Beretta 692 Sporter
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- Last updated: 16/12/2016
With the arrival of the new 692 my opinion of Beretta’s clay breakers has been fully restored, this all new competition gun feeling right from the moment you pick it up. Maintaining Beretta’s 600 series reputation and to a degree looks, whilst the older models in both clay and game guises continue their popularity and quite rightly so, the 692 is a new, modern take on the design and a process that was more than over due.
Currently the 692 is available as either a Sporter or a Trap gun or to put it another way, its serves just one purpose namely competition. That said, once Beretta realise just how popular the 692 is likely to become it won’t in my opinion take Beretta long to add some appropriate engraving, flush fit chokes and a slimmer stock and bring out the game or field version within the near future. One thing I hope Beretta will do, and it’s just a small criticism, is to revert back to their familiar blue hue fitted travelling cases, the new silver ones to my mind just a bit tacky.
Case colour aside what you’ll find inside besides the 692 is a small case containing a full set of extended and colour coded Optima choke tubes, a choke and stock key, small bottle of oil and a fine blade screwdriver for slackening off the adjustment screw on the trigger-blade plus a thicker recoil pad. What you’ll also see is a gun with, if the review gun is anything to go by, some rather nice, straight grained oil finished walnut with nice defined panels of cut checkering, panels either side of the grip and covering almost the entirety of the extended Anson-latch locked and self-adjusting tension forend.
As regards the metalwork it’s exactly what you’d expect from one of the industry’s oldest gunmakers. Cast and struck from Beretta’s much vaunted ‘Steelium’, the rich black monobloc barrels (30” in this instance) are topped off and separated with a tapering stippled and vented top, and narrow, elongated slot mid-rib which in turn sleeve into 3” chambers, the familiar Beretta shoulders still incorporated into the design. The inner bores feature extended taper from the chambers before heading into the inner overbored section and the flare of the muzzles. The benefit of this minor alteration is that fibrewad cartridges now seal as they should, the sharp report and reaction you expect from a top competition gun and high grade ammo exactly as it should be.
Locking into the action via the two lugs that extend from the face of the action and locate either side of the top chamber, Beretta have continued their ‘more is less’ design. Apart from a partial border and the familiar ovoid cheeks, 692 neatly inlayed whilst underneath three laurel surrounded arrows sit just in front of the oversized trigger guard and fully adjustable trigger-blade.
One nice touch is the long, tapering manual safety and top-lever located on the short top tang. Incorporating the barrel selector, the order is well defined using red and white enamel whilst the offset thumb pad of the top-lever has been overlaid in soft, grippy rubber polymer. A simple idea that besides adding some overtly Italianate styling that in my opinion adds a whole new dimension of common sense. It might seem almost insignificant compared to how the gun performs but once you’ve operated the 692’s top-lever you’ll quickly realise what an excellent idea it is.
Home On The Range
Oh joy, a Sporter that feels right the moment you bring it to your shoulder and one that shoots flat, points where you’re looking and has a grip, stock and forend that are equally comfortable, the 692’s physical attributes instantly confirmed courtesy of the Arrow Laser Shot. A dab of Ballistol gun Vaseline on the hinges to ease things along and it was time to load up with a few boxes of 28g Eley VIP Sporting, these fibrewad loads guaranteed to highlight as to whether Beretta’s bore alterations had worked.
Screwing ¼ and skeet chokes into the muzzles the first physical aspect of the 692 immediately becomes apparent. Weighing in at 8lbs 2oz the gun still balances perfectly around the hinges, allowing the entire mass and overall 48¼” of the gun to pivot effortlessly in either a horizontal or vertical plane. The 692’s ability to move also means that many who might prefer the shorter barrel length will find the gun’s capacity to handle makes the 30” tubes or 30¾” with the extended chokes a more sensible, physically defining option. Reason being the length and weight allow the shooter excellent and almost instant control over accelerating and decelerating the muzzles to suit each individual target.
In fixed stock form drops at comb and heel are 1 3/8” and 2 3/16” with a comfortable 14 11/16” length of pull although this can be altered by adjusting the trigger-blade or fitting the optional recoil pad. Likewise, the 6½ lbs average trigger weight can be lightened to suit the individual by any competent gunsmith. The 692 is the sort of 12-bore that most owners are more than likely to implement their own personal touches.
The depth, width and length of the rounded forend ensures the leading hand is in secure comfortable contact no matter where its held whilst the circumference and radius of the grip along with the gentle palm swell should accommodate most sizes of hands and more importantly locate palm, fingers and wrist in the correct angle of alignment all of which combine to produce the textbook view along the 7-10mm vented top-rib and white lozenge captive bead.
It always helps when the first pair of clays vaporises and so it was with the 692 along with the defining sensation that felt recoil was at its worst negligible. Fifty birds later and the 692 continued to impress as one of the easiest, softest shooting 12-bores you’re ever likely to bring to your shoulder whilst opening the gun using the rubber inserted top-lever became part of the shooting pleasure and an example of just how correct Beretta have got the 692’s angles and stock head dimensions. The ejectors are well timed and send the empties a sensible distance, the gun opens and closes with a solid, quality air whilst re-cocking is a convincing, quality click, every aspect of using the 692 an ever growing pleasure.
The Best This Year
As each year passes shotguns come and go. Some live up to their manufacturer’s claims others only come close but in the case of the new 692 Sporting as far as I personally am concerned this Beretta is the most proficient competition 12-bore I’ve shot this year. Come to think on it the 692 is probably the best new sporting double-barrelled clay breaker I’ve shot over the past two years when it comes to all round ability, balance, build, finish, feel and the fact the gun actually exceeds Beretta’s advertising assertions by a considerable margin.
Throw into the mix the gun as tested retails for £3,200 with no financial penalties perchance you opt for the alternative 28” or 32” barrels makes the 692 a seriously sensible buy, even less if you want the Trap model for just £2,900. If you must an additional £325 gets you the adjustable stock Sporter version or slightly less for the Trap but whichever 692 suits you the best the price significantly undercuts the competition by a decent margin.
All in all the 692 in whatever guise is a genuine, well thought out and conceived evolution of Beretta’s 600 model. Yes, it’s slightly bulkier in the action than the earlier models and yes the barrels embody Beretta’s new inner bore thinking although this time the new inner profiling works. Basically, if you’re on the market for new latest technology clay breakers, take it from me you’ll go a long way to find the equal of Beretta’s new 692 which rates as one of the best competition 12-bores I’ve had the pleasure of shooting with. GM