Beretta 687 Silver Pigeon lI Sporting 20 Gauge
The Beretta 687 Silver Pigeon II Sporting is a traditionally styled and typically proportioned sub-gauge. Trim in stock, wrist, receiver, and fore-end, the gun is a symmetrically shrunken version of the 12 gauge.
Our guns buttstock was a well-grained piece of wood oiled to a dull sheen. We didnt mind this, but think a higher polish or even a light lacquer finish would have better brought out the wood figure. We found the wrist long and sleek, angling gently back from the trigger guard and allowing ample room for larger hands. It did not sport a palm swell. Minimal checkering appeared on both sides and was classically done, neither sharply pronounced nor dull, and was cleanly executed with no runover at the points or corner. The buttstock was slightly cast off, best for right-hand shooters, but it was so slight that a couple of left-handed shooters who tried the gun didnt notice.
The Silver Pigeon came with two buttpads, both soft rubber and rounded at the toe and heel to prevent catching on clothing. The installed pad was a slim 0.375 inch at its narrowest middle point, while the extra pad was wider by another 0.25 inch. We liked that Beretta provided two pads of differing lengths to accommodate different LOPs.
The inletting where the stock met the receiver showed the wood edge minimally exposed at the metal, and it was completely finishedquality on par with a Beretta Teknys we recently tested that exhibited a marked improvement in fit and finish.
The receivers metalwork was well done, too. Pretty without being ostentatious, the gun sported two different bas-relief gamebird portraits. On the right were hen and rooster pheasants; on the left were two flying woodcocksnot at all badly executed for machined engraving.
The remainder of the receivers metal, including the fences, hinge-pin screws, and lever head, was covered in delicate, traditional rose scroll-type engraving. This, too, was well done, with symmetrical coverage all around. The only "flaw" we could find was the inset screw in the trigger housing tang was slightly out of line with its parent screw.
The combination barrel selector/safety on the Beretta Silver Pigeon II held no surprises. We pushed the safety up for fire and down for safe (revealing an engraved "S"). We pushed the inset barrel selector left to fire the bottom barrel first (showing one red dot) and to the right to shoot the top tube first (revealing two red dots). Both required positive, firm pushes to engage, just what we want in such a feature.
We found the trigger guard provided ample room, both top and bottom and from the trigger itself to the front of the guard, for any finger size. We also found the single selective trigger to be crisp, if a tad heavy, pulling an average 5.25 pounds on the top barrel and 5.5 on the bottom.
The fore-end and barrels proportionally followed the clean, classic lines of the buttstock, right down to the cleanly executed checkering patterning. The Schnabel fore-end featured a slight swell at the belly that could have been longer to assist longer-armed shooters, but none of our test shooters had any complaints about it. Finally, though the fore-end latch was proportionally sized down, we found it easy to engage/disengage, a pleasure compared to several other sub-gauge over/unders weve tested in the past.
Of the barrels, we liked that they were solidly seamed between each other, adding weight forward to a lightweight gun. We also liked the wide rib that provided a nice sighting plane on this small-frame gun. We also appreciated jeweling under its topside cuts, which reduced glare.
We do wish this gun came with 32-inch barrels, but beyond that, the only things we could complain about were the beads and the choke tubes. The 20-gauge Silver Pigeon II Sporting has a silver mid-rib bead and a prominent white front bead. Choke tubes supplied in Cylinder, Skeet, Improved, Improved Modified, and Modified were flush-mount, but we prefer extended tubes. We also think a Full choke should have been included on a sub-gauge.
We found fault with the bead not because it was inadequate, but because other Berettas dedicated to competition come with fiber-optic sight pinsas should this one.
The performance we received from the Silver Pigeon was nimble, fast, responsive to a wide range of targets, and light on the recoil and muzzle rise. It took on close-in targets with zeal, and a slight opening of the hand on the fore-end permitted an adequate address on longer targets where the gun might otherwise have been whippy. Note that this was not a gun to be pushed around. An overtight grip and an aggressive swing, especially on longer presentations, led to over lead. Those shooters in control of their leads and target approach found themselves making the breaks much sooner than with the other guns in the test.
Perhaps the greatest testament to this guns speed was that all our test shooters came off the sporting clays course liking the gun for that sport, but wanting to head directly for the skeet field. And, indeed, this gun excelled beyond the others at the more regimented sport.
Elsewhere, we experienced no mechanical failures with this gun. Both barrels fired reliably regardless of firing order, and the safety, barrel selector, and ejectors worked flawlessly.