X-trail Camo per­forms

The re­turn of Bet­tin­soli to Aus­tralia was cov­ered in first is­sue of Field & Game and given de­mand for its X-trail Camo shot­guns ex­ceeded the first ship­ment, David Mcnabb en­gaged mem­bers to test it in the field.

Field and Game - - X-TRAIL CAMO REVIEW -

An­other ship­ment of the pop­u­lar Bet­tin­soli has ar­rived, pro­vid­ing keen duck hun­ters with their choice of bar­rel length — 28, 30 and 32 inches — in 12 gauge only.

The gun on test was sup­plied with 30” bar­rels and sup­plied with 1” ex­tended chokes, and a range of fea­tures for the keen duck hunter.

The Real­tree Max-5 cov­er­ing is a win­ner, test­ing in the field demon­strated the im­proved grip and dura­bil­ity in wet and cold con­di­tions.

Bet­tin­soli uses the fa­mil­iar bar­rel and ac­tion de­sign that has be­come a fea­ture for a num­ber of Ital­ian gun makers near Bres­cia.

Ad­van­tages from the rel­a­tively shal­low ac­tion depth are keep­ing your hands in close align­ment to the bar­rels. This, and weight distri­bu­tion, trans­lates to han­dling and is ar­guably the crit­i­cal at­tribute for any shot­gun. The test gun weighed in around 7 ½ pounds, or 3.4 kg.

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions don't end there.

The bar­rels are proofed for steel shot, and have 3.5 inch chambers, if you're keen for some re­coil. Bar­rel flats are jew­elled for oil re­ten­tion and the bar­rel is fin­ished with a red op­tic fi­bre front sight. The ven­ti­lated rib ta­pers from 9.5 mm at the cham­ber down to 7 mm at the muz­zle.

Match­ing the Max-5 pat­tern is the black an­odised fin­ish ap­plied to com­po­nents in the fore end, the bar­rel lumps, and the safety catch.

The black fin­ish is car­ried over to the five ex­tended choke tubes, cased with foam in­sert for the choke wrench. Chokes tubes have two knurled rings for grip, cut outs for the choke tool, and choke con­stric­tions are marked in writ­ing and as­ter­isks.

The choke tubes in­clude a con­ver­sion printed or stamped be­tween lead and steel; pat­tern test­ing is al­ways rec­om­mended to ef­fec­tively de­velop your

choke and ammo com­bi­na­tion.

The trig­ger is fin­ished in gold, at odds with the Max-5 and black fin­ish ap­plied to the gun.

I'd like to see the trig­ger in black, per­haps with a knurled fin­ish for ease of use by cold wet fingers. The trig­ger guard is fin­ished with a rolled edge to the right, a very nice touch usu­ally re­served for high­grade guns.

Stock spec­i­fi­ca­tions in­clude a higher comb for sporter di­men­sions, a fea­ture cus­tomised for the Aus­tralian mar­ket. The pis­tol grip has an open ra­dius with palm swell.

Length of pull runs to 14.5”, eas­ily in­creased by adding spac­ers or a thicker re­coil pad. Handy if 3.5” shells are to be used. A soft rub­ber re­coil pad takes the sting out of the re­ceiv­ing end of the stock.

The fore end is the Schnabel de­sign, hun­ters like this de­sign or they don't. Pleas­ingly the lip of the fore end is not as prom­i­nent as is found on some shot­guns.

The gun is pre­sented in a hard plas­tic take-down case with in­struc­tion book­let and card show­ing proof marks with the war­ranty cer­tifi­cate on the re­verse.

Se­cured with four latches, these al­most ended one hunt be­fore it started. An un­fa­mil­iar case to­gether with the predawn as­sem­bling of gear in the light of a head lamp meant trou­ble open­ing the case be­fore one hunt.

Fi­nally, the self-coloured in­struc­tions on the latch to “push” al­lowed ac­cess to the gun, and the X-trail was taken on the hunt.

The gun trav­elled to South Aus­tralia and Gipp­s­land for hunts, demon­strat­ing the ad­van­tages of the fin­ish and spec­i­fi­ca­tions de­signed for Aus­tralian hun­ters.

One hunt saw good num­bers of ducks, how­ever they were al­ways “way over there”. An­other hunt and the duck num­bers sim­ply weren't there.

No fault of the X-trail, the gun proved ef­fec­tive when put to use. The gun drew plenty of at­ten­tion from other hun­ters, drawn by the Max-5 fin­ish and keen to know the de­sign fea­tures and price.

With 3.5” chambers and packed with fea­tures de­signed for Aus­tralian duck hunt­ing, the Bet­tin­soli X-trail Camo re­tails for $1850 and rep­re­sents ex­cel­lent value for money.

Be sure to let your re­tailer know you read about the Bet­tin­soli X-trail Camo in “Field & Game.”

Thanks to Steve Say­ers of SJS Trad­ing Co. for the use of the test gun and for mak­ing the ef­fort to pro­duce a shot­gun specif­i­cally for Aus­tralian con­di­tions.

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