[Guest Post] The Beretta Folding Shotgun

[ I am pleased to present this guest post written by Bill Rushmore. Bill blogs over at The Quarterdeck Log]

When you think of a single shot inexpensive shotgun geared towards the beginner chances are that Beretta is not a manufacture that comes to mind. But at one time that was indeed the case when Beretta made such a gun. I like to brag that when I was a teenager in the late 80′s I bought a Beretta Shotgun with money I made during a summer job. But the truth is that my Dad sold me his first shotgun he bought as a teenager during the early 60′s. My Dad sold it to me for the token price of $35 US which is the price he paid for it.

This nifty little single shot from Beretta has been called the Model FS-1, Model 412, Companion, and in Italian it is known as “Monocanna Ripieghevole” or “single barrel folding shotgun.” The unique part of these single shots is that they break up to the point where it folds in half. In finding parts for this gun I had trouble because is not appear to be all that common, at least in the US, even though Beretta manufactured these single shots from the 1920′s until 1992. They made it in 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, and .410. Even though it was marketed towards the beginner hunter it was manufactured in plain basic models up to fancier ones with hand engraving, walnut stocks, and even gold plating.

The model I own is a nice little 12 gauge. It is a fixed full choke that gives very tight patterns. It is the base model yet still has checkering on the stock and fore grip and some fancy engraving of the Roman goddess of victory. How many many beginner single shots have anything like this?

The shotgun is very light and according to specs it weighs 5 ½ pounds. That’s very light for a 12 gauge. That is great for a hunting gun when you have to carry the thing around all day but not so good for reducing recoil. The prime factor in how much recoil you feel is weight. The lighter the gun the more recoil you get. That’s the one big draw back of this otherwise fine gun, especially if you consider beginners. To give you some perspective this gun feels lighter than my New England Arms Pardner 410!

I must admit I have a fondness to the break single shot shot guns (and rifles for that matter). Too often they are seen as just a beginners gun but I really appreciate the simpleness and the sporting nature of making your one shot count on the hunt. I think Leonardo da Vinci said, it best “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • An American company whose name escapes me made a knockoff of this shotgun, one of which has been sitting in my father’s gun cabinet unfired for about 10 years. That’s roughly the time required for one of us to forget how painful it is to shoot and to take it out again. The stock has been drilled and filled with shot, after which the gun promptly cracked its stock almost in two just behind the grip. It is a magical weapon, to be sure.

  • B Woodman

    Like the woman’s little black basic dress. Elegance in its simplicity, and never goes out of style.

  • I also started out with a South American clone of that one!

  • B Woodman, I agree!

  • Carl

    I agree about the soundness and simplicity of having a single barrel. Having more than one barrel just seems really inefficient to me (unless you need it for cooling, like on a gatling gun…).
    If you need to shoot more than once rapidly, use an autoloader.

  • Matt Groom

    Something similar to this was being marketed by Century a few years back by a Turkish company named Khan. It was a pretty nifty folding 12 Gauge, but I never saw one in person, and I was looking! I wasn’t aware that anyone had done this before. I love single barrel shotguns because they’re cheap, plentiful, and often work as take-down models, but folding models sound even better!

  • Noah Sachs

    I totally agree, the Beretta single barrel folding shotgun is not only an elegant gun but the use of it teaches discipline and technique. Definitely the Beretta was a treat, it was my first gun, and I highly recommend it.

  • Mark Weiss

    I have an identical shotgun only its a 28 guage, 28 inch barrel checkered stock and grip with beautiful scroll work by J.L. Galef and Son N.Y. N. Y. MAVI-GARDONE VT Italy with a serial number 131833. I wanted to find the value of this shotgun but have had no luck. If anyone can help to determine the value please email me at colinestable@aol.com its in excellent condition.

  • I owned a 410 model of this Beretta. My 1st firearm, bought at a Flea Market in Charleston, SC for 50.00 in the mid 80s. I was about 15 yrs old I wish I was smart enough back then to have saved it. 410 ammo was high, back then for a young teenager. I sold it to a buddy who ruined it. I deployed to Iraq in 2004-05 and started my love affair with firearms and now look back at what a nice firearm it was. I’m currently in Afghanistan deployed as a Scout Sniper. I qualified as a B4 ( Sniper School ) back in Sept 2009 @ Camp Robinson, and Fort Chaffe. God Bless America and thank you all for your support of our Soldiers.

