The life of a shooting correspondent is a tough one. It’s not all champagne and canapés, honestly.
But occasionally it is, for example last night when the good people at GMK took it upon themselves to host a launch party for three of their new guns at the Beretta Gallery on St James’s Street, in the centre of London. (If you happen to be in town, put the gallery on your walking tour it’s right opposite William Evans, and a short hop to the Best English gunmaking delights to be found at the heart of Mayfair on South Audley Street, Bruton Street and Mount Street).
“Three new guns? Like London buses, they all come along at once”
Three new guns? Like London buses, seemingly they all come along at once, but in this case, they were worth waiting for.
The first, and possibly the most significant in a historical sense, was the new Beretta 687EELL BASC centenary gun. To commemorate the British Association for Shooting and Conservation’s centenary this year, 100 examples based on the familiar 687EELL game gun are being made featuring special engraving on the sideplates and a custom engraving of a Labrador on the bottom of the action, as well as silver trigger.
Numbers 1 and 100 are already spoken for at GMK and BASC, but for £5,315 the remaining models are now on sale with deliveries beginning later this summer. Check them out at next week’s CLA Game Fair. Word on the street is that if you want either a 30inch or 28inch single gun, you’ll have to be quick and if you want one of the 10 matched pairs you’ll have to be even quicker. (Call 01489 587500 or head to www.gmk.co.uk for details of stockists.)
“Then came the gun from outer space the new UGB25 Xcel”
Then came the gun from outer space ? the new UGB25 Xcel. If you’ve never seen this distinctive single-barrelled semi-auto that opens at the breach like an over and under, sneak a peak at it on Gunmaker’s Row next week. The design is genuinely revolutionary, and while it’s undeniably a dedicated claybuster’s gun, it neatly solves a number of problems. The cartridges eject beneath the gun rather than sideways, meaning less irritation to neighbouring guns, and most importantly, thanks to the break open barrel, you can show it’s safe with ease. There’s a dedicated website at www.ugb25xcel.com
Finally, Beretta were showing off the new SV10 Perennia, a gun of which they can be justifiably proud. While I’m more of a traditionalist when it comes to gunmaking, I can’t help but be impressed by the integration of modern production techniques and useful design. The SV10 Perennia is an over-and-under designed with adaptability in mind.
First off, you can select at the simple flick of a switch between automatic or simple mechanical ejection of spent cartridges. For walked-up shooters or wildfowlers that’s a real boon. And thanks to some clever trickery in the fore-end, you can pick up a brand new gun out of the box, slide across the top lever and it’ll break open with all the ease of an old tried and trusted 12-bore.
“A lot of clever thinking has gone into this gun”
And then there’s the new Quick Take Down stock (the Q-Stock) which features a simple attachment system to the receiver meaning you can remove the stock and access the trigger mechanism in seconds. A lot of clever thinking has gone into this gun.
Understandably the opportunity to try the guns out live didn’t present itself in the centre of London, so I look forward to trying them out at a later date in particular the SV10 Perennia, which is due to start arriving in October.
Unfortunately, by the time I got round to leaving the party someone else had snaffled the Beretta taxi that’s currently plying its trade around Picadilly Circus, so it was a trip home back to reality for me on the 137 bus!
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