The weighty stock, the smooth finish, the glistening metallic barrel. Shotguns can often be things of beauty, but also need to be measured and accurate for the actual shoot. Occasionally, you’ll find ones that blend the two perfectly. Here are 5 of the world’s finest shotguns for sale right now…
1) Beretta 687 EELL
The word ‘classic’ gets thrown around a lot, but nowhere is it more appropriate than when discussing Beretta’s 680 range. From the first production in 1979, Beretta have spent 30 years refining and improving the series until we reach the latest, the 687 EELL.
Lovingly hand-crafted in Italy, this premium shotgun features specially selected walnut stock and a rich oil finish, as well as the EELL Classic’s new rounded semi-pistol grip and glossed barrel. Famed for their reliability, Berettas have been popular for decades amongst serious shooters, and the 687 shows no sign of that trend ending. Plenty of people will choose to save the £5,250 difference in starting price between this and the Silver Pigeon 1, but the sheer beauty of the EELL’s rich colour will always stand out in our eyes.
2) Purdey side-by-side
What bang do you get for nearly £60,000 of buck RRP? Well, 202-years’ worth of history and experience for starters.
James Purdey & Sons have been making the finest quality guns, particularly shotguns, since 1814 in London – including for the Royal Family. Their hammerless sidelock is one of the finest light game guns ever created, renowned for its ‘self-opening mechanism’. This channels some of the residual power from the gun firing to spring the gun open slightly, making reloading a breeze. On a shoot when the birds are swirling, those few seconds saved can be invaluable.
What’s more, it is a stunning shotgun. Master craftsman Stephen Kelly’s decorative work is second to none, tracing delicate, deep-scroll engraving around the handle and trigger guard. It could almost be considered art.
3) Fabbri over-and-under
Sometimes you come across guns that transcend shooting and become discussion points in their own right among enthusiasts. The Fabbri shotguns clearly belong in that class.
Developed by world-renowned designer Ivo Fabbri and passed onto his son, Tulio, Fabbri shotguns are often entirely made of stainless steel, perhaps with a little titanium now and then. Best known for their range of over-and-unders, they incorporate exclusive features such as diamond-coated sears in the locks and barrels, which help to maintain precision even in the most unwieldy of circumstances.
With precision comes one of the most important factors for any gun-owner; reliability. Fabbri shotguns are often known to last 30 years or more with only the lightest of maintenance, thanks to the meticulous machine precision and the aforementioned features with which they are made. After all, if you’re going to splash out on quality, it had better last.
4) Beretta 692
It’s not all game shooting, though. Sometimes on a fantasy wish list, you have to go for a real sporting gun. You need two Berettas, and the Beretta 692 is one of the finest clay competition guns ever built.
Its bright silver action is complemented by the addition of a little more width, meaning the gun stays more stable when firing, clearly necessary when taking part in competitive shooting. What’s more, it’s nicely understated with a smooth oil finish on the stock – you hardly want something too flash. Understated is a good description for the gun as a whole. It’s recoil and action are unexpectedly strong and powerful; it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing – just the surprise you want to head off the competition and take any prizes going.
5) Browning 525
Is there such a thing as the perfect all-round gun? Perhaps it’s an impossible dream, but the Browning 525 gets very close. Often compared to the Beretta Silver Pigeon 1 as its closest rival, the 525 has the traditional wide ribs and thicker grip shape that can often offset any dangerous ‘slipping’ you sometimes get on other guns.
What’s more, for a gun in the affordable range, it keeps faith in the bottom-locking bolt and hinge pin that have been proven to stay true for many years, meaning you won’t have to buy replacement parts every five minutes. To add to the longevity, the gun’s barrels are chrome-lined and widened to chamber everything up to 3-inch magnum cartridges – so you can take your pick of shot. All-rounder by name, all-rounder by nature. If you want a gun for every mood, take a look at the Browning 525.
No matter which gun takes your fancy, the single most important thing is to make sure it and you are insured. If you want tailored specialist shooting insurance, there’s nowhere better than Gunplan.
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