Beretta’s Black Beauty Side by Side

Walk into your local shotgun dealer and you’ll see an assortment of new Beretta A300 and A400 semi-automatics, the popular 686 series of over/unders, desirable 687 Silver Pigeons and possibly a few of the premium DT11 clays crushers.

The majority of these best sellers are produced in Beretta’s Italian plant in Gardone Val Trompia, which at 118,400-square foot plant is physically divided by the Mella River. Packed with rows of gun-making robots, there are still some 800 employees, many second and third-generation families working there, who are devoted to making Beretta firearms for everyday enthusiasts, in addition to military and law-enforcement personnel.

Black 1The Beretta Custom Grade Atelier 490 Serpentina.

From the factory it’s a short drive to Beretta Due (two in Italian). The three-story contemporary building originates from the late 1990s. It’s situated against a steep hillside of the narrow valley. The façade sports the blue trim that distinguishes Beretta’s competition shotguns. Ribbons of glass welcome the natural light that engravers want.

Beretta Due is home of the Premium Division’s high-level competition shotguns as well as the luxurious, hand-crafted SO Series, 687 EELL, gullwing Sparviere, Giubileo and the most exotic, custom shotguns hand-crafted by Beretta artisans.

Black 2The Beretta Custom Grade Atelier 490 Serpentina.

As you walk up a flight of stairs, the tapping of flat-faced chase hammers against chisels grows louder, ringing in loft-like interior where a line of engravers stand at a long counter awash in natural light. 

But within Due is a more rarified group called Atelier, which produces artistry such as the black Beretta Custom Grade Atelier 490 Serpentina.

Black 4The Beretta Custom Grade Atelier 490 Serpentina.

Although the Atelier 490 Serpentina is based on the $5,000 486 Parallelo side by side, you’ll immediately notice the sleek all-black shotgun with an ebony stock and black chrome anodized edgeless receiver. And if you want to order one, forget it, because this is a one-off built to a collector’s stipulations that specified no engraving or checkering anywhere to distract from the shotgun’s supermodel svelteness.

Black 5The Beretta Custom Grade Atelier 490 Serpentina.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind forever,” noted Ian Harrison, Beretta’s Director of Premium Firearms.

As it turns out, the black Beretta Custom Grade Atelier 490 Serpentina is part of a pair, whose sibling has a case-colored hardened receiver.

“Beretta is known as an over/under company where the side by side is perceived as an afterthought,” Ian said. “It’s our job to evangelical about side by sides.”

Irwin Greenstein is the Publisher of Shotgun Life. You can reach him at

Useful resources:

The Beretta Premium web site



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