The sidelock Beretta U/Os began prior to WWII. The S1 became the SO4 and then the SO5. The S2 became the SO2 and then the SO6. The S3 became the SO3 and then the SO9.
The S3 and SO3 have more elaborate engraving with better walnut
The sidelock are not only well designed but they are extensively handmade by skilled craftsmen in a special section of the Beretta factory in the town of Gardone Val Trompia
The actions have a very shallow (58mm) frame; excellent steel, excellent balance and lower grades are as well finished mechanically as the higher grades.
Some shooters suggest that the view over the wide fences is similar to a close to a side by side as it's possible to find in an u/o and they are sufficiently respected by English game shooters that they often find themselves amongst the Purdeys and Holland & Hollands.
The weight of the barrels is stamped on each gun. Trap shooters like barrel weights around 1.4kg and game shooters favour 1.35 or 1.36kg.
The higher grade guns, such as the S3 are often found with double triggers and a sharply curved pistol grip.
Many of Italy’s gunmakers reside in the Val Trompia (Valle Trompia) a 50 km long valley in the Province of Brescia, northern Italy. The name originates from the ancient Rhaetian people, the Trumpilini, the Roman conquest of which was more difficult than that of other areas and is mentioned in the Trophy of Augustus, a Roman monument erected between 25-14 BC in honour of Emperor Augustus, who subdued the Alpine tribes.
The valley contained mineral veins which have been mined for centuries. This encouraged the manufacture of iron weapons. For this reason, under the Venetian from the 15th century, the valley was given a special autonomy and a lighter tax regime.
Beretta dates its existence from an invoice for barrels sold to the Arsenal Venice in 1526.
This is one of Beretta's true masterpieces, featuring a top locking action and beautifully engraved side plates, all of which have been done by hand in Italy. The rich walnut stock is in immaculate condition with all checkering still being sharp.