Beretta’s newest addition to the family
The Beretta SL3 hasn’t been out long and still intrigues many shooters. Let’s take a close look at this new gun from leading manufacturer Beretta and the story behind its creation.
Beretta have been making guns since 1526 and sure know what they are doing, having produced many well known models over the years. The 680 action is probably one of the most famous worldwide as it has been unchanged for over 50 years delivering un-rivaled functionality and above all reliability. New models have come and gone, but they have unusually been a variant of an already popular action style until now.
The Beretta SL3 was born with a clear vision…to be a unique gun different to anything else that had ever come before it! Beretta had been very clever in looking at the strong points of numerous guns in their already popular line up. They then evaluated and amalgamated these to produce the SL3.So what really makes this gun stand apart from anything else? Let’s take a closer look.
Before we get to the actual gun there is something very important of any model of this quality. The presentation case you get on a premium shotgun really speaks volumes and says so much before it is even opened. Although Beretta have always had luxurious cases with premium models the SL3 case is another step forward. It is entirely handmade, produced from within a dedicated department in the factory. The lining looks exquisite in a deep red with leather trim and straps completing the very high quality finish. This is a statement of pure pride from Beretta wanting the entire package to be delivered by the Beretta name exclusively. Now let’s have a look at the marvel itself, the SL3 game gun.
A completely new design the Beretta SL3 is truly unique. Starting at the barrels they are based on the design used for the SO Sidelock series and are manufactured in the famous “Optima HP” boring system. The barrels are extremely strong in the lockup being anchored on the hinge pins, lower hooks and locking pins. The prototype fired over 11,000 magnum cartridges and was still going strong. They can be ordered in either a multi choke or version or the traditional fixed choke of ¼ & ½. There is the choice of a narrow rib or the tapered more sporting version. The bore diameter usually comes 18.6 but 18.4 can be specified when ordered with an additional surcharge. Moving from the barrels to the action and the uniqueness of this new gun soon becomes apparent. The boxlock action features hammer leaf spring similar to the award winning DT11 competition series. This delivers reliable and crisp trigger pulls making it a real pleasure to shoot even on a long day in the field.
The sideplates come in a choice of three styles depending on your personal preference in the gamescene, floral scroll or English scroll. These delicate patterns are all cut with a state of the art 5 axis laser. The lack of hand engraving has allowed Beretta to improve all the various other features whilst still retain a very classic looking engraving. There is also an option for a mirror finish which is available as a special order upon request. There are also numerous custom choices as well as the standard options. The option is there for a hand engraved version however this will cost in excess of double the standard price. Colour case hardening is also available but you will be waiting at least 16 months and pay 30% on top of the usual. The top lever has taken inspiration for the 486 side by side models. It gives the shooter fine control when opening the gun and is very comfortable to operate. Moving back we come to the woodwork. All of the SL3’s come with high grade specially selected European walnut noted for their figure, quality and grain structure. The grip is finely checkered allowing for maximum control when handling.
Picking up the Beretta SL3 is also totally new in terms of Beretta handling characteristics. The gun is without doubt fast handling but still has a steadiness about it, feeling controlled, precise and above all comfortable in-between the shooter’s hands. This gun will perform well from the highest driven birds to the smaller walked up day. This has really been a modern milestone for gun manufacture from Beretta and I’m sure we will see this model developed further over coming years.