Beretta AL391 Urika 2
Beretta never lets a good product stand on its own, choosing, rather, to always improve upon a winner. A fine example of this is its AL391 Urika 2, part of the company’s American Waterfowler collection. A gun evolved from Beretta’s original AL390, this most recent model has improved functionality of 40% and reduced maintenance of 50%. This latter is the most impressive, as late-season waterfowlers will do their thing in conditions that can make consistent reliability an issue. To counter this, the AL391 features a new piston design that provides several benefits. First, it possesses four flexible tabs that adhere to the gas cylinder wall during firing, helping to regulate pressures across a spectrum of loads. Start with a 3 ½-inch load, followed by a 3-inch and then a 2 ¾-inch pair of loads in the magazine and have no fear that one will lead to a partly ejected hull or a poor feed. The piston also possesses a number of cleaning bands that continually scrape combustion residue from the piston itself—and if you’ve ever had a semi- gum up in cold weather, you’ll easily understand the benefit of this “self-cleaning-oven” approach. Now, add in the superior recoil pad system on the back end, grip inserts at all the right places, and the Max-4 Camo outerwear, and this gun’s a winner all the way around.
MSRP: Beretta’s website lists this gun at $1,620, pretty competitive in today’s large lineup of high-quality semi-auto shotguns.
Sean Mann Eastern Shoreman
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not an expert caller, so I appreciate a call that lets me get the job done without hours of trying to be good at something I’m not. Sean Mann’s Eastern Shoreman is one of those calls. I bought mine, an acrylic version, some 15 years ago or so, when I was living and hunting in Virginia and Maryland. I always managed to turn the geese in the air and have them come ’round, despite my total lack of technique. I attribute the success I’ve had with that call, now celebrating 25-plus years of success, to the tube’s genuine sounds and rich tones, as well as the complete lack of effort it takes to make anything “goosey” come out of it. Seriously, if I can fool them with this one, anyone can. Still available acrylic (though in a half-dozen more colors than I had available when I bought mine), and a variety of gorgeous hardwoods, including a fondle-it curly maple, any goose hunter would do well to add this call to their arsenal.
MSRP: Depending on material, www.seanmann.com lists this design from the champion caller anywhere between $159.99 and $199.99. A special 25th Anniversary model lists at $250.00.
The Author Recommends: The Beretta AL391 Urika 2 used to be the AL391 Urika and, before that, the AL390–any of them are great guns to shop for on the used gun market. Know what you're buying (and selling!) with the Gun Digest Standard Catalog of Rifles and Shotguns 2012. This is the world's only illustrated gun pricing reference guide dedicated just to long guns and a must-have for those scouring gun shows and the used rack at your local gun shop for bargains. And remember, this month, with every purchase you make at www.GunDigestStore.com after clicking through this blog, you get a free digital download of an exploded drawing–just use code HUNTBLOG2 at checkout!