Beretta’s 486 Parallelo is a classic, sleek looking, round-bodied, side by side with hand-engraved floral patterns on the coin-finished receiver (an optional game scene is presently available in Europe). It’s signed by the engraver under the frame next to the trigger. Close examination revealed excellent fit and finish throughout the shotgun.
By comparison, Beretta’s earlier side by side, the Beretta 471 Silver Hawk, was typically shipped with average wood and a beavertail forend. The Beretta 471 Silver Hawk also had the engravings mechanically rolled on its bulky, hard-edged receiver. As with the earlier Beretta 471 Silver Hawk, the Beretta 486 Parallelo has a selector in the forend to switch from ejector mode to extractor mode.
While looking traditional, the Beretta 486 Parallelo includes numerous new technologies and innovations. The new Beretta Triblock Technology eliminates the welding line between the monoblock and tubes. The steel-proofed barrels have an 18.4mm internal bore diameter. Likewise, the factory supplied Optima HP chokes are steel-shot rated. The new-generation Optima HP chokes are longer and tapered to improve patterns, as I would realize on the 5-stand.
The redesigned trigger group has leaf springs, a first for Beretta in a side by side. In some circles leaf springs are touted for crisper trigger pulls while coils are known for greater reliability. All components of the Beretta 486 Parallelo trigger group are attached to the trigger plate, thus allowing for easy cleaning and maintenance in the boxlock action. The trigger group integrates a “gravitational safety” that locks the trigger if the shotgun is dropped — the cause of many accidental discharges in the field. Further, the shotgun returns to automatic safety if the shotgun is held upside down or, downwards or upwards at 90 degrees. The Beretta 486 Parallelo comes standard with a single trigger, but can be ordered with double triggers as well.
The Beretta 486 Parallelo I shot was fitted with 28-inch barrels, although 26-inch and 30-inch varieties are available — all with 3-inch chambers.
So how did the Beretta 486 Parallelo perform? I took a box of Remington STS in 1⅛ ounce, #8s and went to one of the 5-stands used for the competition. The shotgun was choked improved cylinder and modified. The single trigger yielded a tiny touch of creep but broke very crisply and was probably just north of 4 pounds in weight, much better than the Beretta Silver Hawk 471 and most shotguns. It handled very easily with a natural lovely balance that facilitated any quick corrections.
Recoil is always different in a side by side compared to an over/under as the barrels are off center of the stock. The Beretta 486 Parallelo was comfortable to shoot with the stiff Remington loads. The 471 used to be a hard-kicking shotgun due to nearly 2½ inches of drop at the heel. By comparison, the Beretta 486 Parallelo is designed with less drop so it fitted me well, nearly as good as my Beretta DT11 competition over/under. The barrels did not get excessively hot as the shooting was fast with only three people in the 5-stand rotation. I only dropped three targets (always the same one). The Beretta 486 Parallelo crushed long-distance targets with its improved cylinder choke as if the choke constriction was much tighter.
The handling and the high level of performance actually surprised me for a side by side. The Beretta 486 Parallelo is sold as a field gun yet I found it to be an excellent clays gun as well. Personally, I find it difficult to shoot an English stock shotgun yet I shot it very well on both occasions. If equipped with a pistol grip and beavertail forend, the extra weight would somewhat reduce the perceived recoil making it ideal for side-by-side clay events.
At about 7¼ pounds, the Beretta 486 Parallelo feels much lighter even though it weighed about the same as its predecessor, the 471 Silver Hawk. While the butt plate is made of matching wood, it can be replaced by a factory rubber pad.
Ultimately, the Parallelo would make an excellent upland game or clay shooting side-by-side classic with unsurpassed Beretta reliability and quality.
Henry SF Nachaj has been associated with and consulted to the firearms industry for over 30 years. During that time he has performed ballistic testing of both non-metallic and metallic cartridges. He writes for international publications, both online and print. As he likes to find out how things perform and work, he has three patents in unrelated fields.