I’m thinking about buying a new Beretta Over/Under. I already own a 390, the “best darn gun in the whole wide world”, but I’ve got some extra money to waste. I started visiting the pro shop at my club and Beretta’s web site. My available funds dictate that I’m either going to get a 687 Silver Pigeon II (Sporting) or try to find a used (old model) 682 Gold E. The new 682 Gold Es are out of my price range and besides that, what the heck were they thinking when they did that laser wood checkering? It’s ugly with a capital “UGH”.
One of my concerns about the 687 SP is how long will it last? I’ve heard the 682s were built to take the abuse of sporting clays but the 687s were not. Let me also say that I don’t shoot a lot by true sporting clay standards. I usually go out once a week and shoot 50 targets, so it would take me at least 4 years to reach 10,000 rounds. But when I reach that magic mark (10k, 20k, ?) where the gun starts to flop open and not lock up tightly, can the 687 be rebuilt as easily as the 682?
Thanks for your help.
Beretta isn’t going to like this, but here’s are the facts: The 686 is mechanically identical to the 682. There! I said it and I am glad. The cat is now out of the bag and looking around for the mouse. Yes, I know that the 682 costs about twice what the 686 does, but when you look inside they are the same gun. The interior parts are interchangeable. They will all last the same amount of time.
Rip off? No, I don’t necessarily think so. Well, maybe a little. The 682 has the vaunted “replaceable monobloc shoulders”, but the truth is that they virtually never need replacing. Berettas are tightened up with increasing size pronged locking tongues, not with shoulder changes. They all use the same replaceable Boss hinge stubs. The real differences between the 686 and 682s are in the exterior accessories and cosmetics. Beretta very carefully increases the perceived value of each gun from the lowly pug-ugly slab sided Whitewing beater (one of my favorites) to the pseudo-magnificent 682 Gold E with it’s earth-shaking “engraving” and reptilian checkering. Increasing models get chokes with genuwhine color coded extensions and overbore barrels. Then there are adjustable triggers and removable stocks, greater choke selection, a better chance in the nice wood lottery, a choice of recoil pad thickness, etc. etc. It’s like buying a new car. You can get dazzled by the options and that’s where the profit is.
When the gun does need rebuilding, send it off to Rich Cole at Cole Gunsmithing, Rt. 123, Harpswell, ME 04079, Tel: 207-833-5027, <www.colegun.com> Rich is THE Beretta guru. He has the parts on hand and will do the job right. Beretta USA factory service can be spotty, as is the factory service of many of the other brands. The best factory service is from Ruger and Krieghoff.
All the 682s are built for targets, while many of the 686/7 models are field models. The difference is simply a function of barrel and wood weight. The 686 target models ought to feel just about the same as the 682 target models, less some of the gingerbread.
The cosmetics are up to you. Beretta has certainly put its foot in it with the “E” ellipsis engraving and laser checkering. No one I’ve spoken to in the US likes it and most loath it. The Beretta people tell me it’s avant garde, futuristic and that we will grow to appreciate it once we wise up. It makes an old design gun look new. Yeah, well can you spell “Edsel”? People buy the 682 Gold E in spite of the decoration, not because of it. To my mind the best looking Beretta target guns ever were the first 682 Golds with the Greystone receiver and then the later 686 Onyx with the plain blued receiver. Both had modest gold lettering. Naturally, both are now discontinued. The Silver Pigeon II engraving is actually not bad at all. I like the deeper look as it appears a little less cheap than the shallow stamped stuff of the standard 686 Pigeon that my wife has. It’s all just a roll engraving or laser cut. It doesn’t cost them one nickel more to stick one engraving CD into the machine or another. I have seen a couple of Silver Pigeon IIs with nice wood. To my mind it’s the best looking of all the current 68x series, but that’s strictly a personal thing. The aesthetes among the readership may disagree. After all, in school I was known as the Attila the Hun of Art 101.
Bottom line: If the Silver Pigeon II Sporter appeals to you, as it does to me, buy it with full confidence that it will last as long as any other Beretta 68x series gun. They all loosen up sooner or later (but not as soon as 10K or 20K if you keep bearing surfaces properly clean and lubed), but they can all be tightened right back up for not too much money. The only thing that can really kill them is abuse and neglect.
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)