Gun Review: Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I
By Mia Anstine, Women’s Outdoor News
The Beretta Silver Pigeon is the most beautiful O/U shotgun I’ve ever laid hands on! I initially shot the 12-gauge, model 686 Silver Pigeon I during a sporting clay “Turkey Shoot” competition on Thanksgiving Day. At first sight, the Silver Pigeon is exquisite. My heart raced with excitement when I touched it.
When holding this masterpiece of a gun, it feels sturdy. The oil-finished, walnut stock sits tight against the receiver. There are no spaces, gaps or “wiggle room.” The receiver walls are built with thick material, which feels solid in the hand. When the action is open, there are no spaces or gaps to allow dust or dirt inside.
The dual-conical locking system closes and locks tight. This is important in the overall performance of the gun. The tight-locking action offers less recoil, allowing for rapid acquisition of the second target. I won the “Turkey Shoot” with this classy over-and-under shotgun.
Photo courtesy of Beretta USA
Here are a few reasons why I recommend the Beretta Silver Pigeon.
The Silver Pigeon is very well balanced and easy to mount, swing and shoot. The balanced feel is, in part, due to the make and construction of the barrels. The Silver Pigeon’s barrels are cold-hammer forged from a blend of steel, chromium and molybdenum. They are deep-hole drilled and chrome lined. This allows thinner material to be used for the barrels, making the forend lighter and very precise.
As the gun is mounted to shoot, no crooking or cocking of the neck is required. I’m able to lift this gun, hold it against my shoulder and swing to my target with ease. Beretta boasts that the Silver Pigeon has legendary “pointability.” Since the receiver is made of thicker material, it can be constructed with a low-profile design. The slim design perfectly aligns the shooter’s eyes and hands. When I mount the gun, I’m automatically looking down the rib at the sight. This provides quick and instinctive shooting.
Beretta’s slim design perfectly aligns the shooter’s eyes and hands. Photo courtesy of Hank Anstine
Release lever, safety and selector switch
I felt like a pro as I busted clays with the Silver Pigeon, and won the turkey shoot. After shots are fired, the release lever is easily accessed. It’s located on the top, rear of the gun so it’s easily reached during right- or left-handed shooting. When the lever is pressed, the action swings open and automatic ejectors pop out the spent shells.
Each time the action is opened, the safety automatically resets, so I’m confident the gun is safe when I close the action.
Also, the barrel selector switch is located on the rear of the receiver. The selector gives the option of changing which barrel shoots first — top or bottom. Different choke types can be inserted in either barrel to change the patterning of the shot.
Beretta has been making shotguns for nearly 500 years. They introduced the traditional Silver Pigeon about 30 years ago. This classic O/U shotgun is available in a variety of models, each offering gorgeous engraving, the finest quality wood, a classic design and remarkable wood-to-receiver fit.
Entry-level models have all the features and great quality of the higher-level models. Higher-level models boast finer selection in quality walnut, Gel-Tek recoil pads, ornate engraving, gold upland or waterfowl inlays, engraved trigger guards and gold-plated triggers. Fortunately, for those of us that can’t afford the gold plating, there are models built with the same great quality at a pricepoint to suit many budgets.
The Silver Pigeon is an excellent gun for sportsmen/women and competitors alike. Photo courtesy of Hank Anstine
My overall assessment of the Silver Pigeon shotgun is that it’s an excellent gun for sportsmen/women and competitors alike. The gun is light enough for a small-statured shooter, such as myself, to handle with ease. It’s also heavy enough to feel solid in the grip and not have too much recoil. I was able to shoot this gun, both right- and left- handed. The checkerboard-engraved forearm and grip offer a solid hold on the oil-finished stock. If you’re fortunate enough to have the chance to shoot one, I highly recommend it.
Beretta’s Silver Pigeon retail cost ranges from $2,245 to $4,075. It’s available in 410, 28, 20 and 12 gauges, and 26-, 28- and 30-inch barrel lengths. Visit Beretta for more information.