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Breda B12i semi auto shotgun review

Breda B12i semi auto shotgun review

As an owner of the ‘out of the box’Practical/3-Gun ready Stoeger M3K, I’m always interested in so called race ready shotguns and keen to see if they are in fact ‘race ready’! That said though, I’m certainly no Jerry Miculek and, when it comes to reloading at speed, well, more cartridges end up on the floor than in the gun! However, a gun that is built to help the shooter with the pretty important task of reloading certainly gets my severed thumbs up! Breda have done a great job on the Breda semi-automatic shotgun B12i, that’s for sure! Now, this one on test is just the 3-shot model, so I really got the feel of reloading it when at the range, plus I had a round of clays with it too, as well as the odd pigeon at the farm.

breda-b12iAs you can see, there are a few things on this shotgun that are a little custom like, the big bolt handle (or charging handle) the bolt release and loading port, to name but a few. Let’s dig in deeper.

Close scrutiny

Starting from the recoil pad then, the pad itself is nice and soft, with texturing to aid grip in the shoulder and, what with this shotgun being an inertia operated one, it needs to be tight in the shoulder, to give it that ‘bump’ to help cycle the action. The stock is, as you can see, synthetic; it’s pretty solid and I particularly like the rubberised top part of the cheek piece. Underneath, there is a hole to attach a sling swivel, which by the way is provided by Breda as standard, like most of their models. The take-down nut on the end of the forend already has one fitted. Now, when it comes to ergonomics, I have normal sized mitts and, although I use my left one most of the time, it fits comfortably around the pistol grip, which has a ‘dimpled’ sort of texture to it, rather than the usual chequering.

Jumping ahead to the forend, there’s the same texturing, although it doesn’t have a great deal of traction. Yes, I’m one of those shooters that like to put grip tape all over his firearms to enhance grip! I certainly would on the B12i, especially the underneath of the forend.

Breda B12i practical semi-automatic shotgun review


Heart of the action

Now, often on custom shotguns that are intended for practical shooting, one will often pay good money to have some milling work done, to open up the loading port. No need on this shotgun however, as the 12i is out of the box ‘quad loadable’ and is pretty obvious too when you see how much meat Breda have taken away around the loading area. In fact, I don’t think it would be possible to take anymore material away from the receiver without compromising the strength of it! They have even taken away the sharp corner, well, catchy bit, where the charging handle runs back into the receiver; not only is it better for the little pinkies but it also gives a bit more access for cleaning. The loading gate itself is super slick and is not catchy in any way. As for quad loading, though, I look more like a bad juggler, what with cartridges going everywhere when I even attempt to try, I’ll stick to doubles for now!

Moving to the trigger guard, it is all polymer with the as mentioned big cross bolt safety at the rear of it. Breda have actually improved on the trigger guard design on their very latest version of this shotgun, which isn’t here in the UK yet, but I did see it at this year’s IWA in Germany. They have swapped out the polymer trigger guard for an aluminium one and it has a ramp or slide design to it, so that you can literally push a cartridge or cartridges cleanly from its ramp and straight into the mag tube. It looks very slick but alas, not on this current version.


Getting choked up

The barrel is in a matt black anodised finish, with a high and wide ventilated rib with a red fibre optic bead up front. As expected, a full range of chokes are supplied as standard.

Field stripping is very easy and more conventional than other Bredas that I have tested. Unscrew the take-down nut and the barrel and forend will slide off. The receiver on the B12i is just a one-piece affair, rather than a two-piece like the 930i or the 3.5SM, which certainly makes life easier if you happen to have any issues, not that you will though, because I found that this and all the Bredas that I’ve shot to be pretty damn reliable! That brings us nicely to range testing. I ran this gun with various loads and it performed very well indeed. As with any semi auto shotgun though, it requires loads with a bit of welly behind them to cycle the action, so in testing I mainly put 32s and 36s through it and also some buck shot and slug. It ran really well and I did get it pretty hot even though it is a 3 shot. The only hiccup that I had was a failure to feed but I think that was down to me not pulling the gun in tight enough. The B12i comes in a very durable carry case with a set of five flush fitting chokes.


Overall, I’m very impressed with all the shotguns from Breda that I have tested and so far, I don’t think they have put a foot wrong with their products; let’s hope they keep it that way! Safe shooting!

This article originally appeared in Gunmart

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