Beretta Has Apple Designer Update 486

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486newson

We all know Beretta as the world’s oldest operating firearms manufacturer and, of course, the company that holds the US Military contract for pistols, although the military is looking to replace the M9. They decided to streamline their Beretta 486, a 12-gauge side-by-side shotgun, and they partnered with Marc Newson to get it done. Newson’s the designer Apple recently brought on to create their next line of products, making him an interesting choice for firearms design. Sidenote: Newson also came up with a new draft beer machine design for Heineken last month.

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Visually, the most obvious change is the way they’ve lowered the tail of the receiver so wood separates the receiver and selector, giving it an appearance Beretta calls “extremely elegant and instantly recognizable.” The receiver is edgeless now, too; the slight break between the wood and steel on the original 486 vanishes with a nice, smooth fit. And for another visual change it’s now laser-engraved with an Asian-inspired dragon-like design Beretta said is meant as a homage to pheasants. The old 486 came with a hand-engraved floral design or, if you were in Europe, an optional game design.

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Aside from a lot of attention to the receiver, the trigger guard was set back a bit while the trigger itself remains an Anson with leaf springs – and it’s now fixed to the receiver by inserting the guard into a milled guide. Okay, that involves the receiver, too.

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Other changes include a slimmer forend and a new opening lever. Of course, the shotgun still has Beretta’s cold-forged OptimaBore barrels with Triblock technology.

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Performance-wise, reviews of the original 486 were good; reviewers billed it as well-balanced, reliable, and lightweight at a hair over 7 pounds. So will the obvious aesthetic changes affect how this shotgun shoots? Hard to say. We all know how seemingly minor alterations can affect a gun for better or worse, so only time will tell. The first 486 had an MSRP of $5350, and this Marc Newson design’s MSRP hasn’t been unveiled yet, but it seems likely it’ll be even higher.

Would you buy one?

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katie.ainsworth

Katie is an avid shooter, hunter, military journalist, and Southern girl. Firearms are her passion whether at the range or on a spot-and-stalk after a big buck. She’s a staff writer at The Firearm Blog and writes about guns, hunting, and the military for various publications both online and in print such as Outdoor Life, Handguns, and Shooting Illustrated. Shoot her a message at ainsworth.kat@usa.com


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  • JumpIf NotZero

    In before people that think they are making clever Apple commentary. It’ll be something about requiring upgrades and becoming obsolete, or hipsters, or proprietary ammunition, etc. Because some dude that worked at Apple doing contract work on this is apparently significant.

    It’s a nice enough looking gun, but I’m not sure who can get all that excited for a double barrel side by side.

    • Katie A

      I think it’s interesting that they chose him specifically since he doesn’t have experience in the industry. He’s a talented designer, there’s no denying that, if you look at this other work he’s done some cool stuff. But it still seems like an interesting choice.

      • Anonymoose

        Gaston Glock didn’t have any experience making guns before he decided to design the G17, and neither did Eugene Stoner or Mikhail Kalashnikov before they got hired.

  • USMC03Vet

    A pleb can dream…

    • Katie A

      Sure, but if you had that much money to spend on a gun would you get this one or multiple lower-priced guns…or you could get a couple FN SCARs…or a pair of Spike’s Tactical Compressors…or if you really want a side-by-side, you could get five of Mossberg’s Silver Reserve II’s. So would you want to spend it on one gun or several?

      • USMC03Vet

        If I was gong to drop that much on a firearm I’d get something custom and then baby the piss out of it in a nice display case in the study above the nice scotch.

        • Katie A

          See, I don’t think I could ever have a gun that was just a showpiece, not unless we’re talking historically significant. Military firearms. If I’m buying it, I’m shooting it!

  • Taylor TX

    “Asian-inspired dragon-like design” on a classic European style shotgun, color me confused about why they chose that particular visual theme. Too bad they didnt include an O/U version in their makeover as well, that laser engraving looks gorgeous either way, I love the amount of detail.

    • joe schemo

      clearly you do not know the ultra rich chinese business man expat community!
      They know averge american joe six pack (peasant) worker cant afford it! Ha 🙂

      • Anonymoose

        They put it at 5k- it’s the equivalent of an entry-level Mercedes or Cadillac ATS. It’s for nouveau riche and upper-middle-class people trying to look fancy, not rich Chinese guys who are driven around in Rolls-Royces.

