice (training) during the winter months.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Veterans Benefit 100-bird Sporting Clays tournament @ Vernon National

On Sunday May 29, 2016 Vernon National Shooting Preserve, 3291 Burns Rd, Vernon Center, NY, and the Central New York Veteran’s Outreach Center (CNYVOC) partnered to hold the 8th Annual Veterans Benefit 100-bird Sporting Clays tournament. Over the past 7 years this benefit shoot has made donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, the Fort Drum therapy pool, and the Rome Veterans Center. Vernon National Shooting Preserve has made it a priority to keep the proceeds of this benefit locally and with that purpose CNYVOC will be this year’s recipient. CNYVOC ( is an outreach group that seeks to enrich the quality of veteran’s lives and services Utica and the surrounding Central New York area. CNYVOC provides charitable, educational, social service, and housing services to veterans in need.

Registrations now conducted at the main club house building instead of the event tent.  Worked well and refreshments available.

Started out on the sunny side, but not more then halfway through the shoot you could hear the rumble of thunder (you can hear the thunder in the shoot video).  We got rained on pretty good at one point, but we were able to keep shooting when the rains stopped.  Three or four stations later and the skies opened once again with numerous lighting strikes.  That was it for me and walked off the course, calling it a day.

Two candidates running for the 22nd Congressional District Republican ballot spot were on the course. 

May the best man (woman) win.

The first time I seen the TrapMaster target release system.


On the return home about halfway between Speculator and I-87 we ran into a fierce thunder storm.  Lighting strike and no more then one second delay to hear the thunder, that close.  Driving about 30 mph instead of 55mph.  Luckily one vehicle ahead and I just followed his tail lights.   If it wasn't for the vehicle I would have pulled over and let the storm pass.

2016 Winchester Rebates

Earn up to $100 on AA purchases

For a limited time, earn $2.00 for each box of AA Target loads you purchase. Minimum purchase 10 boxes ($20 Winchester Ammunition Check) and maximum purchase 50 boxes ($100 Winchester Ammunition check). Offer is valid on qualifying purchases made between May 29, 2016 and August 13, 2016. Offer expires and all requests must be received by September 1, 2016.

This offer includes purchases on AA, AA TrAAcker, and AA Steal target loads. Step 1: Calculate your rebate amount. Step 2: Include original cash register receipt. Step 3: Include original UPC codes cut form the box. Step 4: Complete redemption form. Redemption form can be completed online below, or you can print the redemption form by clicking the yellow "Print Redemption

Flying with ammunition

It's suggested you visit the airlines website and read what they allow in regard to flying with firearms and ammunition, especially ammunition.


- Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.

- Firearm magazines and ammunition clips must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.

- Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber for a rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows the packing guidelines described above.

However; American Airline.

Ammunition must be:

In the original packaging from the manufacturer or in packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition (made of fiber, wood or metal). Ammunition is not accepted in magazines or clips.


Ammunition not packed properly can be confiscated!

Check out the airlines website before you travel.


Friday, May 20, 2016

May 20, 2016 @ Club L'Acadie

A Friday trip to Club de Tir L'Acadie

I shot the practice sporting clays course (think FITASC parcour), located between the Olympic bunker traps and the rifle/pistol range.  It has eleven (11) machines, to include two rabbit machines, set in a circle.

We moved a plastic bucket around to designate shooting station. You want to shoot a long bird, so be it.  30 yard crosser, not a problem.  We just moved the bucket.  A few directions you couldn't shoot, like towards the access road.

No set presentations.  Bring out 25 shells and shoot what you want, from any machine when it's your turn.  On your call; singles, reports, following pair, true pair. 

No slow targets.  Targets flying fast.   Think the length of a sheet of plywood or more for leads on some of the presentations (depending where the bucket is set).
A good workout for the serious shooter.  The club also has a thirteen (13) machine 5-stand.

Shooting the Rabbit

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Florida Clay Target Clubs (skeet, trap, sporting clays, bunker trap)

I've completed my Google Maps listings of Florida Clay Target Clubs. 

Florida Clay Target Clubs

I've indicated the clubs that offer sporting clays.

The latest club added is Bay County Shooting Range.  They just added a sporting clays range.

If you notice any issues drop me an email.