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Beretta announced an update to the Silver Pigeon back in 2019, using new research and technology to improve a modern classic that already performed exceptionally well…
There are quite a few interesting updates they’ve put on this gun, the first of which - that doesn't make a lot of difference - is the accessories box. It's a nice one and it's quite exciting, so instead of this beautifully moulded case being filled with stuff, it's all in a little box. It doesn't come in pyjamas obviously, it just comes in plastic.
So here it is, a new silver pigeon. Come in close and have a look… From the back not a lot has changed, we've got the interchangeable Beretta pad that’s standard and we have the standard field stock. They've also released the sporting version which does have a few new updates too, however the major updates so far that you can see are here on the field.
So starting with the action. The action is the first part of major change as you can see it has a completely new engraving pattern. They say it's an updated pattern of engraving and a new style, it certainly is different. So what you have is more of a wide scroll than that original tight scroll they had before, with these really deeply etched Baretta tridents on the side. I really like the Trident, that's certainly a good feature from my perspective. Along with little bunches of grapes, it's a nice design. The execution certainly is different, it's more modern and that I will give them.
I'm going to put my hat in the ring and say I don’t prefer it to the old style. To me it looks cheaper, yes it looks much more luxurious but where it’s less deep or certainly more shallow the engraving style isn’t for me. The pattern is nice, it certainly looks good but I can see this as more of an update and you're getting more engraving, but you're also getting less engraving in a different way. That's just my opinion on it; I don’t think the engraving quality is as good although the pattern certainly is nicer - much nicer. Something worth noticing as well, versus the older Silver Pigeon or the older version, is that the actual metal finish is with a much less refined polish. They've left it in a much deeper brush and whether it's intentional or not I don’t know, however it's much more obvious that they left it at a lower grade of grit rather than taking it to the high polish and nickel coating like they used to. They’ve just nickel coated over a different level of grit.
These are mere observations and actually, I don't hate it. It’s got that same brush finish as the Onyx had almost and it does work actually.
The forend is the next major update and as you can see you now have a rounded forend. That is delicious; if I was a Silver Pigeon owner I would be buying one of these bits of wood to stick on my Silver Pigeon. I have done countless Schnabel removals over the years so the ability to not have to do that… well it's more elegant, it certainly looks a lot nicer and it saves me a bit of work too. The wood-to-metal fit is fairly standard for a Silver Pigeon, aka it could do with improvement. Certainly around the forend area could be cut down a little bit. Around the head of the stock is actually pretty good, but as with always on Beretta’s, the forend wood is oversized but that does keep it strong.
The third major update is the barrels. They’re now Optima HP barrels, fully steel and shockproof etc. The fact that you have the Optima HP now in the field as well as the sporter - that's nice. Not significantly better patterns and not significantly more exciting, however, the barrel profile is a little more delicious. You've got a much smoother taper out towards the muzzle than perhaps you do on other models.
How does it feel in the hand? Not bad, certainly a little bit front heavy for a field gun for my liking, but that always comes by proxy of having this light stock and this is a 28-inch version so the weight sits just shy of an inch in front of the hinge pin so it’s not bad.
The forend is the best thing they have done on this gun and everything else is fairly standard Beretta, from the laser-cut checkering to the wood to metal fit, but this rounded forend genuinely feels good. The whole forend profile just feels very nice. It'd be nice to improve that wood-to-metal fit but I wouldn't do much to upset the radius of the forend actually, it's nice and full.
What I would do however is chuck some balancing weights in the back and just bring the balance back a little bit more neutral, just to make this gun more rounded. This would bring it up closer to the 8lbs mark but actually it would be a devastating gun once it was there.
They’re not that expensive either, I think these retail at just over £1700 and it's also worth mentioning that they actually discontinued the fixed-choke model, but they have released the 690 in a fixed-choke. Unfortunately, there’s no longer a fixed choke Silver Pigeon but looking for Silver Pigeon 1 models for sale on Gunstar will always be your best bet to find one second-hand, so if you're wanting one of these make sure to grab one whilst you can!
For me, the engraving is a bit of a no and this style of engraving is very modern. Obviously, it’s more to do with modern techniques than modern fashion because it's much more reasonably priced for a better-looking gun. I know they have it on the 691 Sport Scroll and they have a similar style, however, that just feels that little bit deeper and that bit better executed. I’ve not got an issue per se with the depth of engraving I'm not stupid and I know that hand-cutting your gun costs a lot of money, but it would maybe be nice to see a little bit more time go into the shading as it is very two-dimensional. It's not horrible, you know you don't buy a Silver Pigeon 1 for its beauty and certainly, this looks like a lot more gun for your money. But for me, if I could have these barrels and this forend stock on a standard old Beretta action I probably would but that's the beauty of personal preference. We're all allowed our own opinions and I'd love to know what you think.
It's certainly a step in a different direction, but for me the jury's still out except for that forend. I would buy that forend and stick it on every Beretta in the world if possible!
Thank you very much for listening - check out our Beretta Silver Pigeon 1’s for sale here on Gunstar.