    • Anonymoose

      O/U is easier to aim, but it will always be ugly. Stick pheasants or dragons or people f—ing on it, it’ll still be ugly.

      • Katie A

        I wouldn’t say an O/U is easier to aim, shotguns are inherent point-and-shoot guns, not align-your-sights like rifles. SxS shotguns have a broader horizontal sight plane and that can be really nice with the quick corrections you make bird hunting.

  • sianmink

    Lovely, though I wish some of that engraving extended onto the barrels just a little, and I’m not sure I like the satin-polish lever over one with a little engraving on it as well. With laser-engraving it’s not like it’s cost-prohibitive.

    The contours of the receiver are nice. It’s very simple and elegant-looking with no hard lines or edges, and I totally dig the dragon motif.

    • Katie A

      It’s very artistic, absolutely. But who is more likely to buy it, experienced shooters or people with money to burn who want a cool-looking gun to either hang on their wall or take out on a rare hunting trip with friends to show it off rather than use it? I don’t know. When it comes to high-price guns with an artistic flare there are a few others I do like, like Dakota Arms

      • sianmink

        I’ve been in the shotgun sports for nearly 30 years. There’s guys who would not bat an eyelash at dropping 5-7k on a well-made double. They own $20k Silver Seitz, Kreighoffs, and Perazzis that they treat like shovels.

  • I really wish I could justify a 4 figure shotgun. If I could, it wouldn’t have a dragon (really?) but rather artwork inspired by ancient Greek aesthetics.

  • MountainKelly

    For six grand I’d go find a nice used Merkel methinks haha.

  • Mystick

    Nothing says “pheasants” like flying Asian dragons. What other aerial creature could represent “pheasants” in this “homage”…. I dunno, maybe… pheasants!!!

    Would I buy one? Hell no. It’s an outrageous price for a gun that is inherently inaccurate stemming from fundamentals in the design(intersecting[non-parallel] conical side-by-side)… and especially it being the first gun to be chopped down to a carry-able size when the zombies come. I’ll keep my inherited 70-year-old Sears gun for that. And this doesn’t even have a double trigger, which is really a personal preference, but still…

    Sure it looks nice on the mantle, but $5k-$6k nice? N and O.

    • Katie A

      I have to admit I’m with you there.

  • Giolli Joker

    Uhm… are they aiming to sell it to rich Chinese hunters?
    A new market opening for fine guns?
    The shape is nice but hopefully there will be more traditional versions with hand engraved artworks from Italian masters.

    • Katie A

      Since the original 486 was hand-engraved and so many of their other guns are, it is a surprise they went with laser-engraving for this one. According to their press release the Asian-inspired theme was Newson’s idea and was because pheasants are native to Asia and he also said “Of any country that I have visited and lived in Japan holds the most interest for me. I am fascinated by Japanese culture.” So I guess he just likes the area in particular…no idea why they went with lasers, though.

      • Anonymoose

        Yeah, really. They should have engraved it with a beam saber.

        • Katie A

          No, light saber. Better accuracy for fine details.

          • Anonymoose

            But it’s not Japanese-y enough. :l

    • Anonymoose

      Doubtful. Chinese who are allowed by Beijing to possess weapons aren’t much into civilian hunting guns, more into private armies (all PLA/PAP detachments of course, since they’re all high-ranking Communist Party members and/or high-ranking PLA/PAP officers themselves). There are some Hong Kong gun clubs that were allowed to continue to exist after the UK handed the city over, but once all their members have one (assuming they don’t already have nicer side-by-sides already), then that market would be dried up. 5k is mid-range at the very best for “rich people’s shotguns,” so I think this is more of an entry level for Americans and Europeans wanting to get into fancy doubles.

      • Giolli Joker

        I don’t know much of the Chinese market and laws, but I know that luxury items are getting more and more geared towards China, as it is a growing and potentially lucrative market.
        True, 5k$ is relatively cheap in a Beretta or Perazzi offer, I’m pretty sure there will be more expensive options.
        Maybe they plan to get new clients from people not traditionally into guns (hence the designer choice)… but the one in the pictures will hardly appeal to European customers.

