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Bettinsoli Crypto Lite review

Bettinsoli Crypto Lite review

Manufacturer: Bettinsoli

Bettinsoli Crypto Lite specification
Gauge: 12-bore
Barrels: 28in multi-choke; 30in also available
Action: Modified trigger-plate lockwork with mechanical changeover
Features: Modern styling, dual cone-bored barrels, lightweight aluminium alloy action body
Maker: Bettinsoli, Italy
Importer: RUAG, tel 01579 362319 or visit
Price: £1,240

In the past few years there has been a growing appreciation of what is generally called the crossover gun; in other words, one suitable for both game- and clayshooting. For the gameshooter who likes to practise on clays or take part in the occasional local clay shoot this sort of gun is a logical choice. For a great many shooters, swapping from one gun to another is not always the best idea. There is much to be said for becoming totally familiar, comfortable and confident with a gun that will then give the best results. Of course, this “one gun” principle is not new; the expression “beware of the man with one gun” has been with us for a long time – a good indication that familiarity breeds success.

A crossover gun?
On first examination, does the Crypto Lite measure up to the role of a crossover gun? Well, it has a wide rib in the manner favoured by the clayshooter with a small LPA plastic foresight that, in the line of sight, appears much like the bead found on a game gun. The curve of the pistol grip is quite tight and the fore-end deep and wide – features inclined towards competition use but of no real disadvantage when gameshooting.

Included in the kit of parts for testing were five flush-fitting chokes and two optional extended chokes, plus two thicknesses of butt- pad to get the fit just right. These can also be used to adjust the length of pull for summer and winter use. This is eminently practical to allow for the difference between shooting in shirt- sleeves and wearing a heavy jacket.

Clay guns tend to be heavier than game guns, but this is where I had a choice. The Crypto comes with a steel or aluminium alloy action body and 28in or 30in barrels. For the shooter whose primary sport is clayshooting with a bit of gameshooting during the season, the steel-bodied gun with the longer barrels would be the better choice. I chose the Crypto Lite with the aluminium alloy action body and shorter 28in barrels for faster handling – useful for some aspects of gameshooting and especially so for pigeon shooting.

Style and decoration is often more important to the gameshooter than the clay enthusiast. In this respect, the Crypto does not disappoint – it has modern styling with attractive embellishments. The curved panel on the sides of the action body make what is a fairly deep action appear slimmer, and mirroring this panel on the stock is a neat idea. Also, the chequering panels with curved borders continue that theme and add to the modern feel.

As for the decoration, a profusion of small scrollwork with gold-coloured gamebirds are what you would expect on a game gun. With regard to that catchy name, it appears on no less than both sides of the action, fore-end, trigger-guard and barrels – presumably just in case you forget!

This Crypto Lite, even with the shorter barrels and thicker butt-pad fitted, balances just in front of the fore-end knuckle so the weight is still a little bit forward. Though weighing a little less than 6.25lb, it is still fast and easy to bring up to the shoulder. That forward bias is useful because it turns what would otherwise be an ultra-light, potentially “twitchy” gun into one that is smooth to swing and predictably pointable.

It also feels comfortable between the hands with the large fore-end and extensive chequering giving a good grip. With the larger (17mm) butt-pad fitted, the length of pull measured a shade over 14in, a quarter of an inch less with the slimmer pad. There is the option of a nominally 1in pad, which would take it out to a full 15in length of pull for the taller, long-armed shooter.

There are no surprises with the layout of the lockwork. It has the familiar helical spring- powered hammers pivoting on the trigger-plate with the sears hanging from the top strap. The safety button is also the barrel selector – in the left position it selects the top barrel, right for bottom. However, unless you read the manual or work it out for yourself, there is nothing on the top strap to indicate which is which.

The good news, though, is that the second barrel selection is both recoil operated and mechanical, which is useful when using light recoiling cartridges. Another nice touch is the solid domed-head polished dowel pins holding the lockwork in place.

A single cocking leg operating off a mating bar in the fore-end keeps things fairly simple. The aluminium alloy action sports a steel plate neatly let into the face of the standing breech. The ejectors are permanently sprung, much as one tends to expect with an Italian shotgun, but the method of operation is a little more sophisticated than some and should ensure the extractor arms have a longer life.


The steel shot-proofed barrels at 1,320 bar are built on the well-known monobloc system, nicely finished inside and out with 3in (76mm) chambers, though in this lightweight gun a full load might not be an option for the faint-hearted.

An interesting feature is the internal barrel profile. In front of the chamber is a long forcing cone extending some 5in in front of the chamber. The bore is then parallel until it meets another conical section that runs up to the screw-in chokes. Visually, it appears almost like the chamberless guns of old, and I suspect what Bettinsoli call their “dual cone” system is done to help reduce the higher mechanical load, which is a feature of steel shot.

On test, the cartridges used included Lyalvale Express Super Game and Super Comp, Hull Superfast and Imperial Game and Fiocchi PL30. Chokes used were two short and two long, though any differences in pattern seemed to be negligible.

The Crypto patterned well with the Express Super Game but there are advantages with using 36g shot loads and the recoil was not particularly unpleasant. With the Fiocchi cartridges, patterns were a little variable and using an open choke of light improved cylinder (0.003in choke) steel shot patterns were a bit “gappy”. This simply showed that it is advisable to choose a cartridge to suit the gun. The Express Super Comp load used with an extended choke patterned well, albeit it pulled to one side due to a strong crosswind.

What’s the verdict?
: Nicely put together with good detail features
Handling: The Crypto is light, fast and pointable
Finish: Well-finished with attractive decoration similar to a game gun.
Fit: A good fit. The option of butt-pads of different thickness is handy.
Value: The gun is well priced for its market niche.

is little doubt that the Bettinsoli Crypto qualifies as a useful
crossover gun, though in this lightweight form it is more of a game gun.
The dual cone barrels seem a little sensitive to choice of cartridge
but if you find one that suits it then it performs very well. Finally,
the stock and fore-end shaping give good control when shooting heavier
loads in what is a light and handy gun.