The choice of shotguns for the comparison test included Blaser’s new F16 Sporting, Browning’s B725 Sporter Adjustable and two shotguns from the Beretta 690 range, the 690 Competition Black Sporting AS and the 690 Field III Sporting.
All tested shotguns are 12/76 caliber with steel shot fire with the option to change the choke tube with interchangeable chokes. At 76 cm, the models are still short enough for skeet, but long enough for trap and parcours shooting. In addition, all the shotguns in the test have a single trigger and a barrel selector.
Technical data of sporting shotguns from Beretta, Blaser and Browning in the test:
Field III Sporting
|Browning B 725|
|Capacity:||2 cartridges||2 cartridges||2 cartridges||2 cartridges|
|Barrel length:||76 cm||76 cm||76 cm||76 cm|
|Total length:||1,219 mm with chokes||1,205 mm||1,203 mm||1,205 mm|
|Length of pull:||370 mm||365 mm||365 to|
|365 to 375 mm|
|Weight:||3,586 g||3,488 g||3,340 g||3,753 g|
|Design / equipment:||Over and under shotgun with break action, safety and barrel selector switch, adjustable rear stock, 5 interchangeable chokes with wrench, tool, case, ready for balancer||Over and under shotgun with break action, engraved receiver, safety and barrel selector switch, 5 interchangeable chokes with wrench, tool, case||Over and under shotgun with falling-block action, safety catch, barrel selector switch in front of the trigger, adjustable trigger blade, 3 interchangeable chokes with wrench, balancer in the butt stock||Over and under shotgun with barrel clasp, safety and barrel selection switch, adjustable trigger blade, middle bead, 5 interchangeable chokes with wrench, case|
Beretta sporting shotguns compared to Blaser F16 "Sporting"
The Blaser F16 Sporting is the newest shotgun in the test; it offers an English-style forearm assembly and a butt stock with pistol grip and rubber cap. Both assembly components are made of walnut and (like all the shotguns in the test) have an engraved checkering on the contact surfaces, which helps the grip.
The F16 has a series-standard balancer and you can also add additional, optional barrel weights below the forearm. There is a three-millimeter red bead on the sight rail in front of the muzzle.
You can adjust the trigger blade continuously in a longitudinal direction. This lets you vary the length of pull between 365 and 375 mm. There are a total of three interchangeable chokes (1/4, 1/2 and 3/4) in the barrels and case.
Beretta sporting shotguns compared to Browning B725 sporter adjustable
Nearly all the sporting shotguns in the test have impulse activated ejectors; only the Browning B725 Sporter Adjustable lets you fire the second barrel without shooting the first barrel first. You can use the safety switch to select which barrel to fire first. The Browning package also includes a continuous, 10 mmwide rail – in addition to a 3-millimeter white sight and a middle bead of half that size in the same color in the middle of the barrel.
Since you can adjust the trigger blade of the Browning B725 Sporter to three different positions, you can choose a length of pull of 365 mm, 370 mm or 375 mm. The forearm attaches to the barrel via the forearm latch. It is designed as a slightly beak-shaped, but powerful trap variant. You can adjust the sides and height of the back of the butt stock. The result: the marksman can have an influence on the drop and offset.
Given the dimensions (wider than the other sporting shotguns in the test) and the resulting weight of about 3.75 kg, it is clear that Browning intends the B725 Sporter mainly for the trap stand. The provided interchangeable chokes (full, 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4) are evidence of this.
Sporting shotguns in test to Beretta 690 Competition Black Sporting AS and Beretta 690 Field III Sporting
In addition to the typical break action, the two Beretta 690 models share other major similarities: the dimensions of the receiver, the combined safety and barrel selector switch, as well as the triggers, locks and impulse-actuated ejectors.
From a purely visual perspective, the Beretta 690 Competition Black Sporting AS, with its matte black receiver and the orange inlay between the butt stock and the butt plate, immediately catches your eye. The receiver is adorned with an orange line and label. In contrast, the Beretta 690 Field III Sporting has polished, shiny steel surfaces engraved with a hunting theme. The stock shaft ends with a slight lip; the Black model has an English-style forearm and classic forearm latch.
Both barrel bundles include a 10- to 8-millimeter, tapered, cross-hatched rib. Each has a 4.0 mm front sight; that of the Black model is orange, while the Field III sight is white. On the Beretta 690 Competition Black Sporting AS, you can adjust the weight and balance on the butt stock. The stock is also ready for a balancer – that comes at an additional cost, however.
Beretta offers four different butt plate models as optional accessories; changing the plate varies the stock length of both models. The manufacturer also offers accessory inserts for the same purpose. The length of the Beretta 690 Field III Sporting was 365 mm in the test, and the Black model was 370 mm. Both sporting shotguns include a stock tool in the case, as well as a small bottle of oil and five interchangeable chokes with the required wrench.
Beretta has equipped the Field III Sporting with barrel-length OCHP chokes (1/1, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4 and cylinder) and the Black sporting model with the OCHPe chokes (3/4, 1/2, 1/4, skeet and cylinder), which extend about two centimeters out of the barrel. At just under 3.6 kg, the Beretta 690 Competition Black Sporting AS is about 100 g heavier than the Field III model. The difference in weight comes from the wider forearm and the metal components of the stock adjustment in the butt.
Sporting shotguns from Beretta, Blaser and Browning in the shooting test
All weapons are known to work with absolute operational reliability – we encountered no functional or ejection errors during the test. The trigger action was smooth; the Browning B725 Sporter had a little pre-travel. Choked accordingly, all shotguns did what they were supposed to do: broke the targets into shards!
The light and well-balanced Blaser F16 showed off its strengths when it came to the fast-crossing skeet doubles. In addition, we could bring the rifle into shooting position very quickly. The Beretta 690 Field III Sporting was similar: very quick to shooting position and in swinging; the balance point could have been a little further back, however.
Thanks to the adjustable butt stock, it was possible to adjust the Beretta 690 Competition Black Sporting AS and the Browning B725 Sporter to the anatomy of the tester quickly and easily. This makes both sporting shotguns better suited to the trap stand, which the Beretta can keep up in skeet shooting. In terms of balance, the Browning was a little too heavy at the front end. In contrast, the balance point of the Beretta 690 Competition Black Sporting AS was well positioned – just under the hinge.
Our conclusions on the sporting shotguns test
Sooner or later sport shooters, who really want to shoot skeet and trap at the highest level, will have no other choice than to get the best shot gun designed for the given discipline and tailored to their body – or one that is adjustable, at least. Recreational shooters, however, would be well advised to use one of the modern sporting shotguns, particularly with a choke.
The shotguns, otherwise considered a compromise, are optimally equipped for course/parcours shooting: they take care of all kinds of targets flying up, down, rising or falling.
The only way to really find out which sporting shotgun is best suited to you is to try out as many weapons as possible. Handling the rifle a few times in the showroom of the gun shop or gunsmith is not enough, however. The weapons should be tested in the same place that they will be used – shooting at the clay pigeon stand or on the course. All tested models could be a perfect choice, as long as the fit to your personal needs is granted. So it's your turn now.