I was at Beretta’s factory in 2018 when they launched the SL3. It’s an impressive gun, and one I would be proud to own. (You can read my story about it in Shooting Sportsman mag here)
Here’s more about this Custom Tall Timbers Beretta SL3 OU from the folks at Tall Timbers:
“A Quail Gun with a Cause”. Tall Timbers Gun III, Custom Stocked Hand-Engraved Beretta SL3
Tallahassee, Fla. August 26, 2020 ― Number Three in the Tall Timbers Gun series is, appropriately, the SL3, the newest offering from Beretta’s famed Premium Division in Gardone, Italy. The SL3 was introduced in 2018, first as a 12-gauge capable of withstanding high-volume punishment from driven-game shooters in Britain. Beretta designed it to be agile and responsive in the hands, yet capable of enduring hundreds of thousands of rounds, including hard-to-digest steel- and other hard non-toxic shot — in other words, a 21st Century version of a best game gun. Last year, the world’s oldest gunmaker unveiled its sleeker, lighter sibling in 20-gauge, perfect for American upland hunters, and ideal for those who pursue bobwhites behind bird dogs.
The SL3 is a symbiosis between Beretta’s centuries-old craft heritage and its state-of-the-art command of modern metallurgy and manufacturing capabilities. Shotguns produced by the latter method, often designed by engineers, can be handsome and affordable and are usually relentlessly reliable, but can lack the grace and beauty and subtle handling attributes of those made by a skilled craftsman’s hands and eyes. But with handiwork in increasingly short supply worldwide, it is ever more expensive — a traditional handcrafted best gun will cost as much as a Porsche 911, and often much, much more.
The SL3 was purpose-made to bridge the gulf between man and machine. Ferdinando Belleri —the traditionally-trained master gunmaker who captains the Beretta custom shop — designed it with other elite old-school craftsmen, but its components are machined with exacting precision in the larger factory. These return to the custom shop — Beretta Due, as it’s called — and under Belleri’s eagle-eyed supervision every SL3 is assembled, hand-fit and finished to the standards which Beretta premium guns are known for. The result is a hybrid — with the beauty of Beretta’s sidelock SO10, and the durability of its Olympic medal-winning DT11 competition guns, and far less expensive than the former.
As with the first two Tall Timbers guns—the first by bespoke Italian maker Luciano Bosis, the second by Scotland’s renowned David McKay Brown — this year’s gun is an international collaboration headed by Tall Timbers CEO William Palmer, assisted by Shooting Sportsman Senior Editor Vic Venters. For the second time, noted American artist C.D. Clarke was enlisted to provide artwork — of flushing bobwhite against a backdrop of the famous fire research grounds at Tall Timbers — to serve as a template for the SL3’s hand-engraved game scene on the base of the action. Standard SL3s come either with a plain highly polished action, or with English-style rose & scroll, or full game scenes, or deep floral scroll, engraved to superb standards by Beretta’s five-axis laser technology. The Tall Timbers Beretta combines the deep floral scroll with the hand-engraved bobwhite scene to distinguish it from all others. Premium Beretta dealer Rich Cole, of Cole Fine Guns & Gunsmithing — often dubbed “Mister Beretta” for his expertise on the line — was instrumental in recruiting Beretta for the third Tall Timbers gun. Cole, headquartered in Naples, Florida, and one of America’s pre-eminent dealers of fine Italian shotguns, traveled to Gardone to hand-select the highly figured walnut blank and to coordinate the custom engraving with Beretta. The gun has been headed up, but the stock left unfinished so that it can be custom fit by Cole to the purchaser’s bespoke stock dimensions. It will then be made-to-measure, hand-checkered and finished out in his workshop.
So equipped, the lucky new owner should never miss another bobwhite, but should it happen, it will be for a good cause — wild quail conservation.