BERETTA DT 10 shotgun
The DT10 is an evolution of the very similar and much admired old ASE and a bit more exclusive. Now the DT10s have game scene engraving, a DT10 in side-plated EELL form, and a DT10 with very smart scroll engraving.
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There are DT10s for just about every clay application - including Trap and Double Trap, Sporting and Helice (aka ZZ - whirly birds that look like the flying saucer toys that one used to get in cereal packets). The test gun, however, is a 30” Sporter and first impressions are excellent. It looks really stylish with fine, english style, scroll on its silver-finished action. The aesthetics certainly please the jaded eye.
Optibore’ barrels and ‘Optima’ chokes.
The back-bored ‘Optibore’ barrels of the DT10 are monobloc are well presented. Beretta have developed monobloc manufacture more than any other gunmaker (I have seen Beretta guns circa 1900 using the system). Their barrels are the gold standard in my opinion. Those on the test gun only serve to maintain the reputation. They are perfectly straight on internal view and finished to the highest standards externally. They are also notable for being light-for-length (a great quality in a sporting or game gun if not taken to extremes) and for the fact that long, thin wall ‘Optima’ chokes are fitted.
The barrels are made from Beretta’s especially durable ‘Excelsior’ steel, a chrome-moly mix and hard chromed internally. The well machined chambers are designed for use with both 2 3/4” (70mm) and 3” (76mm) cartridges (though it is hard to imagine anyone wanting to use 3“ shells in this target-crunching gun). The barrels have wider than average bores - a feature of Optima system guns - both marked 18.6mm by the Italian Proof Authorities. The joining ribs are ventilated, as is the sighting rib which is flat and slightly tapered (10-8mm). It is well finished, true, and presents a good picture to the eye. There is a white bead front sight. No fault with the barrels. Blacking is excellent as well. All the ejector work is nicely assembled.
These excellent barrels are worthy of a little more comment. Not only are they relatively light and back-bored, the forcing cones - the funnel like constrictions that lead from the chambers to the main bores - are extended. The internal barrel diameters are significantly wider than in most Berettas. 18.6mm (.734 thou) is a very sensible size, note - big enough to improve patterning and felt recoil but not so wide as to cause problems with gas escape when felt wadded cartridges are used in cold conditions. The Optima chokes are colour coded (as also seen in the 682 Gold E). These are longer than the old style Beretta Mobil choke at 4” or so.
The action passes muster too. Powered by coil springs, it is well made, nicely engraved, and has excellent trigger pulls. The business of removing the trigger lock and replacing it is a bit fiddly compared to some, but it is still a very useful feature - especially in a competition gun. It allows for rapid part replacement even if one does not carry an extra lock routinely. It is easier to remove trigger lock with barrels off because there is then no temptation to close the gun which would cause the locking mechanism to reset without the trigger unit in place (in which case one would have to go through the process of resetting mechanism).
The stock of the test gun is made from good, dense walnut. The shapes were stylish but continental. It is well finished with traditional oil - or what looked like it - and very well cut chequering.
DT10s come in both fixed choke and Optima-Choke form (and the Helice model has an Optima choke on the bottom barrel and a fixed choke above). I can remember when I first shot an Opti-bored DT10 noting that it threw some of the best patterns that I had ever seen. The theory of smoothing out the passage of the wad and shot down the barrel really seemed to pay dividends pattern-wise. One seemed to get more choke effect with less constriction with the wider bore and the patterns seemed more efficient around the edges than in a conventionally bored gun. This gun has done nothing to make me change my opinion. It shoots exceptionally well. That efficient, forgiving, quality of the pattern is still there (we were testing with quarter and half choke fitted). I like the handling qualities of the gun, and even the tightly radiused grip grew on me. This is an exceptional competition tool and a pretty one as well.
Model: DT10L Scroll
Action type: Over and under with detachable trigger-lock
Multi choke: Yes (Optima type - 5 supplied)
Special features: Opti-bore barrels