I was lucky enough to get invited along for a press day to look at the new range of shotguns from our friends at GMK – they introduced us to the A400 Extreme, the Vinci from Benelli and the showpiece DT11 Sporter from Beretta. We were able to have a few shots of each and whilst there I met Don Brunt from the Double Barrelled Picture Company – and he wrote this short review exclusively for ShootClay.

Pictures from Double Barrelled Picture Company

The Beretta DT11 – Trident and Tested

From 10 yards there’s little obvious difference between the DT10 and its latest re-incarnation however a closer look shows some subtle differences. Firstly from an aesthetic point of view there is a gloss / matt contrast on the action sides which follows round to two scalloped sections on the edges of the receiver base giving a distinctive appearance. The majority of the receiver though is in a nickel finish with simple adornments in the form of the Beretta name and “DT11” picked out in blue while the trident adorns the underside. As with all Beretta competition guns of recent years the look of the finish is all about function rather than appearance, simple efficient design that suggests a singular purpose.

From a mechanical point of view the lockup is pure DT10 and you would be forgiven for thinking it was identical, however the boys from Brescia have made more subtle but important changes, namely that the action is now 3mm wider thanks to an increase in the side wall thickness which adds weight into the equation. Located where they are those extra ounces are designed to improve stability when swinging the gun and balance seems to have been a key design aim with the bridges being hollowed out while the side ribs have also been tweaked.

The trump card of the gun is the much hyped Steelium Pro barrels made from tri-alloy steel which sees Beretta joining the current vogue for turning the entire barrel profile into one long forcing cone. Accepted wisdom means that it should produce a softer shooting gun while tests have also shown gains in kinetic energy downrange, while new Optimachoke HP tubes supply the constriction at the business end.

Profiles for the Sporting and Trap versions differ; both see the forcing cone finishing a few centimetres ahead of the choke and this section in the trap barrels measures out to 18.4mm while the Sporting is a touch more open at 18.6mm.

I was keen to try the old and the new back to back and the result was quite a surprise considering that the progression between the two models looks based on appearances at least to be more evolution than revolution. Having shot the DT10 before, I knew it to be very capable, though it was never something that had tugged at my heart-strings, it had in my mind an almost Teutonic feel about it, efficient, purposeful but not something that “talked” to me. However it took only two shots with the new gun to notice a big difference, it felt more alive, very stable and like a gun that would be quite forgiving. In fact a mismount on my part that would usually have meant a guaranteed miss was salvageable and converted to a kill, all of which helped build a feeling of confidence in the gun. The stock profile is also a step forward, it’s a solid feeling piece of walnut, with a fairly high thick comb (didn’t have my drop gauge with me so can’t quote the exact numbers) that was wide enough to put a stop to any thoughts of rolling my head over the top. The grip was good but this is one area where those with small hands might find things a touch tricky as there’s quite a lot of timber to get your hand around while reaching forward to the trigger. There is though more good news on the trigger, the blade design has been tweaked slightly and it certainly felt crisp, positive and comfortable and the left or right-handed versions have now been dropped in favour of a one size fits all design.

All in all I came away very impressed, the DT series has a strong and faithful following and from this short initial test I would say that the ranks of the faithful look likely to swell in the not too distant future.