Beretta 687 Silver Pigeon III
Adam at GMK Ltd has kindly sent over some new toys to play with and review. This month, it’s the 687 Silver Pigeon III, and Becky McKenzie is eager to try it out
Beretta Silver Pigeon III
Price as reviewed: £1,995
The 687 range has been around for, well, donkey’s years. Beretta itself was established in the 16th century, in 1526. The company has a massive history, but I won’t go into that in detail, otherwise I will run out of space. But the 68 series of Beretta shotguns is very likely to be one of the top-selling shotguns throughout the entire world.
During the 1950s, the 687 predecessors came into being. This little gun sent to me is the third addition in this range, with 30in barrels that themselves weigh in at 3lb 8oz. Its length of pull is around 14.5in. Its total weight measured 7lb 12.3oz on my trusty kitchen scales.
The 687 Silver Pigeon III arrived in the normal hard ABS case, packed with five Optima HP chokes, flush-fitting. The barrels themselves are a deep-gloss bluing/ blacking, with a white bead on the end. The barrels are ventilated top and middle ribs, with the rib tapering down to the sight bead.
The silver action has a nice game scene engraved on it – a pheasant on one side, with some delicate engraving around the hinge pins. It’s quite a pretty little thing.
The right-handed stock was neither too short nor too long, and it also had a very slight palm swell. The walnut looked decent, with a bit of configuration – it wasn’t a stunning grade, but by no means did it look poor, and it most certainly did not look cheap. The chequering felt good in the hand too. It wasn’t too rough or sharp to the touch, and neither did it slip around in my grip, so on that note, the quality of the chequering was excellent.
Looking at the Silver Pigeon, it doesn’t really come across to me as a full-on clay competition gun, and yet it also doesn’t look like a full-on game gun either. With that in mind, I think I would call this a ‘jack of all trades’ shotgun. With its weight coming in at just under 8lb, you could quite easily wander around on a rough or game shoot without any weight issues.
It’s also content to be taken around Garlands to test it on clays and longer targets. The Beretta has 3in chambers and chrome-lined barrels, so it can stand plenty of abuse. And of course, it’s steel shot proofed. It has a nice gold trigger too. (Read more on steel shot here.)
So, first impressions. I wasn’t too sure if I would like this Silver Pigeon or not, and I cannot explain why. Maybe, when I was putting it together and swinging around the kitchen, it felt a little light in my hands. However, the gun was to prove me wrong, because of course it did. On taking two Berettas for testing at Garlands, the Silver Pigeon III proved to be a worthy adversary to its stablemate, the DT11 Pro, which I was also testing.
Hang on tight
The first set of targets was a simple goingaway, slightly quartering to the right, followed by a decent right to left crosser. Approaching this first stand, I must admit that in the back of my mind I worried this may be a bit heavy on felt recoil due to its weight. “So hang on tight,” I thought.
Calling ‘pull’ for the first time, the Silver Pigeon III absolutely obliterated both the going-away and the crosser I was just in front of – totally my fault, as I got a little overexcited with lead. (Read more on dealing with going-away targets and crossers.)
Calling again, I aimed quickly onto the going-away and made a smoother, steadier shot on the crosser. The trigger pull felt crisp and clean, and actually very little recoil was felt in my shoulder or face. The stock wasn’t a perfect fit for me since the toe was digging in a bit, but that didn’t cause much issue.
On to the next stand, I took a fast right to left, then a screamer from left to right that the wind affected – as in, the wind was up its backside like a ballistic missile. “Okay,” I thought. “Let’s see how you handle these targets, my little beauty.” Before calling pull, I was thinking two things. I would either manhandle the Silver Pigeon III too much and be way in front, or it would surprise me in its handling and smash the clays.
Selecting my hold point for the first target and tentatively calling ‘pull’, the clay appeared and then disappeared in a powder puff. I quickly went to my second hold point. B target did beat me, but after swinging through the clay and putting sizable lead on in front, this clay also broke – and broke well. Was it a fluke? No – two more pairs followed. The Silver Pigeon was growing on me.
Further round the Garlands course, there was the odd target I misread and took a few shots to hit. Some long targets in the back field were also taken on by the Silver Pigeon with ease.
Handling the gun
So, how did it handle? Difficult to put into words. It didn’t bedazzle me with elegance, nor frustrate me with directional issues – it did everything rather well, with only a slight change in my shooting style. By this, I mean that I wasn’t throwing it around or pushing too hard to put lead on, as the weight difference between this and my old Winchester is massive.
It goes to point of aim nicely and has a clear field of view. The trigger felt good, and it wasn’t heavy. Pushing the barrels back to attain the second target was also no problem – at least, when I worked out where they were actually coming from.
It may not be the prettiest gun out there, but for a retail price of around £1,995, you are still getting a lot of gun for your money. The 687 Beretta Silver Pigeon III will pretty much do whatever you ask of it, whether on clay or game. I really quite liked it.
- Model Beretta 687 Silver Pigeon III
- Bore 12-bore
- Action Low-profile
- Barrel length 30in
- Chamber 3in
- Chokes Optima HP flush chokes
- Fore-end Slim
- Rib Ventilated top and mid rib
- Weight 7lb 12oz
- Cost From £1,995
This versatile shotgun will do well on both clays and game