DESCRIPTION: Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I
Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I- The low-profile receiver on the Beretta® 686 Silver Pigeon I Over/Under Shotgun gives you the fast swing and enhanced point-ability needed for upland bird hunting, dove hunting, sporting clays, or any shotgun sports that involves speed. At the heart of the 686’s quick and instinctive shooting are opposing trunnions (projections) mounted on the receiver walls where the barrels pivot, thus eliminating the need for bulky underhooks to form a hinge. The result of this more compact arrangement is a instinctive pointing, low-profile line of sight. The recoil is directed straight rearward to the shooter’s shoulder instead of up into the shooter’s cheek, allowing rapid target and sight acquisition for the second shot. The thumb operated safety/barrel selector switch enables you to choose which barrel to fire first, depending on either the load or the choke tube. An oil finished, select walnut stock and forend, with finely cut checkering, and the scroll-work that embellishes the receiver, make the Silver Pigeon I a highly functional masterpiece of fine arms. Hard chromed bores and Beretta’s Mobilchoke® interchangeable choke-tube system minimize pellet deformation to deliver tight, consistently uniform patterns. The Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I Over/Under Shotgun balances perfectly, shoulders effortlessly, and swings smoothly, making it a serious hunting shotgun to consistently hit fast-moving targets.
- Low-profile receiver
- Points instinctively
- Rapid follow-up shots
- Hard chromed bores
- Thumb operated safety/barrel selector
- Oil-finished walnut stock and forend
- Balances perfectly, swings smoothly
- Mobilchoke choke-tube system
Shotgun Review: Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I
Since it’s release in the 1950s. the Silver Pigeon has become the bar to which all other field over/under shotguns should look, handle, and function. The Silver Pigeon is a low-profile and durable shotgun that provides all the qualities and features you’ll be needing in your upland bird hunting, sporting clays, or any other shooting sport.
At the heart of the Beretta Silver Pigeon I is the renowned 686 action, a long-standing favorite among hunters and competitive shooters, which is compact and low-profile while maintaining strength and durability. It is based on a distinctive boxlock action that forms the base for various selections of hunting and competition model variants that Beretta calls its 680 series.
It features two conical locking lugs at mid-action, right between the barrels, allowing the action’s profile to be considerably lower. The advantage is that the eye of the shooter is much closer to the plane of his supporting hand resulting in considerably better swing and hand-eye coordination. Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I
The action’s key feature is an extremely low-slung receiver that solves a fundamental problem inherent to the over/under platform. The average over/under shotgun snaps upward under recoil, causing the stock to strike the shooter’s cheek, resulting in a disruptive force that disorients the shooter. To solve this problem Beretta shortens the profile by pivoting the barrels around opposing trunnions mounted on the receiver walls, eliminating the need for bulky underhooks to form a hinge. The result is a more compact arrangement where the recoil is directed toward the shooter’s shoulder and torso where it is more tolerable and less disruptive in firing a second shot.
The trigger-plate action, like most over/under guns with a single trigger, use the inertia block system to select the trigger sear for the second barrel. After several trigger-pull tests, the conclusion is irrefutable, the Silver Pigeon I’s trigger does break at a crisp 4lb 11oz. Though a bit heavy, it breaks with a crisp snap with little-to-no take-up.
This classic Beretta is a shotgun that can last for several lifetimes, passed from generation from generation. Despite the absence of thick lugs, the lockup is quite strong. However, in the rare event of heavy wear, the action can be easily retooled by replacing the trunnions and lugs. This maintenance can be done by the owners with a screwdriver and a little bit of “gunsmithing” experience. This is a scenario for veteran clay shooters that would put in several thousand rounds through the shotgun. For the average hunter, this is something you could disregard.
While the Silver Pigeon is designed to be a game gun, it includes numerous great all-around features, that it’s hard to say it’s just a game gun. It is a war horse that will go through any rough shoot and return with a hefty bag of pigeon in capable hands. Yet on the local clay ground, it will get the job done compared against the dedicated clay guns on the stand. Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I
When it comes to looks , the Silver Pigeon I has all the elegance that you can expect from a Beretta. The oil-finished stock features a beautiful and crisp checkering pattern, and the schnabel fore-end adds to the classic flavor of this over-under. The scroll-engraved receiver is a functional work of art with it’s geometrical design blending perfectly with the stock and contributing to the gun’s graceful lines. This is a shotgun that has all the elements of a treasured heirloom.
The 12 & 20 GA Silver Pigeon has impressed countless hunters for its efficient dimensions and fast handling. When it comes to 28 Ga or .410 you can expect no less and you will be impressed by the premium feel of the petite actions. These are scaled down to fit the smaller gauges without any extra weight or bulkiness with no extra costs.
Calibers: 12 GA, 20 GA, 28 GA, .410
Barrel Lengths: 26″, 28″, 30″
Sights: Single Bead
Length Of Pull: 14.5″
Drop At Heel: 2.36″
Drop At Comb: 1.5″
Metal Finish: Bled
Handling: * * * * 1/2
With it’s natural pointability and easy swing, handling a over/under shotgun has never been such a breeze. With the eye of the shooter being much closer to the plane of the supporting hand, hand-eye coordination is also considerable better.
