For iconic Italian shotgun manufacturer Beretta black is the new black as the maker incorporates carbon fibre for the first time in its premier competition shotgun. Field&Game Magazine went beyond the industry launch at Phillip Island and snared the new DT11, 692 and entry level 690shotguns to test them in the field.
At the Australian launch of the new Beretta Black Edition shotguns one leading gun dealer described the DT11 as “racy” after smashing clay targets at a temporary range set up beside the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.
It was an apt description for the competition over-and-under shotguns thatincorporate carbon fibre for weight reduction and to achieve that sleek black look.
Where else would the Italian manufacturer source carbon fibre for the top rib than the same factory that supplies Ferrari and Lamborghini, other icons of desirable Italian style and engineering.
The design choice of black on black was the easy part for Beretta, meshing carbon fibre to a steel barrel was a manufacturing challenge overcome by a discrete welding free locking system.
If we had to list the priority for the
shooter, weight management is by far the
most important feature and thanks to the
new system of adding weights at the rear
and at the front, on the barrel and the
stock, I think we really found the perfect
balance for our shotguns.
The resulting look is distinctive and pleasing to the eye but the real benefit is weight reduction which in the new DT11 — Beretta’s pinnacle for competition shotguns — is up to 200 gm with the addition of a carbon fibre trigger guard.
“The use of carbon fibre allows us to lose 150 to 200gm off the shotgun,” Beretta’s
international sales manager, Stefano Quarena, said at the launch.
“The reduction of weight is the main advantage but in terms of aesthetics it is very
The Black Edition range starts with the 690, pitched as an entry level shotgun designed and built specifically for competition. Carbon fibre is added for the 692 and the top of the
range DT11 which Beretta describes as a new “pinnacle” for the company in competition
“As you know Beretta always try to combine tradition and innovation, this is our dream, our slogan,” Stefano enthused.
“In this case we thought about other industries like sporting goods, if you think about the tennis racquet, skis and bikes so on, they are using carbon fibre, so we said why not use it because weight, balance and the research of the perfect weight is always one of the key drivers for us with shotguns.
“We said ‘okay, it’s time to launch carbon fibre on the shotgun’ and we decided to take the opportunity to launch a dedicated product range with black receiver and get the carbon fibre on the guns.”
Standard on the 692 and DT11 and available as an aftermarket extra on the 690 is Beretta’s barrel balancing system.
The weight of the barrel is now adjustable through a set of strong magnetic weights which are attached to the side ribs, under the fore-end.
The weights allow for the addition of up to 100 gm to achieve precise balancing or to customise the feel of the shotgun for the individual shooter.
How important is weight? According to Stefano even in tiny measures, it is everything.
“I’ve worked for this company for 15 years and I’m in charge of all the competition business as well and I have the opportunity every day to talk with the professional shooters and believe me the only thing that they are really laser-focused on is the weight and the balance.
“If we had to list the priority for the shooter, weight management is by far the most important feature and thanks to the new system of adding weights at the rear and at the front, on the barrel and the stock, I think we really found the perfect balance for our shotguns.”
Beretta’s human-driven manufacturing process ensures that every gun is balanced by hand before leaving the factory but the weight system gives the eventual purchaser a power over nature.
“You know, we are working with a natural material like wood and so wood can have different density, can change a little bit with the weather conditions, we really need to press this message to the shooter,” Stefano said.
“It is not only the weight of the barrel that makes a difference but also the overall weight and how it is balanced, that is the reason why through to the DT11 we factory balance the gun to ensure that when it arrives in the hands of the shooter it is perfectly balanced at the hinge pin.
“What is really important for us is to make all the final assembling and checks with a final inspection made by a human being and not by machinery.
“Machinery gives you the insurance that the tolerances are what they need to be but the manual inspection is by far the most important and on the DT11 especially we use the most skilled workers we have at the factory who work in our premium guns department.”
Beretta initially adds weights to the stock to perfectly balance its shotguns but outside the controlled conditions of the factory a shotgun may need further tiny adjustments andthat is the flexibility providedby the B-Fast barrel balancing system.
“Especially among the top shooters the level of competition right now is really at the edge, we saw at the recent world championship for example in skeet the guy has 125 of 125, gets into the final with 16 of 16 and won the silver medal because he lost a shoot off 13 to 12, so the level we have arrived at means we really have to push our shotguns to the limits, this is the reason why we always have to keep setting a new benchmark.
“The level of shooters is now so high that the gun really can make the difference.”
While the DT11 is the new height for Beretta’s competition shotgun the entry level 690 is a new breed altogether.
“The idea is to move the beginners from the Silver Pigeon which was born as a field gun and we adapted it for competition to give shooters the opportunity to enter into a competition with a real competition gun.
“The 690 has been designed under competition specifications and this is the reason we want to upgrade beginners to the 690 as an entry level.”