A properly cared for shotgun is imperative to the performance of your Beretta, whether you’re an upland hunter, waterfowl hunter, or if your target of choice is breaking clays on the range.
Many hunters and clay shooters will shoot thousands of shells in some of the most diverse conditions before giving their shotgun a deep clean as they prepare for their next hunt, range session, or storing until they begin to prepare for their next season.
But first, let’s talk about safety. Safety for many firearms owners is at the forefront of their minds when they operate and store their shotgun. Every hunter, clay shooter, gunsmith, and firearms enthusiast will discuss the various pieces of gear that keep you and your firearm safe and in working order. However, your shotgun requires regular maintenance to keep your firearm safe, too. With every shell that fires from your gun, there is unburned powder, residue from plastic shot cups, and dirt in the barrel and action of the gun. It doesn’t take much for your gun to jam or a cycling issue to occur when your shotgun needs cleaning. Keep reading as we take you through the essential steps for shotgun cleaning and care.
STEP ONE: PREP YOUR SPACE
Before you begin cleaning any of your firearms, always make sure your gun is UNLOADED and the action is EMPTY to avoid accidental discharge and the barrel is pointed in a safe direction. Whenever you are handling a firearm, be sure you are following the four rules of gun safety. Always make sure to check your action and barrel, then check, and check one more time before you begin maintenance.
Once you are assured your shotgun is safe to begin cleaning, you will want to prepare your space and gather your cleaning supplies. The ideal location to care for your Beretta shotgun is in a well-ventilated area, such as a room where you can open windows or a garage. Please note, many of the cleaning solvents used to clean your firearms contain harmful chemicals - if you encounter these harmful cleaning solvents, please contact Poison Control for assistance if you experience prolonged contact.
STEP TWO: FIELD STRIP YOUR SHOTGUN
Begin field stripping your semi-automatic shotgun by removing the magazine cap. Once you have removed the magazine cap, remove the forearm and barrel from your shotgun. From there, you will see the piston located on the barrel of your semi-automatic shotgun. Slide the piston out. On the piston ring, you will notice an O-ring, that is the piston ring that acts as a gas seal. As you care for and maintain your semi-automatic Beretta, it is important not to damage the gas seal as your gun will not cycle properly. Lay your magazine cap, forearm, barrel, and piston on your preferred work surface on top of your shotgun cleaning mat.
Next, we will remove the bolt spring and the action assembly. Remove the bolt assembly by pushing the bolt head in (or back) a small amount while pulling on the charging handle. Once the charging handle has been removed, you can also remove the assembly. Set the assembly to the side for the time being. If you’re performing this maintenance at home and don’t have a bench block, you can use a piece of wood for the receiver of your semi-automatic shotgun.
Take your punch and a hammer and tap (lightly) out the cross pin, which retains the trigger assembly. As with all other parts of your semi-automatic Beretta, place these parts on your work surface. It is handy to utilize a small magnetic tray or cup to secure small loose parts during cleaning and avoid parts falling from work surface where they can be damaged or lost. Following the removal of the trigger assembly, we will remove the firing pin in line with your owner’s manual instructions. When you follow the owner’s manual for reassembly all parts will seamlessly go back into the reach bolt assembly
If for any reason you begin to question yourself, consult your owner’s manual at any point during this process.
STEP THREE: BEGIN CLEANING YOUR SHOTGUN
At this point in the process, open your Beretta cleaning kit and open your solvent of choice. Coat a patch (patches are included in your cleaning kit) with your preferred gun cleaning solvent and clean all the small parts, set them aside. Next, assemble the barrel cleaning rod from your cleaning kit, coat the barrel brush with solvent, and clean your barrel. Run the cleaning rod from chamber end towards front (towards choke). Leave your choke within the barrel to avoid damaging internal threads. When your barrel is clean, run a cotton mop down the barrel to remove any leftover residue. From here, we’ll move on to the gas cylinder. Using a patch and solvent to clean the gas cylinder (it doesn’t need to be immaculate) set the barrel aside.
Note: don’t put any oil on the gas cylinder it will cause your shotgun to malfunction.
Now move to the receiver. Once again, coat a patch with solvent and wipe down the inside of the receiver. During this step, be sure to apply additional lubricant to this area as it sees more wear. Once you finish the receiver, look over the trigger assembly and inspect for any broken pieces while wiping dirt off. Add lubricant to the moving parts of your shotgun and set aside. At this point, the critical internal parts are cleaned, and you can continue to the outside of the shotgun. Wipe down the outside of the shotgun with patch and oil, then move to the reassembly of your semi-automatic shotgun.
STEP FOUR: SHOTGUN REASSEMBLY
Before you begin to reassemble your shotgun, locate all the small parts you placed on your cleaning mat when you started your field strip. Insert the trigger assembly into the receiver retain it by tapping the trigger pin LIGHTLY. Next, reassemble the bolt assembly and insert it into the shotgun, along with the charging handle (again, you will need to push back slightly on the bolt to insert) and lock the bolt to the rear. For now, set the receiver aside and move onto the barrel.
As you locate the gas piston and identify your piston ring, insert the gas piston into the gas cylinder (beware not to allow the piston ring to bend or your shotgun will not work). Place the gas piston fully into the gas cylinder and mount the barrel onto the receiver. Finally, slide the forearm on, (careful to seat forend in place with ease, especially with wood furniture as to not damage the bottom edge of forend) and tighten the forend cap until it is tight plus a quarter turn.
STEP FIVE: CHECK THE CONTROLS OF YOUR SHOTGUN
Manually operate all controls of your shotgun to ensure it is operating as intended and safely. Again, pay attention to the operation of the safety and ensure that the bolt locks to the rear of an empty chamber.
Once you have checked all controls of your Beretta A300 Ultima, you are ready to bust some clays, head out to the blind, or safely store it for the next season. Shoot straight and let it rain green heads.