In your article “Beretta 686 vs Browning 425” you give some interesting information about the Beretta. I’m new to shotgunning and trying to pick a gun that might serve well for all games. I’m not a hunter. I’m in my 70’s so I’d like to choose one gun for all. I’ve done a lot of research online and otherwise and I know one gun for all is not the ideal thing. But at this point in my life I need to get by the best I can with one gun. You said in your article that you felt the Browning 425 was a stronger gun. I like the Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon 1 sporting and the Browning Crossover Target. The Browning seems to fit a little better. I am prepared to invest in an adjustable comb and recoil reduction device if need be. The Browning is a new offering but from I can tell from some online sites it may be an older design. This is ok with me as long as it is a design that will endure. In your article “Beretta 682 vs Beretta 686″ you complemented the Beretta 686 as a quality gun. Does the Browning Crossover Target fit into the same category as the Browning 425. I’ve shot the Beretta 686 and it was alright. I’ve never shot a Browning shotgun. I’ve shot a Beretta A400, Mossberg 500, and a Beretta Outlander. I’ve decided that an O/U is what I’d like to go with. P.S. I’m not familiar with the Browning 425. Thank you for any thoughts you offer to help me decide. Thanks again.
Welcome to shotgunning. Usually I tell a newcomer that his next shotgun won’t be his last, but you have been around long enough to know what you are going to do.
I view the Japanese Miroku Brownings and the Italian Beretta 68x series guns to be equal in quality these days. Look at them as you would a Honda or a Toyota. These are standard guns of good quality. Let’s face it, just about any gun made by a big name maker will be of good quality these days. Every now and then there is a lemon, but it is rare. Do note though that while the Japanese Miroku-made Brownings are of good quality, they are not in the same league as the true Fabrique Nationale Belgian Brownings.
One gun for ALL the games? I can happily shoot all the games adequately with a 30″ O/U. Any of the Beretta or Browning models which please you will serve the purpose. The stuff on the outside is what distinguishes one brand’s models. The mechanics on the inside remain the same regardless of the model.
The one thing that you will want to get right is the stock fit. I like to set my guns up so that when I push my cheek down onto the stock with about 80% pressure, I can still see some of the rib. When I push it down on the stock quite hard (100%), I want to look flat down the rib. That way, when I am actually shooting with my usual 60% cheek pressure, I see some rib. I never want my eye to get below the rib.
The Japanese Brownings seem to me to be set up with slightly lower stocks than the Berettas, but not by much. I have a thin face with high cheekbones, so I can’t shoot the Japanese Brownings. Stocks are too low. If you have a fuller face and shorter neck, you might be quite happy with them. If in doubt, you can always buy a model with an adjustable stock or have an adjustable comb added later for around $150. If you end up shooting a lot of ATA trap, you may want a stock that it a little higher than that for skeet or sporting. Or not. It’s personal preference.
Most target models can be had with 12 gauge 32″ barrels and extended chokes. That puts a lot of stuff out in front and often makes the gun nose heavy. It’s up to you, but I’d look at 30” barrels first.
You might also consider buying a used gun. Good guns don’t wear out and you would save some money. Like a new car, a new gun loses about 1/3 with the first shot. Then it stays about even for a few years. Then, unlike the car, the gun’s value starts to increase. (Make sure you tell your wife that!)
It is often a good idea to go to the gun club and borrow other people’s guns to see how your like them. You can tell a lot from holding a gun and waving it around, even if you don’t shoot it. Other shooters are usually willing to let you hold their guns, but make sure to ask first.
Wait on the recoil reduction stuff until you have shot the gun for a while. That way you will find out whether or not you really need it. Light loads take a lot of the pain out of shooting and are a very efficient way to reduce recoil compared to adding weight to the gun or going a bunch of barrel alterations.
Let me know how things work out.
Shotgun Report’s Technoid