The editor of Sporting Gun tests this handsome field gun that does not cost the earth
If you are looking for bling, then the Bettinsoli Diamond DeLuxe has it by the bucket-load. With gold game scenes and prolific scrollwork on the action, trigger-guard and top strap, the Bettinsoli DeLuxe looks a million dollars but, happily, is priced at a more reasonable £1,150.
Famed for making well-built, attractive, affordable shotguns, Bettinsoli has enjoyed popularity among many shooters and the guns have a reputation for longevity and performance. I tested the latest version of its DeLuxe game gun and the build quality impressed me.
- The wood-to-metal fit was good and the blacking on the barrels was deep and lustrous.
- Our test gun sported a dark stock, which set off the action nicely, and its straight, close grain would indicate that it would be strong enough to stand up to the rigours of use in the field.
- Some will like the Sporter-like schnabel tip fore-end, rather than the more traditional beaver-tail design, but whatever your preference the fore-end filled the hand nicely and gave good control over the gun.
- Chequering was deep, giving good grip, and the stock had a nice oil finish.
Being just over 6ft tall and on the ‘chunky’ side, I found the gun fitted well. The length of pull at 14¾in was just right when wearing my winter coat and the steep angle of the grip meant my finger came easily to the trigger. On some Italian shotguns the height of the comb can be a little low, but the DeLuxe was about right for me.
Bettinsoli Diamond DeLuxe Action
You could be forgiven for thinking that the DeLuxe is a sidelock because it sports handsomely decorated sideplates, but these are dummies and the gun is actually a boxlock. Many excellent Italian gunmakers use dummy sideplates, such as Beretta, Fausti and Rizzini, as a canvas for fine engraving. On a more affordable gun, this could have been a misstep but the laser engraving and game scenes are good, giving the gun an expensive look. There is even detailing on the metal catch of the fore-end.
The action is a standard Italian boxlock, which has been tried and tested and should give many years of service. And as with many Italian shotguns, the safety catch is on the top strap along with a barrel selector. Italian shotguns are usually a bit vague about denoting which barrel is selected, but usually if you push the selector to the right the bottom barrel will fire first and you can select the top barrel by moving the toggle left.
As with the schnabel tip fore-end, the ventilated mid and top rib of the barrels lend themselves more to a Sporter style than a game gun, but this means you can use it on the odd round of Sporting clays and keep your eye in for the season. Flush-fit multi-chokes also make this a versatile gun, so you are getting your money’s worth. Some won’t like the fibre-optic front bead, which is bright as a Belisha beacon, but this can be removed easily so that you are not distracted.
The Bettinsoli feels reasonably light both when carried and when it’s on aim. At around 7½lb, it’s not the lightest gun and there is plenty of heft to soak up recoil, but it would make a good gun for a walked-up day. Even with 30in barrels and multi-chokes, the gun felt easy to carry.
Shouldering the gun you feel the point of balance is behind the hinge pin. This gives the gun a little muzzle flip but it was easy to swing on aim and was a lively and fast-handling gun – ideal for rough shooting.
My only gripe is that there was a bit of trigger creep on the gun we tested and the ‘let off’ was not as crisp as I would have liked. However, I soon got used to it and it wouldn’t stop me buying the gun. I shot quite a few clays with the gun and even though I was using quite heavy loads (28g Eley Superb cartridges) the gun was comfortable to shoot.
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When I was younger I loved ‘blingy’ guns but these days my tastes have changed. Having said that, a gun that looks this good (and it really does look good) might make me change my mind.
This is a well-made, classy-looking gun at an affordable price. So many Bettinsoli shotguns seem to put up with years of abuse and have a longevity that is beyond belief. I have no reason to think the Deluxe will be any different. I would love to take it into the field on a rough shoot because it is fast handling and relatively lightweight, but it wouldn’t look out of place on a driven shoot.
Scores on the doors
- Build quality 23/25
- handling 21/25
- Styling 23/25
- Value for money 25/25
A well-made, classy-looking gun at an affordable price