The indoor shooting range at Douglas County Firearms provides my gunsmithing department with a steady stream of problems needing to be addressed. 90 percent of reliability problems are due to guns being too dirty and too dry. 90 percent of accuracy problems are due to folks not pulling the trigger straight back. So I was a bit surprised when one of our regular customers rang my service bell and presented me with his new Beretta NEOS. These .22 pistols shoot well and I know this guy can also shoot well, so when he showed me a shotgun-pattern looking target I knew something was terribly wrong.
Closer inspection revealed bullets keyholing at only 15 feet distance. Keyholing means the bullet is not stabilized and is tumbling through the air, striking the paper target sideways and leaving an oblong hole that looks like the keyhole in an old fashioned door. When this happens something has gone terribly wrong with the barrel or the ammunition, or the combination of those two components. I grabbed a bore light, checked that the gun was clear, took a look down the pipe, and gasped.
There was no rifling in the barrel. None whatsoever. I had a smoothbore .22 pistol in my hands. Now, I’m a big Beretta fan and have been for years, and I knew they would do the right thing. It took just one phone call and less than a month later (pretty decent considering the state of the industry at the moment) our shooter had a new barrel installed and was rewarded with the tight groups we expect.
Everyone makes mistakes. If you build enough of anything, you will get something wrong some of the time. Still, it was astonishing to me that the gun made it through quality control at the factory, through a distributor, through a dealer (not us), and into the hands of a customer and actually had to be fired before anyone noticed that the barrel had never been cut with rifling. What separates the men from the boys is how we deal with those inevitable mistakes. I’m happy to say that after dealing with Beretta regarding this pistol I will continue to recommend their products in the future.