July 2007

Midrange Autoloaders: Winners From Beretta and Browning

The Browning Gold Evolve Sporting and Beretta’s AL391 Teknys Gold Sporting share few common elements, but each did a credible job of breaking clay targets with comfort and style.

It is rare that we pick up two guns for testing that are radically different in appearance, balance, and weight and yet don’t have one that outshines the other for whatever their intended purpose might be. But that’s just the case we had between our hands with the new Browning Gold Evolve Sporting semi-automatic 12 gauge 011262428, $1287, and Beretta’s AL391 Teknys Gold Sporting 12 gauge J391T78, $1800.

Though both are aimed at the competitive sporting-clays crowds, the only commonalities these two share are that they’re both 12 gauges and their semi-automatic actions are gas-operated. One weighs significantly more than the other, they possess completely different balancing points, and when it comes to looks, one would never be mistaken for the other on a gun rack. Yet after putting these guns through the rigors of both skeet shooting and several rounds of sporting clays on a course of middling-difficult and diverse targets—and with both sports shot several times with a raging wind that really tested the dexterity of these types of firearms—we felt the race was very nearly a tie when it came to functionality, fit and finish, and handling.

For accuracy, we shot both guns standing at 40 yards as measured by a Bushnell rangefinder (as if for patterning) and from the Shooter’s Ridge Steady Rest on Midway USA’s MTM portable shooting bench for point-of-impact tests on the National Target Company’s shotgun patterning target. Both proved accurately regulated). We used an RCBS trigger-pull gauge provided by Midway USA to assess trigger weights.

Here’s how the race unfolded.

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