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.
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.