The other over-under double gun on our front cover is one of Garcia’s BL series, a line of high quality boxlock guns in the popular price range—a gamut these days that runs from about $200 to $500, with a few models at the top end commanding a price a bit higher.
There are 5 models in the BL group, and all of them have several features of construction in common, important aspects they all share. First there’s the low profile of the BL reciver, achieved through an unusual—perhaps unique—method of hinging and barrel lockup. The hinge pins are located at a point alongside the middle of the lower barrel, not underneath as with so many other overunders. There are no underlugs on the Beretta BL barrels, thhus a considerably shorter receiver, top to bottom, is obtained. This makes for a gun easier to handle, lighter over-all, stronger and, because the mass of the receiver is around the barrels, not below them, recoil is reduced and a second shot can be got off faster.
Recoil—felt recoil, That is—is reduced because thrust is more directly rearwards, and lessened muzzle lift means getting back on the sightsfaster for that second shot.
A second common factor in all BL guns is barrel construction. Barrels, of chrome-moly steel, are processed at the Beretta factory through all steps from the raw, forged solid billet through boring, reaming and chambering to the point where they’re ready for insertion into the Monobloc breeches. All machining is done on the Monobloc, none on the barrels, where the attachment of lugs, ribs,etc., requires shot heating and the attendant danger of distorsion and alteration of tensile strength. In addition, the Monobloc technique of mounting barrels results in a much stronger system.
A third feature of all BL Berettas is a clever and foolproof barrel selector system.
In many double guns, the top-tang sliding safety combines with a button or whatever to let the shooter switch from top barrel to bottom—or vice versa—and in this system it’s necessary, usually, to shove the safety back to the ‘Safe’ position before changing barrels. Not so with Beretta’s BL doubles—the changeover can be made instantly, whether the safety is on ‘Safe’ or not. An excellent idea, and one that could well let you kill that bird that you could have failed to grass with a selector button you had to fumble with.
Mainsprings in all BL guns are of coiled type, made of the best Swedish steel; breech faces are grooved to deflect and carry gases away if a primer fails, and all BL guns show careful attention to excellent fit of wood to metal, of meticulous filing, stoning and smooth-working assemble of internal parts for perfect functioning and dependable operation.
From here on, however, the BL grades differ: BL-1 is a 2 trigger gun, made without a barrel rib, but the front trigger is hinged, a feature usually found only on guns with a much higher price tag—this lets you find the rear trigger faster, and also keeps your trigger finger from banging into the back of the front trigger when the rear trigger is touched off.
The BL-2 is like the BL-1 but has a single selective trigger, and both are available only in 12 gauge field grade, with 26",28" or 30" barrels.
The BL-3 comes with a ventilated rib, nicely matted, a single trigger of selective type and plain extractors. Engraving on the BL-3 is of better quality and more extensive, and new this year are BL-3s in 20- and 28- gauge, offered in both 3" Magnum chambering and as Skeet guns with 2 1/2" chambers. A 12-gauge 3" Magnum is also on the list, as are 12-gauge Skeet and trapguns. These target type BL-3s are &25 extra, but that also covers special sears, a manual safety, middle sights and straighter stocks, with Monte Carlo combs, and a trap-style recoil pad on the BL-3 Trap Gun.
The BL-4 (the style shown on) and the BL-5 are alike except for the latter offering a fully engraved, gray-finished receiver, better quality wood and finer, more extensive checkering. Both have auto ejeectors, all other features of the BL-1,BL-2 and BL-3 guns mentioned, and both are available in the some wide choece of gauges listed for the BL-3.
Standard stock dimensions for all five BL 12, 20 and 28 Field and skeet grakes are:1 1/2"x2 1/2"x14 1/8" but trapguns have a trigger pull length of 14 3/8", with drop figures of 1 3/8" by 13/4". All can be had with extra sets of barrels, though differing a bit with in grades as to chokes, lengths and price, of course.
picture by: the spoting life.net, shotingtime.co.uk,proguns.com