Small arms legend and shotgun industry leader Beretta is giving the world a first look at their new featherweight over-under, the Ultraleggero. This literal ultralight over-under combines skeletonized components with lightweight materials to come in at just 6.2 pounds unloaded, which is a feat for a steel-framed 12-gauge shotgun.
While other shotgun designs have used titanium and aluminum alloys to make lightweight over-unders, Beretta set out to do the same with steel, in order to make a more durable, longer-lasting action. While the Ultraleggero does use light alloy components, they’re used in places where stresses are reduced or kept to a minimum.
The receiver is based on the Beretta 690 series, with its trapezoidal locking shoulders and dual conical locking lugs. Beretta reduced the weight of the parts by removing only non-load-bearing surfaces, leaving behind a light receiver strong enough for the heaviest magnum loads.
To close up the skeletonized receiver the Ultraleggero uses what Beretta calls their “Techno-Polymer” to produce inserts with the look and feel of finely engraved steel scrolled panels. These not only prevent reduce fouling and debris entering the action, they look great, too.
One example of light alloys used is the trigger guard, which is aluminum. The Ultraleggero comes standard with a single selective trigger that can be pushed to the left or right to select the upper or lower barrel. It’s also offered with a double-single selective trigger, which uses two triggers to fire both barrels, one after the other. By using two triggers this system lets the shooter chose which barrel to fire first, favoring one barrel, choke and cartridge over the other.
Other lightning methods are fully tried and true. The Ultraleggero omits any rib between the barrels, instead, opts for a short joint at the forend and at the muzzle, and the stock has a large internal cavity to cut weight. Combined with a lightened buttpad and the Ultraleggero, even with its steel components, goes toe to toe with alloy shotguns and smaller gauge guns as well.
And while the Ultraleggero does everything it can to cut weight, it still comes loaded with features. To ensure strength, the grip, stock, and rounded forend are carved from select-grade walnut with an oiled finish. The over-under uses Beretta’s Steelium Optima Bore HP cold-hammer-forged barrels topped with a full-length knurled 6×6 ventilated rib and steel bead front sight.
The Ultraleggero uses 70mm Optima-Choke HP chokes and accepts 90mm extended chokes as well. It’s offered with 24-, 26-, 28- and 30-inch barrels, with the longer barrels adding a little extra to the unloaded weight over the lightest 24-inch barrels.
Beretta hasn’t unveiled pricing on the Ultraleggero but it’s expected to fall between their high-end and premium models, with prices in the mid-$3,000 range. For sportsmen and women looking for an over-under light enough to carry all day and strong enough to last for years, the Ultraleggero might just be the one.
To learn more about the Ultraleggero and the rest of Beretta’s sporting and defensive arms, https://www.beretta.com/en/.