Shotguns against an old truck during a break in North Dakota.
The workhorse of the Beretta line, the 680 series is the most successful over/under shotgun in terms of production and reliability that has ever been made.
That is a bold statement and yes I made it up, but now it is in writing on the internet so it must be true. Whether correct or not, it can’t be far from the truth. I can’t think of another, except for the terrific Browning Superposed / Citori line that might come close. These are wonderful guns and a very good value for the money. They look good, they handle well and are very reliable. I bought this 680 Skeet gun new 30 years ago and it has never malfunctioned. That “never” is unqualified and 30 years is a very long time. When someone asks what gun to go to for a solid target or bird gun, this is where I send them.
This Beretta 470 Silver Hawk, new in 1999, was my entry into the world of side by side bird guns. It has been in service for over 11 years and overall has been a very good gun.
This gun has seen a decade of hard use and has had thousands of rounds put through it. In addition to tough days afield (mud, rain, snow, bitter cold, sweaty heat, etc.) it has been run over (literally, by the quail guide’s Chevy that smashed it into soft Texas dirt – cracking the stock and scratching the barrels up pretty good – but it still finished the hunt), the barrels have been reblued, stock cracks at the head have been repaired several times (thanks to Acraglas), it is on its second recoil pad, the triggers were worked on twice (by Todd Ramirez, who was at one time the gunsmith for the Dallas Beretta Gallery), and over time and after much use the locking bolts had to be beef up as the top lever was well to the left of center (also handled by Ramirez).
During its tough life, it has always come through. The gun handles very well, fits well enough and reliably kills birds and smokes clays (Briley chokes don’t hurt). It also handles 3″ shells so there is no worry in running heavy pheasant loads though it. I do recommend the gun. The 471s are beautiful and with normal use should provide decades of service. If I were to change anything it would be to replace the single trigger mechanism, which has been the source of most of the trouble, with double triggers and maybe offer it in 16 gauge. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the case color version is not my favorite. It looks fake, not the “Xtra-Wood” abomination, but not good . . . imho.
Though it still has some life in it, this 470 has run its course as a primary gun and is now the bad weather / loaner gun.