For the price the Breda 930i is a serious contender to join the bigger Italian brands
Overall Rating: 96%
Price as reviewed: £1,825
As we are still in summer season clay shooting mode, this month I thought I would try the Breda 930i to take a look at. I have to say I wasn’t sure what to expect at all because I hadn’t seen one in the flesh before. And, again, like the last few guns I’ve looked at I was pleasantly surprised.
Breda is a multi-faceted company not just making Sporting and competition shotguns, it also is involved in maritime engines, thermal power plants, locomotive construction as well as special steel construction. In 1953 the Breda company was sub-divided into smaller more manageable and specialised companies. From this, Breda Meccanica Bresciana was born.
When most people think of Italian semi-automatic guns they tend to go with the big two of Benelli or Beretta, but after looking at this Breda I would now add it to that list. The typical Italian style was plain to see. Long slim lines, polished gloss blued barrels with extended chokes and the nickel action work really well. The maker’s hard case, with soft foam cut to fit the exact profiles of stock, barrel and extras (chokes/shims/adjustable stock spacers) stands it above the norm.
The gun fitted together easily and came to the shoulder nicely. I wasn’t sure about the shiny action to start with because I’m not a big bling fan, but the more I looked at it, the more it grew on me. It is available in red or blue (trigger guard/bolt release and cocking handle) and I think either look good. The selected wooden furniture finished it all off beautifully. Available in 12-bore only, with a barrel configuration in 28in or 30in, Breda has kept things simple by avoiding the over complication of too many choices.
As you would expect from a company with its heritage in quality engineering, the workmanship on the metal work was really well-executed. The receiver was made from something called Ergal, which is a lightweight alloy and you really could feel just how light it was. I was also impressed with the accessibility through the top of the action with the removeable top cover. It made everything so much easier to clean – you know how essential cleaning is for semi-automatics! As most of the internals were a nickel finish there’s no hiding bits of dirt.
This gun has some very nice touches that make it well worthy of joining the more well-known brands. Wood-to-metal finish was of an excellent standard all round, as was the external and internal metal surfaces. The fore-end looked a little longer than usual but it held well and fitted the hand nicely.
The magazine comes in either four-shot plus one or two-shot plus one with the crimp on the tube. The barrel was well struck with blued gloss finish and a 3in chamber suitable for magnum cartridges – not that I would take it on the marsh because the gun is way to good for that. The tapered rib and High luminosity fibre optic site and extended custom made competition chokes finish the job well.
The user adjustable trigger and the ability to customise the gun to fit the user’s needs for the price you pay puts the 930i above the bigger brands in my opinion. The adjustable stock is very similar to the Marocchi Evo. The allen key height and pitch adjustment keeps things simple as long as you don’t lose the key! The large cocking handle and bolt release make for easy loading which is essential for competition or hide shooting. The adjustable 2oz weights that can be added to the fore-end or to the stock to change the balance point are a clever little touch.
When it came to testing the 930i I used a variety of cartridges from 2¾in 21g 7.5 right up to 3in Gamebore Mammoth 36g no.3 shot. The gun cycled flawlessly as you would expect from the inertia recycling system, which generally has fewer cycling issues than the gas recoil systems, and shot well. It was let down only by the user! Although, I would have liked a left-handed version to avoid the cartridge ejecting across my face, but you can’t have it all. I tried it from the right shoulder which was less off putting but not my natural side, so we had mixed results of success!
I really like the 930i. It has the look and feel of a gun that should cost a lot more than it does. It’s a serious contender with the other Italian brands and should not be overlooked if you are in the market for a quality semi-automatic shotgun.
Weight: 6lb to 7lb, depending on 28in or 30in barrel and weight configuration
Chamber: 3in Magnum multi-extendable choke
Barrel: 28in or 30in
Overall length: 50 in (28in barrel fitted with extended choke)
Scores on the doors
Build quality: 24/25
Value for money: 24/25
Should not be overlooked if you are in the market for a quality semi-automatic shotgun