top of page

Shotgun Review: Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I

Since it's release in the 1950s. the Silver Pigeon has become the bar to which all other field over/under shotguns should look, handle, and function. The Silver Pigeon is a low-profile and durable shotgun that provides all the qualities and features you’ll be needing in your upland bird hunting, sporting clays, or any other shooting sport.


At the heart of the Beretta Silver Pigeon I is the renowned 686 action, a long-standing favorite among hunters and competitive shooters, which is compact and low-profile while maintaining strength and durability. It is based on a distinctive boxlock action that forms the base for various selections of hunting and competition model variants that Beretta calls its 680 series.

It features two conical locking lugs at mid-action, right between the barrels, allowing the action’s profile to be considerably lower. The advantage is that the eye of the shooter is much closer to the plane of his supporting hand resulting in considerably better swing and hand-eye coordination.

The action’s key feature is an extremely low-slung receiver that solves a fundamental problem inherent to the over/under platform. The average over/under shotgun snaps upward under recoil, causing the stock to strike the shooter’s cheek, resulting in a disruptive force that disorients the shooter. To solve this problem Beretta shortens the profile by pivoting the barrels around opposing trunnions mounted on the receiver walls, eliminating the need for bulky underhooks to form a hinge. The result is a more compact arrangement where the recoil is directed toward the shooter’s shoulder and torso where it is more tolerable and less disruptive in firing a second shot.

The trigger-plate action, like most over/under guns with a single trigger, use the inertia block system to select the trigger sear for the second barrel. After several trigger-pull tests, the conclusion is irrefutable, the Silver Pigeon I's trigger does break at a crisp 4lb 11oz. Though a bit heavy, it breaks with a crisp snap with little-to-no take-up.


This classic Beretta is a shotgun that can last for several lifetimes, passed from generation from generation. Despite the absence of thick lugs, the lockup is quite strong. However, in the rare event of heavy wear, the action can be easily retooled by replacing the trunnions and lugs. This maintenance can be done by the owners with a screwdriver and a little bit of "gunsmithing" experience. This is a scenario for veteran clay shooters that would put in several thousand rounds through the shotgun. For the average hunter, this is something you could disregard.

When it comes to the Silver Pigeon I, aiming and hitting the target is not a problem because the plane of the shooting hand is close to the eye.

While the Silver Pigeon is designed to be a game gun, it includes numerous great all-around features, that it's hard to say it's just a game gun. It is a war horse that will go through any rough shoot and return with a hefty bag of pigeon in capable hands. Yet on the local clay ground, it will get the job done compared against the dedicated clay guns on the stand.

When it comes to looks , the Silver Pigeon I has all the elegance that you can expect from a Beretta. The oil-finished stock features a beautiful and crisp checkering pattern, and the schnabel fore-end adds to the classic flavor of this over-under. The scroll-engraved receiver is a functional work of art with it's geometrical design blending perfectly with the stock and contributing to the gun’s graceful lines. This is a shotgun that has all the elements of a treasured heirloom.


The 12 & 20 GA Silver Pigeon has impressed countless hunters for its efficient dimensions and fast handling. When it comes to 28 Ga or .410 you can expect no less and you will be impressed by the premium feel of the petite actions. These are scaled down to fit the smaller gauges without any extra weight or bulkiness with no extra costs.

Whether you take it to an upland hunt or to the clay range, the Silver Pigeon I gives you the flawless performance and the classic looks of a Beretta.

To take a look at our Beretta collection go to:

We have seven different configurations of the Silver Pigeon I all available online!


Choke: MCF

Calibers: 12 GA, 20 GA, 28 GA, .410

Barrel Lengths: 26", 28", 30"

Trigger: Single

Sights: Single Bead

Safety: Tang-Mounted

Stock: Walnut

Length Of Pull: 14.5"

Drop At Heel: 2.36"

Drop At Comb: 1.5"

Metal Finish: Bled

For more specifications on different configurations please call 305-252-6677 or email us at


Handling: * * * * 1/2

With it's natural pointability and easy swing, handling a over/under shotgun has never been such a breeze. With the eye of the shooter being much closer to the plane of the supporting hand, hand-eye coordination is also considerable better.

Reliability: * * * * *

The Silver Pigeon has not become the baseline to which all other over/under shotguns are compared to without having the utmost reliability with every shot.

Value: * * * *

The Silver Pigeon is a quality shotguns that can last several lifetimes and thousands of rounds. All while maintaining an affordable price that does not break the bank.

Overall: * * * * *

Ever since it's production in the 1950s, the Silver Pigeon I has not disappointed and will continue to be a shotgun worthy of being a treasured heirloom.

To take a look at our Beretta collection go to:

Recent Posts
bottom of page