Beretta Ultralight shotgun.
A common groan among game and rough shooters who walk fair distances during the day is the weight of a standard over-under 12-bore, even one supposedly designed for field use.
The obvious answer is to either downsize to a 20-bore or buy a well balanced side-by-side game gun.
But for those who want to stick with a 12-bore over-under, because of the cartridge range it can handle, there’s a lightweight solution to their problem – the Beretta Ultralight.
A lighter load
Believe it or not, this 6lb gun weighs about the same as a 20-bore with stacked barrels – and in many cases it’s actually lighter, particularly when compared to those twenties built on 12-bore actions.
The secret behind the Ultralight’s lack of weight is the block of aircraft quality aluminium alloy used for the action frame – a material that in no way compromises strength, but makes the action around 65% lighter than one machined from a conventional piece of steel.
To ensure maximum strength, the action frame has been made slightly wider and the breech face is reinforced with a titanium strip to soak up recoil energy around the striker holes.
Apart from this the gun is the same as all Berettas in the 680 series. All other parts are steel; it is only the action frame that has been made from alloy.
The Beretta Ultralight employs eye-catching engraving on the alloy action frame.
Of course alloy actions in one form or another have been with us for many years, but they have only resurfaced relatively recently.
A gun of this kind is particularly suitable for lady shots because of its lighter weight: if used with cartridges of a sensible load it can also make a good gun for informal clays. That said, if you’re going to get serious with clays a heavier gun will always come out tops, regardless of who’s going to use it.
Modern design capabilities and material quality means there should be no problem with the durability of the Ultralight and similar guns of this type. The only minus point is a light-weight gun of this type might not absorb recoil as well as a heavier version.
Of course the whole purpose of the gun is to be as light as possible so a buyer needs to balance that quality against the number, and type, of cartridges he’s likely to fire during a day’s shooting.
In the UK this model is available with 26 or 28in barrels. Both have been chambered for 2.3/4in (70mm) cartridges and subjected to magnum proof. You can choose between fixed choke barrels (1/4 and 1/2) or multichoked tubes with standard length Beretta chokes.
The barrels are internally chromed for maximum protection and top rib is 6mm wide and ventilated.
The makers have applied modern engraving and incorporated these with a game scene on the action walls and the Beretta logo in a gold medallion on the action sides and belly. The action is finished in nickel silver, but for those who want something more profuse then a deluxe version is available with gold inlaid game scene and a full covering of scroll work.
Will it fit?
Stock length is approx 14.1/2in, while drop at comb and heel are 1.1/2in and 2in respectively.
This gun might be proofed for magnum cartridges but I can’t think of anyone who would want to put too many heavy loads through a lovely lightweight little gun like this.
It defeats the object.
No, the Ultralight has been built to meet a specific need and that’s as a gun for walked-up game and rough shooting.
It’s a role it fills superbly.
Build Quality: 8
Value for money: 8
Beretta Ultralight shotgun
More information available from GMK.