One of Beretta’s goals when developing the 694 Sporting over/under was to “make a standard gun for people who aren’t standard.” With attention to even the tiniest details in the 694, this new competition shotgun improves upon previous models—while retaining popular components, like Steelium Plus barrels.
Beretta designed the 694 in collaboration with Beretta Team shooters. The company says, “Our professional network is essential for new product development. Co-development is the most efficient way of having a wining product/platform.” The intention was to build a gun “for clay shooters, by clay shooters.”
An ambitious approach to the 694’s design didn’t diminish anything. Rather, it inspired the folks at Beretta to create a masterpiece. Not only is this gun a work of art that will undoubtedly find a place in the famed Beretta Museum in Italy, the 694 is also a technological marvel. You can tell that competitive clay shooters helped design the 694 with the improved ergonomics and mechanical improvements. While shooting it for the first time at a sporting clays event, several shooters (including myself) commented on how both right- and left-handed shooters could manipulate the break-action and swing with confidence.
Thanks to channel cuts on both sides of the top of the stock there is a wider field of view, to the tune of an extra 5 degrees. The stock is available with drops of 35/50 mm and 35/55 mm. As an option, Beretta’s B-Fast adjustable heel (included with the 35/55 stock) will help competitive shooters find the perfect fit. The length-of-pull is 375 mm with 18 mm MicroCore recoil pad and a centrally-positioned trigger. Additionally, the trigger is adjustable for precise LOP fitting, and extensions are also offered.
The next thing I noticed is the steel receiver. It’s all the little things to improve function that make the 694 really shine as a high-end competition shotgun. For example, the opening lever has a lower profile, which along with the anti-glare finish makes the steel less obtrusive in your sight picture. I learned firsthand how helpful this can be while busting clays on a bright, sunny day. What’s more is the receiver looks downright elegant, sporting what Beretta has deemed “technical engraving.” This gun is attention grabbing in a good way. The bottom of the action is my favorite part, with the prominently displayed 694 logo and the three unmistakable Beretta arrows.
It’s fore-end has an adjustable auget (iron catch) button that is smaller than previous models. Not only does the smaller button reduce the surface area that may get overheated during intense sporting clays sessions, but it also minimizes movement of the fore-end over the lifetime of the gun. In addition, the pistol grip has aggressive checkering (1.5 pitch) that allows for a mighty grip. While shooting the 694, my hands would naturally place themselves in the ideal position, as if it was just meant to be.
The Steelium Plus barrels have an elongated forcing cone that runs about half the length of the barrel. The length improves ballistics by keeping deformation of the shot column to a minimum as it travels down the barrel. Patterns are kept more uniform, and perceived muzzle jump is decreased. The barrels are assembled as a monoblock and sport internal chrome plating.
This over/under is a head turner for sure. Although it’s in the premium category for this type of competition shotgun, Beretta has competitively priced the 694 Sporting at $4,500. Two barrel lengths are available at 30- and 32-inches, also with or without the adjustable B-Fast stock. Included are an ABS plastic case, 5-piece Optima high-performance choke set, stock wrench, alternative 23 mm MicroCore recoil pad and of course—the all-important Beretta stickers. Be on the lookout for a more in-depth review of the 694 Sporting in a future issue of the digital magazine. In the meantime, you can learn more at Beretta.com.
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