Too Light, So Long


Dear Bruce.

First of all, I have really enjoyed reading your columns and your replies to the various questions posed to you. Having said that, let me throw at you my question.

A few months ago I bought a 12 gauge Beretta 682 Gold E with 30″ barrels. The gun comes up nice, shows no recoil with AA Super Sports 1-1/8’s but feels a bit whippy. That’s the price you pay for the Optima -bore, I suppose.

To counteract the light barrels, I’ve installed a clamp-on 6 oz. C&H recoil reducer just foreword of the forend. The extra weight makes the gun to now, balance at a point, 1/8″ forward of the hinge.

Recently I had the opportunity to shoulder a 682 E 32″. The extra barrel length is really needed on this gun. It feels and swings beautifully. It’s balance point is also slightly forward of the hinge; pretty much the same as on my gun with the added weight.

I’ve tried to get a set of the 32″ barrels but they are not available yet, unless one buys the entire gun. As far as the dynamics of the swing are concerned, does it make a difference to have the extra weight (6 oz.) isolated at a point (just foreword of the forend) vs. elongating the barrels by 2″ ? The balance of the gun remains at the same point at both cases.

Best regards,

Pete

Dear Pete,

I noticed the barrel weight issue when I tested a 30″ Optima Bore DT-10 and the later tested a 32″ Gold E with Optima Bore. The 32″ 682 Gold E was beautifully balanced. I felt that the 30″ DT-10 was a bit light up front due to those Optima Bore barrels. Poor Beretta. Here they go from log-like barrels of the older 682s to new barrels that can be a little bit light in the popular 30″ length. The reason that you can’t get the 32″ in the 682 Es is because that’s the barrel length everyone wants. Get in line. I think that the 682 E sporter would be almost unshootable in 28″ unless they bulk up the barrels in some way. In 32″ it is marvelous.

So what do you do in the meantime? I don’t know. Adding a blob of weight, such as a clamp-on skeet weight meant to compensate for a tube set, never seems to work correctly. Adding a bunch of weight in one spot is NOT the same as adding the same amount of weight spread out along the barrel. You can give the gun the same balance point, but it will not have the same moment of inertia. It will swing differently and won’t feel right. A properly balanced barrel really has to be built in with wall thickness.

What you might try is some stick on lead tire weights or golf club weights. You should be able to string those out all along the barrel to roughly equal the feel of a thicker walled, heavier barrel. They look nasty, but they are worth a try. You can always take them off if people point fingers at you and small babies cry.

You might also try removing some weight from the stock by drilling out some wood. That will shift some of the balance forward a bit. I don’t think that it will help much because wood isn’t as heavy as you might think and stock weight doesn’t have the same mechanical leverage as barrel weight. Normally, fiddling with stock weight is very slight fine tuning of a gun that is almost right and just needs a tiny touch. It doesn’t sound as though your gun are there.

You can also shift the “feel” of the gun slightly forward by lengthening the stock to the maximum length you are comfortable. Long stocks are a standard procedure on light weight subgauge guns. It makes them feel “bigger”.

Though I hesitate to recommend the easy way out, this might be one of those times. Consider selling the gun. I’m sure that there are lots of people around who like the balance of the 30″ 682E. It might be ideal for a smaller framed man or someone who likes a little more speed. If you like the 682 (and it is a good gun), this might be the time to cut your losses, sell the 30″ gun and really start looking around for a 32″ model. You are never going to find a separate 32″ Optima Bore barrel at this early stage of production, especially with everyone lining up to get the complete 32″ gun. Rich Cole at Cole Gunsmithing, Rt. 123, Harpswell, ME 04079, Tel: 207-833-5027, <www.colegun.com> is a big Beretta dealer and often has models that others don’t. Try Rich first.

Another alternative might be to pick up one of those older 30″ 682 Golds with the standard Mobilchoke barrels. They are on the market for under $2000 and will have all the weight up front you will ever need. I believe I saw Joel Etchen handling some at a good price. He’ll buy your Gold E too.

I wish I had a better solution to your dilemma, but there it is. Sometimes it pays to cut your losses and get on with things. If a gun doesn’t feel right to you, life is too short to martyr yourself by dealing with it. Every time you shoot a gun that isn’t right, you’ll be reminded of it. Trust me, I’ve suffered through enough guns that were “almost” right. I’ve poured money into mongrels and still been bitten. Temporary fixes have never worked in the long run.

Try the easy fixes if you must, but don’t commit the money to extra barrels. You’ll never get your money out of it when you sell. Sometimes it is easier just to sell the gun, take your losses and start again. This may be one of those times.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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