Beretta: built to win medals

We take a first look at a brand new competition gun with an impeccable pedigree, the 694 from Beretta

“Beretta engineers have taken a step nearer to absolute perfection with the spectacular new 694”

Shooting journalists from Europe and beyond gathered at the historic Beretta factory in Gardone, Italy, for the unveiling of the latest competition over-and-under from the world’s oldest gunmaker.

The new gun, named the 694, follows in the footsteps of the company’s well established 680 and 690 series shotguns, and features a striking new action shape as well as a re-designed stock and fore-end.

The 694 has been developed in conjunction with Beretta’s shooting team as a dedicated competition gun “made to dust clays and win medals”. Indeed, the company is so confident that they say “The pursuit of perfection is a never ending journey and Beretta engineers are constantly striving to push these limits. They have taken a step nearer to absolute perfection with the spectacular new 694.”

The new shape action retains Beretta’s proven locking system, with two pins locating either side of the breech

Most striking is the new receiver design with its distinctive ‘attacking’ lines, but closer inspection reveals a host of new features – including redesigned ejectors, a lower profile top lever designed to be easy to operate for left or right handed shooters, and a new fore-end latch system which incorporates a piston-operated stud.

The stock blends seamlessly into the shoulder of the action to improve the shooter’s view of the target. Grooves at either side reduce the amount of wood and metal that could obstruct peripheral vision. Beretta say this helps to avoid the need to raise your head from the line of sight – a movement that can easily result in a miss.

The stock on the Sporting version features a widened blade and comb, and a lengthened pistol grip with palm swell. This is intended to improve comfort while ensuring the position of the hands is natural and stable.

The stock has a B-Fast adjustable heel and 18mm MicroCore recoil pad  providing a length of pull of 375mm (14 ¾ in). The fore-end is available in a round or Schnabel configuration in the Sporter; round or beavertail in the Trap model.

Weights of 20g and 40g can be added inside the stock to fine-tune the gun’s balance to suit personal preference; the weights are also available to be purchased separately.

Some aspects of the 694 will be familiar to anyone who has shot a Beretta before. The front part of the action has the classic Beretta hinged studs that locate into housings on the monobloc.

The gun has a redesigned top lever and safety catch, and there’s a palm swell in the grip

The gun features the proven Beretta locking system, with trapezoidal shoulders and two rugged pins that protrude from the breech face and fit into housings on either side of the breech. It also has Steelium Plus barrels with Optima High-Performance chokes. The trigger group has a three-position adjustable trigger.

The Beretta 694 should be available in British gunshops by the time you read this. It comes in an ABS case with accessories and user manuals, with prices from £3,325 for a fixed-choke Trap model, and £3,645 for the Sporter with multichokes.

The B-Fast adjustable stock option will cost around £330 extra. Full specifications, price list and a product video are available at www.gmk.co.uk.

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