  • I have a 20 gauge Beretta folding shotgun that is like new and in excellent condition. It has not had a box of shells fired through it. It was made in Brazil yet it has the Beretta name on it. I have wondered about the value of the gun.

    • Gary Bunker

      Dear Gary,

      I had a Beretta model 412 given to me as my first gun in the late 1950s.
      Sadly it was stolen.
      I want to find one for my grandson for his 12th birthday.
      Would yours by chance be for sale?
      Gary Bunker
      Prescott AZ

  • Jerry

    I have a 20 gauge, made in Italy circa 1963. Hasn’t been fired for 45 years due to no firing pin and broken trigger gaurd. Anyone know where to get parts?

  • James

    I have a Beretta .410 like that except mine has an English stock….my Uncle gave $15 for it in 1963/64

  • Does anybody tell me anything about the 24 gauge? I’m going to buy it: never used, never shot.

  • dan

    ive got a gun that i believe to be a clone of the beretta 412 made by investarms. single shot 12 gauge with a short barrel and a pistol grip stamped protector on the top. do any of you know where to get parts for this kind of gun? ive been searching like a madman for a firing pin but cant find anything but furniture

    • Jesse Bellei

      Have Northern Magnetic LLC Gunsmithing fix your Beretta or Companion FS1 single shot shotgun. They do excellent work and have knowledge to make part and properly heat treat it, if needed. (262) 339-1798

  • hicham

    Does any one have a historical information about the beretta fs 1 /years of made / city / and price plz . And why it so fancy with the roman godess of victory . Thnx

  • Tom C

    I have a Beretta folder (12 Ga 30″ bbl) that I bought new in 1970. Awesome gun that kicks like a mule. Still in perfect condition.

    • Mike Davis

      Do you want to sell the gun? If so, what are you asking for it?

  • JIM

    I have a Pietro Berreta 410 Paratrooper serial #C85145single shot (Fucile Rinforzato Speciale Brevattato) just like the one pictured except it has a silver alloy area around the firing pin/trigger area. It is for sale as soon as I can determine a value. Any ideas? 618-383-4119 or 321-261-5787

  • jonathan stodel

    I have the 410 baretta in working order, inherited from my dad who bought it brand new in the 50’s. Awesome birder, with little or no recoil here. One would assume that the designer always had the smaller gauge in mind, and that the 12 bore was an afterthought.

  • I have beretta fs 1 folding 12bore gun in very beautiful condition chember is 3″ i used my weapon very carefully it is very nice gun in india only 4 to 5 persons having above weapon, barrel is full chock and gun is also light easy
    to carry any part of india,

  • TonyM

    I’ve got the Excelsior model 50. It’s identical to the Beretta 412 other than the markings.

    Mine is a 410 bore, and was purchased last week for less than a NEF or Brazilian 410 could be had. I’d been looking at one of the Beretta branded 20 gauges, but when this one came up, I just had to grab it (for that price anyways!)

    I’m hoping to take it shooting before too long, assuming it does satisfactorily, It will get a leather case, and become my new trunk gun.

  • Dan In KS

    I would love to have a 28, I have 2 of the 20 Ga. great for kids and Momma, just shoot 3/4 oz loads and they are fine, never understood shooting 3″magnum loads out of a dove gun, when there are 12 ga cannons that will fill the void. Anyone that has a 28 that wants to get rid of it


  • Billy

    I have this Beretta .410. It has some differences than the others I’ve seen on the web. Unique. Don’t know much about it. It’s fun researching it though. Any ideas?

    • brbaker

      I also have this .410 Beretta. My is unique as well but cannot seem to find any info about it either. Is your serial number stamped on the barrel as well as on the butt stock? also does yours have a certain number stamped on the side. My has the number 34 and im really looking to get info about it

  • ed palmrr

    Hv the 12 ga 3″ magnum serial #52097 any idea when mfg?