Which Ducker?


Hello,

I live in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada and have just once again jumped into the world of duck/goose hunting. Of course we use steel shot here. I am about to purchase a 12 gauge shotgun for this purpose.

These are my choices:
1. Beretta 391 Extrema 2 – Camo with Kick Off reduction system
2. Benelli SB Eagle – Camo –
3. Beretta 687 Siver Pidgeon C 12 Ga. – (now here is where it gets interesting as the gun shop is having there 11th annual sale this Saturday and if I stand at their door starting at 4:00 am and wait until they open at 9:00 am for the door crasher specials, I would be able to purchase one of 5 available for $1499.00 regular $3200.00. It looks like a great gun, but would it be a gun that you could or would take out in the pouring rain/snow conditions for ducks and geese? It seems like a great price but is it the right gun for what I want to do? I may want to take up skeet shooting possibly.

Looking foe some suggestions.

Cheers,
Robert

Dear Robert,

Tough choice. That Silver Pigeon C is absolutely gorgeous and it comes with a proper forend, not that wretched Schnabel schnout that Beretta inflicts on so many of their other guns. By the way, all the Silver Pigeons 68x series guns have exactly the same internal mechanics. The only thing extra you are paying for is the exterior cosmetic aspect. My only possible complaint against the Beretta field guns is that their ribs are a bit thin and very prone to denting. Of course Brownell’s sells an inexpensive “undenting” tool that worked perfectly on my abused, but faithful, Beretta 686.

I’ve put a bunch of rounds through an Xtrema, but it was the first model with the awful trigger. The later guns, Xtrema 2, have perfectly nice triggers. These are great guns. Large and heavy and ideal for 3.5″ and other artillery shells. I have no experience with the Xtrema in wet conditions, so I don’t know if they clog up when soaked the way the 303s do. Otherwise, they are excellent guns and very soft shooting. I thought that they would make great clays guns too. The Kick-Off that I had on a Perennia was OK, but I didn’t like the way it was all made out of plastic. I’m sure that they do this because 1) plastic is cheap, and 2) plastic weighs less than metal, so the gun won’t be as butt heavy. But the plastic doesn’t look as durable to me. The Kick-Off is also an expensive option. I’d probably skip it and the camo, but that’s just me. Reselling a camo gun is harder than a plain blued one with the grey synthetic stock.

Benelli SB Eagle, like all Benellis, really shines when the sun doesn’t . The Benellis are utterly unperturbed by soaking wet conditions. They shoot very clean due to the recoil operation. Parts breakage on the Benellis is about the same as it is on the gas Berettas. All very, very good. My problems with the Benellis are that

1) they have odd ribs with the raised portion at the rear and the cut away bit at the front. Drives me crazy.

2) Their stocks always seem short for me. Little dinky things. The measurements may not show this, but that’s the way they feel due to the placement of the pistol grip. If you like short stocks, you won’t care.

3) They kick. In spite of all the Comfortech stuff, Benellis generically kick, especially with 3.5″ Roman candles. That’s because the inertia action doesn’t dampen recoil like the gas guns (Xtrema and others) do. With big shells, you’ll notice recoil from the Benelli.

Duck and goose hunters do awful things to their guns. That Silver Pigeon won’t look very pretty after a few seasons, that’s for sure. Using it in the blind would be like having one of those new cars without the protective door side strips and leaving it in the parking lot at the mall. You’ll always worry about it getting dinged.

As to skeet shooting, the Benelli’s (especially the 3.5″ ones) can be iffy with target loads. You’d need to use 1-1/8 oz to make sure it would cycle. And you would notice the recoil from the load in that gun. The Xtrema would make a nice target gun and the ones I tried digested factory 1 oz loads just fine. The Silver Pigeon would make the best target gun because you can easily add subgauge tubes to an O/U and skeet is all about subgauge.

Resale: you’ll take a hit on the Benelli and Xtrema, but you’ll make money on the Silver Pigeon at that door-buster price.

As I said, tough choice.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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