Beretta’s famous 686 over-and-under has undergone quite a few reincarnations over the years
It was some years ago that the first Beretta 686E was introduced 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.
As a point of difference 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.
The 786E then vanished to be replaced by the popular Silver Pigeon 1.
Obviously Beretta then rethought this decision. So the 686 has been brought back and now has some noteworthy new features.
The most noticeable to me is the inclusion of the Beretta Optima bore barrel system that was first seen on the higher grade 682E Gold. With this different barrel profile come longer forcing cones and extended Optima choke tube, which help to reduce recoil further and improve shot patterns.
To differentiate this gun from the earlier 686E it has been given the EVO suffix. The legend legend is also inlaid in gold towards the breech end of the barrels.
The action frame is very similar to the 682E Gold. So be careful you don’t pick up the wrong gun when there are a pair alongside one another.
This EVO has also been the subject of a wood upgrade, so will carry a bit more figure than previous base models.
The chequering is good quality, laid out in a diamond pattern and up to standard. 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. There is an automatic safety catch, which is standard on a Sporter like this. However you can convert it to manual if you wish.
The gun I tested arrived with 30in barrels but formats also include 28 and 32in.
All have 3in chambers and come in an ABS case with extra chokes to complete a set of five.
Our reviewer’s verdict of the Beretta 686E Evo
This gun is an ideal weight for a Sporter at 7lb 13oz and will be useful in the field. It handles and points very well and would be easy to manage.
The relatively light Optima bore barrels feel good between the hands and enhance the balance.
Marks out of 100
Build quality 23/25
Value for money 24/25
A Beretta classic