Beretta Sporter T&E.....

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Dave McCracken, Jan 5, 2007.

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  1. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    First, my apologies. Work weeks here and now run 56 hours plus. Sorry to make y'all wait.

    As you may know, I got my first non 870 in a long time recently. It's an O/U, a Beretta 686 White Onyx Sporter with the now popular 32" barrels.

    The 680 series Berettas have been around a while now, and have garnered a good rep as high volume competition shotguns as well as fine field guns.

    The Onyx is the cheapest version of the series but it has the very same action and barrels as the most costly versions, the Silver Pigeons etc. The increased cost is due to cosmetics only.

    Features on this one include:

    The Optima Bore barrels. These are larger diameter than the older ones but lacking a barrel reader leaves me without exact measurements. Optima chokes do not interchange with the old Mobil chokes. This set is nicely finished, no ripples in the finish, well blued and weigh enough for stability but are not ponderous at all.

    A straight grain walnut stock set. The grain runs well through the wrist, promising strength and no weak spots. The checkering is probably lazer cut, no overruns or flat points, and is almost velcro like in stickiness. Better than the impressed checkering I'm used to.

    As Euro guns often do, this has a bit longer wood than US brands. With the longer of the two pads supplied, LOP falls at 14 7/8". This is a trifle short on paper for me, but the stock fits me better than factory issue 870 lumber.

    For shooting it in, I stuck the tightest two of the five choke tubes in after lubing lightly with anti seize compound. The five tubes start at a negative choked Skeet, then Cylinder, IC, Mod and IM. A table I read says that the IM tube has only 23 POC, but it smacks them nicely at 40 yards if I point it right.

    Anti Seize compound also went on the hinge pins. These are located between the barrels, helping to give a lower profile to the receiver. A good grease or this compound is recommended to keep wear to a minimum. If despite all, the wear occurs, new pins and locking lugs can be installed to rebuild the action.

    I shot about 300 rounds in three days shooting since I bought this. Trap and wobble with my usual variations saw most of the targets busting nicely. As usual, the human factor is the crucial one.

    The trigger on this is worse than my 870s. A couple lbs heavier and not as clean. Usable but I may have this redone later. Or, it may smooth up from work polishing.

    Surprisingly, I feel a bit more kick with this than my 870s,even though this is heavier than all except the 870TB trap deathray. The 7/8 oz loads I use in the winter are 1300 FPS in the published data. Maybe that Geltech Beretta pad is not as effective as the KickEez, Sims and Decellerator pads I use. Or maybe it's just smaller, the butt on this is trim. The extra kick is not obnoxious, just noted.

    The crux of the matter comes down to performance. Can I hit with it?

    Yes. the Onyx turns like a cutting horse on crossers, has enough inertia,to handle quartering targets nicely and will find the right leads when I let the shot happen instead of consciously trying to guide it.

    Can't ask more of a shotgun. And this one will last longer than I will.

    The White Onyx Sporter is a keeper.....
     
  2. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Member

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    Not even close IMO. I'd scrap the factory one for a Kick-Eez or Decelerator ASAP. It's funny, the Beretta pads seem like they'd be OK when you press around on them with your thumbs, but I don't like them much when shooting.
     
  3. sm

    sm member

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    :)

    Great review from a great friend.
     
  4. zinj

    zinj Member

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    IIRC Beretta bores a spec-ed to the European standard, which is tighter than the American one. I have read that the Optima "over-bore" is actually closer to the U.S. standard!
     
  5. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Member

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    Dave -

    Favor me if you get a chance. Try the IC tube at a round of trap or two and let me know how it works for you.
     
  6. 4fingermick

    4fingermick Member

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    I have a 686 Silver Pidgeon, bought it a few years ago when the new ones came out with the modernistic engraving. Mine was part of a clear out sale to make way for the new goofy ones (I notice Beretta has gone back to more traditional engraving). It has nice light traditional engraving and the wood is plain as (looks like plastic) and the pad is solid plastic. I was considering putting one of those Beretta gel pads on it. Anyone used them? The gun works well otherwise. I have fired a thousand shells through it and it is still tight! You have to push it the last bit when you open up, otherwise the bottom barrel is covered. I expected it to loosen up by now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2007
  7. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Thanks, folks.

