For an entry-level gun, Beretta’s neat little over-and-under offers all the design features you’d expect and won’t let you down, says Roger Glover
Beretta conquered the use of set designs across its various ranges a long time ago, and this continues with the 690 series: one overall design proven on another model but reworked to fit a price bracket and purpose. There are two action sizes but neither look like an adaptation of the other; they are both proportionally correct. This gun contains enough of the essential elements of a game gun to make it interesting, but not ostentatious. The floral engraving is neat and considered, quite subtle and nothing leaps out as trying too hard. The stock is sufficiently good but leaves room for the 690 III to impress with its higher grade.
As is typical of Berettas, it will last many years and command a strong price on the used market. Should your budget extend to the 690 III, part-exchange will be welcomed at a dealer as well as on the open market. I have never had a 20-bore as I haven’t found one that suits me. The 690 1 has convinced me that a 20-bore is certainly a viable option.