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HOS #146181 05/02/09 10:26 AM
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The pin design and S/SO designation really are a bit of a mess. For example, I own an S3EELL, made in 1986, 3 gold plated pins on left, 4 on right. In a letter to me, Ugo Beretta verified the date (also checked with proof marks), game scene engraving and engraver, etc. It was sold to a gun shop in Rome originally. I've seen others of about this vintage for the American market designated as SO.

The basic gouge on the pins is that the fewer, the more modern (and allegedly improved). All of the Garcia period models I have seen were designated as described agove, and have 4 pins left, 5 right. Often these guns have detachable sidelocks with the clever hidden (mostly) thumb levers.

The SO4s and SO5s of target get up (including current SO5s) are a different pin configuration yet - 4 pins on both sides.

HOS #146189 05/02/09 11:20 AM
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I just took a look at the ones I have and found that the S designator was present until I reached 1970. This I believe is the third year Garcia was the importer. My 1970 SO4 and 1971 SO5 both are Garcia imports. Just a little more info for record.
Best,
Ron

R.Overberg #146252 05/02/09 09:34 PM
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Ron...Are your Garcia guns the same as an S3EL (SO4) and an S3EELL (SO5)? By that I mean they are fully engraved and not like the later designated SO4 and SO5 target guns with minimal scroll engraving. The 1971 Gun Digest I have alludes to this.

I'm not sure the period Garcia imported the S-series guns with their own type of designation. RL Wilson's book isn't clear, but it appears to be late 60s to mid 70s (Garcia was in bankruptcy by 1976). Of course, I imagine Beretta was using their own designation (S3, S3EL, S3EELL) outside of the Garcia line.

I have an 1985 Beretta catalog showing an SO3 EELL with 3 pins on the left lock. However, this same catalog shows an SO4 Competition Trap with 4 pins on the left lock. Maybe this is the year when Beretta was upgrading the lock design.

I have an S3 from 1955 (7 pin design) and a couple of S3EELLs from the mid-60s (5/4 pin design).

KDGJ #146253 05/02/09 10:37 PM
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Well, I'm not Ron but I'll answer anyway. My 1971 SO4 (so marked, also with Garcia markings; 5/4 pins) with hand detachable sidelocks is fully engraved and signed by "P. Bousi." My 1959 S3EELL (with two 32inch barrels, same serial nos. as receiver) has seven pins, signed by "S. Tonocelli," virtually same type of full engraving as SO4, but with gold inlaid crown on top behind lever. Any learning on these engravers or SO guns generally would be appreciated. By the way, has anybody else exprienced the lousy support (actually non-support) that Beretta gives to these fine guns?

Last edited by HOS; 05/02/09 10:37 PM.
KDGJ #146274 05/03/09 12:44 AM
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KDGS,
The Garcia guns are as you suspected and are equal to the earlier S3EL and S3EELL designators. The difference in engraving from the SO4 to the SO5 is very minor. They both have hand detachable sidelocks and weigh about the same at 7lbs and a little. The SO4(1970) and S3EL(1953) are engraved by the same man(Angelo Baglioni) and have the same coverage. The guns made for Europe may have been designated differantly than the Garcia ones. I don't have any personal experience with the SO guns outside the US. The SO guns have many variations and thats half the fun.
Best,
Ron

R.Overberg #146286 05/03/09 09:06 AM
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It really is an opportunity for a seminal work on the S/SO series; digging the variations and connections is indeed fun, but it would sure be nice for somebody to put together the entire puzzle. If this has already happened, I'd sure like to learn of it.

As an aside, about 25 years ago I owned a 1948 vintage S3EL also engraved by A. Baglioni, with double triggers, made for a wealthy Greek financier with small hands (I had the tight pistol grip removed by the English gunsmith from whom I bought the gun).

I also really believe, despite the recent increases in prices in the last couple years, that these guns remain sleepers on the market. True back action sidelocks, complete with intercepting safety sears, done up in true "best" tradition - the current price of new ones (arguably not as good as some a few years older) speaks to their quality.

GF1 #146290 05/03/09 10:09 AM
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I hear you Ron, GF1, and HOS concerning the designations for virtually the same model and there is no information to the sidelock design changes. RL Wilson's book was too broad on Beretta. He gave some of the basics on the SO-series. Other than people posting what they have and how the guns are marked the information does not appear to exist.

I've seen some guns advertised on gunbroker and gunsinternational stating the SO designations of EL and EELL weren't marked on 1950s guns. The guns are advertised as an S3EL or EELL, but clearly have S3 engraving (i.e., not full coverage and not as deeply engraved). I don't believe that is true based on your posts and other guns I've seen.

Beretta does not seem to have or easily provide information for these guns as other makers will provide. The NY Beretta Gallery was helpful but could only provide some limited information on the two S3EELLs I own. One gun is gamescene engraved by A. Baglioni and the other is the floral type engraving by S. Tononcelli. I also asked if Beretta kept something similar to a build sheet for the guns and they don't offer the service.

Response from NY Beretta Gallery:
I have received a reply regarding your inquiry. Both Mr. Stefano Tononcelli and Mr. Angelo Bagliono were members of A.I.A.B., which is an Association of Engravers from Brescia, Italy. Mr. Tononcelli was born 1925 and died 1969. Mr. Baglioni was born in 1899 and passed away in the early 80s. Both of these gentleman did outside work for Beretta. There is really no information written on either of the men specifically, but I have included some information about the association in the attachment.

Ken

KDGJ #146298 05/03/09 10:56 AM
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This is kind of the factory support I alluded to in my earlier post. Try to get a part from Beretta for an SO gun.

KDGJ #146302 05/03/09 11:49 AM
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KDGS,
I have an early 1946 S3 with game scene engraving and rose and scroll. It has a small AB on the trigger plate which I suspect is for A. Baglioni. I had been looking for his engraving only as a curiosity when I ended up with a 1953 EL and an SO4,three barrel set. The fact you have an early game scene engraved by him makes me feel more secure in my assumption on the S3 being by him. It is amazing that he did the SO4 when he was 71 years old and the 1946 S3 at 54. He had a long life. This paticular history is always of interest to me. It will probably bore others to sleep.
Thanks,
Ron

eightbore #146319 05/03/09 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted By: eightbore
The thread that includes SO history and mechanical progression may be too old to locate. You may use the search function to attempt to locate it. It was a good one, unlikely to be repeated. Seems like it is not available. Maybe someone has it in their permanent files.


Eightbore

Could I have a copy of that thread as well?

Thanks
H&H

jordan_rahal@yahoo.com


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