Beretta Universal shotgun review.
We’ve got the credit crunch and gun importers GMK to thank for the Beretta Universal.
Over the last couple of years the downward spiral of the pound against the euro has seen a sharp increase in the price of imported guns.
And Beretta have been one of the many who have suffered due to these exchange rate fluctuations.
Thankfully the currency now seems to have stabilised, although not at a point that wholly suits an importer.
All of this business uncertainty was not lost on GMK who decided early on that the way to get more Beretta guns back into the hands of customers was by commissioning a model that could be sold at a cheaper price.
Say hello then to the Universal – a gun designed to appeal to the shooter who wants a gun that’s set up to cope equally well with game, clays and pigeon.
Nothing about it has been changed mechanically or compromised on – the action is exactly the same as that used throughout the Beretta range including EELL specification.
So while it’s certainly cheaper than other Berettas, this is a gun that gives the shooter a lot for his money.
You can take your pick from 28 or 30in fixed choke barrels (1/4 and 1/2) with the longer barrelled version weighing in at 7.1/2lb, pretty much on the money for an all round gun of this kind.
The Universal comes with 3in magnum proofed chambers and a tapered ventilated top rib.
The action fame and furniture are finished satin silver in the same way as the normal Silver Pigeon but Beretta has dipped into the archives and re-introduced a fairly broad covering of scroll engraving with its Three Arrows logo in the middle.
The safety catch is manual but this can easily be converted to automatic for game shooters who prefer it.
Wood quality is reasonable on the Universal but it stands to reason that we’re never going to see highly figured wood on a gun that has been made with price the governing factor.
That said I have seen a few of these guns go through my shop recently and wood quality has been acceptable on all of them.
The stock has a shape derived from the Sporting guns in Beretta’s range and consequently has a bit of weight about it, which isn’t a bad thing, and the Schnabel shaped fore-end isn’t going to offend anyone either.
Chequering is neat and has been cut in panels on the fore-end, which not only looks very nice but is also extremely practical.
Stock dimensions are standard with drops of 1.1/2in and 2.1/4in at comb and heel with a length of 14.3/4in and a 1/8in cast for the right handed shooter.
A butt pad of medium thickness has been fitted but this can be replaced by a thicker pad if needs be and it’s worth remembering that the range of Beretta sporting pads will fit this gun.
The gun also comes with an ABS case, a small bottle of oil and the optional sling swivels.
The Universal’s list price is £1460 but you can expect to see them on the shop racks for a little less than this.
Beretta guns are now not quite the good value they once were (nothing is these days because of the exchange rate) but they are still one of the best made guns on the market for the money.
It’s very clear that some thought has gone into this gun to try to address the price issue and in my book this one ticks most of the boxes.
Build quality 23/25
Value for money 22/25
TOTAL SCORE 86/100