First Shots in the Field: The Beretta Ultraleggero
Growing up a non-hunter in lower New York State, I’ve not had much opportunity to get out in the field and try hunting, let alone to do it with a mentor. That all changed when I recently received the opportunity to go on a mentored, all-female pheasant hunt with the fine folks at Shoot Like a Girl and Beretta.
Making this an even more amazing opportunity, I got to be one of the first to hunt with Beretta’s newest upland shotgun, the Ultraleggero, just days before its debut in the United States.
That’s right, I got to take my first shots in the field, with the brand-new Beretta Ultraleggero upland 12 gauge shotgun, and it did not disappoint on any account!
Feel and Function
At first sight, the Ultraleggero is a beautifully crafted, classic, traditional over/under upland hunting gun with the quality and style you’d expect from Beretta. Chambered in 12 gauge, the Ultraleggero is a hard-hitting hunting machine, but this one hits a little different than the other fine firearms Beretta puts out. It’s lighter in weight! The name “Ultraleggero” literally means “ultra-light” in Italian, and nothing was left untouched (or un-lightened) during the design process by the engineers at Beretta.
Designed with care to reduce the weight, they say it’s the lightest steel receiver shotgun on the market today. The stock is crafted with an Extra light recoil pad and an increased stock cavity to further reduce weight. The trigger guard and trigger itself are crafted from aluminum.
Carrying in the Field
In the field is where the Ultraleggero really shines. Gone are the days lugging a heavy Upland shotgun through the fields or marshes. The Ultraleggero is weighty enough that an experienced shotgunner won’t flinch at the recoil. The Extralight recoil pad did a nice job at recoil absorption when properly shouldered, and it’s resistant to abrasions and weather with its closed-cell structure, all important in an upland hunting gun.
The new Ultraleggero is perfectly balanced for easy carry whether you’re stalking through a field with it in the upright-ready position, or if it’s broken open after the hunt. The walnut wood stock is nicely stippled for grip, and it felt comfortable all day long in the field. The lightweight steel receiver is engraved with a subtle floral motif, but it’s not so feminine that a man wouldn’t jump at the chance to hunt with it.
The stock of the Ultraleggero seemed slightly scaled for a smaller-framed hunter and because of that, the controls are intuitive and very easy to reach without looking down at the gun. The safety automatically clicks on once you load/reload and close the action. It felt very natural to stalk through the Milo fields at the pheasant preserve with my thumb on the safety, clicking it off while shouldering the gun when a pheasant presented itself.
Gauge: 12 gauge
Action: Over/Under Boxlock
Stock: Selected 2.5 Class Walnut Wood
Weight: 6.4 or 6.6 pounds, depending on the barrel chosen
Barrel: 26 or 28 inches
Overall Length: 44 or 46 inches, depending on the barrel chosen
Trigger guard: Aluminum
The Hunt and Final Thoughts
By the end of each day, I was very appreciative of how light this gun was to carry. Reducing the weight without compromising the exceptional quality that you’d expect from Beretta, will make your Upland hunts more enjoyable because your arms don’t ache at the end of the day. It was also super easy to manipulate in the field as we traversed through the Milo fields at R & R Pheasant Hunting, which is an amazing fifth-generation working ranch.
This experience was amazing. My first shots in the field, the Ultraleggero’s first shots in the field: we did it together and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything! It was comfortable to carry, comfortable and accurate to shoot, and the only ones who’d have a bad word to say about the Ultraleggero were those pheasants. It’s truly an innovative and amazing Upland hunting shotgun. If you’re looking for something lighter and scaled a little smaller, the Ultraleggero will not disappoint.
Cover photo: The author bagging some birds on the first time out, easy work with the Ultraleggero. (Photo: Tess Rousey/Shoot Like a Girl)