  • Good! It’s about time we got a writer who knows doubles.

  • Katie A

    The Army is replacing M9s; the contract is not being renewed. Too many problems with them from the slide-mounted safety, the fact they can’t be suppressed, short service life, open-slide has caused trouble in the sandbox – goes on. Even though they have considered replacing them before, this time they told Beretta “bye bye.” Beretta tried to convince them to keep the M9, saying certain changes could be made, but none of those changes fixed the problems. S&W is pretty high on the replacement list but H and K, Glock, and SIG have their hat in the ring too. They may go with a larger caliber too, which would be extremely good what with the fact the military has to stick with FMJ rounds.

    • I think Beretta still has quite a few pistols to deliver in the existing contract, but they do plan, as Katie said, to hold a competition to replace the M9. The winner may well end up being a Beretta, although they will face strong competition from S&W, Springfield and Glock. Taurus even entered the last Joint Compact Pistol competition

      • Katie A

        I believe they just had the sixth shipment from the 2012 contract ordered, although I may have the number wrong. I’m actually interested to see how it plays out, and I think it’ll be fun to see what hits the civilian market as a result.

    • It is silly to suggest that the M9 can’t be suppressed. KAC and Qual-A-Tec were supplying suppressors for the Beretta 92 back in the 1980s. The only only thing a M9 would need is a threaded barrel.

      • Katie A

        I wasn’t referring to them overall, but specifically to the U.S. Army M9’s.

  • Katie A

    I think SxS’s have a few advantages to the O/U – and vice versa. Definitely can’t knock it unless you’ve used it. Some people don’t like the felt recoil of the SxS but you do get a broader sight plane, and that’s very nice. I think they have their place, especially in upland bird hunting. People definitely shouldn’t be so quick to discount them.

  • Guest

    I do know the Army is still doing testing and trials for replacing the M9, but it’s a crying shame they’re allowed to keep going with M9’s right now. Too many reasons to list that it’s a shame. I have to wonder if extending one more time has anything to do with the piles of holsters and mags they would have to be replace as well as the guns.

  • Katie A

    That’s the 2012 contract. The Army announced they will not be extending the contract to Beretta again back in July. So no, I am not incorrect. The Army is carrying out testing and trials to decide who the new pistol manufacturer will be. Beretta is no longer the Army’s supplier for standard-issue pistols, although service members will continue to use them in the meantime, the next contract will be awarded to someone else.

    • Matt

      They have done this multiple times in the last few years (notably in 2005 with the JSOC competition), and it never goes anywhere. I strongly doubt that this will become anything more than the Army’s IC competition.

      • Katie A

        Well, look at it this way, the civilian market will benefit with some new handguns thanks to the contract competition. Yeah the Army has done this before, but I will say they “seem” more serious this time. There have been quite a few more outspoken statements made about the problems with the M9, and it’s not just a caliber debate this time, it’s the guns themselves. All we can do is see how it plays out, but hopefully it ends with better handguns for the infantry, they could use them.

    • ACC-Warren just awarded a new delivery order on W56HZV-12-D-0011 back in September. They added another 2,419 M9 pistols on behalf of the USAF. The contract allows for 79,301 additional pistols to be ordered before the contract ends in 2017.

      • Katie A

        That’s absolutely accurate, in the meantime, they are looking at other manufacturers for down the road. Things tend to move slowly in the military, especially when testing and competition is going on. Should be fun to see what companies come out with.

  • Katie A

    Actually SxS’s make good upland bird hunting guns, it can take some getting used to, but historically they were once considered the end-all be-all for upland birds before being replaced with pump actions and semi’s.

  • strongarm

    Trigger guard looks cheaply made and opening lever like slipped away a mickey mouse cartoon. Even worse, it looks like ready to split shooters hand with magnum shots.

  • sianmink

    That’s entry level for competition shotguns. The Mossberg pump isn’t going to hold up to 25,000 rounds a year for very long.

  • Katie A

    You’re absolutely right that there are pros to the quality of guns like these, no argument there whatsoever. It’s an artistically done shotgun, and the original 486 performed beautifully, so it’s a safe assumption this one will as well.

  • Duane Sunnquist

    Any idea when it goes on the market?