Beretta DT10 shotgun.
When this shotgun first came out many people supposedly ‘in the know’ reckoned it filled a gap between the latest-generation 682 series and the much more expensive ASE models – boxlock versions of the famous SO sidelock series.
How wrong can you get? The gun has firmly established itself as a top-level competition contender, with excellent publicity provided by DT10 users Richard Faulds and clay-shooting legend A.J. Smith.
Who makes it?
Beretta, at their factory in Italy’s Gardone Valley, where the Beretta family have been making guns since the early 1500s.
Like other gunmakers, they were attracted to the area because everything they needed at the time was close to hand – iron ore in nearby mountains, wood for charcoal furnaces and forges in the valley, and water power from swiftly-flowing streams.
As well as shotguns, the present-day company also makes rifles, and pistols for military, law enforcement and competition work.
How adaptable is it?
Not very! The weight and specification make it really a dedicated, precision clay-busting tool, and we feel anyone wanting a go anywhere, do anything gun in the Beretta range, would be best advised to look elsewhere – and probably spend less money.
How does it work?
Well, nothing like the familiar 680 series Beretta boxlocks, for a start. And, although from the outside it looks like an ASE, it’s slightly different to that, too.
The main similarity with the ASE is it has a drop-out trigger mechanism. Push the safety as far forward as it will go, then push over the top lever, open the gun, and the trigger group can be pulled out downwards.
It sounds as if you need three hands, but it is simpler than that! It is also very safe, because it means the trigger unit cannot be pulled from a closed and loaded gun – with the obvious risk of yanking the trigger in the process.
The hammers are hinged from the bottom, and powered by V-springs rather than the coil springs found on cheaper Beretta models. As you would expect on a gun in this price range, the hammers and sears have been arranged to give extremely crisp and precise trigger pulls. The trigger blade is fully adjustable in a fore-and-aft plane to accommodate hands of all sizes, and transfer to the second barrel is by a recoil-driven inertia mechanism.
Barrel selection is by Beretta’s usual rocking switch, built into the safety thumbpiece. This component is larger than on most other Berettas. The safety, as is right for a competition gun, is non-automatic.
The action frame is an extremely tough steel forging, with quite a plain, bright-polished exterior with the maker’s name set in gold on the sides and the gun’s name and the Beretta logo on the bottom on the standard model. The more expensive L-version features very fine engraving.
Lock-up is achieved by a cross-bolt running across the top of the action just above the centre line of the top barrel. When the top lever is pushed over, the bolt moves sideways and its end protrudes through a slot on the left side of the action frame. When the gun is closed, the bolt end retracts and projections on the breech ends of the barrel pass through slots in the action face, and engage with the bolt. This is the bolting system used on the SO sidelocks, and is extremely strong and positive.
The top lever is of a curious shape – paddle-shaped and offset to the right. It looks a bit odd, but users say it provides for a very positive and fast reloading action. It works well for both left and right-handed shooters.
Cocking rods pass through the lower sides of the action frame, and ejectors, of a beefed-up design compared to some other Beretta models, are spring-loaded. The barrels hinge on stub pins in the normal Beretta fashion. The fore-end iron includes an adjustment to take up slack in the jointing, should the gun ever shoot loose.
The gun is supplied with a spares and maintenance kit which includes tools, strikers, and a trigger blade.
– Available barrels: 28, 30 and 32 inches, all built on the monobloc principle.
– Three-inch (76mm) chambers are standard.
– Forcing cones are so long and with such a gradual taper that they are not apparent when you look through the tubes.
– Uses Optima-bore format, which gives an internal diameter of .732in – a little wider than the British standard of .729, and a whole lot wider than Beretta’s historical standard of .719.
– To further the interests of good patterning, far longer multichoke tubes than normal are fitted. These protrude from the muzzle ends, and feature colour-coded rings for easy identification. The protruding ends have an easy-to-grip pattern of parallel slots to aid fitting and removal.
– The gun can also be supplied with flush-fitting choke tubes.
– Top rib tapers from 10mm down to 7mm, and is ventilated. Side ribs are fitted to the barrels only on the length that shows ahead of the fore-end, and these, too, are ventilated.
– A choice between standard and adjustable stocks, the latter costing an additional £200.
– Both comb height and cast can be altered on the adjustable version.
– The hand of the stock features a slight palm swell.
– Stock and fore end are in well-figured, dark walnut, with a varnish finish.
– Wood-to-metal fit is excellent, as is the standard of chequering.
The 32in version with the adjustable stock comes in at 8.1/4 lb. Other variants may be a little lighter.
What the tester thought
Sporting Gun tested the 32in adjustable stock version in early 2002. It scored 9 out of 10 for build quality, and 8 out of 10 for handling, styling and value for money.
The testers liked the engineering quality, the gun’s pointability, and the thoughtful provision of a spares kit.
They were less sure about the weight, and the rather chunky stock with a butt pad they found tended to snag on mounting. They thought the gun was capable of doing a lot of work without undue wear, and did point out the butt pad could be easily changed by a gunsmith.
This year’s recommended retail price is £4,045, with an extra £200 for the adjustable stock. But shop around – some dealers’ prices for the standard stock version can be quite a bit cheaper.
Competition models from Perazzi, Gamba and Kemen are all in the running.
Beretta DT10 shotgun.