This morning I had the rigorous task of visiting the West London Shooting School for the UK press launch of Berettas new SV10 Prevail competition shotgun, a sister model to the SV10 Perennia game gun which was recently review by Mike Yardely and about which I wrote last July.
While I dont confess to be the most knowledgeable gun expert (like most game shooters, Im generally more interested in whether the birds killed cleanly by the gun than I am in whether said gun has dual conical longitudinal locking lugs) but Im not a complete Luddite and I am impressed by the application of technology. And technology was on display today.
The new Perennia and Prevail shotguns, both of which were on display at West London, are based around Berettas much-talked about SV10 receiver. Its a big development for the Italian gunmakers and a major element of their latest range. The receiver body is characterised by its distinctive arrow-head sideplates and a narrow and low profile, making for particularly good-looking and elegant guns in my opinion particularly on the Prevail model which featured minimal engraving. The receiver also features a new design of reinforced hinge pin, which differs from that on existing Beretta models and which the company is confident will offer increased strength and resistance to wear over years of use.
As Robert Frampton, from Beretta distributor GMK, demonstrated, the new guns incorporate a number of high-tech features, such as adjustable auto or manual ejectors, and quick detachable stocks and triggers, allowing for rapid disassembly of the gun and easy maintenance. In the case of what Beretta calls the Q-stock, by inserting a key into a captive screw found in the base of the pistol grip with just a quick turn, the stock can be removed. Clever stuff, although I am unsure quite how such a facility would revolutionise my shooting life!
Similarly, the fore-end iron on these guns have received the designers attention. Made from aluminium to keep weight at the front end down, the aluminium features Berettas nano ceramic treatment, which effectively reduces wear between the fore-end iron and the steel of the barrels. Equally, the fore-end iron features a new internal mechanism which maintains a constant barrel-receiver-iron fit throughout the guns life.
A lot of work has gone into the design of both the Prevail and the Perennia and the guns shot as well as they look. Taking much-needed advice from West London instructor Tom Payne, we headed out to the stands to try them out and they impressed on everything from rabbits to the high tower. The Prevail, weighing in at around 8lbs, was deceptively quick-handling with a number of fellow shooters over-emphasising lead before getting the hang of the gun. Overall impressions of the SV10 models were of fast, easy to use and impressive guns that Beretta has spent a great deal of time and money getting right, creating worthy successors to the likes of the Silver Pigeon.
The SV10 receiver makes for a modern shotgun design, but unlike, say, Brownings Cynergy shotgun is not so radical as to frighten the horses. At a recommended retail price of £2,740 for the Prevail and £2,475 for the Perennia, it will be interesting to see if these guns become a dominant force on the market.
For more details about these guns, visit the GMK website, www.gmk.co.uk