Bettinsoli Black Evo
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- Last updated: 16/03/2017
Unlike most Bettinsolis, the new Black Evo doesn’t come into the UK via the conventional importer.
Instead, it’s exclusive to McCloys over in Northern Ireland. But fear not, if you want one of these new Bettinsolis, then your nearest dealer can get you one sent over in a matter of a few days. But irrespective of where your new Black Evo comes from, the gun maintains Bettinsoli’s established reputation of building genuine, quality Italian shotguns at affordable prices, something that at times the larger, well known makes would do well to take a look at.
Like all Bettinsolis, the Black Evo comes complete with a tough black plastic travelling case that contains a smaller orange case complete with three of the flush-fit extended length choke tubes along with the key; the other chokes are already screwed into the muzzles. Similarly, all the other bits and pieces are contained within, although you probably won’t need to resort to them, this 12-gauge is ready to go.
Finished with a durable lacquered coating, the stock is nicely sized and correct to the game shooting design, a soft rubber recoil pad eliminating large load sting. The radius and circumference of the grip are ideally suited to most hand sizes, with a gentle, almost imperceptible palm swell just sufficient to locate the shooter’s hand into the correct place. Move forward and Bettinsoli has elected to retain the Schnabel-style forend, although personally I’d have preferred to have seen one of the more modern, smoother styles.
Currently available with 30-inch barrels (although it’s suggested that other lengths will become available) the gloss blacking of the three-inch chambered monobloc tubes are more than up to standard. The barrels are joined by a narrow vented mid-rib and a low stanchion vented 7mm - 10mm cross-cut top rib, an orange hi-viz lozenge bead crowning off the muzzles. At the chambers, a neat band of tight scroll disguises the swaging of tubes to chambers, the barrel finish indistinguishable from the black surfaces of the action.
Again, gloss black with small, silvered scroll relief and gold gamebird inlays and trigger blade, the decoration continuing around the action and trigger guard. The only part of the mechanical action that doesn’t display any form of ornamentation is the top tang, plain black with a broad safety; a welcome change is the top lever. Bettinsoli have for many years favoured an ornate top lever thumb-pad that whilst reasonably attractive, wasn’t overly comfortable to operate. The Black Evo has reverted to the more conventional design and is all the better for it.
Physically, the Black Evo embodies all the dimensions and weights of the near ideal game shotgun. Weighing 8lbs 6oz with a balance point just short of two-inches forward of the hinges, the overall length is 47¼-inches. Length of pull is 14¾-inches, whilst the creep free trigger breaks at 4lbs 9oz, unusually light for a game gun but one that encourages intense, smooth shooting. If the Black Evo on test had an unusual trait for a Bettinsoli, it was the fact it shot marginally high, something many shooters look for in a game gun.
Leaving the chokes as per factory at ¾ and ¼ and as is now the norm, taking on Malmo Gun’s private and at times tricky layout, I elected to try the Black Evo with some of Cheddite’s newest game loads. Called the Royal Drive Fibre, these new 2½-inches loads are tangible proof that if you need a hard-hitting game load, you actually don’t need to increase cartridge size. Filled with copper plated 5s, these 32g loads punch their targets with impressive results, clay targets as but nothing to them.
Once having adjusted to the Black Evo’s shot placement, the gun shot well. The one aspect you have to adjust to is the fact that with the balance point reasonably well forward, this Bettinsoli has to be driven, the handling smooth but the overall mass slowing down the swing the moment the shooter reduces their own physical effort. The gun mounts easily, whilst the weight and configuration ensure that even when loaded up with the noticeably potent Cheddite game loads, the recoil is reduced to more than acceptable and comfortable levels. Opening easily with a good, wide gape, the ejectors are well timed and throw their empties well away from the shooter.
Unlike their reasonably lively competition shotguns, Bettinsoli’s game guns have always required the shooter to put in that little bit more effort. And like most Bettinsolis, the Black Evo is more than able to fill the role of an all-rounder or a 12-bore for all reasons and disciplines with the option of a sideplate version should you want one. The Black Evo’s final trick is the price, this shotgun all yours for £995 all in inclusive of Bettinsoli’s usual comprehensive warranty. Now you can’t say fairer that that!
With thanks to McCloys for providing the Bettinsoli Black Evo for review. Thanks also to Malmo Guns for the provision of their private layout and generous supply of Cheddite Royal Drive Fibre ammunition.
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