Beretta DT11 Skeet - test & review

PUBLISHED: 13:45 14 July 2020

Beretta DT11 skeet

Beretta DT11 skeet

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What is the Beretta DT11 Skeet like to shoot? Vic Harker puts it through its paces at the shooting ground and declares it a timeless classic

Beretta DT11 skeetBeretta DT11 skeet

While there are a number of good quality clay target guns still available at relatively modest prices, the upper end of the market continues to expand. As expected, the Italian maker Beretta is at the forefront in providing both quality and value for money in every market segment, and their hand-detachable trigger plate DT11 is an outstanding example. This Beretta can best be described as the maker’s Formula One gun, and you can be certain this model is to be found in the hands of many of the top clay target shooters in the world.

For the many thousands of Beretta shooters, the DT11 encapsulates an appearance and a mechanical design that captures the best of Italian gun making. The action body, with its bold fences and elegant side panels, has a boldness and a uniqueness that could only have originated in Beretta’s factory in the north of Italy. Indeed, in its individuality, this gun’s appearance and mechanical design could only have been conceived and manufactured in northern Italy. For this month’s test, I have been taking a look at the Skeet version.

Action

The DT11 action incorporates all the best features of previous top-of-the-line Beretta over-and-unders, but for the newcomers to our sport, and thank goodness there are some, I will again describe the most notable features of this classic Italian over-and-under.

An arguable disadvantage of some over-and-unders is the depth of the action body created by locating the jointing of the barrels under the bottom barrel. In practical terms, this is no problem at all (as the Browning O/U has been demonstrating since 1925). However, some manufacturers have sought alternatives and Beretta’s, in the form of the DT11, is one of the most successful. Its low-profile action body is achieved by locating bearing surfaces each side of the top barrel, which engage with a bifurcated or split locking bolt moving forward each side of the breach face on closure of the gun.

In principle it’s simple, but in practice it is immensely strong as it reinforces the power generated by the explosion of the cartridge, which flexes the barrels and action together when the gun is fired. Beretta’s use of these principles creates a particularly elegant gun that is further enhanced by the action’s beaded fences and raised side panels, etched in blue.

Stock

Knowledgeable and skilful gun-fitting is crucial to any form of shotgun shooting, and the best Skeet shooters are particularly discerning as to the matter of achieving an accurate gun fit. This is because most of them call for the target with their gun stock located out of the shoulder and placed just above their hip. This is a mandatory rule for those shooting Olympic Skeet, but for shooters who compete in the domestic form, there are many who also employ the gun-down method.

A close-grained and well-figured piece of walnut provides the DT11 with further enhancement and a stock configuration that has been carefully designed. A not too closely radiused pistol grip, combined with a slim beavertail fore-end, provides a hands-in-line hold that will complement the Skeet shooter’s classic gun-down technique.

Barrels

With an all up-barrel weight of 1.377kg (3lb 4oz), my sample Beretta tipped the scales at 7lb 15oz. As with most modern clay target guns, a hefty specification is preferred, and the DT11 provides just that. However, weight distribution is excellent, and this Beretta’s point of balance was right on the barrels’ hinge pins.

An unusual feature to be incorporated into this dedicated Skeet gun is a set of hand-detachable screw-in chokes for both barrels. I am not sure why this useful feature has not been incorporated into this type of gun before, as in no way does it compromise the gun’s primary role. My feelings as regards the DT11 Skeet is that the specifications are the result of a more detailed than usual consultation with the market.

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Shooting Impressions

For many years, most Skeet guns were fitted with very short barrels, 26” being the norm; presumably, the manufacturers’ reasoning was that all Skeet targets are shot at relatively close range, so little forward momentum on the part of the gun is required. This may well be the case so far as very small shooters are concerned, but for most able-bodied adults, some forward heft is required. Fortunately, most modern gunmakers have grasped this, and in the case of this DT11, with 28” barrels and hand-detachable screw-in chokes, it handled superbly.

I first had the pleasure of shooting this outstanding Beretta last November, which is just as well in the present circumstances when we are all in lockdown due to coronavirus, but rest assured I will be shooting this gun again at the first opportunity.

With the introduction of the DT11, Beretta has once again combined strength with superb mechanical function to create a timeless elegance together with a rugged reliability – something that generations of Beretta owners have come to take for granted.

Technical Specifications

Maker: Beretta

Model: DT11 Skeet

Bore size: 12

Barrel Length: 28” (71cm)

Action: Flat spring drop lock

Chamber: 2 ¾”

Chokes: 5 x Optima Hand Detachable

Rib: Tapered 10 x 8mm ventilated

Stock: Full Pistol Grip Trigger:Adjustable

Weight: 3.595KG7lbs .15oz

Suggested retail: £8,275 inc VAT

UK Distributor: GMK 01489 579 999

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