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Beretta UGB Xcel shotgun review

Beretta UGB Xcel shotgun review

Manufacturer: Beretta

Beretta UGB Xcel shotgun review.
Beretta’s sparkling new semi-automatic, the UGB, has been a long time coming.

It was first talked about 10 years ago and after a huge amount of design work by the Beretta team, it’s on sale, at last.

As you can see, it’s an eye-catcher. The UGB (Ultimate Gun Beretta) was supposed to have been launched in 2005 but that proved to be a false start because Beretta decided after initial shooting trials more work was needed.

The gun is a semi-auto but is totally different to any other out there at the moment largely because it is a unique break action gun in much the same way as a conventional over-under or side-by-side shotgun.

The UGB is essentially a trap gun because these disciplines provided the parameters for its design. Semi autos have never been popular for trap shooting because the ‘unbreakable’ semi never looks safe, a real cause of concern for a line of competitors taking it in turns to shoot.

This is particularly so when a semi-auto user moves station or walks from one end of the line to the other to take his place on Stand One.


The owner of such a gun might be wholly safe, but to other shooters he’s a distraction as his gun can only be seen to be 100% safe – ie unloaded – on close inspection.

The other distraction with semi-autos is that they can eject spent cases case into the space of a neighbouring shooter who is concentrating hard on his next shot. Having an empty shell hit you in the ear hole is definitely not conducive to good shooting!

However the advantage of a semi auto in trap shooting is that the gun is softer on recoil thereby allowing for a more accurate and faster second shot. It’s also lighter at the front end so it moves easily and the longer action frame helps provide a sighting plane for more precise shot placement.


With this break-open design the gun can now be seen to be safe and the fired case is ejected downward and away from the shooter. This minimises distraction and also makes the gun suitable for both left and right hand shooters.

To avoid spent shells brushing against the user’s hand a bump has been incorporated into the bottom of the receiver as a guide for the hand to keep forward of.

To keep moving parts to a minimum the gun works on the short recoil principle which should help keep the mechanism cleaner and more reliable.

The shape is obviously more complex than other auto’s but the smooth rear lines of the receiver do draw the eye nicely into the line of sight, aiding target acquisition.


The gun’s opening lever is on the left side and the first cartridge is loaded with the gun opened in normal fashion. After closing, the second cartridge is then placed on the carrier on the right side of the action. And the rest, as they say, is history.

• Over-bored Optima barrel with extended forcing cone and Optima multichokes to reduce recoil and pellet deformation
• Weight 8lb, 9 lb when fitted with recoil reducer
• Chamber length 2.3/4in. Barrel length 30in
• Well figured stock and fore-end wood. It’s a gun that would suit a synthetic stock
• Easy fit stock with shim system to alter cast and drop to suit the user
• Adjustable comb with Beretta memory system
• Adjustable stock length thanks to the recoil pad plate
• Water resistant stock
• Ergonomic fore-end shape for uniform grip


Not everyone is going to be a fan of this gun. We have one in the shop now and there are two camps of opinion – one for, the other definitely against.

Whether you like it or not it’s an interesting concept and certainly does address some issues inherent in semi-auto’s.

Trap shooting might’ve dictated its design but I think the adjustable stock could easily be used for sporting disciplines. Watch this space.

Build Quality 9

Handling 9

Styling 10

Value for money 8



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