Beretta Silver Pigeon 3 shotgun.
Beretta doesn’t need telling how to produce small bore shotguns.
The company has been making them now for a number of years and along the way has helped set a few benchmarks that others have followed.
Take the action bodies, for example. Even until quite recently a number of makers simply hooked up a set of 28-bore barrels to a 20-bore action. Neither was it uncommon a few years back for some gunmaking houses on the continent to produce so-called 20-bores that locked onto 12-bore actions.
For as long as I can remember Beretta has always made small-bore barrels that fit to a true action size – and this latest Silver Pigeon 3 is no exception. Its lines and handling dynamics are spot on.
The mechanics of this gun are the same as a 12-bore, but scaled down for the smaller action frame.
There might only be slight differences between a 20 and 28-bore action, in terms of dimensions, but they are there nonetheless.
The reason so many gunmakers soldiered on fitting smaller barrels to a larger action size is simply down to a matter of economics.
A manufacturer has to make a number of actions to justify the tooling up costs to make a dedicated frame. Beretta make a huge number of shotguns each year so it’s a viable proposition to gear up correctly. But for smaller gunmakers, it often isn’t.
This particular gun has been designed as a Sporting model with a weight of approx 6lb 6oz – several ounces more than its Field stablemate.
For greater versatility on the clay range the gun is kitted out as a multichoke and it comes supplied with five standard Beretta Mobil chokes. The top rib is ventilated and is 8mm wide with a matted surface to reduce glare. Side ribs are solid.
Clues to the fact this gun is designed as a Sporter is the slight increase in weight, the 8mm top rib and the fact the safety catch is manual rather than automatic in operation.
The safety catch on the Beretta is manual, and the gun features a slight increase in weight from previously
Length of pull is 14.1/2in with drops at comb and heel of 1.1/2in and 2.5/16in respectively. The action frame carries a mixture of scroll and game scene engraving with pheasants on the right side and ducks on the left. The rest of the action has a fair covering of fairly bold scroll.
Barrels are neatly gloss blacked, but the rest of the metalwork is silver finished.
The mechanics of the gun are exactly the same as the Beretta 12-bore over-under, but everything has been properly scaled down for the smaller action.
Although this gun has been designed as a credible Sporting clay gun, a greater element of precision is required on the part of the shooter to put the shot pattern on target.
This gun has been nicely put together but I can’t see why any serious clay shooter with an eye on his averages would want a 28-bore.
On the other hand, this gun’s little extra weight, positive swing and pointability will really appeal to any driven game shooter who’s looking to downsize.
Shop around for the best price.
Beretta Silver Pigeon 3 shotgun
Build quality: 9
Value for money: 8
Available from importers GMK