Beretta 692 and 486 Parallelo: High Class at Moderate Price
Last year’s IWA Outdoor Classics Exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany was marked by the huge Beretta Group stalls which occupied most of the Hall 4. The biggest and the most splendid one belonged to the leading firm of the Group, of course – the Beretta itself. This firearms giant, founded in the 15th century by the master gunsmith Bartolomeo Beretta, prepared two premieres – two double barrel shotguns, a competition Over-Under and a hunting Side-by-Side. The both of them are refined, elegant and simply perfect, just as we expected from the oldest small arms factory in the world. The Beretta 692 Over-Under was created for sportsmen who do not want or cannot afford the Beretta DT10 or DT11 at the price from €7,000 to €16,000, but still want a modern, solid sporting shotgun. The new 692 Model is based on the older Beretta 682 design, with certain improvements and modernization. As the 682 series cost half the price of the cheapest version of the prestigious DT11, we expect that the new 692 will be priced in the same range.
The Beretta 692 comes in sporting, trap and skeet versions. The sporting version, which is the most useful for bird-hunt, as well, features caliber 12/76 and the barrel lengths of 71, 76 and 81 cm. The trap and skeet versions always come in 12/70 caliber and with the same barrel configurations as the sporting version. The Model 692 is a dedicated competition shotgun, so its weight varies between 3,400 to 3,700 g. The experienced clay shooters are always interested in the weight of the barrel sets as well. So we are providing those values for the first time. The 76 cm sporting barrel set weighs 1,480 +- 30 g. The 76 cm trap barrels weigh 1,540 g, while the skeet barrel set in the same length weighs 1,480 +- 30 g. The all three barrel sets are manufactured with the famous Beretta OptimaBore Steelium procedure. When compared to the classic internal profile geometry, these barrels produce less recoil and muzzle rise, which automatically means increased accuracy and shot consistency. Those improvements combined result in the quicker following shot and much greater chances for the hit.
Every barrel consists of the chamber, the cylindrical part, the forcing cone and the choke. All the 76 cm Beretta barrels had the 65 mm forcing cone. It is the part of the barrel which has to withstand most forces, because that is where the shot is compressed and the pellets deformed. That is the zone of increased friction and pressure. By long series of tests and calculations, the constructors came with a surprising solution. The forcing cone was increased from 65 mm to 360 mm, which is more than five times. Such an elongated forcing cone is the main feature for the number of positive characteristics that we mentioned. Using a special vacuum distension procedure which removes the remaining strains, these cold forged barrels made of triple-alloyed steel are the very best in the world of shotguns. If the customer opts for the regular changeable chokes, they will receive their Beretta 692 with a set of long OptimaBore HP chokes, which protrude from the muzzle. Besides the mark on the protruding part, every choke has a ring in different color, so the shooter can quickly determine which choke is mounted.
Beretta has always supplied a good quality tool for mounting the chokes, which besides the grip enables the proper lead of the choke during the mounting. While many hunters don’t want ejectors on their shotguns, with competition shotguns this feature is a must. The Beretta 692 has a new system which enables easy turn-off and reliable action of selective ejectors. The ejector levers are long and grasp the good portion of the rim’s arc. When designing hunting shotguns, many leading manufacturers are thinking environmentally friendly and deliver their shotguns with the possibility of turning off the ejection feature. Traditionally, the competition shotgun receivers are never made of the Ergal alloy, but of forged steel. The same stands for the Beretta 692, which has even more robust receiver when compared to the Model 682 – it’s 1.3 mm wider in the monoblock zone. The need for increased robustness and weight is understandable. An average competition over-under fires mores shot in an intensive month’s training than a hunting shotgun in its lifetime. By compensating the weights of the barrels and the receiver, the Italian constructors achieved an excellent balance of the Model 692. When it comes to the second most important feature for an over-under, the locking system, they didn’t swerve from the usual Beratta solution. Sa with the Beretta 686, SV10, 678, the Model 692 locks with two conical lugs that protrude from the receiver and lock into their indents. As there are no lower keys, the monoblock is low, which contributes to the low silhouette of the receiver and the shotgun itself. This feature is extremely important for the clay breaking competitions. A competition shotgun has to have a competition trigger. This model features a selective trigger with the adjustable length of pull. The trigger is designed to be completely ambidextrous. The barrel discharge selector is located in the middle of the safety slide. The left position of the rectangular piece indicates that the lower barrel will be fired first.
We are already used to rough breaking action of the new over-unders. The Westley-Richards breaking lever always puts strong resistance, especially with the new weapons, and is often uncomfortable. The Beretta 692 breaking action came as a pleasant surprise. The end part of the lever has a rubber grip, and it doesn’t require to much effort to actuate. This is obviously a feedback from the competition shooters to the constructors. Only and experienced sportsman who was bothered by the jerky breaking action could insist on these improvements.
The exceptional balance of the Model 692 is contributed by a system of small internal weights in the stock. By moving these weighs, the user is able do adjust the balance to their liking. This is important for hunting weapons, let alone for competition pieces. What is more, there is an option of ordering the B-fast, completely adjustable stock. It is a relatively new feature which enables quick on the spot adjustments. The B-fast stock is not a standard feature and has to be ordered and paid separately. Depending on the use, the Model 692 has several different aiming rails, which are always ventilated, just like the barrel ribs. The standard equipment in the set includes a pair of earmuffs and a soft heat insulating holster with a big Beretta emblem. The top notch finish, the first class walnut stock, outstanding barrels and chokes and the reliable and smooth action make it clear that this weapon is far above its price range. Although a dedicated competition shotgun, this one would excel in any hunt.
If you can leave a piece of awe for the next Beretta model. The visitors of the IWA could see another masterpiece – the Beretta 486 Parallelo SxS. Irresistingly Italian, this lean yet rounded side-by-side in 12/76 is a true weapon for the classic hunters. It comes in two barrel configurations, 670 and 710 mm, which can be equipped with fixed or changeable chokes. The barrels were connected by an expensive and complicated demiblock procedure, where every barrel is soldered as a whole. The barrels do not stem form the monoblock, which contains the locking keys, a solution quite durable but cheap.
The demiblock configuration has zero tolerance in barrel machining, and includes a lot of refuse material. The calculations, computer animation and harsh tests have proven that all new SxS shotguns should use the Purdey lock with two lower keys. The beauty of this shotgun is achieved by its low and completely rounded receiver. Covered in small floral engraving in silver metal color, this forged steel receiver looks unbelievably fragile. However, that is a false impression as the receiver withstands the greatest pressures of the 12/76 ammunition. The 4876 Parallelo has a set of selective ejectors which grasp the 40% of the rim arc. The single trigger is encompassed in a big winter trigger guard. The barrel discharge selector is located in the middle of the safety slide. The safety isn’t automatic. The left position of the selector indicates that the right barrel will be discharged first.The hand guard is attached to the barrels and the receiver by an expensive Purdey push rod, which is the feature of so called Fine Guns. The English style stock made of quality walnut and wooden Beretta butt indicate the high class and experienced craftsmanship. All checkered surfaces, the bluing and the visual effects are up to Beretta standards. The dimensions are such that the gun finds the shoulder by itself. No doubt, Beretta 486 Parallelo is a weapon that is not in the Fine Gun class by its price, but by its quality it definitely is.