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The new Beretta Silver Pigeon V Sporter

Matt Clarke finds a gun for all seasons in the new posh Silver Pigeon

Beretta Silver Pigeon V Sporter

Beretta Silver Pigeon V Sporter

Overall Rating: 94%

Manufacturer: Beretta

Price as reviewed: £3,950

Over the years, the Silver Pigeon has won a place in the hearts of many shooters because of its faultless reliability, and it has been the first serious shotgun for many. The gun comes in many forms. I own a Field I version, which is entry level, but for this article I am testing the new Silver Pigeon V Sporter. It has the same guts as my version, but has been upgraded in terms of wood, engraving and finish.

Beretta Silver Pigeon V Sporter

Beretta Silver Pigeon V Sporter

Silver Pigeon V Sporter

I often use car analogies to explain the position of different types of shotgun in the market to those new to shooting. For me, the Silver Pigeon and Browning’s 525 are the Ford Mondeo of the shooting world. They are unpretentious, have great handling, are well made, affordable and do the job. They also come in different levels of finish, so the Silver Pigeon V would be the equivalent of a Titanium version of the Mondeo.

As a Sporter, it has been designed specifically for Sporting clays. A game version is also available. The Sporter has a ventilated midrib, is slightly heavier than the game version and is finished with a rubber recoil pad, whereas the game version has a rather classy wooden heel-plate.

The wood on both versions is grade 3 walnut with a gloss finish, which brings out the figuring of the wood beautifully. The dark walnut against the coin finish of the action makes the gun look more expensive than its £3,950 price tag.

The only bit of ‘bling’ on the gun is a gold-plated triggerblade. I have to say I wasn’t that enamoured of it because the gold didn’t tie in with anything else on the gun’s design. It is interesting to note that previous versions of the Silver Pigeon V have had colour case-hardened actions. I suspect that Beretta has found that a nickel finish has a more universal appeal because it doesn’t wear off.

The other difference between older versions of the V is that the game gun doesn’t have game scenes. Instead it comes with profuse scroll engraving, extending to the fore-end iron and top-lever. The engraving has been done by laser, but it looks the part. I imagine Beretta is offering one style of engraving for both game and Sporter as it is one place where it can save money without affecting the build quality.

Oily bits

As I mentioned earlier, the internals are the same across the whole Silver Pigeon range and are an inertia-operated trigger-plate action powered by captive coil springs. They are tried and tested, so no issues there.

I tried this gun on 21g loads, and it cycled them flawlessly. A thing to note is that most of the mechanical wearing surfaces on the gun are easily replaced to ensure long service.

The Steelium Optimabore HP barrels are built on the familiar monobloc principle, and use Beretta’s Optima system with extended forcing cones to reduce recoil, and chromium-plated bores to ensure longevity. These barrels are extremely tough, and the 3in chamber of this gun will handle superior steel and magnum loads. (Read is my gun safe for steel shot?)

The Sporter has extended multichokes, making it more versatile and enabling the shooter to tailor the choke to the target they are shooting.

cartridges in shotgun

The new Silver Pigeon V Sporter can handle superior steel loads


It’s when you shoot the Silver Pigeon that it comes into its own. The balance was around the hinge pin, giving the gun a wonderful neutral handling and made the gun feel relatively light when mounted.

It swung through targets with grace and ease with its 30in barrels. The comb was slightly higher than on my Field I, which is what you’d expect on a Sporter over a field gun. In fact, the fit of the Silver Pigeon V was perfect for me. And this is one of the many reasons it’s such a popular gun; it fits just about everyone. This enables the shooter to make the most of their ability. The beavertail fore-end filled my hand nicely and offered good control of the gun.

One of the outstanding features was that the recoil was almost non-existent. I suspect this is in part due to the good fit, weight and the long forcing cones. The rubber butt-pad probably helped too. Even the 28g loads I put through the gun didn’t unsettle it. (Read more on recoil here.)


On the first stand – two driven targets – I missed all six. I was worried as I am usually good at driven clays. I went on to another stand, considered by many to be challenging because of the fast quartering-away clays. (Read how to improve your clayshooting.)

I dusted a pair no problem. The Silver Pigeon V was pulverising them. I can only assume there were quite tight chokes fitted, but I didn’t have a choke key to confirm this.

Moving on to the next couple of stands, I was smashing almost every target that came out of the trap. The only explanation I can come up with is that on the first stand I hadn’t got my eye in with the different stock dimensions. I should have gone back to the original stand to put this theory to test, but sadly time was against me.


The gun has a low-profile action, which helps to make it fast handling. The problem with this on a lot of Italian-made guns is that the gape can be tight when loading the bottom barrel. However, this gun offered enough finger room, which made for easy loading.

Beretta Silver Pigeon V Sporter in detail

  • Gun tested: £3,950 or £4,350 with B.Fast Comb fitted
  • Weight: 7.83lbs or 7.94lbs (32in)
  • Chamber: 3in chamber
  • Barrels: 30 to 32in barrels
  • Stock: Grade 3 walnut
  • Rib: 10mm x 8mm top ribSte
  • Safety: Manual
  • Versions: Left-handed model available; game version also offered

Editor’s verdict

This gun is designed for the shooter who is attached to the Silver Pigeon but wants a bit of an upgrade, without spending EELL money. At around £4,000 you get a good-looking gun that will stand the test of time.

Sporters are clay busters, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use this one on driven game. If you are knocking down most of the birds you put your gun up to, then no one will mock you for using a Silver Pigeon.

It has earned its place in shooting folklore for a reason, and gets the respect of even the most discerning shooter. The great handling, combined with the crisp, predictable trigger pulls made this gun a joy to shoot.

  • Build quality 24/25
  • Handling 24/25
  • Styling 23/25
  • Value for money 23/25


A gun for all seasons