Beretta SV10 Perennia shotgun
This month?s test gun is a 20-bore Beretta SV10 Perennia with 28″ barrels.
When the model was first launched in 12-bore form it caused quite a stir.
Beretta have had phenomenal success with their 600 series/Silver Pigeon type guns, themselves evolved from models 55 and 56.
Arguably the most successful over-under of all time, the Silver Pigeon is a hard act to follow. Nevertheless, this new gun managed to impress.
A friend noted he shot better with the 12-bore Perennia than with any previous Beretta.
I was not quite sure about its modern styling but thought it well engineered, and was very pleasantly surprised by its excellent shooting qualities.
Built on the new SV10 chassis, which is also the basis of the Prevail clay guns, the Perennia has some intriguing features.
A family resemblance with the 600 series remains, but it is a very different gun. It still has the classic Beretta conical locking bolts and bites, and barrel shoulders of trapezoidal shape, but the Perennia?s shoulders are asymmetrically shaped and larger than those on the 600.
The action may look quite like other Berettas in its proportions and silver metalwork, but look a little deeper and the changes become apparent.
The body of the action has been reshaped. The engraving is generically familiar but of a new pattern. There are asymmetrically shaped panels on the action walls and asymmetric scalloping to the rear of the action.
You might swap a few parts with a 600-style gun, sears, hammers and inertia block for example, but that?s about it.
But this is no cosmetic exercise; it is a completely new gun. Beretta make clear, moreover, that the SV10 is the basis for a new generation of guns.
Although the 600 series guns are legendarily tough, the SV10 has been re-engineered to make it even stronger.
If the 600s had any issue it was that they might not be quite as lively as other guns. The Perennia?s designers have put a lot of thought into handling: the profile of the barrels has been altered and the weight changed to improve dynamics.
This is something Browning has also been addressing recently in their updated 525s. The 12-bore version of the Perennia gun comes to face and shoulder well.
It feels pointable and steady. The 20-bore version, which is built on a scaled down action, is an absolute delight.
Pointable and steady too – notably so for a 20 – yet lively as well. The test gun had good stock shapes and the wood itself was excellent, with pleasing figure and good density.
I liked the plain field style fore-end, the grip is fairly open radiused and quite small in typical but comfortable Beretta style, and the comb is well proportioned.
The length of pull is 14.5/8″ which is perhaps a bit short. The drop measurements are 1.3/8″ at the front of the comb and 2¼” at the rear, which is a little low.
Nevertheless, the gun came up well as noted, save for the stickiness of the pad on its optional ?Kick-Off? recoil absorption gizmo which caused the odd mounting glitch.
This was quickly solved, however, with a little black vinyl electrician?s tape on the heel (something always kept in the Yardley pocket).
I thought the stock was generally good. It certainly suited me and I did not notice it was a little shorter and a smidgen lower than my preference.
The stock attaches to the action in a new way on the SV10 guns, involving a stock bolt much shorter than the average.
The ?Q-stock? system uses a torque key inserted through a hinged trap in the grip base for rapid removal. When the stock is off one can use the same tool to take out the trigger mechanism.
Sometimes I find a gun which really suits me, and this was one of them. I do not normally opt for 28″ barrels on a 20-bore gun, but these felt fine – though the gun might be even better with 30″ tubes.
I shot some quite testing, long (35-40 yard) clay crossers with the gun and hit them all.
I had three other guns out on test the day I shot it, all 12-bores, and this was by far the best and the most fun to shoot.
Interestingly, the Kick-Off anti-recoil device seems more effective on this model than other Berettas I have shot.
Bluntly, I have not always liked it, as on some guns it seems to create a bouncing effect at the shoulder. But on this 20-bore it really seemed to do its job.
I have put a lot of cartridges through the gun, including my favourite 20-bore fodder in the form of 32gram Express 5s which are usually reserved for a 7lbs+ ?super-twenty? with 32″ barrels.
I can honestly say I noticed no excess recoil. I took the gun out on a wonderful end of season walk-up shoot with my son and an old friend.
We were shooting near the coast at Walton-on-the-Naze, and I accounted for four woodcock, two cock pheasant, and a woodpigeon.
Ultimately, the SV10 Perennia gets my vote. I would like to try one with 30″ barrels now, but I doubt if it could get much better.
Beretta SV10 Perennia III
£2,795 with Kick-Off pad