I had been wanting to test a DT11 for some time now, particularly the DT11L – the Lux version. A trip to my favourite gun dealer (J. F. Neville of Alfreton) revealed a second-hand DT11L to be available, which they were happy for me to borrow for a few days.
Looking at the DT11L
The first thing I can say is the DT11L, replete with fancy engraving, is a real eye-catcher. The DT11 is Beretta’s flagship boxlock-actioned shotgun and comes with an Olympic pedigree. (Read our review of the DT11 EELL).
It is hand-finished and has a strong cross-bolt locking system alongside a detachable trigger unit, hence the DT or ‘detachable trigger’. The barrels are Steelium Pro and have had the internal profile created within to help to reduce recoil and also to improve shot pattern. It certainly reduces muzzle flip, with no loss of performance.
Beretta says it has been designed with the clayshooter in mind, with all the requirements they would need from a competition gun, plus individuality and refinement. The stock and fore-end are cut from high-quality walnut, which nicely complements the premium scroll engraving on the action. On the gun I borrowed, both the stock and fore-end wood matched well. The dark wood wasn’t the prettiest I had ever seen, but it had good straight grain, which makes for a strong stock. It also had a tiger-striping effect, which added to the finish.
The fore-end was pleasantly slim and the chequering on both it and the stock relatively smooth; it wasn’t sharp like some stocks. The handgrip felt quite chunky for me and I could only just force my thumb and middle finger together, but with a relaxed hand it felt good. It has a small, right-hand palm swell and a lovely curvature to the lower end of the hand grip. The stock’s length of pull was just over 14½in and the overall weight was just under 8lb 6oz on my scales. Of this, the barrels weighed 3lb 5oz, including chokes, and had a 10mm to 8mm tapered vented rib, with a centre vented rib. The foresight was a small orange affair, with extended Optima HP chokes. The gun I had on loan had a standard Beretta pad fitted to the end, and a nice slim one at that.
The action of the Beretta DT11L is slightly wider than that of its predecessor, the DT10, 3mm to be exact. My husband, John, had a DT10 for a number of years and shot very well with it. This extra 3mm has made the DT even more durable and given it a better balance point, just on the hinge pin with the 32in barrels. And what a pretty action the L version has. The sides and top of the action have an attractive scroll engraving; even the top lever is engraved, and the edge of the cross bolt. Underneath the action there is a plain, polished area on the outside and the middle is engraved with the Beretta logo and DT11L signature. The trigger-guard is also finely engraved, but there is a small oval left blank, should you wish to have your initials engraved, which is a nice touch by Beretta.
When I picked up the DT11L for the first time, it felt incredibly light, but this might have been because I had just picked up a Perazzi High Tech S, which felt good but weighed in at more than 9lb. The stock of the DT11L is not adjustable and was a little low for me as I could only see a small amount of rib. I am a fan of setting up a gun to see a fair amount of rib, not that I ever look at the rib, barrels or site, but this is how I set my guns up – to start with at least. When I shouldered the gun, it felt good, and opening and shutting it produced a reassuringly solid ‘thunk’; readers who follow me will know I dislike guns that close with a tinny ‘twang’.
Shop and home handling over, I went to test the DT11L at Cockett Farm Shooting Ground, Nottingham. This is a cracking little ground that has numerous layouts, including FITASC, sporting and skeet as well as a covered Sportrap layout, which suited me because I was testing on a rather miserable day.
On peg one of the Sportrap, I placed the stock of the DT11L in my shoulder and it slipped nicely into the correct place or ‘pocket’. The sight picture looked good, too, a slightly ramped-up rib picture, which works for me and is how I’ve set up both my old Zolis and Perazzi MX2000S. The white bead of the DT11L is relatively small and was not much of a distraction.
The first target was a decent left-to-right crosser and the gun moved smoothly and easily, keeping a steady line. As this target comes from a way away, I like to track it a bit before moving the lead on. I was using my RC7 12g 24gm cartridges and the first pull of the trigger produced a powder puff of exploding clay.
The second target was a long-off rising at an angle and an incomer that really didn’t come in much. The only time that I have ever shot this layout, I struggled to hit the target with my own gun, but with the DT11 I again blew it away. This was followed by a fast going-away target out of the DTL bunker, which I missed – not the gun’s fault, purely mine for forgetting what the target was and having the wrong hold point.
The last pair, a sim four and five, was another long incomer and a fastish right-to-left looper. Smash! Smash! Thank you very much. I felt the movement of the DT11 and change of direction was easily done, never hard work, always presenting me with a good picture of the second target. Also, it never pushed on too far, not even whippy movement, due to its relative light weight. There was minimum felt recoil, no noticeable muzzle flip, excellent patterning barrels, and I was using 3/8th and ½in choke.
The DT11L comes a close second to my own MX2000S. I like the looks and the feel. New, it costs around £9,200. The second-hand one I borrowed from J F Neville, a 32in Scroll, cost £6,995. It is obviously not the cheapest gun on the market, but it is a gun of good quality and a pleasure to shoot.
- Model Beretta DT11L (LUX)
- Bore 12-bore
- Action Inertia
- Barrel length 32in
- Chamber 3in
- Chokes Optima HP
- Rib 10mm-8mm tapered
- Stock LOP 14½in/Pistol Grip
- Fore-end Beaver Tail
- Weight 8lb 5oz
- Price £9,200