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#448251 06/24/16 12:51 PM
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So my go-to game gun for awhile has been my 1975 post-Garcia Beretta S56E. It's had a lot of work done to it but it's not replaceable in my mind and the time spent was worth every minute and penny. (actually well under a grand)

So I always keep my eye out and the prices on the older Beretta 20s has at times been crazy. I knew when the right one came along I'd pick up another, for various reasons, but mainly to have one with tighter chokes. I saw this gun listed as a Golden Snipe but noticed the forend latch was the same as my S56E and the BL guns. For the price I jumped on it as I've seen BL-4s go for almost twice the buy-it-now on this gun.

Turns out I got lucky, right on the barrel flats it says S56E and it's a 1968 gun that with the sling swivels I'm guessing was first sold in Europe. I'm thrilled! My original gun (blued) is 5lbs 10oz with the Microcell pad, the new gun is 5lbs 15oz with butt plate and I will have some wood removed and a Microcell put on it as well, hoping to keep it just under 6lbs. The original gun is opened to .004 and .018 and this one will be .015 and .025 eventually. Now it's .025 and .032 and I might just leave it that way.








Last edited by Tim Frazier; 06/24/16 01:04 PM.

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Congratulations, Tim. The old saying, "Beware the man with one gun" could be bypassed in this case, where you have two almost identical except for the choking. I think you will like having the two.

All my best, SRH


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Tim, it appears to be lightened somewhat by the removal of one trigger. wink Gil

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AFAIK the designation Golden Snipe was only used for US import.
Would have been sold as a S56E in Canada and Europe.

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Originally Posted By: GLS
Tim, it appears to be lightened somewhat by the removal of one trigger. wink Gil


Ya, I couldn't have gotten THAT lucky!


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Originally Posted By: Saskbooknut
AFAIK the designation Golden Snipe was only used for US import.
Would have been sold as a S56E in Canada and Europe.


Well, that's what I thought, but Garcia was importing the BL series in 1968 and this gun has no Garcia markings on it. At first I though it was S56E barrels fitted to the Snipe frame, which is doable, but all the number match. Don't know?


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Maybe brought back by a GI?? I almost bought a Beretta OU at Torrejon AFB in 1972. European style, with swivels etc. That one might have been made for export to the States but maybe went to a military Rod & Gun Club instead?

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Tim, good catch! Those are nice handling guns and you'll have the upland gamut covered with those two.

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I currently have 2 S56Es, a 12 and a 20. I have owned others and have watched the market for them for the last 10 years. All of the guns I have owned have double triggers. Single trigger S56Es are not that uncommon and about half of those I have seen for sale have single triggers. I have seen very few with a blued receiver. Is it original? I cannot recall seeing one without engraving on the side of the receiver and from the picture without the label on the gun, I would have called it an S55. My 12 has the pistol from with a cap, and I think it has better lines. I have always wanted an S58E and a few years ago I missed one in 20ga by a day!

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Tim,
The various "Snipes", are sleepers on the market. I own a 12 that my Dad bought new, in 1964. I think he paid about $160 for it, and my Mom would still be PO'ed if she found out it cost that much.
I, too, watch what is out there, but, don't really need another O/U (any more guns, really, if I am honest with myself) but a 20 would be a great find.
The firing pin in the lower barrel of my Dad's gun broke along about 1972, or so. Ahlman's had them on the shelf, and we took a trip down to get a pair. I still have the spare my Dad bought. I've always been suspicious of inertia triggers, but, this one has been OK, except for the time it took for the recoil pad to get old and harden up. My Dad had to have recoil pads on all his guns, a notion I still don't agree with.
Our gun has 26" barrels that Dad thought were choked IC/MOD, but, it turns out they are MOD/IMPMOD, and I have had great success with the gun whenever I have dragged it along. I really shoot it better than I should, it has a slight amount of cast off.
I'm saving this one for my Son. I should do something about the white line pad on it, but, I have a few years, until he will need it regularly.



If you use your imagination, you can just make out the "55" of the S55 designation.



I don't have any other guns in 12 gauge with an indicated 17.7 bore. The proofhouse was very clear in bore measurment and chamber length on this gun, they didn't bother with any of that on my Prendelli & Gasperini 20 gauge double.



I'm pretty sure when I feed it the Federal "Pheasants Forever" load of 1 1/4oz of 5s, I'm flirting with using ammunition outside of the level of proof the gun received. But, it is still tight as the day it was made.

A similar 20 gauge would be nice.


Good luck with your new gun.


Best,
Ted


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