Reliability: * * * * *
Value: * * * *
Overall: * * * * *
Gun Test: Beretta Silver Pigeon I
So, before I go any further let me put everybody else who thinks like that out of their misery: Yes, this new budget priced Beretta Sporter is certainly worth buying. Now, for those with more enquiring minds I will go on to explain why.
It is a fact that, for more than 30 years, Beretta has represented at least 30% of the total number of over and under shotguns sold in the UK. The reason for this is their volume production 680 series models continue to be fundamentally superior in terms of design and build quality over most other guns available in their price bracket.
I would add the high quality materials from which they are made also contribute to durability that other guns many times their price can’t equal. Beretta guns have been market leaders in the UK for long enough for this to be apparent, and it is reflected in their second-hand values.
Beretta Silver Pigeon Sporter: The Action
There are only so many ways of fitting a set of barrels to an action, but in Beretta’s case their careful analysis of the problems of ensuring strength, security and good aesthetics produced a design that successfully solved them all in the best ways possible, and at a price that was affordable.
Having concluded, after much research and experiment, that the explosion of the cartridge actually flexed a shotgun’s barrels and action together, they positioned the locking bolt as far as possible above these forces to reinforce them.
A bifurcated conical bolt of tempered steel moves each side of the breech face and locates in reciprocating recesses in shoulders integral to the barrel monobloc. On closure, these shoulders engage slots machined in the side of the action body – adding two more substantial bearing surfaces and also relieving stress at the breech face. Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I
Without requirement for further machining to accommodate other forms of jointing, the breech end of the barrels are in effect enclosed in a cradle of solid steel.
They are held there with a locking system that is both inherently strong, and also works with the forces that are generated when the gun is fired. Other guns do offer similar solutions, usually based on designs originating with the great gun makers of London and with prices that reflect this.
The Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I costs just £1,500 and for that you get all the aforementioned plus a gun that has an elegant appearance with an indestructible nickel chromed action that is attractively engraved and looks good in any company.
Sometimes incorrectly described as boxlocks, the 680 series guns trigger mechanism is mounted on the bottom plate and as such should be described as a trigger plate action. Regardless of what we call them I have always found the geometry of the hammer sear engagement of this design provides excellent trigger pulls.
Beretta Silver Pigeon Sporter: Stock
Gun stocks are the most subjective part of any gun test, if the sample stock fits you everything’s fine, if it doesn’t you have to take it on the chin or, more accurately, in the face. Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I
There are no rights or wrongs when choosing a set of dimensions for a volume production gun, but Beretta offer two choices that will be close to most people’s requirements.
My perennial gripe with Beretta stocks on 680 series guns is the position of the front of the comb in relation to the radius of the grip which is too far forward for anyone other than those with the shortest fingers.
Beretta Silver Pigeon Sporter: Barrels
The high standards of manufacture applied in the making of Beretta barrels is in keeping with the rest of the production. Incorporating rustless tri-alloy steels they are impeccably finished both internally and externally; I always come back to the same question of how do they do it for the money? Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I
Big numbers are only part of it the real explanation is Beretta’s industrial engineers who constantly strive to improve quality while at the same time developing ever more technically advanced methods of production to keep costs down.
With a bore size of 18.6mm (0.732 thou) the tubes have long forcing cones and are complimented by Beretta’s long Optima chokes. The 10mm x 8mm rib tapered rib is suitably unobtrusive with a superb machined finish. The total weight of the 32” barrel assembly was 1.435KG (3lbs 2oz) – ideal for Sporter barrels of this length.
Beretta Silver Pigeon Sporter: Shooting Impressions
Accepting that the stock didn’t fit me, I managed pretty well. On an exceptionally gloomy November afternoon at Ian Coley’s Shooting School, the long barrelled Beretta and I dealt with some long crossers very effectively. On high driven targets however the stock was far too low for me to hit them consistently, with the higher comb option I would have done better.
This Sporter’s handling qualities require no modification, even with 32” tubes and long detachable chokes, which do add some weight, it still balanced right on the trunnions.
Trigger pulls were excellent and as both a Sporter gun for serious competition or high pheasant shooting, suitably stocked I would be confident with this gun on any kind of target. Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I
When I wanted to talk to a Champion who knows his way around the Beretta 680 series I looked no further than Barry Simpson. A World and European FITASC Sporting Champion with a clutch of other big wins to his credit and all won with this type of Beretta.
While Simpson is best known as a Sporting shot he also had an early career as a successful Olympic Skeet shooter using a Beretta 682 and representing Great Britain on numerous occasions. “My first Beretta was a 687EL, it was a prize from GMK and I immediately liked the low profile action and its straight back recoil.
“The easy interchange ability of the barrels was a great feature of the 680 series. Trigger pulls were something I didn’t have to think about; with Beretta they are invariably excellent.” Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I