    TR, I may do that pad swap later on. The kick is not emphatic, just more than I'm used to with 7/8 oz loads. I don't see this getting many heavy loads even though it has 3" chambers. Frankenstein can handle those better.

    BTW, the bores are chromed, and the cones longer than Remspec ones.

    As for IC, I had planned on that. This time of year less choke does more. I've a suspicion the IC choke is more open than the usual 10 POC. Will advise.

    Thanks, Steve.

    Zinj, I'm inclined to agree. I doubt these are overbored by US standards. Overboring does not impress me much. Bore contours can. The tubes have a long taper so all in all shot should exit in good condition.

    Mick, the disco decoration of the E version of the 682 leave me underwhelmed. Fine gun, but I'd rather have more traditional engraving or none. Here and now, it's none.
     
  8. PJR

    PJR Member

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    Older Beretta barrels usually miked around .724 and the Optima that I've checked are in the low .730 range with .729 being the accepted standard for 12 gauge. So while they are overbored from a Euro perspective they indeed aren't far off the accepted American/UK standard for 12 gauge.

    The real advantage to the Optima bores is that the barrels are lighter. An older style Beretta with Mobile chokes is very ponderous in a 32" barrel length. As with any factory choke it's always worth measuring them to see if the constriction on the inside matches the words on the outside.

    Dave, it's great that this o/u is working out for you. In my distant memory from TFL days I recall you had an o/u that didn't work out. A Rottweil if I remember correctly?

    Just don't lose your 870 chops.;)

    Paul
     
  9. Scoupe

    Scoupe Member

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    Nice review. You will love that Beretta. Built to shoot and built to last.
     
  10. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Paul, Nick Sisley reviewed Rich Cole's "Bespoke" Berettas in Sporting Clays magazine not long ago. Basically, Cole takes an Onyx with 32" barrels and pretties it up with engraving and custom wood.

    Sisley's test Beretta had Optima barrels that miked .731". The tubes ran 3 POC for Cylinder, 6 for IC, 12 for Modified, 23 for IM and so on. IOW, what Beretta called Mod was what most folks would call a tight IC or open LM. I would not be surprised to find that, with good ammo, 6 POC gives the 60% patterns at 40 yards commonly accepted as IC performance and so on. More shotguns are overchoked than otherwise, especially older ones.

    Right on that last O/U except it was a Pederson, made by Aramberri. This is several orders of magnitude better.

    870 chops are intact. A month of O/U use isn't going to wipe out nigh 50 years of shucking.

    I have tugged on that forearm a couple times.....

    Scoupe, thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2007
  11. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Dave,

    Glad you are enjoying the stack barrel- may it serve you long and well. I somehow doubt you'll get into any bad habits with it, and you are long past anyone having to worry about you getting above your raisin' just cause of owning some fancy-schmancy Eye-talian scattergun. 8^)

    lpl/nc
     
  12. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Thanks, Lee. It's been a while since I had a new toy. Number Six was the last one,and IIRC, that was 2002 or so.

    As for getting upitty, no chance.

    I spent lots of my youth with a pitchfork in my hands. An average horse produces 35 lbs of solid waste a day. We had up to 10 at a time. Memories like that are a great reality check....
     
  13. Will Fennell

    Will Fennell Member

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    Optima bores....

    Guys,
    I have 4 optima bore Beretta's in the safe......smallest is .730" and the largest is .735" bore. The average these days seems to be around .731-2".

    I'm a contract shooter for Beretta, and I use a Kick -Eez pad;)

    Dave, pull the stock on the 686, and put some good moly grease on the hammer/sear hooks.......I think you'll find those triggers will break in nicely. If not, drop by Accokeek, and let Les and the boys in the gunsmithing shop work the triggers over.....they do great work. Darby's 682 triggers feel like a decent rifle trigger.

    But, she shot in excess of 15,000 rounds through her 682 last year:rolleyes:
     
  14. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Thanks, Will. I'll put a few more rounds through this and see how they slick up. Got some moly when the time comes.

    The KickEez sounds good. Arthritis in my right shoulder is getting worse.

    Doubt I'll do 15K this year, but I'll try.....
     
