[ I am pleased to present this guest post written by Bill Rushmore. Bill blogs over at The Quarterdeck Log]
When you think of a single shot inexpensive shotgun geared towards the beginner chances are that Beretta is not a manufacture that comes to mind. But at one time that was indeed the case when Beretta made such a gun. I like to brag that when I was a teenager in the late 80′s I bought a Beretta Shotgun with money I made during a summer job. But the truth is that my Dad sold me his first shotgun he bought as a teenager during the early 60′s. My Dad sold it to me for the token price of $35 US which is the price he paid for it.
This nifty little single shot from Beretta has been called the Model FS-1, Model 412, Companion, and in Italian it is known as “Monocanna Ripieghevole” or “single barrel folding shotgun.” The unique part of these single shots is that they break up to the point where it folds in half. In finding parts for this gun I had trouble because is not appear to be all that common, at least in the US, even though Beretta manufactured these single shots from the 1920′s until 1992. They made it in 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, and .410. Even though it was marketed towards the beginner hunter it was manufactured in plain basic models up to fancier ones with hand engraving, walnut stocks, and even gold plating.
The model I own is a nice little 12 gauge. It is a fixed full choke that gives very tight patterns. It is the base model yet still has checkering on the stock and fore grip and some fancy engraving of the Roman goddess of victory. How many many beginner single shots have anything like this?
The shotgun is very light and according to specs it weighs 5 ½ pounds. That’s very light for a 12 gauge. That is great for a hunting gun when you have to carry the thing around all day but not so good for reducing recoil. The prime factor in how much recoil you feel is weight. The lighter the gun the more recoil you get. That’s the one big draw back of this otherwise fine gun, especially if you consider beginners. To give you some perspective this gun feels lighter than my New England Arms Pardner 410!
I must admit I have a fondness to the break single shot shot guns (and rifles for that matter). Too often they are seen as just a beginners gun but I really appreciate the simpleness and the sporting nature of making your one shot count on the hunt. I think Leonardo da Vinci said, it best “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”