Beretta 682 Gold E
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- Last updated: 19/01/2017
This month we put the spotlight on a 12 bore Beretta 682 Gold E with 32” barrels which has been my companion since early summer. Present impressions of the gun, rather like initial ones on first shooting it, are that it is a very sound piece of kit. It handles well, shoots predictably, and is modernistic without looking too much like a Dan Dare ray gun.
As for the aesthetic and technical, the familiar trunnion hinged and conical bolt locked action is silver finished with minimal but tasteful decoration and there is an adjustable, gold-plated, trigger on the usual sliding blade system with a small Allen screw for retaining purposes. The barrels are lighter than the average at 1450 grams and built on the Optibore system with long forcing cones and long, thin wall, chokes as well as barrel bores that are at 18.5mm not quite as tight as Berettas used to be and are better for it.
The 682 has evolved quite a bit over the years. Many readers will remember the older models, both the early silver actioned guns and the black actioned ‘Supersport.’ Both were excellent and like most Berettas, just about indestructible. Older 682s, it might be added, were a little wider in the action than modern ones and barrels tended to be heavier too. The action width has gone from 40mm to 39mm. It is not a lot, but there is a significant difference to the look and weight of the gun. I might also note that I remember Barry Simpson doing very well with a 30” 680 model – like the ASE one of the classic Beretta competition guns. His 680 had 30” barrels and 686 wood fitted (I have one like it, which I intend to give to one of my boys in time). The plain silver actioned and beautifully built 680 was, of course, itself the inspiration for the 682.
Apart from slightly changed action dimensions, new cosmetics and improved stock shapes, the big difference in the latest 682s compared to the first ones is the barrel geometry. Like DT10s, and even some of the latest Silver Pigeons, the 682 has Optima bore barrels as noted. The package as described – longer cones, bigger bore, long chokes (and significantly reduced barrel weight in most cases) is really useful. The forcing cones are not only long but highly polished. The Optima chokes are offered in the 682 Gold E with extensions at the muzzle, so no tool is required for changing. One small criticism is that they do seem to become loose quite easily - so you should get in the habit of checking them. Key locked, flush fitting Optima chokes are also available on some models, though by preference is still for the extended chokes provided you check that they are secure regularly.
I think, meantime, that the Optima package offers a real world improvement in pattern performance and have been truly impressed with it (to the extent that I would probably only buy an Optima Beretta now). The Optima 32” Gold E is very pointable, yet quite lively. If someone turns up to me for a lesson with one my usual comment is “Well, you’ve not bought the wrong gun then.” I rate them highly. They look good, handle well, and take a lot of punishment too. Competition guns need a bit more weight overall than game guns, but they don’t want to be too heavy in their tubes. The 682 Gold E ticks the right boxes.
Our 682’s barrels are, typically, well presented. They are monobloc as nearly all Berettas (the firm developed this method of manufacture over a hundred years ago). The chambers on the test gun are 76mm (3”), not that most competition guns are ever likely to see a 3” cartridge in them. The tubes are hammer forged and made from tough chrome-moly steel. I have watched them being bashed out from slugs at the factory and it is a most intriguing process which transforms a billet of steel into a perfectly formed tube. I doubt if any other manufactured makes a tougher barrel. I like the 8-10mm tapered rib which presents a good picture to the eye and encouraging focus forward. The front bead is white and will suit most - though my personal preference is for plain metal front sight of small size. Joining ribs are vented. The barrels are hard chromed internally – as all modern Berettas – and even with abuse, they will last a very long time.
I have little more to say about the action which we have described so many times in these pages. It is a brilliantly simple design which is not only low in profile but offers extraordinary reliability with its coil spring powered, trigger-plate mechanism. The single trigger mechanism itself is recoil activated and as reliable as the rest. One of the features I particularly like about the 600 series action is that most of the parts subject to wear – the hinge pins and bolts for example – are available in oversizes so you make keep one of these 600s series guns going indefinitely (the new SV10 chassis offers the same facility).
The adjustable stock of our 682 is well designed with regard to form and made from quality wood. Length of pull was the usual 375mm (14 ¾”) with an 18mm leather or leatherette backed ‘rubber’ pad fitted and the trigger in a central position. You can easily fit 11, 23 or 28mm pads to alter stock length - all you need is a Phillips screw driver. Stock height and offset may be changed by means of an Allen key. The stock comb is not too full (which is a plus), and there is a pistol grip which is neither over or undersized with a subtle palm swell. Palm swells are not usually my thing, but this one was ok (the problem with palm swells is that one size does not necessarily fit all). The grip was not too acutely angled either. The forend is of quite full beaver-tail pattern (which comes with the adjustable stock version, but not the fixed). It is usually my favourite style on a competition gun (though this one might be slimmed a fraction improving both aesthetics and function). The stock was practically and attractively finished matt which looked fine.
I have shot the test gun at all manner of skeet and sporting targets and it’s a solid, predictable, performer. Recoil is manageable, trigger pulls are reasonable (though this is not the greatest strength of the 600 design), stock shapes promoted good purchase and control. The gun points better than the average as noted and moves well thanks to its long, but not too heavy barrels. By way of comparison, I shot another very similar gun the other day, and, do you know what? It was equally as good. This is the virtue of Beretta - their quality and performance are so predictable. The 682E, like the new Silver Pigeon I, is simply a gun that you can’t go wrong with. I give it a full, unqualified, endorsement.
PRICE: £3,165 (£2,940 with non-adjustable stock which is most commonly available now as a new adjustable stock is currently being developed)
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