What’s in the box?
Field & Game Australia exclusive test of the Beretta Black Series shotguns
Mixing tradition with high tech materials has been a natural transition in many industries. How was this going to work in shotgun design, where tradition is highly valued?
The three models tested by FGA, the 690 and 692, and the DT11, are well known in Australia, sporters, configured with Beretta’s tried and true sporter stock dimensions, 30 inch barrels, and variable chokes.
FGA assembled a mix of competition shooters and hunters, some loyal to Beretta and others who have a different brand allegiance.
The DT11 polarised opinions, those loving the all black and carbon fibre were usually a fan of the ASE/DT series of Beretta sporting shotguns. Other Beretta owners wanted to like the modern materials; however the traditionalist won out.
Feel & fit
The 690 and 692 are very familiar to anyone experienced with the 680 and 690 series. Standard stock dimensions ensure a familiar feel as the gun is mounted. The rounded semi-beavertail fore end is becoming a standard and was generally preferred by our testers. Interestingly, we had access to a DT11 “silver” for comparison, this model had a Schnabel fore end.
Our testers spent a lot of time comparing the DT 11 Black with our example of the original “silver” DT11. Both had 30 inch barrels and variable chokes, and were stripped down to the component parts for weighing and comparison. The Black version weighed in XX grams less and the table tells that story.
The feel and balance of each was markedly different but our testers all had a preference for the Black version of the DT11.
The Carbon fibre top rib on the 692 and DT11 draws your eye. Fitted into slots and secured through the posts, it appears seamless.
Turning over the DT11 you notice the carbon fibre trigger plate, this is getting interesting. We compared trigger assemblies from the Black and “silver” DT11S and they appear identical. With the notable exception of weight, the DT11 Black trigger is housed in carbon fibre and markedly lighter.
Chokes are supplied with either Optima or Optima Pro, depending on the model. The chokes weren’t assessed, it was noted in our field testing that they broke targets convincingly.
Barrel weights are supplied with the 692 and DT11. Beretta Australia kindly sourced a set however none of the testers wanted to change the handling dynamics of the unweighted barrels, preferring the faster swing and finding nothing lacking in steadiness on longer shots. Some Beretta owners who handled the guns preferred more weight in the barrels, and would add barrel weights at the outset.
On the Simulated Field
Initial testing involved comprehensive pattern testing, tuning the choke and cartridge combinations for optimal performance. This follows the practices deployed in the Shotgunning Education Program, and is as effective for Simulated Field as it is for hunting.
The pattern testing turned out some surprises. Initial combinations for the 690 and 692 performed well. The DT11 however, produced patterns requiring significant tuning.
All three Beretta Black shotguns were used at the Port Phillip Christmas shoot. Impressions were favourable, the guns performed well and shooters shot around their respective handicap. Browning shooters don’t transition readily to the 690 series, however they generally found the DT11 Black easy to adapt to and shoot well.
The 690 and 692 provide very familiar handling and a fresh look.
The DT11 is a big shift from previous models in looks and handling with a range of options to fine tune the shotgun for your individual preferences. Or is that to make changes to compensate for a poor round of shooting?
A blend of traditional and modern technologies we really enjoyed shooting.
Personal preference will play a big role but on our assessment the DT11 is something to be experienced, whether you already shoot a Beretta or another mark.