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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.

Beretta Vittoria shotgun engraving (courtesy

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 . . .

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  1. 2300 dollar over under duck hunting? And then trying to find duck loads at Walmart? Yeah, seems legit.

  2. OK, folks, one of these photos is a wonderful instructional moment.

    See the body geometry in this photo?

    See where the young lady’s thumb is relative to her nose?

    That’s what a proper pull length looks like. When the grip hand (in this case, her right hand) gets too far forward of the face, it is indicative of a length of pull that is too long, and as a result the shooter’s mount is ‘opened up’ and the shooter isn’t able to get his/her shoulder fully behind the gun. As a result of not having one’s shoulder squarely behind the butt of the gun, the recoil becomes more of a “glancing” force to your glenohumeral joint, recoil becomes more uncomfortable.

    I think the comb here is a tad low for this young lady, as I don’t see a firm cheek weld to the stock. The hat brim makes it difficult for me to imagine where her sight line is, but I’m going to guess she’s sighted down the rib in a fairly standard manner, which means the “tell” is the light cheek/comb contact. When the comb doesn’t fit a shotgun shooter properly, their hit rate will go down. On a shotgun, there is no rear sight – your eye is the rear sight. If your face doesn’t mount to the gun in a repeatable manner, you’re going to change your point of impact with differing mount points as you try to “fit the gun to your face” when you mount it.

    BTW, I’ll speculate that the young woman in back, who is shooting left-handed, has a gun that’s a tad too large for her. The way her right hand is a tad too far out on the forearm is an indication of the gun possibly being a bit too big or too heavy for her.

    One item that Beretta could implement on shotgun stocks for women is to put in some toe-out. This would be a simple change to stock fit that could really enhance many women’s comfort in shooting guns with recoil.

    O/U or SxS shotguns that are “stiff” – this is normal, because the gunmakers are trying to keep the action as tight as possible, for as long as possible. Brownings especially have a rep for being very tight when new. The hinge pin and mounting points should be lubed with a thin coat of lithium grease, because you would like the lube to not drip out of the pivot point in the action.

    • Shotgunning and bowling are two sports that require custom-fitted equipment for proper enjoyment. This can be problematic when you’re trying to fit youth who are still growing.

      I say any shotgun priced north of $2,000 should at least come with a choice of right- or left-handed stock with factory-cut toe-out, butt plate inserts for adjustable length of pull, and a selection of attachable comb risers for proper cheek weld.

  3. My wife doesn’t hunt. But she wanted a shotgun for a house gun. She’s 5 foot tall. Recoil isn’t a problem for her. I’ve watched her shoot 12 bore and .45acp. Comfortably reaching the controls on a given firearm is the problem for her.

    I bought her a youth model pump gun for her house gun in 20 ga.

    I would gladly spend the 2300 bucks, and everybody here knows I’m cheap, for that shotgun if she would hunt with me.

  4. “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.”

    You had your daughter when you were what, 12 years old?


    (Good-looking kid. You’ll have your hands full teaching her what scum we men really are… 😉 )

  5. I’d love to see how the Liberal media women react to ladies who enjoy hunting and shooting sports.

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