Entry-level Bettinsoli shotguns were once viewed as inexpensive, cheap and cheerful knockabout guns that were plainly designed and plain to look at. But now it's all changed thanks to a rethink by the Italian manufacturers says Jason Harris
The Italians realised that if they were to remain competitive they needed to redesign their offering and invest in some up to date machine tooling. The decision has paid off.
Today’s ‘entry-level’ Bettinsoli Diamond Line shows how far matters have improved.
In fact the turn-around is quite amazing – the new guns are extremely well-finished, well-built and reliable.
Perhaps better still, they’re still as reasonably priced as before.
The gun’s weight is a comfortable 7lb 10oz. So it is light enough to take out into the field, but heavy enough for clayshooting.
The gun I’ve been investigating is the 30in version. However a 28in option is available if you prefer something shorter. Both shotguns are chambered for 3in (75mm) chambers, proofed for special steel shot and fitted with a 10mm ventilated top rib.
The side ribs have also been ventilated to maximise cooling and keep weight in check.
A fairly traditional pattern
The mechanism of the Bettinsoli Diamond Line follows a fairly traditional pattern with hammers pivoting from the trigger plate and the sears suspended from above. Both hammer springs are held captive on guide rods to ensure they rebound and prevent the firing pin dragging on the primer when the gun is opened after firing.
The gun is supplied ex-factory with a manual safe system. However if you preferred you could have this converted by a gunsmith to auto-safe.
This Sporter has been fitted with a single trigger that selects first barrel by the movement of the safety catch through a gate.
Selection of the second barrel is made through inertia from the first shot being fired.
Game scene engraving
On the action frame there is an attractive and full covering engraving of a game scene, featuring pheasant, duck and woodcock embellished with a stylish gold line following the pattern.
The action frame and all furniture have been treated to a silver finish and the top lever has been pierced for decoration.
I was pleased to see that makers have not scrimped on the gun stock, which is made from good quality wood with a reasonable amount of figure.
Stock length is 14½in (which includes a ½in recoil pad). Many would find this a little short but other sizes of pad can be bought to fine tune the stock length if required.
There are three variants available – two of which come supplied with the gun.
Drops at comb and heel are 1½in and 2¼in respectively and the stock has been given a slight right hand cast at heel.
Each gun comes in a useful ABS gun case with five chokes and an extra recoil pad to adjust length of pull. There is also a small screwdriver to change the pad.
Our reviewer’s verdict
The price tag of £825 represents excellent value for money. This is an excellent entry level gun for many shooters.
Build Quality 8
Value for money 9
The Diamond Line is nicely balanced, shoots well and looks good