Beretta 694 Sporting
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- Last updated: 04/03/2020
This new model from Beretta, the 694, has been really thought about to achieve the best possible function, but still keep the form and handling at its best.
New features such as a newly designed action and stock wood that is less bulky around the action thus achieving a better all-round view when shouldered have been added. The stock has also had a makeover, so balance is improved and handling is natural and tipped off with a Micro-Core recoil pad. The top lever is better profiled, safety easier to use and the forend mechanism is now all metal for a positive consistent opening and designed to last longer too. You also have a spare different depth Micro core recoil pad to alter the stock length. All-inall, a fine-looking Beretta.
This steel action looks and feels – i.e. opens incredibly smoothly – and these 694 actions have a simplicity to their appearance with a Nistan nickel silvered overall finish only accented by a thin blue inset line to the action sides and Mode 694 name.
This action is different because the sides blend down better with the stock design so that, visually, you have a `wider field of view` when the gun is mounted and looking down the rib. This new higher visibility profiled action still uses the Beretta side locking lug arrangement that rebate into the lowered receiver. You then have hardened twin protruding bolts from the action face that lock into the tapered profile to keep the action tight despite excessive wear through use.
The top lever is really nice, I have to say, it has a more parallelogram shape made of steel that catches the thumb really well and has a smooth surface and opens the action effortlessly. The safety too, with its characteristic Beretta lozenge shape, often copied, has had a strong, more defined grooved surface, so the barrel selector inset and actual safety operation is definitely more positive. Same operation is: one red dot showing for the bottom barrel and two red dots for the top barrel by moving right to left.
The trigger has three positions to help customise the length of pull to your frame and tastes, whilst the trigger blade is polished silver and has a really good amount of space within the trigger guard that is more rounded so you are not ‘searching’ for it. Trigger pull; was 4.55lbs, so a lot better than some previous models
This is an inertia system, so the recoil of the first shot sets the second barrel, but with an unloaded gun putting the safety on and off can fire the second barrel if desired after pulling the trigger on snap caps.
There is a new ejection system on this model, better than the selective ejectors of old and these have new progressive, powerful, springs behind the ejector slide mechanism and under the stop pads for maximum effectiveness.
Barrel lengths are available in 30- or 32-inch versions and I had the 30-inch version, but both are 3-inch chambers. The 694 model came with additional chokes which were the extended Opti HP choke system, which have an extended cone section that ensures the shot column is not pinched as it passes through the choke and this translates to a far better distribution of shot and therefore more consistent and dense shot pattern down range. These are colour-coded, which is an excellent idea to instantly see what’s fitted. Blue is cylinder, Red is Skeet, Gold is Improved cylinder, Green modified and Black Improved modified as supplied. At 3.5-inches long they only protrude 20mm from the front of the muzzles. You can use the choke key provided but the outer choke edge is profiled for finger-tight operation.
Beretta`s cold-hammer forged steelium material, which is an alloy providing lightness yet strength, is used and marked on the barrel as Excelsior H.S.A steel. Beretta are known for these quality barrels that have a long life as well as being lighter than all steel equivalents. The bores are enhanced for durability by being chrome lined for maximum durability. Best of all is the long forcing cones that slowly taper down the barrels and thus achieve good velocity, less pellet deformation and this means really good even and dense patterns down range. Bit like the older DT11 model.
The rib has a full serrated width and is 10mm wide tapering to 8mm with eight full vents beneath and seven central vents in the mid rib. You have a single long white dayglo element near the muzzle and is all you need to aid eye alignment. Along the mid rib under the forend there is also proviso to fit 5-, 10- and 15- gram weights into five positions (B-Fast system) that allow you to custom tune your Model 694 to the balance and feel that suits you, not Mr/Mrs average.
This model has had a real redesigned with a new 2.5 plus grade walnut and ergonomics that improve handling and balance. On this sporting model, the stock features a widened blade and comb as well as a lengthened pistol grip with palm swell and is quite upright in stance. I personally really like this and, as with the rest of the stock, it has been designed this way so that all sporting disciplines are catered for. It gives a more natural feel and balance to the whole 694 gun. It seems to make the Model 694 point itself.
You also have a new pattern checkering and more expansive coverage, again to aid in support of the model 694. You have choice to add 20- or 40-gram weights to the stock to get the balance and feel just right for you.
The forend has a new allsteel opening design that makes for a more consistent opening of the barrels and is adjustable too. The piston operated stud is separate from the forend steel mechanism and you have a selfregulating auget button so the forend all feels better weighted and smoother to operate.
We shot a few pattern boards to see dispersion and then Jake shot a round of 100 clays at GB Shooting with a 80% plus score using Hulls Comp X 12g 21-gram loads. Very light recoiling but excellent patterns. Fitted with the green anodised ½ choke to the bottom barrel the first cartridges tested were:
Eley Titanium Strike with its No 7.5 shot 28-gram load and plastic wadding shot a total of 241 No 7.5 hits on the 30-inch pattern board. You had 129 outer hits and 112 inner hits within a 15-inch circle. Very dense and even patterns were the norm from this lethal combination.
Eley VIP Sporting is designed specifically for the standard and FITASC sporting layouts and clays. This No.7.5 shot size and 28-gram load with fibre wad and shot a more sparse pattern than the Strikes earlier with 97 inner hits and 132 outer strikes for a total of 229 total. Still lovely even and no holes from clays to slip through, mild on the shoulder too.
NSI-UNO Prima is less well known but what a great cartridge. This 28g No 7.5 shot size cartridge has very low recoil in the Beretta 694 and achieved some lovely patterns. I had 248 No 7.5 pellets total spread with the ½ choke into 96 inner and 152 outer hits without clumping or any holes, very good performance indeed.
Beretta fans will really appreciate the attention to detail and rethink to many of the areas that may have niggled them in the past. This Model 694, although pricey at £3645, has really been redesigned to perform at the next level. The enlarged stock pistol grip to me it certainly aids in proper handling and the reprofiled action and stock do give a better sight picture overall.
You also get excellent patterns from those famed Beretta barrels and this Model 694 will be very at home on the clay grounds around Britain.
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