Beretta SV10 Perennia
Mark Stone tries Beretta’s new SV10 Perennia and discovers a tour de force of modernity that still embraces the marque’s inherent traditions
As with most Beretta’s, the SV120’s presentation is spot on. A trident-embossed, blue, velvet-lined travelling case gives that all important value for money feeling. It’s the stock that in many ways defines this new model, as the butt looks to have a slightly thicker than usual extended recoil pad. Closer inspection however, shows it is in fact a recoil absorbing mechanism.
Optional on the Perennia is the Kick-Off recoil reduction system, which employs two hydraulic dampers that act in the same manner as twin shock – absorbers. The effect, though unusual at first, is remarkable, as over 60% of felt recoil is eliminated.
The Anson-latched forend incorporates what Beretta refers to as their Nano-Ceramics, which gives the iron a colour, case-hardened effect. This is not just a surface enhancement, as the process reputedly bestows increased strength, hardness along with lubricating qualities. Plus a series of conical washers constantly adjusts barrel to receiver pressure. In themselves all very technical but what this means to the shooter is a shotgun that should require reduced maintenance.
Aesthetically the woodwork is most pleasing, with its oil finish enhancing the grain and feel, plus the design makes it easy to hold and use. Another feature is the ability to remove the butt quickly and easily. At the base of the pistol grip is small trapdoor, insert the short stock (T-key) and rotate it anti clockwise. A quick rap on the stock head sees wood and metal part company. This then gives access to the lockwork for cleaning and maintenance, which is another great feature. Experienced Beretta owners will immediately recognise that the mechanism is a blend of the tried and tested 680 series and with some new ideas.
More than decorative
Encompassing Beretta’s familiar trapezoidal shoulders, the reversed half sideplates are decorated with a brace of partridge and pheasant in full flight. These tear drop shaped panels are surrounded by profuse scroll work as is the base, hinge pins, fences, top lever and trigger guard.
At the very front of the 3” chambered monobloc are two slot head screws just above the ejectors. Always a boon on walked-up days, a quarter screwdriver turn allows you to select an extract-only function, ideal for those who prefer to manually remove and pocket their spent cases.
Butt if only
Given this model is a game gun, I found its weight at 7lbs 4oz fractionally heavier than I expected. That said, whilst slower to swing, the evenly distributed mass more than promotes controlled movement onto and through the target, negating the often jerky style that can occasionally beset more lightweight shotguns.
The stock’s dimensions of 1 5/8” drop and the comb and 2 3/32” at the heel with a length of pull measuring 14¼”. Combined with the newly profiled grip radius it all comes together to produce a 12-bore that feels constantly at the ready. By the same token what I’d describe as the London-style forend particularly suited my outstretched index finger style. Whilst the soft yet uniform chequering offers excellent purchase, the Perennia’s new furniture fuses together to produce a truly malleable shotgun.
The SV10 shows a set of well blacked, 28” barrels, topped with a 6mm top rib and a small bead up front, with a solid mid rib. Beretta supply a set of five, 2 ¾”, flush fitting Optimachokes as part of the game gun kit. From Improved Cyl through to Full, the pattern throughout a range of shot sizes was significantly notable. Two simple designs, the newly profiled top lever and barrel selectors located within the automatic safety are both significant improvements.
Smooth instead of chequered, the safeties new shape is far easier to find and smoother and quicker to operate. The red and white, colour-coded selector provides for an instant visual reference as to which barrel will discharge first. Straightforward in all respects, what at first may seem insignificant, both increases the alacrity of handling and pleasure of use.
Using Express Supreme Competition and Game I shot the SV10 over Coniston SG’s compact layouts prior to a day’s driven partridge and pheasant. Performance was both striking and unusual, and proof that the recoil reduction mechanism needn’t be unsightly to be efficient. The plus side is that even when reasonably powerful cartridges are used, the system eliminates in excess of the claimed 69% of felt recoil.
You also have to be aware of this lack of kick and may need to modify your technique accordingly, as if you aren’t careful, the SV10 will spring out of your shoulder pocket. This isn’t to say it leaps out of your hands, but you may find that you need to take a slightly tighter hold on the gun to eliminate the minor shift caused by the ½” travel as the butt and stock compress and expand. Unusual at first, but its easy and quick to get used to, plus it allows high round counts and comfortable all day shooting. Even big magnum loads are humbled by Beretta’s Kick-Off system! Personally, I’d have the 6 lb trigger weight lightened by 3lbs if not more!
Pheasant & clay
With the competition version on its way my main problem with the Perennia would be which one to buy. The game version is more than able to acquit itself with flair and aplomb no matter what the target. Likewise, I can see no reason why the extended Optimachokes shouldn’t fit the game gun so completing the game/clay transition. Fair enough, the comp model will more than likely be fitted with a wider rib, Day-Glo bead and a slightly different stock. But at heart it’ll be the same SV10.
Similarly and although the Perennia is available without the Kick-Off recoil reducer, it’d seem pointless buying the gun without it. It only adds £170 to the bottom line and the advantages outweigh other considerations. Once you’ve adapted yourself to how the gun reacts during firing, I guarantee this Beretta will rapidly become a 12-bore you’ll find excuses to use no matter the time of year or the target.
Even if you choose to ignore all the technical innovations and regard it as nothing more than an evolved 680, this Beretta is still a great gun. The asking price of £2,475 should give numerous other manufacturers some sleepless nights too. Hats off to Beretta, with the new SV10 the Italian giant has a shotgun that’s both worthy or their name and a design that should once again keep them at the forefront of technology. Interestingly though, the engraving shows this gun as the Perennia III which means two others are possible in the offing!
• Beretta’s Perennia will keep them at the top of the tree
• Proof positive that recoil reduction needn’t be unsightly
• Superb handling, excellent design and value for money
|Name||Beretta SV10 Perennia|
|Flush – fit Optimachoke (game version)||Y|
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