You’re not going to believe this, but… Beretta has come up with something very new in terms of over-under design.
No way is that said in a derogatory fashion – far from it, the surprise is entirely mine because who would’ve ever thought there was a need to change the existing action, a proven winner of sound vintage?
Although there are elements of design and heritage linked to the much-loved 680 series, Beretta has definitely tried to re-invent the wheel here. The Perennia is not ‘just another’ model based on what’s gone before.
So what’s new? Well, the shape of the action frame has been redesigned to accommodate an engraving plate and there are deeper cut-outs in the action walls to allow a larger barrel lug on either side of the monobloc.
This ensures the lugs engage for a very strong lock up. But the changes don’t stop there.
The action frame is now made from a steel alloy then finished with a nickel-based plating compound to provide ultimate durability.
And while the gun’s lock up is achieved by a U-bolt that’s the same in principle to the one found on a standard Beretta over-under, new design has brought subtle changes to all of the parts.
Alterations have been made to the profile of the action and barrels to improve its pointability/sighting and at the same time straighten out the direction of felt recoil to make this gun as comfortable to shoot with as possible.
Larger hinge pins have been fitted to the action frame and this bigger surface area helps ensure that the jointing between action and barrel has an even longer than average life expectancy.
That said, I’ve never known one of the other models to wear out completely, and I’ve seen hundreds of Beretta over-unders over the years!
The hinge pins are positioned to correspond with the axis line of the lower barrel and the trigger guard has been treated to a new shape which flows and blends into the trigger plate.
The trigger itself is made from titanium, an incredibly light yet strong metal.
The top lever has been made slightly larger to make it easier to push across and similar improvements have been made to the safety catch button – it’s now much easier to grip and push forward in wet or cold weather.
The selector indicator dots under the barrel selector switch have been modified so that a red dot now indicates which barrel will fire first and a white dot the second.
The test gun has an automatic safety return but this can easily be removed if that’s what you prefer.
The barrel tubes, as usual, have been hammer forged but this time using an improved process that not only provides greatest concentricity and strength, but also lighter weight.
Tubes are fitted into a monobloc and the test gun I’m looking at is primarily designed for field use having been fitted with a narrow 6mm top rib and solid side ribs.
Internally the bores have been given a new Optima high performance profile with longer forcing cones and re-designed choke tubes.
Bores are chrome lined for durability and the gun is fitted with 3in chambers which have passed special steel shot proof.
Even the blueing on the barrels has been given a greater level of resistance and the ejection system has been re-designed and fitted with stronger extractors.
These can be switched on and off by the turn of a screw to suit shooting conditions.
STOCK IN TRADE
One of the Perennia’s key features is how the stock is removed from the action.
Instead of a conventional bolt running inside the body of the stock, the woodwork is held together with a screw through the pistol grip’s bottom tang.
This is a useful system because there is now no need to remove the butt plate – particularly handy when the gun is fitted with the Kick-off system.
Once the stock has been removed, it is a simple operation to remove the trigger group. The same Torx key that is used to remove the stock is used to rotate a screw that releases the trigger group from the gun.
Again the major components of the mechanism follow traditional principles, but with subtle changes. There have been a number of changes to the fore-end assembly.
The fore-end lever has been made slimmer and longer for smoother removal and the actual iron now incorporates a mechanism that gives constant pressure to the fore-end where it butts up to the action.
This improvement will extended the life of both action and fore-end as well as give a consistent ‘feel’ to the opening and closing of the gun.
The fore-end iron has been treated with a new coating called Nano ceramic which provides a highly durable surface and leaves an attractive grey/blue finish to the metal work.
The fore-end has been shaped with a traditional rounded nose that sits in the hand quite nicely.
To improve the strength between stock and action the makers have designed it so that the woodwork engages deeper into the frame then applied a contemporary twist to the chequer pattern to reflect the changes in the new model.
Wood quality is good for the grade and comes in around Silver Pigeon 3 level with drops at comb and heel of 1.1/4in and 2.1/4in respectively. Length – including the Kick-off system is 14.3/4in.
The Kick-off system is a hydraulic damper system that significantly reduces felt recoil. In fact Beretta makes the claim that it does this by an amazing 69%.
I have no way of measuring this reduction but the system certainly delivers an impressive performance which my colleague, Peter, discovered the other day.
He used the gun on a small game shoot and found it very comfortable to shoot with – and this was a man who dislocated his shoulder back in August!!
The only disadvantage with Kick-off from a gunsmithing point of view is that it makes the gun a little less flexible to alter length.
However there will be an option where the Perennia is available with a conventional stock and interchangeable pads.
I like this one a lot because the changes done by Beretta have made a good gun even better.
It will certainly appeal to Beretta fans and only time will tell if it ends up replacing one or other guns in the present range.
Build quality 9
Value for money 9
£2,475 with Kick-off system
Contact: 01489 579999