Beretta 690 Field III
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- Last updated: 19/12/2016
The Beretta 690 Field III is a new version of the Beretta 692, but set-up for game use rather than the 692’s competition pedigree. This game gun has a lighter weight, due to the slimmer action dimensions and with 28-inch barrels; it weighs just over 7lbs, yet still retaining maximum strength. That’s what Beretta do well, clever design to maximise performance and strength, yet still keep a lightweight and elegant gun, so ideally suited for game use.
You need a fast-handling and well-balanced gun that generates low-recoil from its beneficial bottom barrel axis geometry. But it does this with no fuss; it just gets on with it. The woodwork too contributes to the overall good-balance, with its slim forend and well-designed stock that keeps the natural hold maintained throughout the swing.
Available in 12g or 20g I had the 12g 28 inch barrels on test.
Outwardly, the action possesses some very good and nice-looking rolled engraving to all the surfaces over the coin-finished surface called Nistan, that has been enhanced by additional borders.
Basically the 690 Field III has similar design to the older 680 action, with rebounding hammer coil springs, that set up the second barrel shot by inertia from the first barrel. The action is easy to open, with a smooth top lever, also engraved for better grip and the typical twin sliding pins to lock up the action into the action shoulder as it closes, remain. The trigger is smooth but quite heavy, with a slim silver blade and the auto safe has been enlarged for better use with the inset barrel selector sited on its shoulder.
Interestingly, the extractors are now mounted on the inside of the mono-bloc in dovetail recesses, a feature designed to stop breakages or damage. They can also be deactivated by a small screw, which still allows reliable extraction but does not eject the cases. This allows you to manually extract cases in a confined hide, or pop them into a pocket where you need to pick up cases on a dark night. The firing pins are spring loaded and sit vertically, angled to each cartridge for a precise primer hit and judging by the indent in the cases, they hit hard and true.
The wood on the Field III is a nicely grained walnut with a matt, semi-oiled finish and is grade 2 plus, this gun had good colour and some nice grain figuring to it. That oil finish is practical on a game gun too, where inevitable wear and scratches in the field can be retouched quite easily.
Wood to metal fit, as you would expect on a Beretta is very precise, adding to the symmetry and strength of the design. The buttpad is finished with a Beretta micro core, soft recoil pad, which provides an excellent and appreciated recoil damping effect and can also be changed for other sizes to alter the length of pull, which came as 14.75-inches.
Checkering panels adorn the forend and pistol-grip with precise laser-cut design, with standard diamond form profiles. That aforementioned forend is slim with a new rounded tip, which handles well and looks very nice and the butt stock has a longer raked pistol grip that accommodates the hand well and allows a very natural, pointable hold for both hands in line, enabling a fast, accurate swing on game.
You can order two stock versions with differing drops at comb and heel, I had the 38 comb and 60mm heel with slight right cast, and I believe left hand stocks are also available.
Barrel lengths are available in 26-, 28- and 30-inches, I had the 28-inch version, which are mono-bloc design and made from Berettas own cold-hammer forged steelium material, which is an alloy providing lightness yet strength and thus contributes to the fast handing properties.
The inside bore diameter is 18.6mm and chambers are 3-inch or 76mm, so any case up to or below this can be shot. Importantly, they are steel proofed; so all game can be accounted for with the correct cartridges, shot type, size and permission! This is further enhanced for durability with the bores being chrome lined for maximum durability.
The forcing cones are 65mm, so long, and the muzzle ends are equipped with Beretta’s Optima HP flush fit, hand inserted choke system. Five chokes are provided, so all bases are covered in the field. The rib has a full-contact design, so the whole base of the rib connects to the barrel, instead of just the feet from the ventilated sections. The top rib is 6mm wide, so nice and slim, making this a true game gun and really concentrates the eye on swift moving targets.
The 30-inch barrels will certainly provide you with more of a sustained swing on game but these 28-inch versions were still very good. With shorter barrels, there is a tendency to stop on the swing with less momentum, but each to their own, I was happy. I fitted ¼- and ¾-inch chokes and set up pattern boards at 30-yards and patterned on ½ choke to see the average shot count and spread between a variety of cartridges.
Weight-wise it’s a good blend between fast handling and recoil damping and certainly it was very comfortable to shoot, with the excellent handling the recoil was straight back and not in your face.
I set up the usual pattern boards to actually see for myself the shot pattern preference of the Field 3.
171 pellets hit the board and the patterns were very evenly distributed, with 78 pellets within the inner circle at 30-yards. Just a slight low bias.
These oldie but goodies really liked the Beretta’s bores, as 201 pellets total hit the board, with 112 outer density spread and 89 inner circle hits with no gaps or holes for a pigeon to pass through, nice load this one.
Another Eley that shot 194 pellets, hit the board with 111 within the outer circle and 83 within the inner 14-inch circle. That’s very good overall density of shot, nothing’s flying through that lead storm!
Another evenly patterned cartridge, this Beretta shoots. 196 pellets hit the board, with 140 pellets in the outer section and 56 covering the inner 14-inches.
177 pellets hit the pattern board, with 107 in the outer and 70 in the inner, a little low right skewed bias to the pattern
Firstly, the Beretta has that understated beauty that becomes more apparent the more you look at it and actually shoot it. It’s also at a good price point for this type of gun and combines great handling and very pleasing, elegant lines. In the field, it handled very well and soon you forgot it was there, which is the point of any shotgun and you just concentrate on the target, pigeons in this case.
Complete with a case, full set of chokes, oil and manual, the Berretta Field III offers all you need and takes the Beretta brand forward again into 2016.