A reader has a budget of £1000 to £1500. What does Mike George recommend?
It is now a bit over eight years since Beretta introduced the SV10 series, and when Sporting Gun tested the gun in 2014 the price was £1,900. That was great value and the gun proved to be a good investment because the average on the second-hand market is £1,350 – well within Michael’s budget, with some cash for coaching.
The SV10 Pro 1 was a development of the original SV10, and the improvements all made good sense. For instance, the top lever thumbpiece was increased in size; the safety was made more positive in action, and so was the barrel selector; and the stub pins on which the barrels hinge were increased in size.
However, in my mind, the most important improvement was the fact that the whole trigger plate was attached by a cam system so it was easily removeable for cleaning or the replacement of components.
- The mechanism is pretty much the same as that used in the Silver Pigeon/686 range, which has proved over the years to be both tough and reliable. The fore-end iron, which has a ceramic finish, can be adjusted to compensate for wear.
- Overall, the wood and the metal of the gun have been sculpted to give flowing lines with no sharp angles, and to my eye the only thing that spoils almost perfect looks is the use of exposed multichoke tubes. However, I do have to admit that the long tubes do produce superior patterns.
- The chambers are 3in (76mm), and the bores are 0.732in (18.6mm), which is a great improvement on the rather tight tubes found on most of the older Berettas. The gun carries steel shot proof. Ejection can be switched off – always a plus on a competition gun because it saves a lot of grovelling to pick up the spent cases.
- The wood-to-metal fit is good, and the stock terminates in a fairly thick anti-recoil pad which doesn’t snag on clothing as the gun is mounted. The gun weighs about 7lb 12oz, depending on wood density.
- Five choke tubes were provided with every new gun, so make sure they’re present, as well as the original ABS case, with a second-hand example.