Charles Smith-Jones says there is good reason why the Beretta 682 has stood the test of time
Second-hand Beretta 682 is a treat for clays
It’s a sobering thought that the Beretta 682 has been around for 40 years. It is a regular feature on the clay lines and has won more competitions than any other Beretta gun. In fact, probably more than any other marque. Renowned shooters such as George Digweed and Barry Simpson have used it to achieve many of their victories.
The 682 changed little since its launch, although there was a redesign in 1994. While earlier models were built on a wider frame, the new ones benefited from narrower receivers, improved chokes and lighter barrels and came in a 3in chambering.
In many cases they shared the same or at least interchangeable parts. The slimmed down action is similar to that of the later 686 and 687 models and is a significant improvement. A slight refinement to the guide rods for the coil main springs also eliminated some minor reliability issues.
So let’s take a close look at what you’ll find on a second-hand Beretta 682. Based on a chequered European walnut stock and fore-end, the 682 was produced in a number of grades for Trap, Sporting and Skeet, and there were many variants, with adjustable stocks or in left-hand versions.
In many ways it is a gun built for function rather than beauty, but its lines are certainly pleasing enough. The action is either silver or black, depending on model and age, while the engraving is almost invariably restrained and seldom elaborate.
The hammer forged barrels are internally chromed in all cases and finish in either flush-fitting or extended choke tubes in Sporter versions; Trap and Skeet tend to have fixed chokes. The 682 has not, however, ever been produced in a field version.
Although a few of the earlier Gold models employed a purely mechanical design, most 682s trigger the transfer to the second barrel by a recoil driven inertia valve. The action itself is typical of those produced by Beretta with a high mounted fork-shaped bolt that engages with holes in the barrel monobloc. In all cases the trigger is single-selective and on many models is adjustable. As you might expect for a competition gun, the safety catch is manual with a barrel selector built into the thumbpiece.
This is not a light gun and although competition guns tend not to be, the extra weight is noticeable to the extent that it may not suit shooters of a lighter build.
Although the early production models were considered to be heavier and less responsive, the redesigned ones tend to have excellent balance and handle beautifully.
The extra weight does greatly assist in point and swing and makes a significant difference when it comes to soaking up recoil, an important consideration for anyone shooting 100-bird competitions.
On the later models recoil is also further reduced by Beretta’s Optima barrel boring system (with its matching Optimachoke multichoke tubes) which also improves patterning, especially when combined with the long forcing cones and extended multichoke tubes.
The used gun market usually offers a good selection of second-hand Beretta 682 shotguns, and the Sporter models appear to have been more popular in the UK. As for all pre-owned competition shotguns, though, a word of caution is in order.
Such guns may have fired many tens of thousands of cartridges and as a result could have loosened up, so it is always worth examining them carefully for wear and tear before committing to buy. Spares are readily available, however, and parts such as hinge pins that might be more subject to wear are easily replaced if necessary.
Whatever, don’t be put off if an example comes your way as the 682 is a robust and well-constructed gun which, provided it has been properly cared for, will have a great deal of life left in it and still give many years of good service.
You can’t deny this shotgun’s excellent pedigree and achievements. The 682 stands high among the greats of Beretta’s distinguished catalogue and many say it is one of the Italian manufacturer’s best creations. If the handling and slightly heavier build compared with some other makes suit you, then it’s definitely worth taking a closer look.
Second-hand Beretta 682 – tech specs
- Configuration: Over-and-under
- Action: Boxlock
- Choke: Multichoke or fixed
- Chamber 3in (some very early models may be 2¾in)
- Barrel length 26, 28, 30, 32 and 34in
- Safety catch: Manual
- Weight (12-bore) Around 7lb 15oz on average
- Available in calibres 12, 20, 28 and .410 bore
- Cost new N/A
- Cost used: Expect to pay between £1,000 and £1,500 for a well- maintained later model, but beware low-priced bargains that may have been subjected to exceptionally heavy use