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Beretta 690 Sporting Shotgun- Beretta® designed their 690 Sporting Black Over/Under Shotgun with a low profile receiver to provide ALL the fast swing and enhanced point-ability needed for winning sporting clay competitions. At the heart of the 690’s quick and instinctive shooting are opposing trunnions mounted on the receiver walls where the barrels pivot, thus eliminating the need for bulky underhooks to form a hinge. As a result of this more compact arrangement, the low-profile line of sight enables the shooter to point the gun instinctively; and the recoil is directed rearward to the shooter’s shoulder where it is less disruptive to firing a second shot, instead of snapping the stock up at the shooter’s cheek. The extractors are retained in dovetails within the monoblock receiver, making them incredibly strong. The Beretta 690 Sporting Black Over/Under Shotgun features a grade 2.5 select walnut butt stock and forend; a Microcore butt pad shoulders smoothly, stays put on the shoulder, and absorbs recoil. The matte black, polished receiver with orange details is immediately recognizable with a hyper-technical look. Barrels are finished in non-reflective black finish. The Steelium® barrels, with chrome-plated bores and elongated forcing cones, use Optimachoke HP interchangeable, screw-in chokes provide uniform patterns and allow the use of both lead and steel shot. The Beretta 690 Sporting Black is an elegant over/under shotgun, designed for function. The 690 balances perfectly, shoulders effortlessly, and swings smoothly. Come with 5 Optimachoke HP extended tubes.
Low profile receiver
Select walnut butt stock and forend
Matte black, polished receiver
Non-reflective black barrels
Microcore butt pad
Elongated forcing cones
Optimachoke HP extended choke tubes
Compatible with lead and steel shot
Gun Test: Beretta 690 Sport Black Adjustable
Model: 690 Sport Black Adjustable
Bore size: 18.6mm
Barrel length: 81cm
Action: Trigger plate
Chamber length: 76mm (3in)
Chokes: 5 Optima hand-detachable
Rib: 10mm x 8mm
Stock: Pistol grip, adjustable comb
Weight: 8lb 5.6oz
Clay target guns – especially those in the mid-price range – have come a long way in the last 30 years. The Sporter in particular, which then barely existed, now stands alongside Trap and Skeet models with a choice of dedicated specifications that were simply not available until recently. This month, I’ve been looking at a relative newcomer to the marketplace from Beretta. Beretta 690 Sporting Shotgun
Designated as the 690 Sport Black, the firearm includes the now time-proven features that were incorporated into its ancestor, the 680. A low-profile action with all the requirements of elegance, strength and reliability at a relatively modest price is a difficult task for any manufacturer, but Beretta has decided to rise
to the challenge.
As with most expensive over-and-unders, the 690 foregoes under-bolting, which creates an inherently deep action and locates the gun’s security above the bottom barrel. All the best London makers – Purdey, Woodward and Boss – came to the same conclusion many decades ago, but in their case it involved a considerable amount of costly handwork. It could be said that Beretta has created a shorthand version of the principle, but it is no less strong and has a similar elegant low profile.
In the case of the 690 and Beretta’s other over-and-unders, a bifurcated or split bolt, similar in principle to those London guns, is located in recesses above the bottom barrel. This, as Beretta’s great gun designer Tullio Marengoni concluded after many experiments in the 1930s, works with the forces generated by the explosion of the cartridge that naturally flex the barrels and the action together.
That would have been enough for many gunmakers but Beretta reinforces this arrangement with trapezoidal shoulders integral to the barrels monobloc, which locate with reciprocating bearing surfaces provided each side of the actions breech face.
A coil spring trigger mechanism is incorporated into a trigger plate action, the hammers being cocked off rods running through the action body by way of the forend iron with the opening of the gun. Having been constantly revised and improved over the years, the Beretta 690, as with its stablemates, provides class-leading trigger pulls for both function and reliability. Beretta 690 Sporting Shotgun
The most individual and perhaps important aspect of any shotgun is the stock and how well its configuration and dimensions assist the shooter to point the firearm accurately. Of course, Beretta is aware of this and the adjustable stock goes a considerable way to achieving this for most shooters.
The amount of drop at comb, which determines the elevation of the shooter’s eye above the rib, is a crucial dimension that determines the placement of the shot charge above and below the shooter’s point of aim. The 690’s adjustable comb mounted on two steel pillars can be moved up and down and adjusted to ensure the shooter’s eye has the correct elevation above the rib.
This, together with a pattern plate set at a suitable distance, usually 30-40 yards, can determine where the gun is printing its pattern with a few shots and this can be altered with the help of the adjustable comb. Likewise, the comb can be set for cast left or right to achieve lateral accuracy.
If correctly used, the adjustable comb is the quickest and easiest way of ensuring accurate shooting and a far less expensive proposition than having a stock made. The 690’s stock has a slim pistol grip with a fairly open radius that will enable the shooter to establish coordinated hands in line hold.
This Beretta’s 81-centimetre barrels are bored at 18.6 millimetres with 76-millimetre-long chambers and are supplied with a set of five hand-detachable Optima chokes. The flat, tapered rib is suitably machined to provide a non-glare finish that contributes to a clear and unobtrusive line of sight. We tend to take the excellent quality of Beretta’s barrels for granted, but the impeccably struck-off weight of 1.585 kilograms and the in situ chokes make both an important contribution to the firearm’s excellent balance and help to deliver consistent, well-distributed shot patterns.
