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Beretta 3901 Target RL Makeover

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by rogertc, Mar 1, 2009.

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  1. rogertc

    rogertc Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    I have been looking for a trap/skeet gun for my younger 4-H shooters and settled on the Beretta 3901 Target RL 26”. It has adjustable pull 12” to 13”, an adjustable comb, and choke tubes. I picked an automatic to reduce recoil and the 26” barrel for overall balance in a youth gun. It is getting to be a great gun after the following:

    The comb adjust mechanism came full of stock finish and walnut sawdust throughout. Seems some stock finisher in Italy hasn’t got a clue that finish and routing dust make a hell of a mess when combined in a comb “memory system”. I tried to make an end run by buying Graco replacement comb hardware but the holes were slightly off and it wouldn’t fit. This gun has brass inserts in the stock that take machine screws to hold the hardware in place. Any misalignment and it won’t go together. The part in the comb fit perfectly but the part in the stock didn’t. Graco is looking in to it. I removed the Beretta hardware and soaked it in mineral spirits. Took me a day with a brass bristle brush and the mineral spirits to get it cleaned up.

    I ordered an Angleport extended unported MOD choke and installed that for Trap. The gun comes with a flush Beretta IC choke which should be fine for skeet. The Angleport MOD throws a perfect trap pattern and is very reasonably priced!

    With the comb all the way down the sight picture showed space between the beads and the gun shooting left. I moved the comb to the right to align the beads and went to the range. Some of the kids tried it but didn’t like the high sight picture and the pressure required to close the action. A friend of mine came by and told me the gun looked like it was cast-on. A quick look at the edges of the front spacer confirmed he was right. Assembled for a left hand shooter by Beretta right here in America – AMAZING.

    I measured the front and rear comb drop and found the back of the comb was 1/4" higher than the front. When I pulled the stock off I found Beretta USA had not only installed the spacers backwards (cast-on) but they had installed the wrong spacers. These were 50mm/65mm drop spacers and neither one was going to put the comb where it belonged. I ordered 55mm/60mm spacers from Coles and installed them for cast-off and 60mm drop. The comb drop is now level at 1-3/8” front and rear drop. With the comb all the way down (skeet) the sight picture is a flat rib. 13” LOP seems to suit all the juniors so I installed both spacers to bring it to that dimension.

    Next project was to install Angleport’s closer. I found their instruction video on YouTube. It’s not quite as simple as they would have you believe. Brownells has a short pin punch (080-000-242) that takes out the roll pin beautifully. The paperclip removal of the pivot pin is a bad joke. That pivot pin is driven in there. I took a small finishing nail (wire brad 1x17) and filed off most of the point. I then grabbed the nail at right angles with vise grips (heavy pressure) and fed it into the ejection port and down into the pivot pin hole. Multiple heavy smacks with a hammer on the vise grip jaws and the pin came out the bottom of the receiver. Closer installation was normal after that. The kids love the closer after trying to mash that small Beretta button. It looks great and clears the receiver by 3/16” when fully depressed.

    Last but not least I ordered a “Gas Valve Spring Set” from Coles. This set allows you to fine tune the Gas Valve on a 390 to work with normal target loads. The gun comes with a 41# all-around spring that will give you a faster bolt speed, more recoil, and more wear and tear than necessary with target loads. The lightest spring in the kit (26#) dropped the target load hulls at my feet. In the interest of reliability I put in the next heavier spring (31#) which threw the hulls about 3 feet. Coles sells these springs individually if you know what strength you need. I bought the kit of 5 different springs since I didn’t know what was going to work and because I have 3 of these guns to set up. I will use this kit to test the other two guns and buy the individual springs I need for them.

    Hope this helps anyone considering one of these guns.
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