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Three secondhand lightweight 12-bores

A reader is looking for a lightweight 12-bore

lightweight 12-bore shotguns

From top: Beretta AL391 Light, ATA Arms Lightweight Field, Bettinsoli Crypto Lite

“I have turned 70 and, although I can still walk fair distances, the 8lb Sporter I use for all of my shooting has become rather too heavy. I am therefore looking for a lightweight 12-bore – either O/U or semi-auto. Recoil doesn’t bother me too much as nowadays as I shoot only club clays and woodpigeons. I also have a limited budget.” Fred Mason, Shropshire.

  • Max price: £1,000
  • Type: don’t mind as long as it’s a 12-bore
  • Purpose: Club clays and pigeons
  • Preferred make: any.

Mike George’s buying advice

Normally I am a bit wary of recommending lightweight guns, because the recoil can be a bit tiring over a long day’s shooting. However, Fred assures me that he rarely exceeds 50 sporting targets in a day, and doesn’t normally fire that many shots at woodpigeons.

As far as his clay shooting is concerned. Fred will have a selection of lightly-recoiling cartridges to choose from, with shot loads as light as 21g. If he takes the semi-auto option, he can pick the lightest cartridge that will cycle the mechanism. The action of the semi-auto will reduce 
the recoil anyway.

Bettinsoli Crypto Lite review

Both game- and clayshooters alike will find plenty to admire in the Bettinsoli Crypto Lite, a stylish and lightweight crossover…

It is interesting to note that what is thought of as an ideal gun weight has changed over the years. The recommended weight for a side-by-side game gun used to be 6½lb to 6¾lb, but nowadays most O/U game guns tip the scales at around the 7¼lb. Sporters are usually 7¾lb or more, but are designed to be comfortable over 
a 100-target competition.

So let’s have a look at some lightweight 12-bore shotguns.