Field and Stream

Beretta 694 Sporting Traditions NitroFire with Federal FireStick

- —John B. Snow —W.B.

There’s nothing radically new about this shotgun from Beretta; instead, it benefits from a series of small refinement­s. Each tweak might not seem like much, but when they’re taken together, the result is one of the best competitio­n shotguns you’ll find at this price. Beretta lengthened the 694’s pistol grip, giving it a more pronounced palm swell, and it refined the stock’s geometry for improved handling. The receiver and opening latch have a lower profile for a better field of view. Overall the shotgun balances extremely well and manages recoil like a champ. The metalwork is tasteful, the wood is lovely, and the craftsmans­hip that went into its build is evident throughout.

$4,500 • BERETTA.COM

You’ve never seen a muzzleload­er quite like this one. The new NitroFire is designed to work with the Federal FireStick ignition system, an encapsulat­ed, premeasure­d charge of either 100 or 120 grains of Hodgdon’s new Triple 8 powder combined with a built-in 209 primer that you pop into the hinged breech just like a .410 shell into a shotgun. The bullet is tamped down the barrel as usual, where it rests against a small shelf in the chamber. There is no breech plug, nor is there any doubt as to whether the bullet is seated or the powder charge is correct. You can quickly take the charge out of the gun at any time, and it’s likely as weatherpro­of as a muzzleload­er can be. The gun I’ve been shooting couldn’t be easier to load or clean, and it turned in groups of just under 2 inches at 100 yards with Federal B.O.R. Lock MZ copper bullets and 100-grain charges. If we had an innovation award, the NitroFire would get it.

$550–$700 • TRADITIONS­FIREARMS.COM; $27 FOR 10 • FEDERALPRE­MIUM.COM

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