The appeal of lightweight guns long has inspired creativity from the world’s best makers. In Scotland, where the demands of driven grouse require quick shotguns that handle instinctively, gunmakers have produced doubles with skeletal bodies (James MacNaughton) and ribless barrels (Alex Martin). Now Italian gunmaker Beretta has created the Ultraleggero (or “Ultralight”)—a light over/under that incorporates both innovations.
Tri-alloy barrels, an aluminum trigger group and forend iron, and a hollowed walnut stock with Extralight recoil pad mate with an action in which all superfluous steel has been removed and gaps have been filled with techno- polymer inserts with floral engraving that Beretta claims are an aesthetic feature that bestows unique character to the gun. The 12-gauge weighs 6 pounds 10 ounces with 28-inch barrels (24-, 26- and 30-inch tubes also are available—identical to the British ideal for a 28-inch-barreled 12-bore. The 3" chambers permit loads up to 56 grams in lead, steel or steel HP (High Performance).
The platform for all this creativity is the sound, ironclad Beretta 690 design, in which two conical locking bolts engage circular slots on both sides of the breech in tandem with trunnion-style hinges on the sides of the lower barrel. Tested and tried for decades, it must be the shallowest commercial action made. The gun comes with a single selective trigger and Optima-Choke HP chokes, but “double single selective triggers” and aftermarket Paradox chokes are offered as options.
According to Beretta: “The Ultraleggero begins a whole new chapter in the history of lightweight over-and-under shotguns, pushing the boundaries of design beyond all previous imagination; delivering the strength and reliability of a steel receiver but with an exceptionally low weight, something that had only previously been achieved with aluminum actions. Thanks to the use of state-of-the-art engineering techniques, Beretta has ‘skeletonized’ the receiver, including only the structural elements that are essential for the resistance and performance of this shotgun.”
I’d like to try one on Scottish grouse.
For more information, visit beretta.com.