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Article 9 – 2018 (October)

girl posing and smiling with shotguns

Russell Mark

Australian Shooter Magazine, Question and Answers

Article 9 – 2018 (October)


Question: I own a Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon Sporting Shotgun. It has 75 cm barrels. By my own admission I stupidly damaged the bottom barrel, but don’t want to discuss how that happened. I have shown it to several people and all have said the barrel is beyond repair. The damage is right at the end of the barrel near the choke. I believe if the barrel was cut away near the end it could be saved. Do you think this is a good option, as I want to get something back for this shotgun if I resell it? What are the chances of buying a new or second hand barrel for the firearm and reselling it that way?

Name and address withheld.


Answer: Let me answer the second half of your question first. Finding a second hand 686 barrel would be hard in my opinion. If you are lucky enough and the price is right then that is your best bet to try and recoup some of your original investment. If buying a new barrel for this firearm is based solely on economic factors then you are going to be disappointed. The cost of a new barrel will probably equal the price of a decent second hand shotgun however it certainly can be done. It will probably need some expert fitting by a qualified gunsmith as not all barrels will fit straight on the action of a second hand mechanism. The more work the mechanism has had will determine the amount of metal work that will be needed to make a perfect fit.

Without knowing exactly how far down the barrel the damage has occurred and then of course the extent of the problem it can become hard, maybe negligent, to give worthwhile advice on this. If the damage was simply at the choke and was caused by splitting the barrel right at the end then the barrel might very well be saved by simply cutting five or six centimetres off the end and having it re-choked by someone like Briley for instance. This will give you a 69 to 70 cm barrel (approximately 28 inches) that may limit the firearms marketability if you want to resell it.

I would suggest you have a quality gunsmith look at this and assess the extent of the damage before you go ahead with the latter option. If they think it can be saved then this will be more economically viable.


Question: I was at the Shot Show in Sydney and was interested at a comment you made about why you retired from competing internationally. You said you were too old to shoot clays. Is age really a barrier in our sport? I thought that sort of sent the wrong message. No offence intended, but it caught my interest.

Dave McIntosh, Lismore NSW


Answer: I think I meant to say I had retired from competing internationally. I was fifty when I competed for the last time in an ISSF World Championship. It retired for no other reason than I felt it was just becoming too hard to be consistent in all types of light conditions. Sadly your reaction time varies greatly with age in poor light and when your event requires you to shoot two clays in less than one second this can certainly be a problem.

There are certainly many other forms of clay target shooting that a fifty year old can still be world dominant. The famous English Sporting Clays shooter George Digweed is within a few weeks of my age and is still considered the favourite at any event he competes in. Many American Trap (DTL) and American Skeet champions are dominant well into their sixties. I hope that clears up your questions. We certainly have a great sport where anyone can compete from their early teens to their late nineties at times.

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