Beretta SC 12 bore
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- Last updated: 13/12/2016
I have always been something of a Beretta man. Regular readers of these pages know well my fondness for the marque. I used a 28 bore Beretta Silver Pigeon for nearly all my game shooting last season. I also compete most weekends with by lovely old 32” barrelled 303 in sporting events (and with it have won my fair share of High Guns). I use other guns, but, somehow, Berettas just seem to suit me.
Nothing made by man is perfect, however. There is nothing that cannot be improved. The new Beretta SC model tested here incorporates two interesting, and welcome, changes. The forend is of the excellent new ‘American’ rounded style, and the action instead of being silver finished is colour case hardened (at least it appears to be, the finish is actually the result of a high-tech chemical process). We will return to consider these changes later, let me note
meantime that the test gun has 28”, multichoke tubes, a narrow 'game-style' sighting rib, and a pistol grip stock. It might be used, however, for game or clays.
There are no unpleasant surprises when the SC is examined in detail. The barrels are monobloc and chambered for 3” (76mm) shells like all modern Beretta production. They are well presented and built from tough chrome moly steel. If they have any flaw it is that they are a bit heavy (at least for a 28” game gun). They are marked by proof authorities at 1420 grams – quite weighty for a 28” gun, especially one with a 6mm sighting rib. The bore diameters are fairly tight as well (they are both marked at 18.4mm). If the bores were a little wider and the walls made a little thinner the handling qualities might be improved. The full length joining ribs get a thumb’s up, however. There is a trend towards partial ribs to reduce wait - typically the rib is dispensed with under the forend - but I tend to think that this results in mass being reduced from the wrong area. Barrels need to be lively, but no too lively, up front.
The action is very familiar. It is the usual low profile Beretta design with split hinge pins and conical locking bolts. It is best described as a trigger plate rather than a boxlock as all the main components – springs, hammers et. al – sit on a trigger plate to the rear of the action body. Everything worked well. The recoil activated trigger offered clean pulls around 3 pounds, the top lever was positive as was the safety. The only thing I would change is the barrel selector. In what is otherwise a wonderful design, I find this a bit of a fiddle.
The stock of the test gun looked good and felt comfortable. It was made from wood that had some figure, and the finish will appeal to traditionalists (being matt oil with clean cut checkering). The length of pull was 14 ¾” and a thin, black rubber, pad had been fitted. Various interchangeable pads are a available to make the stock longer or slightly shorter (there is 14 ¼” of wood). With regard to drop, the comb seemed a little low. It measured up at 1 ½” forward and 2 3/8” at heel. Beretta game guns are usually a little lower at heel than there sporters (I am not sure why). My preference would have been for 1 3/8 and 2 1/8”. Slight cast for a right-hander was evident and there was a neat silver oval.
I have noted that I thought the gun a little heavy in the barrels, but, by goodness did it shoot skeet well! On my first round, I missed the first bird, and the low house single from Station 6. I put this down to the low comb. From then on, I did not miss much. I really liked the stock shapes. The forend – a new rounded style – was especially comfortable and I liked the full comb
too. Felt recoil was below average. I shot at sporting targets as well, and came away very impressed. I have been looking for a forgiving gun to train my eldest son and this may well be it. Decoratively, the SC scores too, the colour case hardening may be erzatz but it looks good – better I think than a silver plated action. This gun should do very well. It is available in 12 and 28 bore form in both game and sporter configuration. My thanks to Lyalvale (Express) for supplying the cartridges used in this test.