Beretta 694 Pro
Becky McKenzie tries the Beretta 694 Pro with its alterable stock for size
Beretta 694 Pro
Price as reviewed: £5,350
The Beretta 694 Pro is essentially a 694 with a TSK stock on it. The TSK is a fully adjustable stock, and when I say fully, I mean completely. Many shooters buy a standard walnut stock with an adjustable comb. Some shooters might even get themselves a custom-made stock. The TSK stock will let the individual shooter who buys the 694 Pro fully customise the stock to their requirements, even to the point of customising to each discipline, should this be what they want to do.
When you hold a TSK stock to your shoulder for the first time, you immediately realise how its sliding system allows you to ostensibly copy the mould of your own shoulder and the particular place where you mount the gun into that part of your shoulder, making it personal to you. The stock is manufactured in Italy by TSK, which has joined forces with Beretta.
Everyone knows that shotguns come in all different sizes and shapes, like us humans, and TSK has done its very best to make yours fit the best it can. Another good thing about it is if you sell the gun, you can either sell it with the stock, giving its next owner the opportunity to have the perfect-fitting stock, or put a standard wood stock back on and keep the TSK for yourself. Note here, the TSK stocks come ‘headed up’ to different brands of shotgun, so you can’t put a Beretta TSK onto a Browning, and so on.
When I opened the ABS case I was bedazzled by the lovely royal blue TSK stock adorning the 694, a 32in-barrelled gun. I was most interested in all the moving parts, putting the Allen key in the bolts to see what moved what. Obviously there are instructions, but who reads them? Initially I put the gun together and wafted it around, quickly realising that it was too long for me. This was no problem with a TSK. I loosened a few bolts, pulled some bits out, realised I had moved the wrong parts, put it back together, did the same with other bolts, until I finally found the settings to suit my frame.
Despite it being bright blue, and matching my trainers, I really loved that you could adjust almost everything down to a nearperfect fit. I don’t really know why I have never looked at these before; maybe I prefer tradition and a good bit of Turkish walnut, or maybe I thought the TSK was mainly for Trap shooters – who knows?
Anyway, the TSK stock has form. It has won six world titles, which is a good start.
The length of pull, from trigger to butt plate, starts at around 34.7cm in the XS size hand, so it will fit the smallest of shooters.
All the components can be mixed and matched. A Cerakote finish has been applied, which strengthens the resistance to wear, tear and corrosion. You can get carbon-finished stocks, walnut-finished stocks with some fancy engraving on the metalwork, Superleggaro or Superlight, even a Junior TSK stock. All different colours too.
When I tested the Beretta 694 Pro alongside the Beretta Silver Pigeon III Sporting, I thought they would be like chalk and cheese, but both guns surprised me in different ways. The 694 Pro with its 32in barrels felt quite a big gun for me, but that’s mainly down to the fact I mainly shoot 30in barrels. The 694 weighed in at 8lb 9.7oz on my scales. The barrels weigh around 3lb 6.4oz, and the stock with action 4lb 9.2oz. Length of pull, after a few fiddles, was 145/8 in. The Beretta actually weighed a little less than my old Winchester.
On the first stand with a simple going-away orange, then a fairly tasty right-to-left, somewhat wind-affected, I thought I might feel a fair amount of recoil, mainly because to me it looked like half a stock, so I wondered how it absorbed recoil like normal Turkish walnut does. Anyway, my first surprise was that I didn’t get smacked in the face, or in the shoulder.
For what I perceived as a big gun, it moved quite well. Attaining my first hold point for the going-away, calling “pull” and smashing the first clay, always a good sign, hitting a going-away dead centre, at least I knew I had the stock set up correctly. Then swinging back to my second hold point, so I could get on to the right-to-left crosser quickly, the gun moved well, and both clays were history.
Now, as you may have read in one of my earlier reviews, I wasn’t overly keen on the 694; nothing mechanically wrong with the gun, I just didn’t gel with it. I have to be honest here, I didn’t think I would feel any different with the Pro just because it had a funky stock on it. I shot the best part of 100 clays with both guns and the gun grew on me.
There was a testing battue – a proper head-scratcher. Again, the Beretta 694 Pro surprised me, going from the fastish rightto- left, then back onto the speedy edge on battue, and smashing both clays. The only issue I really had was over the pond, with the closer, whippy targets, and this I think was down to my usual choice of preferring a 30in barrelled gun; with the 32in barrel I couldn’t quite get myself on to them as smoothly or comfortably. I convinced myself that if it was a 30in barrelled gun I would have done. On the other hand…
Having tested it, I think the Beretta 694 Pro will be a ‘Marmite gun’ for shooters – you will either like the TSK adjustable stock or you won’t. I see it as a very good way to get a fully adjustable custom stock for a decent price, especially as a custom stock can start in the region of £1,800 before anything else is taken into account. I think the collaboration between TSK and Beretta will be a great success.
Beretta 694 Pro
- Bore 12-bore
- Action Low profile
- Barrel length 32in
- Chamber 3in
- Chokes Optima HP extended chokes
- Rib Ventilated top and mid rib
- Fore-end Slim
- Weight 8lb 9.7oz
- Price From £5,350
- Thanks to GMK for providing the Beretta 694 Pro to test