A Quail Gun with a Cause

Beretta SL3
This year’s Tall Timbers Gun is a Beretta SL3 with custom engraving that will be stocked to fit the winning bidder. (The gun shown above is a finished model for illustration purposes.)

The Tall Timbers Gun III: a custom-stocked, hand-engraved Beretta SL3

Tallahassee, Florida, August 26, 2020 ― Number Three in the Tall Timbers Gun series is, appropriately, the SL3, the newest offering from Beretta’s famed Premium Division in Gardone, Italy. The SL3 was introduced in 2018, first as a 12-gauge capable of withstanding high-volume punishment from driven-game shooters in Britain. Beretta designed it to be agile and responsive in the hands, yet capable of enduring hundreds of thousands of rounds, including hard-to-digest steel and other hard nontoxic shot—in other words, a 21st Century version of a best game gun. Last year, the world’s oldest gunmaker unveiled its sleeker, lighter sibling in 20 gauge, perfect for American upland hunters and ideal for those who pursue bobwhites behind bird dogs.

Beretta SL3 Engraving

The SL3 is a symbiosis between Beretta’s centuries-old craft heritage and its state-of-the-art command of modern metallurgy and manufacturing capabilities. Shotguns produced by the latter method, often designed by engineers, can be handsome and affordable and are usually relentlessly reliable, but they can lack the grace and beauty and subtle handling attributes of those made by a skilled craftsman’s hands and eyes. But with handiwork in increasingly short supply worldwide, it is ever more expensive—a traditional handcrafted best gun will cost as much as a Porsche 911 and often much, much more.

The SL3 was purpose-made to bridge the gulf between man and machine. Ferdinando Belleri—the traditionally trained master gunmaker who captains the Beretta custom shop—designed it with other elite old-school craftsmen, but its components are machined with exacting precision in the larger factory. These return to the custom shop—Beretta Due, as it is called—and under Belleri’s eagle-eyed supervision every SL3 is assembled, hand fit and finished to the standards that Beretta premium guns are known for. The result is a hybrid—with the beauty of Beretta’s sidelock SO10 and the durability of its Olympic-medal-winning DT11 competition guns, and far less expensive than the former.

Beretta SL3 Stock Blank

As with the first two Tall Timbers guns—the first by bespoke Italian maker Luciano Bosis, the second by Scotland’s renowned David McKay Brown—this year’s gun is an international collaboration headed by Tall Timbers CEO William Palmer assisted by Shooting Sportsman Senior Editor Vic Venters. For the second time, noted American artist C.D. Clarke was enlisted to provide artwork—of flushing bobwhite against a backdrop of the famous fire research grounds at Tall Timbers—to serve as a template for the SL3’s hand-engraved game scene on the base of the action. Standard SL3s come either with a plain highly polished action or with English-style rose & scroll, full game scenes or deep floral scroll engraved to superb standards by Beretta’s five-axis laser technology. The Tall Timbers Beretta combines deep floral scroll with the hand-engraved bobwhite scene to distinguish it from all others. Premium Beretta dealer Rich Cole of Cole Fine Guns & Gunsmithing—often dubbed “Mister Beretta” for his expertise on the line—was instrumental in recruiting Beretta for the third Tall Timbers gun. Cole, headquartered in Naples, Florida, and one of America’s preeminent dealers of fine Italian shotguns, traveled to Gardone to hand select the highly figured walnut blank and coordinate the custom engraving with Beretta. The gun has been headed up, but the stock has been left unfinished so that it can be custom fit by Cole to the purchaser’s bespoke stock dimensions. It then will be made-to-measure, hand-checkered and finished out in his workshop.

So equipped, the lucky new owner should never miss another bobwhite—but should it happen, it will be for a good cause: wild quail conservation.

Tall Timbers Gun III Beretta SL3 Technical Specs

Action: Sideplated triggerplate, Boss-style locking system.

Barrels: 28”, Steelium Optima Bore.

Chokes: Optima High Performance screw-in choke system.

Trigger: Single selective.

Locks: Fixed locks, competition-grade leaf springs.

Engraving: Bold floral scroll with hand-engraved TTRS bobwhite game scene.

The winning bidder will receive a private gunfitting by gunsmith Rich Cole and framed original art by sporting artist C.D. Clarke.

Original Art by C. D. Clarke

For more information, contact Crystal Rice, Tall Timbers Development Director, 850-545-2162 or cdrice@talltimbers.org.

The Details

The Event

  • 23rd Kate Ireland Auction.
  • Virtual event.
  • Follow along on https://www.32auctions.com/talltimbers2020 or Talltimbers.org.
  • For 22 years Tall Timbers has held a dinner and auction fundraiser that is named in honor of one its most treasured supporters: Kate Ireland. The Kate Ireland Memorial Dinner & Auction fundraising event has been held annually to benefit the Tall Timbers Foundation in support of Tall Timbers’ research and conservation programs.

The Gun

  • Featuring the Tall Timbers Gun III
  • Beretta Custom SL3 Field Gun
  • One-of-a-kind craftmanship and collaboration with Rich Cole of Beretta Premium Guns, C.D. Clarke, Bill Palmer and Vic Venters.
  • 600 years of master gunmaking (Beretta Uno).
  • Quail and longleaf original hand-engraved by Beretta Due.
  • Clarke collaborated with Tall Timbers in 2016 on the Tall Timbers Longleaf Gun.
  • The discerning eye will note that this year’s sketch by Clarke resembles the trees in Tall Timbers’ logo.

Tall Timbers

  • Tall Timbers’ research focus is ecology and management of fire-dependent ecosystems and wildlife, including bobwhite quail, in the Southeastern Coastal Plain.
  • Tall Timbers is the leader in bobwhite quail conservation in the Southeastern US.
  • Major programs include fire ecology, prescribed-fire science, gamebird management, ornithology and land conservation. The key to the success of TT’s science and conservation programs—and perhaps the unique strength—is bridging science and land management to help private and public landowners meet their goals.
  • Tall Timbers continues to lead in bobwhite conservation, having translocated more than 6,000 bobwhites, creating new populations on more than 100,000 acres—exceeding the strategic-plan goal!
  • Conservation efforts are dedicated to helping protect the distinctive rural landscapes and traditional land uses of the Red Hills region of south Georgia and north Florida and the greater Albany area.
  • Tall Timbers’ fifth regional quail conservation project has begun in east Texas—once again expanding the organization’s conservation impact.
  • Since its founding in 1958, Tall Timbers has historically focused its efforts on the greater Red Hills region. Critically important to this region are the bobwhite hunting estates whose long-term conservation efforts harbor scores of rare species and irreplaceable natural ecosystems.
  • The consistent, long-term use of prescribed fire has maintained a landscape that deserves protection and provides the greatest example of stewardship, wildlife and fire management in the world.
  • Tall Timbers has convened a leading national effort to build a new set of knowledge and tools that will increase the use of prescribed fire, improve training and safety, and create healthier forests and natural resources.
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