Breda Xanthos Damasco Twelve Gauge Autoloader Part Two


As best as I can describe the current Breda line, the Breda Hermes is a similar platform to the Benelli M2, and the Breda Grizzly is very close to the Benelli Super Black Eagle. Breda Meccanica Bresciana has been around since 1953. I do remember and have shot the older long recoil Breda shotguns, but that was long ago. The Xanthos, at least according to Breda, was introduced in 2006.

This top locking lug design is attributed to Bruno Civolani. The Xanthos and the plastic-stocked Chiron model share the same action and the same steel receiver. Of the Breda line, it is the Xanthos / Chiron action that is the most interesting. The top lug bolt design would not be possible with a comparatively weak alloy receiver. The Xanthos does not rely on a rotating bolt, so that would seem to vanquish the dreaded “Benelli Click” to a degree.

The speed-loading from the magazine directly into the chamber is a slick idea, but the tip of your thumb gets sore in a hurry pushing the shell in the magazine forward then releasing it: the rim of the hull gets a free swipe at your thumb tip every time. The magazine cut-off fares much better, as you just push the button on the left side of the receiver and clear the chamber, throwing in a different load while leaving the shells in the magazine undisturbed. It is also handy when crossing a fence and so forth, when you want an empty chamber in a hurry.

It has been extremely windy here in Northern Illinois, with 58 mph gusts and a goodly portion of rain, snow flurries, and the “wintry mix.” Anyway, I was in a hurry to get the initial Breda shooting in, with more rain in the forecast (it is raining right now) and more wind and rain on the way. So, it was off to the farm to give the Xanthos some attention.This Xanthos is a miserable jammer. What Breda USA publishes on their website is, "The Xanthos models are suitable for frequent hunting trips, as well as, recreational days on the skeet or sporting clay range.  Xanthos models will reliably cycle loads from 2 ¾ inch 3 dram – 1oz. target loads to 3 inch duck loads."

Although Breda claims it will handle 1 oz. loads and up, it jammed repeatedly with 1 oz. 1200 fps Federal Top Gun loads: specifically, failure to feed. It then jammed repeatedly with B & P F2 Legend 1-1/8 oz. 1230 fps loads. To rule out the possibility of Jupiter misaligning itself with Mars, causing strange and unusual B & P behavior, I shot some of the same shells through a Browning B-80 which performed flawlessly. It was yet more jamming with the Breda Xanthos, and then I tried a third load: Federal Gold Medal 1-1/8 oz. 1145 fps loads. The Xanthos jammed repeatedly yet again.

Over the years, I've tested countless inertia guns, including a pair of Girsan models, two Browning A-5 models, three Benelli Vinci's, Benelli Ultralights, Stoeger models, several Franchi Affinity models, Benelli Super Black Eagles, and so forth. Not one example has had any problem with the loads tested in the Breda. See for just one article comparing three inertia guns: All three shotguns had no issues with factory Federal Top Gun 1 oz., 1180 fps loads.

This Xanthos was supplied by the importer and had already been used, so the old fairy tales of cleaning away mysterious factory preservatives and the special pleading notions of “break-in” butters not the parsnips. As far as the heavier bolt of the Xanthos significantly reducing recoil, that also proved to be without merit. The Xanthos feels just like any other 7 lb. solid-stocked inertia gun, meaning it is clearly and obviously a harsh shooter compared the lighter 6-3/4 lb. Fabarm L4S, the 7 lb. Browning Maxus, and so forth. Now, I certainly cannot say that all Xanthos models are jam-o-matics, not at all, for this is the lone example before me. However, for a $2995 premium, top-of-the-line autoloader to do so very poorly would be acceptable to no one. For any modern autoloading shotgun to be this problematic is tragic. For this reason, just fundamental reliability, the Breda Xanthos richly deserves to be flunked: and that is the only honest assessment that I can rationally award to it. 


Pure opinion by Randy Wakeman.

Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.



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