With an all-up weight of 8lb 5.6oz, this Beretta 690, balanced right on its barrel trunnions, provides a combination of sufficient liveliness and just the right amount of forward control. I achieved a particularly good fit with the adjustable stock and cannot emphasise enough the difference this makes in terms of comfort and accuracy.
On a very cold day at the North Oxfordshire Shooting School, the Beretta’s barrels and I soon warmed up and I was breaking clays consistently. The 690’s trigger pulls were particularly crisp to the extent I wasn’t conscious of them, which is how it should be. As the no-frills Sporter in the Beretta line, it still incorporates all the essentials of the fancy models, which includes excellent mechanical function in all departments. Beretta 690 Sporting Shotgun
In addition to this – and definitely just as important – is the feel and balance, which are perhaps the most crucial considerations of any shotgun. The adjustable stock is another key factor of excellent design and with which I achieved a good fit, a quality intrinsic to accurate and enjoyable shotgun shooting.
While this may be the least expensive model in the range, it certainly ticks all of the most important boxes. With its relatively sombre appearance, the 690 may not be as eye-catching as some of the others, but you would be hard-pressed to find few guns so fit for purpose in its price bracket.
Beretta 690 Field I shotgun reviewed
When a gunmaker is established with a strong following, there still arises from time to time the need to bring something new to the market. There are three possible routes. First, something new and revolutionary that could be a great success or could offend previously loyal customers, for shooters are ever conservative and sometimes fickle.
Another relatively safe option is a quick dressing-up of an existing model — perhaps an eye-catching chequering pattern, a brighter finish around the action and a bit more decoration. This worked well for years in the UK — think of all those Anson & Deeley boxlocks made in the Birmingham trade where the main differences were the finish and the name.
The third route is one of subtle improvement, building on an existing design — evolution rather than revolution. This is the philosophy that Beretta has followed with the 690 Field I. It is, of course, related to the 692, the competition gun that preceded it, and is a variant on the slightly more expensive 690 Field III. Beretta 690 Sporting Shotgun
The Beretta 690 Field I shotgun is still a Beretta
First impressions on liberating the 690 Field I from its sturdy case were very much that a Beretta is still a Beretta with the familiar shape and basic style one expects. The distinctive screw-in hinge discs (or trunnions) are still there, as are the shoulders projecting from either side of the top barrel that the twin-tapered locking bolts engage.
Having said that, the action body appears a little sturdier than the old 680 series and has a very clean-cut look. This is in part due to the decoration around the fences and the crisp shaping of the decorative side panels.
Another eye-catching feature is the neat top rib having full-length contact with the barrel and quite delicate ventilated cut-outs. Narrow, “file cut” and topped with a traditional foresight bead, it is very much what most customers would expect on a game gun. What many aficionados might not expect is a shiny, silver- coloured plated trigger so there is no chance of wearing the more common gold plating away until the trigger looks shabby.
Leaving the technical detail aside for a moment, much of the design will be comfortably familiar to Beretta users, including the shaping of the raised panels at the head of the stock, the size and curve of the pistol grip and the laser-cut chequering pattern. The fore-end has what is often called an English-style rounded end, though the drop from the front of the knuckle produces a slightly sow-bellied look. However, it has a practical and comfortable feel in the hand, which is important.
The 690 Field I handles well and at around 7¼lb loaded, it has enough substance to give good swing characteristics, while the balance is such that it is still quick to point. Drop across the comb is 1½in to 2½in, which is pretty much what you expect with right-hand cast (cast off ) while left-hand cast (or cast on) is an option and some toe-out. Beretta 690 Sporting Shotgun
A length of pull a smidgen over 14¾in follows the present-day trend, and the micro-core butt pad has
a good reputation for absorbing recoil. The barrels on this gun measure 30in, but there is an option of 28in barrels.
The barrels are assembled on the monoblock principle, which is a proven and widely used method. Chamber length is 76mm (3in) and the gun is superior or steel-shot proofed and has hard chrome-lined bores.
Five long Beretta Optima choke tubes are provided, ranging from cylinder to quarter, half, three- quarters and full. Beretta’s useful choke key with the sprung arms that hold the bore of the choke tube does make things easy, especially when changing chokes in the field.
The safety button/barrel selector is larger than of old and deeply serrated, giving a very positive thumb grip, while the one/two-dot barrel indicator is now two dots either side of the selector in white and red, the latter indicating which barrel is “live”. Also, as befits a game gun, the 690 Field I comes with an automatic safe.
Internally, the lock work on this shotgun holds no great surprises. It is the usual neat, if visually slightly complex, and reliable assembly, mounted on the trigger-plate and powered by helical mainsprings. There are differences in detail to the earlier series but it is still clearly Beretta. Trigger-pulls proved to be crisp and set at a reasonable 4½lb. Hidden away in the fore-end iron stale/steel is another spring to provide the fore-end fit with constant pressure against the knuckle.
Cartridges on test were Eley Pigeon Select and VIP Game, Gamebore Black Gold and Clear Pigeon, Hull Cartridge Special Pigeon and Lyalvale Express Super Game. The Beretta handled all of them well, placing the shot pattern to point of aim. Beretta 690 Sporting Shotgun
Everything worked well, as one might expect from a maker with an enviable reputation for reliability.
The Beretta 690 Field I shotgun is a worthy successor to the 680 series. The stock wood on the test gun is dark with attractive veining, and the fit of wood to metal is very good.
The decoration around the action is a mixture of scroll, ribbon and stylised foliate work, which I felt was attractive and novel. The detail on the Deeley-type fore-end catch, along with the ribbon work on the underside of the action body, was my favourite piece of work.
I think Beretta has got this 690 Field I just right.