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Discussion Starter #1
My son is getting into trap/skeet/5 stand. He's shot some and is really liking it so I want to get him better equipment. He is 11 and is about 110 lbs. I've had some input on the 303 and 391 due to their dependability. An A400 is a bit too bulky for him. What I'm after is understanding the differences between the 303 vs the 391. Are any parts interchangeable? Also what is your general opinion of these 2 guns. Thank you in advance.
 

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Look at the A300 Outlander synthetic. Stock is adjustable for LOP.
 

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I never owned a 391 but I did have a 303 in the mid 1970’s. It was a soft shooter for me, easy to clean as far as semi autos go and a good clay buster. Wish I still had it, but it was stolen.
 

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If you only ever intend to shoot standard 2 3/4" target loads, buy the 303.

If you intend to shoot 3" magnums occasionally, or very light 2 3/4" target loads (sub 1oz, sub 1200fps), buy the 390 and a spring kit.

If you intend to shoot 3" magnums frequently, buy the 391.

Beretta never improved on the 303. The only thing subsequent generations provided was the ability to shoot a wider range of loads, from very light 2 3/4" loads to 3" magnums without needing different barrels and/or gas piston springs. If you're shooting mid-range loads (1oz @ 1200fps+, 1 1/8oz @ 1145fps+) anything made after the 303 will be no benefit to you.

You can add the 3901 or A300 to the list as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited by Moderator)
303

I had written a 6 paragraph reply when the site crashed.

Pat
Sorry to hear that but thank you for putting in the effort.

If you only ever intend to shoot standard 2 3/4" target loads, buy the 303.

If you intend to shoot 3" magnums occasionally, or very light 2 3/4" target loads (sub 1oz, sub 1200fps), buy the 390 and a spring kit.

If you intend to shoot 3" magnums frequently, buy the 391.

Beretta never improved on the 303. The only thing subsequent generations provided was the ability to shoot a wider range of loads, from very light 2 3/4" loads to 3" magnums without needing different barrels and/or gas piston springs. If you're shooting mid-range loads (1oz @ 1200fps+, 1 1/8oz @ 1145fps+) anything made after the 303 will be no benefit to you.

You can add the 3901 or A300 to the list as well.
Thank you for the input and a few more options to add to my list.
 

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Are the trigger groups of the Beretta autoloaders interchangeable. Which one would be best for a 391 pull trigger? Lester
 

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Both are great guns.

There is a large following of Beretta 303 shooters who swear by them.

I've owned both, and like the 391 better. In fact, I own three 391 Gold Sporting models with 30" barrels. Shot them for years.

Currently, I'm shooting a Beretta Multitarget, which is one of the 400 series models, and I really like it and shoot it "lights out".

IMO, what it all boils down to is find whatever Beretta semi-auto that he shoots the best and has the most confidence in, buy it and shoot it.

You can't go wrong.

Oh, I almost forgot, some of the parts on a 303 and 391 are interchangeable, but not all. For an example, the bolts and trigger assemblies will, but the barrels and stocks won't.

Good Luck and Good Shooting!
 

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I'm a beretta auto fan. I've got 4 303s, two trap models and two sporting models, 2 390s and a 391. The 303s are the simplest of the bunch. 390s are probably the best. The 391 has a bit different gas system that seems to be a bit harder to clean. Ive shot the 303 to the point I had to soak the piston and rod assembly in a can of kerosene to get it to come off to clean further. It was still functioning with 1 1/8 loads, just wanted to see how reliable it was compared to other autos. I dont think you could go wrong g with any of them. Their great guns! Ymmv.
 

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Once I ran across an article while googling the 303/390/391. It explained the progression through the series, as skeet_man stated, it is all about the type of shell. The great unwashed tried to shoot the 303 with 3" stuff and never considered the wear and tear it was putting on the bolt buffer and spring. Eventually the buffer goes out and you start hammering on the receiver.

If only the shooters had changed out the spring and buffer occasionally the receivers would have held up and we probably never would have heard of a 390 or 391.

A few years ago I was at a large SC shoot in Florida, one station was backed up several squads, as I placed my 303 in the rack, it joined 5 others there as well and all 6 had "R" stickers on them.

Jack Concannon made a name for himself modifying the 303's into his Jack O Matic, he sold quite a few of them.

Pat
 

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A vote for the 303. I shoot one for SC. Simple to take down to clean. Cosmetically superior to contemporary models, mine has great wood. Most importantly it is balanced nicely and weighs only 7.5 lbs. Fits me perfectly. All steel, no plastic. Mine has Mobilchokes so it is very versatile. Trap models come up from time to time. Beretta makes great autos so it’s just a matter of personal preference.
 

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I have an immaculate 303 with feather crotch wood that I bought in Vandalia in 1987. I’ve tried to like the A400 but can’t get past those cheap ugly plastic parts Beretta stuck on the forearm and the pistol grip. Why??!!.... to me it ruins the gun. Same goes for plastic hardware on the stock butt.

Back to the 303, I love mine.

.
 
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I have two of each and they are all terrific guns. I’d go with whichever is in the best shape and is the best price.
 

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A stock 303 is a great choice. The one I used to have had slight creep in the trigger and the trigger felt too narrow. Still a great gun BUT.... The 303 with a little trigger work and a moneymaker barrel is a pretty incredible gun. Any of those choices are good. My opinion is to see which one fits him the best and feels comfortable to him. Bottom line is that no matter which one you or anyone else says to go with.... it only matters which one feels best to him.
 

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303 trigger is the best, move it to the 390 or 391. 303's had flat ribs, even the trap model. 303 has a less adjustable stock
 

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I have several 303’s in 12ga but when I started my 12 year shooting I bought a 391 20ga. It was lighter and had a slimmer fore arm, much easier for him to shoot. After he grew and got stronger he switched to one my 12ga 303’s.
Both are good guns but I prefer the 303.
 
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