By Irwin Greenstein, Shotgun Life
Gannon Hunt doesn’t shoot big-bore over/unders. Like many women, after suffering the harsh punch of a 12 gauge, she simply gave it up for smaller shotguns. Now, still wary of 12-gauge recoil, the Beretta Vittoria shouldered and ready, she hesitated, steeled herself then pulled the trigger. The pellets dispersed roughly 60/40 on the quail silhouette pattern plate. A flash of disbelief, then she turned and announced “I hardly felt any more recoil than with my 28 gauge.”
Ms. Hunt’s amazement will likely be enjoyed by other sportswomen trying Beretta’s first ladies shotgun named the Vittoria. Based on the rugged 690 Sporting I, Beretta is a latecomer to the specialty women’s sporting gun market lauded for dimensions tailored to women’s bodies.
The 690 Sporting I Vittoria brings Beretta’s legendary élan to a niche often gone prom-queen hormonal with rosy trifles and chiffon pink slatherings. The 690 Sporting I Vittoria speaks to women who prefer stylish engraving, oil-finished walnut and the classy Beretta imprimatur.
The receiver engraving on Beretta’s 690 Sporting I Vittoria women’s over/under.
Beretta is uniquely adept at finessing the 690 Sporting I Vittoria into a lifestyle brand of Italian chic. With its companion Beretta Premium portfolio of upmarket apparel, accessories and destinations, more than any other women’s gun on the market the 690 Sporting I Vittoria nicely fits the tony Beretta Gallery coterie as personified by Ms. Hunt who arrived at the private Red Hills quail plantation in her white Land Rover with partner, Josh Cooper.
A native Texan she started Hunt & Hunt Interiors in Tallahassee, Florida a few years ago and has worked with her mother, Laura Hunt, an Architectural Digest AD 100 veteran. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from Florida State University, a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Sweet Briar College in Virginia and graduated from the Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts. She’s an ardent upland hunter who regularly takes her 14-year-old son wingshooting in Argentina and duck hunting in New York’s Hudson Valley. She prizes her duck-hunting lease on a nearby plantation as mother-and-son quality time together. Clays shooting is one of her outdoor passions. In fact, she broke every target on the plantation’s course while evaluating the Beretta 690 Sporting I Vittoria.
Gannon Hunt puts the Beretta 690 Sporting I Vittoria women’s shotgun through its paces on a private plantation in the quail-rich Red Hills region that spans Thomasville, Georgia and Tallahassee, Florida.
Ask Ms. Hunt and she’ll readily admit her loyalty to Beretta shotguns. “I love Beretta, that’s always the guns I shoot.”
Her favorite Beretta is the one she’s been using since age 10 – her mother’s 686 20/28 gauge combo. That gun initiated her to clay shooting at a private club near Aspen, Colorado. She first started wingshooting in her 20s, when she was introduced to bobwhite quail hunts in North Florida. Her first quail shot brought down a double with that gun.
The 12-gauge 690 Beretta Sporting I Vittoria, though, could easily see action in her new business venture. Along with Mr. Cooper she’s delved into a start-up called Next Level BBQ that capitalizes on his winning ways as a competitive BBQ pitmaster and contestant on Season 8 of Fox’s MasterChef. He’s a Republican Party strategist and private chef. Together, Ms. Hunt and Mr. Cooper are expanding the Tallahassee-based Next Level BBQ’s catering business and synergistic push into culinary entertainment. Ms. Hunt saw the Vittoria as a supreme duck slayer – Mr. Cooper already talking up his favorite duck recipe.
For Ms. Hunt, the 12-gauge Beretta 690 Sporting I Vittoria was a natural fit. She’s a size six, 5-feet, 8-inches tall, with a self-described medium build. “It fit me real well,” she remarked.
The high Semi-Monto Carlo stock of the Beretta 690 Sporting I Vittoria helped virtually eliminate felt recoil on the 12 gauge/over for Gannon Hunt.
The winning formula for women’s shotguns takes into account the different bodies and proportions than those of men. Each shotgun manufacturer addressing the market has their own measurement blueprints. For Beretta, the 690 Sporting I Vittoria has a 14-inch length of pull, pistol-grip radius of 5 inches, slightly negative pitch, drop at nose of 1⅜ inches x 1¾ inches, a drop at heel of 21/16 inches and a cast off of ¼ inch.
Thanks to a high Semi-Monte Carlo stock “I didn’t have to tilt my cheek down to fit the fit the comb,” she said. “There was no recoil to my face or shoulder, and I was scared of that happening. Women who are afraid of recoil have nothing to fear with this gun.”
The 30-inch Steelium barrels with Optima HP extended chokes delivered excellent balance and control shooting fast, crossing targets.
Beretta also used its soft MicroCore recoil pad to increase comfort. It’s constructed from Beretta’s proprietary open-cell technopolymer that’s cushy to the touch, especially in that sensitive area around a woman’s chest.
At 7.2 pounds with 30-inch Steelium barrels and Optima HP extended chokes, Ms. Hunt described the weight as “a little heavier than my 28 gauge but it’s still a very manageable weight. It doesn’t feel like that big of a difference.”
Gannon Hunt thought the Beretta 690 Sporting I Vittoria would be a shotgun for women to own.
The Vittoria’s slender forend, 6¼-pound trigger pull, 10mm x 8mm rib and balance point about 1¼ inches ahead of the hinge pin complemented her style as an “instinctual shooter. There was a good sight picture and the trigger was smooth. There was no problem swinging the gun on the crossers. I loved shooting the Vittoria.”
Afterwards, Ms. Hunt regarded the snug wood-to-metal seams, rolled floral engraving on the bright receiver and Grade 2.5 oil-finished walnut. “I thought the wood and engraving were attractive,” she said. Priced at $3,000, she thought the Beretta 690 Sporting I Vittoria “is worth the money. I would buy that gun, definitely.”
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