When you shoot a Breda, you’ll have the following conversation more than once:
“Is that a Benelli?”
“No, it’s a Breda.”
“Don’t they own Benelli?”
“That’s Beretta. This is a Breda”
“That’s what I said.”
“No, you said Beretta, this is a Breda.”
“Beretta or Breda?”
And so on.
Breda has been in business since 1922, and it’s best-known for making machine guns for the Italian military. However, Bruno Civolani, the engineer who developed the inertia system, worked for Breda, which at one time owned half of Benelli before selling their share to Beretta. The upshot to all of this is that Breda shotguns are eerily similar to Benellis. In fact, the Breda Grizzly is almost exactly the same gun as the original Super Black Eagle.
Breda guns have been imported to the U.S. in the past, but Breda USA handles them now and hopes to raise their profile here. Currently, they have a few dealers in the U.S. including Cole Guns, which also handles their service (Cole handling your service is a Good Thing) and their guns are also sold on the Able Ammo website. The lineup, all semiautos, includes 930i sporting gun and some nicely engraved and stocked high-grade models as well as the Grizzly and the 3-inch Chiron, one of which I have been shooting lately.
The Chiron is a 3-inch, synthetic-stocked waterfowl gun. It features a steel receiver and a different take on the inertia operating system. In place of the rotary bolt of most inertia guns, the Xanthos has a bolt that locks into the top of the barrel extension with a vertical lug. As Breda USA’s Jeff DiLazzero explained: “Bruno Civolani was left-handed and he didn’t like unburned powder in his eyes, so he designed an action that stayed shut a little longer than the rotary bolt.” The other advantage to the design is that it will not jostle open and go out of battery the way rotary bolt guns do, leading to the “Benelli click” misfire, which could also be called the “Breda click” or, to cover both bases at once, the “Bruno click.”
The Chiron loads in a manner similar to the 1100. You depress the bolt release with the base of the shell to raise the carrier and slide the cartridge into the magazine. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s fast and doesn’t grab your fingers as some semiautos do. The steel receiver gives it a more solid, between the hands feel than most alloy-frame guns. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it doesn’t cycle anything lighter than 1 1/8 ounces, although that’s not much of a concern in a waterfowl gun. The Chiron sells for $1449.