Today’s gunfight pits a pair of O/Us against each other, and it’s a do-over for one of them. A couple years ago, the Beretta BL-3 went up against an old Crescent Arms double and, in a complete miscarriage of Gunfight Friday justice, lost to it badly. The BL-3 is a terrific shotgun, whereas the nostalgic Crescent Arms double is a shotgun.
So the BL-3 is back to try again, and this time around, it draws another O/U—the Browning Cynergy. The Cynergy came out in 2004, and it featured a very low-profile receiver, with a unique and long-lasting action and excellent mechanical triggers. The originals suffered from aggressive Euro-styling, which Browning has since toned down. Interesting enough, the gun was designed as replacement for the Citori, but Browning couldn’t bring itself to discontinue the old favorite, so both guns are present in their lineup. Heretical as it may be to suggest, the Cynergy might be a better design than the venerable Citori, whose roots go back to John Browning’s Superposed. The Beretta BL series was made from 1968–1976. They were trim, affordable, excellent upland hunting guns, and the precursors of the 680 guns, which have gone on to achieve worldwide popularity. They came in six grades, BL-1 through BL-6, and you can still pick them up today for well under $1,000.
Here’s my 20 gauge Beretta BL-3, made in 1972. I bought it 40 years ago, when it was practically new. The BL-3 model was similar to the current 686 but has no ejectors; the BL-4 model had ejectors. It has been used plenty, taking doves, quail, chukar, woodcock, grouse, and numerous pheasants, and it has broken plenty of clay targets as well. And it has never failed to go _bang._
It came with 26-inch Skeet/Skeet barrels, which I had Briley convert to their thin-wall screw-in choke system in the 1980s. A few years ago, I had Wenig Gunsmithing restock it in semi-fancy walnut, and I had the receiver reblued. I have four other shotguns, including Beretta 686s, in 12 and 28 gauges, but I reach for the BL-3 more than I do the others. I’m not particularly sentimental about my guns, but this one is an exception.
_I brought my 20-gauge Browning Cynergy to Argentina for dove shooting as a backup for my 20-gauge gas autoloader. It turned out that the autoloader didn’t really fit me, so I shot the Cynergy the whole time I was there. Some people don’t like the “Euro” styling, but thousands of shells later, I think pretty is as pretty does. _
Personally, I own a Cynergy, which is a good gun, and I yearn for a BL-3. There are no bad choices here. Vote, comment below, and keep the gun pictures coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which gun do you prefer?