  15. anapex

    anapex Member

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    Dave glad to hear you picked one up and it's working well for you. Now you just need some peasants to beat the brush and a tweed hat and you'll be set!
     
  16. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    No illusions of MiLordship, anapex. Still way too close to my roots. More in common with the peasantry.....
     
  17. anapex

    anapex Member

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    Well I'll still volunteer to beat the brush for you. I'm good at kicking things out so I'll need you to hit them. Missed 3 grouse a couple weekends ago...
     
  18. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Grouse are tough. Lifetime total for me is 3. Thanks for the offer.

    Update on the B-gun...

    Ran 150 rounds through it today at trap, Chinese trap and handicap. Either I'm getting used to the trigger or it's smoothing up on its own, or both.

    Replaced the Geltek pad with a Limbsaver prefit. That solved one problem, that of the kick. Started another. The sides of the LS pad are sticky enough to catch clothing during the mount. Either I can Brister them with electrician's tape or learn to mount despite the glue like feel and catching.

    I also took a black marker to the midbead. It was distracting me a bit on some presentations.

    Per a request, I stuck the IC tube in and shot a round of singles. Worked well. Same for Chinese.

    So did the Mod tube, even back on the 27 yard line when I held up my end, Fron the 16, targets were just erased.

    This is a keeper....
     
  19. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Member

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    The B-Gun sounds like a lotta fun.

    Working on stock spacers & limbsaver pads for the 870s - electricians tape sure works well for that oft, sticky rubber. If one were concerned with looks, electricians tape might not get near a B-gun, but is at home on the express :rolleyes:
     
  20. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Done neatly, tape looks OK. How's the fitting coming?

    Probably shooting again tomorrow if you can make it....
     
  21. Striker

    Striker Member

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    Dave,

    Great meeting you today. Enjoyed watching you and the guys shoot and really enjoyed the gabefest after. That B gun sure looks good. Hope to get out with you soon and dust some.


    Jack
     
  22. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Member

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    I've think of grouse in terms of karma. I've gotten several within seconds of entering the woods, still within sight of the truck. However, for each one gotten that way, I've spent many days blundering around the woods, ripping myself up on greenbriars and only hearing them flush on the other side of thick cover.

    Couple of things here. The Limbsavers do a nice job at reducing recoil, but are kind of sticky. I have one on an 870, and after a season, it's doesn't seem as bad. Maybe they're a little stickier when brand new. The other thing is that a lot of folks push the gun away, raise it and then pull it back to the shoulder. I prefer to push the gun away as I raise it, and lean forward slightly into it. This seems to make the mount less likely to hang up on clothing.

    That's why I intentionally broke the midbead off my Browning 425.

    Last year (I think), I was shooting with Mrs. Trapper. We were shooting a loooonnngggg trap-style shot from the top of a hill. The thrower was at the base of the hill, probably slightly over 30 yards away. I was having trouble with the shot, and screwed in a Full choke. It was better, but my hits were still chippy and infrequent.

    Then Mrs. Trapper wanted to shoot a few. I think she ran 6 of 8, getting solid hits with the targets being fully destroyed. She was running IC/IC in her Optima-choked 682. My opinion of IC in those tubes is kind of like everyone's opinion of the 28ga. It seems to work better than it "ought to".

    Glad to hear it.
     
  23. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Member

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    Coming along ok. Finally got tired of the slip-on after I took the SM hunting in the rain and it collected a fair amount of moisture...

    Bought some hard rubber spacers from brownells. The SM is getting +1" LOP and the CT is getting +1/2" LOP

    Might just be able to make it out that way.
     
  24. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Great to meet you too, Jack. The gab was the best part. Hope to see you again there. Bring your gear next time.

    TR, this isn't grouse country. I've taken two here in over 40 years of residence and one up near the Catoctins.

    I mount like you. Still, it's hanging up a trifle. Tape time.

    IC used to be a 25 yard choke. Now, better ammo and better tapers have extended it some. And, if one can place the center of the patterns where the density is high, targets can be broken well out there.

    When I get a chance to get this to a smith, that midbead is history.

    Slipons will do that,B5. I'll be there early and not for long. Spring cleaning has begun....
     
  25. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Member

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    Might run into, prolly be out there 'round 10. Rain/Shine/Hurricane
     
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