Sabatti Rover Rifles by Morgan Haselau

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Sabatti Rover Rifles by Morgan Haselau: Solid entry-level performance

The Sabatti name has been linked to gunmaking for over 400 years. Based in the Val Trompia region of northern Italy, Sabatti can trace its lineage back to the 1700s, when Ludovico Sabatti was known for producing flintlocks with fine barrels. The modern Sabatti company was founded in the 1960s by members of the Sabatti family and today they are known mainly for producing value-for-money hunting rifles and a range of excellent precision rifles, complete with in-house hammer-forged barrels. Lesser known locally is that they also produce double rifles and shotguns.

Magnum recently tested two of Sabatti’s bolt-action Rover rifles: the Rover 600 in .223 Remington and the Rover 870 in .308 Winchester. Both are marketed as entry-level rifles, a factor we kept in mind during our tests. We chose the .223 and .308 specifically because they are established, tried-and-tested calibres which, for many, constitute their introduction to hunting and shooting. The 870 is also available in .243 Win, .270 Win, 6.5x55, and .30-06.

Both the Rover 600 and 870 are tidy little rifles with an overall length of 44ꞋꞋ and length-of-pull of 14.37ꞋꞋ. Their hammer-forged 24ꞋꞋ barrels have a 12ꞋꞋ twist, and muzzles with an outside diameter of 15mm. The rifles weigh 3.2kg apiece. The .223 had a good looking traditional walnut stock while the .308 sported a modern synthetic stock (these options are available for either rifle, or you can choose a thumbhole stock version). An Inox version in stainless steel with synthetic stock is available in .308, .243 Win and .30-06.

The action design is based on the Remington 700, renowned for its accuracy and reliability since its introduction in the 1950s. There are two massive forward-locking lugs with more than enough rear contact surface to provide an ultra-strong lock-up within the receiver ring and true axial alignment. Unfortunately, these Sabattis won’t accept the Remington 700’s one-piece scope mount, though separate M700 bases do fit. As you would expect, the .223’s action is shorter than the .308’s.   

For the purpose of our tests, both rifles were fitted with Picatinny rails. These don’t come standard, they’re optional extras, but a Picatinny is so convenient that most shooters buying these rifles would do well to fit one. These rails are imported and freely available.

Read the full article in the January 2018 issue of Magnum.

 
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