Women who hunt are no longer satisfied with men bringing home the bacon. Literally. With the increase in female hunters nationwide, some manufacturers are answering the call. I spent the weekend with some ladies of all ages testing the latest “just for girls” Beretta Vittoria shotgun. Sorry. “Lady upland game hunters and casual sporting clay shooters” . . .
Based off the 690 Field I, the Vittoria is tailored to fit a woman’s body. Specifically, Beretta reduced the shotgun’s length of pull and pistol grip radius. The Vittoria is incredibly lightweight at just 6 lbs. 2oz.
It’s easy on the eyes, too. The grade 2.5 select walnut stock (with a semi-Monte Carlo design) is a joy to have and to hold and the Renaissance floral engraving is both subtle and sublime.
The rule with ducks: shoot em’ in the face. You need to find your eye position quickly from sitting to standing. The Vittoria’s reduced pull length and low profile receiver made an immediate difference in shooting comfort and accuracy.
The Vittoria comes standard with Steelium barrels, with chrome-plated bores, elongated forcing cones and Optimachoke HP chokes (compatible with lead and steel shot). I decided not to change the chokes for the hunt.
While I felt I had to shoot more than once to get a duck down, I could see the pellets making contact each time.
I blame my ammo choice, not the gun. I figured I could “wing it” and pick up some ammo at 11 p.m. on my way to the next mornings hunt. Wal-Mart was my only option. Note to everyone: NEVER try to find 20 gauge, 3″, 3-4 shot shells at Wal-Mart.
The break open was a bit stiff. The day before, I tried oiling it and opening and closing it several times which did help some.
I feel more recoil slamming my refrigerator door than shooting the Vittoria. My eight-year-old shot it; she swore her .410 had “way more” recoil. She hates shooting her .410 for long periods of time and she loved the Vittoria, even though it was a bit long for her.
Do women really need gender specific firearms? I’ve hunted for years without a “made for women” gun. So while the Beretta Vittoria made everything that much easier and more comfortable, I’d say female-friendly guns are more of a “want” than a “need.”
Even so, why not get the best possible firearm for the job? And why not reward Beretta for making a shotgun that represents progress and acceptance for women hunters? Assuming you have $2300 to donate to the cause. And, better yet, a daughter who can enjoy it after you’ve left the field . . .