Beretta 486 Parallelo
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- Last updated: 06/11/2019
Finally, a really decent side by side shotgun to test! Once the darling of the game fields, the side by side still has its loyal followers but over/ under shotguns are far more the norm these days. Well, Beretta have introduced the new Parallelo shotgun to their range, Parallelo means ‘in parallel’.
It is designed as a classic looking side by side on the outside, with all the trappings of yesteryear with fine engraving, round bodied action and deeply blued steel beautifully held by quality walnut. However, all the magic is on the inside, as Beretta, rather than revamping an old model, has opted to start again, fresh. This means a redesigned action, springs and trigger group for utmost reliability in the field, as well as obvious Beretta elegance.
What you finally end up with is a really nicely handling, pistol grip or straight side by side with 28- (on test) or 30-inch barrels in 12g or 20-gauge. Priced from £4445, I would say that’s about right for what you get.
Lovely, in a word. You can go the straight grip option if you really want to keep things tradition, but this model wore the pistol grip version, which I prefer. It offers a better grip and view down the barrel ribs for me and feels more natural although; I have to say that I really like a straight grip and they look superb, horses for courses, your choice.
As the grip goes, it has a slender gait with plenty of room for large hands but being without palm swells makes it just as handy for smaller hands too. You have large panels of cut chequering, quite fine but they actually grip and the only other adornment to the stock is a solid walnut recoil pad. This is really nice and in keeping with a fine side by side shotgun. This too is chequered and has the Beretta logo laser cut inside the cartouche.
The forend is a wide, semi beaver tail; again, sensible, as it allows a very good grip, enhances handling and stops your fingers wrapping around the barrels. This saves hot fingers and wearing off the fine bluing from the barrels! You also have a very good coverage of chequering from side to side and underneath.
There is a small amount of cast and a small drop at the heel for a very natural and ergonomic handling with its 14.5-inch length of pull. The walnut is, as one would expect on a premium gun, very well executed, with good metal to walnut fit around the action faces. You have a semi oil rubbed finish that enhances with use and is very practical. The walnut is high grade and has a dark overall colour with very nice deep and lineated grain flowing through the butt stock with tiger striping to the forend.
You have an option of 28- or 30-inch barrels, we had the 28 inch versions both of which are multi choked. These are Berettas famous cold hammer forged Optima choked barrels that are designed for longevity as well as uniformity and concentricity to enhance performance. This 486 had 3-inch chambers and is proofed for all shot including high performance loads but I can see this with much milder 12-gauge loads for game and simulated game days, but nice to have the built-in pressure margin. There are no visible weld lines either to the barrel seams, due to Beretta’s Triblock barrel technology, good looks and strength also. You do notice the difference, really good!
The Optima chokes are 70mm long and proofed for steel up to ½ choking, as normal. You get a set of five chokes, cyl, ¼, ½, ¾ and full chokes supplied with key and oil. The chokes are very well polished and finished, no doubt contributing to the fine patterns thrown by the Parallelo.
Externally, you have an 8mm concave rib with smooth surface only being punctuated by an engraved Beretta logo and small low-profile silver bead at the muzzles. Overall finish is perfect, seamless and finished in a really good, deep polished bluing befitting this elegant gun.
In vogue, these days, is the round bodied action design, as it allows a low-profile layout, feels very nice and looks very classy to boot – win, win. You have a good coverage of quite thin but dainty English type scroll engraving to all sides, tang, safety and trigger guard, as well as pistol grip tang. It just looks so much better than a normal slab-sided action in my opinion.
Lock up is very strong, with the two large lumps engaging into recesses in the jewelled finish action floor and then two sliding locks engaging into the top half of these lumps, to form a strong union between barrels and action.
The trigger assembly is removable and has been upgraded and simplified, for the better, with leaf springs not coil springs for the hammer action designs; this is far better, and the recoil activated system is utterly reliable and built to last. It produces a faster lock time.
The top tang lever is a good size and the safety is automatic on opening the 486 and the barrel selector is sited, as all Berettas, on the safety button with a clear sliding latch indicating top or bottom barrel selection. There is a small rotating lever that can be set to ‘E’ for cartridges to eject, or ‘M’ for manual i.e. pick the cases out manually.
Despite magnum capability, that’s not what this Parallelo is all about, so I tested game and pigeon loads.
Handling is very good, as the 486 has a very natural profile and handling characteristics and is well weighted; in other words, not too dainty and light but solid and very balanced.
First up, with the ½ choke Optima choke fitted to the right barrel, were the Eley VIP Game loads; befitting this gun, they are 2½-inch shells, so pretty traditional but have a high, 15mm brass base. At 30-yards, using the No. 6 shot and classic 28-gram loading, you noticed how mild the Parallelo recoiled and that’s with a solid walnut butt pad. Good design, straight back and the pattern achieved 211 pellet strikes for 71 inner hits to 15-inches and 140 around the outer sectors.
Driven Grouse were next from Hull cartridge company. This is one of the new copper plated shotgun shells and suits the Berettas old and new sentiment in the Parallelo. The 70mm cases are see through, so you can see the fibre wadding and I had a payload of 32-grams of No. 5.5 copper shot with a high 12mm rim. Nice round pellet size that one. I had a total of 220 pellet strikes within 30-inches at 30-yards, so quite tight. The inner sector having 113 copper pellet hits and the outer 30-inches with a very evenly spread 107 strikes. Lovely pattern and hard hitting too down range, great fast pheasant or Grouse load.
Finally, a Pigeon load, again Hull, with the Superfast Pigeon, although Imperial Game is another good load too.
The Superfasts shot with its 29-grams of No. 6 shot a total of 226 pellets on the boards distributed with 135 outer and 91 inner hits. These are fast 1450fps loads and always work well, so this Berettas is a great game or classic shooting pigeon gun too.
Someone looking for a classic side by side but who likes all the modern technical features to improve performance but outwardly looks elegant, will find that the Beretta 486 Parallelo fits the bill.
Quality of walnut is very good, and handling is excellent, as are the patterns thrown by the barrels. The action is mechanically excellent and, overall, this 486 would probably outlast its owner. It has all the charm of a classic side by side but with all the benefits of modern manufacture.