Beretta 686E Evo shotgun review.
Beretta’s famous 686 O/U has undergone quite a few facelifts and bouts of liposuction over the years, and the EVO’s the latest reincarnation to come out of Italy.
The first Beretta 686E was introduced some years ago as an entry level Sporter running alongside the White Onyx, the self same gun but with a plainly polished action frame with some engine turning.
By contrast, the 686E’s fore-end iron was blacked but its action sported a satin silver finish with curved ribbons or crescents etched slightly below the surface.
Then, a couple of years ago, the good old 686E disappeared to be ‘replaced’ by the now equally popular Silver Pigeon 1.
But you can’t keep a good man down, so they say, and the 686 has been brought back sporting some notable upgrades.
Biggest of these is the inclusion of the Beretta Optima bore barrel system that was first seen on the higher grade 682E Gold.
Hand in hand with this different barrel profile come longer forcing cones and extended Optima choke tubes to help further reduce recoil and improve the quality of shot patterns.
Helpfully the gun has been given the EVO suffix to distinguish it from the earlier 686E and the legend is also inlaid in gold towards the breech end of the barrels.
The action frame looks exactly the same as it did before and is very similar to the 682E Gold – so much so it is easy to pick up the wrong gun when you see the pair of ‘em alongside each other on the rack.
Of course there are differences in the layout of the engraved crescents with the Gold E having more of them but because the model name is inset in gold in the belly of both, you do have to look carefully.
I am pleased to see that the new EVO has been treated to a wood upgraded so we should at last see them carrying a bit more figure than previous base models.
Quality of chequering is well up to standard having been neatly cut and laid out in a diamond pattern.
The fore-end wood has retained its schnabel shape but the old style recoil pad has been ditched and replaced by Beretta’s relatively new micro core recoil pad.
The gun’s internal mechanics follow Beretta’s solid 680 series action that is used across much of the range and this includes the provision of a manual safety catch.
This, of course, is standard fare on a Sporter of this kind but it’s an easy enough job to convert it to automatic if you prefer.
The test gun came with 30in barrels but it’s also available in 28 and 32in format.
All have 3in chambers and come in an ABS case with extra chokes to complete a set of five.
At 7lb 13oz this gun is an ideal weight for a Sporter that might also see some use in the field.
It’s easily managed and handles and points very well.
The relatively light Optima bore barrels feel good between the hands and enhance the balance.
Another Beretta classic in the making – until the next one.
Beretta 686E Evo shotgun