column By: Ernie Foster | August, 17
There is no question among gun owners that the most popular firearms name today, whether in the field or on the clay course, is Beretta. Beretta offers all the classics as well as an extensive line of over-unders, side-by-sides, autoloading and single barrel shotguns, semiautomatic pistols, revolvers, rifles and military weapons including machine guns and launchers. They also have a great line of sporting clothing.
It all started around 1526 in Val Trompia, Italy, in the province of Brescia, Lombardy, a region known for its iron ore. The birthplace of Beretta is in the village of Gardone, located on the banks of the Mella River. Maestro Bartalomeo Beretta was a master gun barrel maker, and over generations, from 1526 to 1850, the Beretta lineage made barrels for the Italian military and gunmakers.
In 1832, Pietro Antonio Beretta named the family company Fabbrica d’Arm Pietro Beretta. After Pietro’s death in 1850, his son Giuseppe took over, and the company expanded its line of firearm products to include handguns, which included the well-known Model 1915 autoloader. The Italian Royal Army adopted Beretta’s Model 1915 handgun that year. Much later, in 1975, Beretta offered a new Model 92 9mm handgun, which was the most widely used autoloading handgun in law enforcement and the military in the world for a long period of time.
In 1977, Beretta entered the U.S. firearms sporting marketplace, where its name and product line have earned strong positions. In addition to its manufacturing facilities in Italy, it has facilities in Tennessee. There are also Beretta galleries in New York, Dallas, Buenos Aires, Paris and London.
The Beretta family has been providing the shooting world with high-quality gun barrels and an outstanding line of firearms for more than 490 years. This is a testament to their knowledge of designing and manufacturing firearms for all purposes: sporting, military or law enforcement. Beretta also owns Benelli, Franchi, Sako, Tikka, Uberti (an Italian firearms company in Gardone Val Trompia that manufactures historical replica firearms), Buraris Optics and 20 percent of Browning.
This beautiful monobloc 12-bore side-by-side, made in 1957, has alloy chromium electric steel 27-inch special Ausonia-type nonejector barrels with 2¾-inch chambers. The machine finish concave game rib has a flat-sided top rib extension with a hole designed to receive a cross bolt. This rib extension fits into a slot in the standing breech in the frame. A round, tapered rod that is activated by the top break-open lever engages the hole and forms the third bite or lock. This third bite is called a Greener Cross Bolt and is popular with European makers. The standing breech has firing pin esscussions and a gas relief groove. The coin-finished frame is decorated with fine shallow floral etchings on the fences, a flying goose on the underside and border engraving.
The barrels have aftermarket installed screw-in chokes, and the front trigger is articulated, providing easy finger access to the rear trigger. The nicely figured custom-fitted straight hand stock with fine checkering complements the graceful lines of the design. At 7 pounds, 4 ounces, it is suited for field and clay target shooting. In excellent condition, a retail setting should bring $900 – $1,200.