By: Michael Yardley
‘one of the best competition guns in the world’ Mike Yardley tests the Trap version of the new Beretta clay breaker
Beretta are a huge concern and they make a vast number of sporting guns each year at various price points, with semi-autos and Silver Pigeons at one end, SO sidelocks at the other. Somewhere in the middle, as far as price is concerned, sit their specialist DT competition guns. These were derived from the old ASE model, evolved into the Opti-bored DT10 and has now become the DT11. It is a no compromise clay buster – with a price tag starting at £6,565 for the trap model as tested (there is also a Sporter at £6,765 and a skeet model at £6,750, not to mention an adjustable comb model or two on the way).
What’s the difference
The DT10 has a strong following, so it is quite an act to follow. Meantime, Beretta guns are famously reliable and made from fi rst class materials. How does this new one measure up? The DT11, premium SO’s apart, now sits at the top of the competition range. The 11 is very similar to the old DT10 too, save that the action is 3mm wider and the barrels are bored to a new plan. They have a taper bore - Beretta term it “progressive concentricity” - and constrict towards the muzzles. Just, for the record,and anyone’s interest, taper boring is not a new idea, I have a book in my library from the mid-1600s which mentions the idea in the context of sporting guns. Then, some hundred years ago, Mr Lang had his ‘Vena Contracta’ – a 12 bore which tapered to a 20. In the DT11 case though, the concept of taper is combined with back-boring. Fabarm have explored a similar concept with their ‘Tri-bore’.
The test gun, meanwhile, retains the detachable trigger group of its predecessors, and has a similar cross-bolt too (as also seen in all the SO sidelocks as introduced by Beretta from the early 1930s). This additional locking system gives, like all guns in this family, a slightly square look in the fences, as well as extra strength. A quick detachable trigger lock is a potentially useful feature in a serious competition gun as you can keep a spare trigger unit for emergencies, or, change the V springs with relative ease should one break (which they rarely, if ever, do). The design does have the potential disadvantage of making the gun a little wider in the area that accommodates the lock (and consequently wider in the grip).
The DT11 replaces and looks much like the DT10 although there are some other changes other than those already mentioned. The handling of the gun is altered with a higher overall weight (our 30” test specimen was about 8 ½ pounds with 30” fixed choke trap barrel). The action decoration is different too, and there is a slight change to the form of the top lever and the safety cum barrel selector. More importantly, the form of the stock is rather different. The DT11 has very generous butt proportions with a big, tightly radiused grip with palm swell and uncommonly thick but very comfortable comb. It looks and feels like a BIG gun.
This is still a handsome gun, though, and made uncompromisingly with one purpose – busting clays. There are no disappointments when you mount the beast either. It feels very user friendly. The old DT10 used to feel noticably lighter than a Kemen or Perazzi – this is no longer the case with the DT11. It is of similar weight. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so (though I noted the DT10 with relatively light barrels was a particularly good gun for serious lady shots because it tended to be light to the front). A competition gun needs some heft to them to absorb the recoil. Most top shooters use long, heavy guns when score is all that counts.
Let’s consider the action and barrels in a little more detail. The so called ‘Steelium’ barrels are monobloc and made from a tri-alloy steel and created by a mixture of deep drilling and hammer forging. Then, they are vacuum stress relieved. Chambers are 3” (76mm) and the gun is proofed as most Berettas in the fi rm’s own in house branch of the Italian proof house. As noted, they are bored to a new scheme which essentially means there is no conventional forcing cone but a gradual taper down from the area of the chamber about three-quarters of the way down the barrels when they revert to a conventional parallel bore before the lead to the choke area. These barrels are 18.4mm at that point, but the sporter is made a little wider at 18.6 (I would love to know the reasoning for the difference). Sadly, I did not have a bore micrometre at hand to measure the barrels forward of the standing breech but will do so as soon as I can.
Workmanship on both barrels and action was exemplary (although I did not especially like the blue fi ll on the quite deep border engraving lines). I would be quite content to see the DT11 with a black action or a colour case hardened one (or, indeed, a plain silver action). Go faster stripes are not my thing. Striking up of the tubes was fi rst class, for example, as were the joints between tube and monobloc. Joining ribs are vented, as is the 10mm, fl at, sighting rib (the sporter has a 10 to 8mm taper rib). It is hard to fault Beretta barrels and these were no exception.
The gun also had really superb trigger pulls (made possible by the V springs in the trigger mechanism), but, as I have noted of the DT10, removing and replacing the trigger group itself is a bit of a fi ddle (especially when the gun is new and a little stiff). On the positive, the main springs within are very substantial (similar in form to those in an SO. I wonder if Beretta might consider creating a detachable trigger lock gun without the cross-bolt (the addition of which must increase cost and also results in the gun being quite wide across its fences? I would be quite happy with a competition model that dispensed with them. And, although there are access benefi ts, I might be tempted to dispense with detachable trigger lock. I would retain the leaf springs though, they reduce the lock time and allow for the really good trigger pulls. Anyway, just my thoughts…
An A1 gun
Shooting impressions are that this was an absolutely outstanding gun - no BS – and probably the best Beretta competition gun that I have yet shot. Felt recoil was low, muzzle control excellent (with an apparent reduction in muzzle fl ip), and perceived breaks excellent. You would be hard pressed to improve the triggers, and the stock, although big, was ergonomically effi cient and very comfortable in use (I liked the new micro-core recoil pad too). So, here’s the bottom line. I prefer the DT11 to the DT10 and the DT10 was a very fi ne gun. That makes the DT11 one of the best competition guns in the world. My thanks to Lyalvale Express for supplying the cartridges used in this test GM
|Model:||Beretta DT11 Trap|
|Action Type:||Detachable trigger-lock 'box-lock'|
|Barrel length:||30" (32" option)|
|Chokes:||Fixed – three quarters and full|
|Rib:||10mm flat and parallel|
|Weight:||8 1/2lbs approx.|
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