To Bend Or Not To Bend


Bruce,

I shoot sporting clays and have recently joined a skeet club and plan to start shooting skeet regularly. I currently shoot a Beretta 686 Silver Perdiz Sporting with a 30″ barrel and like the way the gun fits with its high stock.

The only negative with the gun is the recoil due to the light weight. After 100 rounds, the recoil is obvious. I am considering trading the gun for a higher grade, heavier O/U and recently looked at a 682 Gold Sporting and when I put the gun up to my shoulder, I was looking directly into the back of the chamber. I called Beretta and they told me the 682 Sporting guns today have a much greater drop than the older Berettas. This was an intentional alteration because US shooters were asking for guns with deeper drops!

One local gun store has a used 682 Continental which is at least 4 years old and still has the high stock. The gun fits me well, but has 28″ barrels and I do prefer 30″ barrels.

Given the above situation, what are my options to get a heavier O/U with a high stock? The Beretta technician told me about a person in Texas who could bend the stock of a new 682 Sporting, but I am hesitant to send a new $2000+ gun to be “bent”. Could I get used to 28″ barrels on the 682 Continental, or should I go with barrel lengths that I prefer? Are there other O/U’s that I should look at?

Another option is to add weight to my 686 and maybe have the barrels ported. I’m concerned about putting lots of dollars into an old gun of limited value, though.

Any advice and commentary would be greatly appreciated.

Dave

Dear Dave,

The 682 Gold Sporting is quite a nice gun, as are all the 682s. I have owned both the 682s and the 686 series. I find the lighter and more economical 686 a marvelous gun for the field, but very much prefer the more durable 682 for extended target shooting.

As to stock height, “bending” is quite common and often comes included in the price of the gun in England. It is a far more common practice over there than here, but many Americans are starting to realize the advantages of this relatively inexpensive stock adjustment method.

A good stock bender can bend that walnut like a pretzel and not leave a trace. There are all sorts of bending methods, all of which use some sort of heat source- hot oil, steam, infra red, etc. Some require slight refinishing of the stock, some don’t. Personally, I wouldn’t hesitate to have a stock which was too low for me bent. You can easily have the cast adjusted at the same time. Another method of moving a stock is to have it re-inletted. This takes a skilled stockmaker who really knows what he is doing.

Another alternative would be buy a Beretta trap stock, but that is far more expensive and may require further adjustment to get it just right for your style. A fourth alternative would be to have an adjustable comb installed. In a mounted gun game like skeet, more and more shooters have gone to the adjustable comb like the trap shooters have used for quite some time. At the very least, an adjustable comb gives you something to mess around with between rounds when you are bored. Just make sure that your adjustable mechanism doesn’t slip. Many of them do.

As to 28″ vs 30″ for skeet, I agree with you. Although 28″ has been the “standard” skeet length for quite some time, more and more shooters are going to the longer barrels. If you like the 30″s, that’s what you ought to get.

One thing that you don’t mention is how you are going to handle the sub-gauges. Today just about every one uses a tube set. Even the lightest tube set is going to add 10 or 11 ounces. Your light 686 would probably feel about right with that additional weight. If you consider a heavier 682, think about what it is going to feel like with those tubes in place. Don’t let that stop you from betting the most excellent 682 though, just be aware of it. A tubed 682 is a very popular skeet gun, and for good reason.

As to “other guns to recommend”, there is always one of the many Japanese Browning models. They are excellent quality, but have a very different feel compared to the Berettas. In my experience, if you like the Beretta “feel” you will be happiest sticking to that brand of gun.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC

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