The Bettinsoli Crypto has a little something for everyone, writes Jason Harris
Price as reviewed: £1,155
Bettinsoli guns have had a long presence in the UK. Distributed by RUAG, well known as the Perazzi distributor, they are good gunmakers, offering value for money at the entry-level end of the market.
The new Bettinsoli Crypto is a gun that tries to offer something for everyone and by and large, I think it delivers on this promise. this is a gun that would be as happy in the field as out shooting clays. there are four variants: 28” and 30”, with a steel action and both barrel lengths with a light alloy action.
The most striking feature of the Bettinsoli Crypto is how the action frame has been shaped. It is more contemporary in appearance than other Bettinsolis and has been given side panels that taper forwards towards the hinge pins. These panels are mirrored in the stock where it meets the action, being raised and tapering back towards the grip.
The action back has been recessed forward to compliment the shape. This has the practical effect of giving the stock a deeper contact with the action, making the union of the two pieces stronger. the top lever is shaped subtly at the thumb piece to taper forwards in sympathy with the action shape.
There is an almost full covering of engraving on the crypto, with lots of fine scrollwork on the forward part of the action and underbelly. On the side panels are woodcocks engraved in a scene. The woodcocks themselves are highlighted in gold. There is also a gold woodcock on the belly of the action frame.
The Bettinsoli Crypto barrels have 76mm chambers and are proofed with special steel shot proof. The barrels are made on the monoblock principle and have chrome lined bores for maximum protection. Bettinsoli has developed a long forcing cone that extends down the barrel and then flows into the bore itself. they call it “dual cone” and the idea is to give the least pellet deformation for optimum patterns and less recoil. Barrels are multichoke and a set of choke tubes comes with each gun.
The rib is tapered approximately 10mm at breech to 7mm at muzzle and it is really the clue to this gun being multi-purpose. A wide rib usually indicates a sporter or all-round clayshooting gun. Game or field guns usually have narrow ribs. Here we have the best of both worlds. I always like tapered ribs, they look elegant and have the very practical effect of making the sight picture appear longer than it really is, making the gun more “pointable.”
The side ribs are ventilated to keep weight under control and allow the barrels to cool as quickly as possible. the foresight is a green hi-vis strip sight to draw the eye. Blacking on Bettinsolis is always good and this gun is no exception with a nice deep gloss finish.
Mechanically the Bettinsoli Crypto is the same as other Bettinsolis. The mechanism is traditional with hammers pivoting from the trigger plate. Sears are suspended above. The hammer springs are captive on guide rods to give rebound and prevent the firing pin dragging in the primer as the gun is opened after firing. The top lever spring on the Bettinsoli Crypto is a little unusual, being a torsion spring held captive around the underside of the top lever on the spindle. It’s a proven system, though the top lever never feels quite as strong as other guns.
The gun is single trigger with selection of the first barrel by moving the safe left or right through a gate and then forwards for fire. Selection of the second barrel is through inertia from the first shot being fired.
The angle of the sear tails helps to disengage the lifter from the sear as it is lifted, so it could be described as semi-mechanical. The practical effect of this is that the reset for second shot is made quite light, so it doesn’t need so much recoil for the lifter block to disconnect and allow the lifter to drop forwards and pick up the second sear. So when shooting lighter cartridges the gun should be more agreeable. The Bettinsoli Crypto comes as manual safe, but has provision to convert to auto safe if preferred.
A lighter option
Lightweight guns are not a new idea, but the new generation are certainly becoming more popular. Materials have gotten better as well as production and design. The Bettinsoli Crypto Lite has a reinforced action face so that the action is protected around the firing pin holes where pressure can cause marking. The hinge pins are steel as is the fore-end and catch. The light version tested weighs in at 6lb 5oz, around a pound lighter than the equivalent steel action. So there is a lot to be gained – or not – if weight is an issue. The Bettinsoli Crypto Lite is a little unusual in that it is also available with 30” barrels, most lightweight guns are not longer than 28in, which makes sense as the whole ethos of such a gun is to keep weight down. But generally 30in is by far the most popular length of barrel across the O/U board.
The chequer patterns are laser-cut and have a contemporary look sympathetic to the action shape. At the knuckle end, underside of the fore-end wood, the model name has been laser-etched into the wood.
Stock dimensions are fairly universal with drops at comb 40mm and heel 62mm. the gun is cast off right hand, approximately 3mm and the length of pull is 375mm or around 14 3⁄4in. Like some other makers, Bettinsoli now can supply extra pads of various thicknesses to adjust length of pull.
The Bettinsoli Crypto comes in an ABS case. There is a set of five flush fit chokes that come with a small protective case. There are also two extended “turkey” choke tubes for extreme range.