Warning, lots of gun nerd stuff.
You may or may not recall that in my super wordy review of the Beretta 1201FP, I described the ‘cruiser ready’ condition of this particular model of shotgun. Unlike American semis, manually cycling the bolt does not automatically advance another round from the magazine tube. This is important, because if one attempts to store and then use a 1201 in the manner they would, say, a Remington 1100 (fully charging the magazine tube then manually cycling the bolt), the user would get a “click” when they expected a “BOOM”. Thus, the proper method is to fully charge the magazine tube, then press the shell advance button on the bottom of the shell lifter to allow a round to ride on the lifter under the closed bolt. In this condition, working the bolt then pressing the trigger would give the expected result.
This bothered my devious yet feeble mind. While the technique is a fool-proof and safe method of keeping a shotgun ready, it did mean that there were only five rounds sitting in the magazine tube, and potentially I could have one more if I could just figure out the secret!
And, I did!
nb: Please only practice this with DUMMY ROUNDS for the first few tries until you become confident in your fingers. There are a couple steps where a round may be accidentally chambered.
nb 2: This technique works on older, pre-PC 1201s. Newer 5 round models may run into problems.
Step 1: Fully charge the magazine tube with 6 rounds. Acquire a seventh.
Step 2: Pull back and lock the bolt in the open position. The lifter will come up.
Step 3: Insert the 7th round through the ejection port and press it down so that the lifter latches in the lowered position.
Step 4: While controlling the bolt handle, press the silver bolt release button and allow the bolt to slide forward a tad. nb!: pressing the bolt release hard may allow another shell to advance from the magazine tube! This is a very difficult to resolve jam, that I have only cleared by using a butter knife to press the shell back into the tube.
Step 5: To get the bolt to close over the 7th round, press the shell advance button on the bottom of the lifter as the bolt is unlocked. This will allow you to press the lifter down far enough to allow the bolt to pass over the shell.
Step 6: After allowing the bolt to mostly pass over the shell, get your fingers out of the way and let the bolt slam forward to properly close.
Voila! You now have a totally charged shotgun with no shell in the chamber! Devious minds like mine may wonder what would happen if you executed the above drill while also keeping an 8th round in the chamber. I believe that firing the shotgun in that condition would jam it up in a double feed, but I haven’t actually tried it.
If you arrived here from google or a forum, please check out my Beretta 1201 followup.