The Sabatti family has been in the firearms making business for nearly 400 years now, but yet we have not heard a lot about their tactical bolt rifles. Over the past several years they have modified their offering of sniper rifles with various different options and takes on them and we thought it might be good to give one of their rifles a full review to see how it does. An opportunity came up that allowed us to bring in a Sabatti Synthetic with the matte silver Cerakote finish for evaluation and we opted for the 300 Win Mag version to really see how it does. We figured if it can do well chambered in 300 Win Mag then it can do well chambered in all the other cartridges.
All of the Sabatti rifles come shipped in a nice plastic hard case, a nice way of doing it instead of the standard cardboard boxes that most bolt action rifles arrive in. When you open that case what you are presented with is a rifle that has a seriously heavy barrel on it! Once you get over the thickness of the barrel you will notice a rifle that has nice lines and proportions to it. The rifle comes with a pretty generic instruction manual and an additional spacer that can be used for the stock. There is also a guarantee card that acts as a warranty card.
Sabatti makes all of their components in house, and that includes their synthetic stock. They indicate that the stock is 70% fiberglass and 30% nylon which they claim provides a rigid and durable stock. Nylon tends to be more flimsy and provides a bit of a slick surface and that is the case on these stocks as well, though they have added in some texture in various locations to help provide a more secure handhold. At the rear of the stock we find the buttpad that has about .75″ of padding and as we mentioned above, has provisions for a spacer system to allow a firm adjustment to the length of pull if desired.
In addition to the adjustable length of pull with the spacer system, the stock also features an adjustable height cheekpiece. There are two locking dials in front of and behind the horizontal dial that actually adjusts the cheekpiece up and down. The shape of that cheekpiece is rounded and comfortable enough, though as mentioned earlier, the material is a bit slick. There is also a butt hook like those made popular with the McMillan stocks, to help with using a sand sock.
The pistol grip is a vertical style pistol grip with some interesting texture on it. The texture is like raised dots and seems to work pretty well. There is a deep thumb rest area behind that pistol grip and the grip itself is fairly large and fills the hand with the use of palm swells. The shape does place the finger in a good position to line up nicely with the trigger for a good straight back trigger pull. The area right behind the tang of the action is very flat with a two position safety located on the right hand side of that tang. Rear for safe, forward for fire.
The action has an open top ejection port and along the left hand side there is a slight ridge in the action, which is a bit different than most smooth sided actions. There is also located on the left hand side a bolt release lever that is actually large and protrudes out a good distance, which of course, makes it easy to operate by pressing in on the lever as the bolt is pulled to the rear. The action itself seems well made and the bolt cycles a bit rough with some slop.
That same small ridge that is on the left hand side of the action is also on the right hand side. It is kind of a character line that provides some style, but it also seems to add some more meat to the bottom portion of the action, perhaps increasing rigidity. Though there is no real way for us to determine how much it may add. The machining on the action does look nice and everything seems to be well thought out. With the open ejection port, there is lots of room to get fingers into and out of the action area to do quiet and clandestine brass extraction and bolt cycling as needed.
The trigger guard is a traditional hinged floorplate design and the construction and durability seems to be good. The triggerguard is traditional sized and seems to have enough room to use with gloved fingers if needed. At the front of the trigger guard is the release mechanism for the floorplate. Just press your finger forward against it and it will drop the floorplate, though a good amount of force is required.
The trigger on this particular rifle is a bit light. Our digital scale measured it at 2.5 lbs and it was consistent from pull to pull. The trigger pull is lighter than the 3-4 lbs that we typically recommend for a tactical rifle but it is adjustable. With this rifle being more of a target rifle, and not one of the Rover Tactical rifles like we thought we were getting, the trigger by default is lighter. The break is okay for a factory trigger, but there was a slight notch right before the break that added just a tiny bit of takeup slop to the feel. The trigger shoe is smooth and curved and a little thin, but works fine.
The bolt handle is slightly oversized and offers a good shape and feel while cycling it. There is likely not a need for anything larger for the bolt handle. The bolt itself has the traditional two lugs which offers a normal 90 degree bolt rotation and we had no issues when using it with a standard scope with a 30mm tube and mounted very close to the barrel. There is a M-16, or Sako style, extractor on it with a typical plunger and it provides a good solid extraction, which is especially valuable with magnums like the 300 that this rifle is chambered in, but the ejection ended up being a problem (see the shooting results below). The bolt head and bolt handle had the same matte silver cerakote finish on it, but the main bolt body was bare metal.
In order to determine what type of bedding the stock utilized, we pulled the barreled action out of the stock and noticed that there are no aluminum pillars in the stock. But what did surprise us was that the action was actually glass bedded to the stock. Now mind you, it is a very basic two point bedding job with only a bare amount of glass bedding, but it was bedded. The forearm area is not solid and is hollow with strengthening ribs, kind of like a tupperware stock, but it is rigid enough not to allow the stock to touch the barrel.
That forearm area is a very wide beavertail style forearm that provides a very stable platform for which to use the rifle with sandbags or other style rests. On this particular rifle, it is required since there are NO sling swivel studs to use to mount a bipod! Another biproduct of this being the target rifle and not the tactical rifle. When we pulled the stock off the rifle, there are actually three built up locations for swivel studs, but non were installed. It would be easy to add them, but kind of dumb that they are not there from the factory. Make sure you order the Rover Tactical if you are looking at these Sabatti rifles. The same texturing resides on the forearm as it does on the pistol grip, giving some added grip in poor weather.
The barrel is almost 26″ long and it is a very heavy profile straight taper barrel. The very heavy barrel does give the rifle some significant weight, 12.7 lbs, of which a large portion of it is forward. This is good and bad. Bad in that the rifle has a nose heavy feel when carrying it, but that forward bias also provides a solid and stable platform and the extra weight absorbs recoil from the 300 Win Mag. The barrel is not threaded and there is no muzzlebrake, so the extra recoil absorption is desired for rapid followup shots. The crown is recessed to help protect it.
These Sabatti rifles feature what they call Multi-Radial Rifling, which means the rifling has mutli-radius which Sabatti claims helps keep a more uniform shape to the bullet with less pressure buildup and helps increase muzzle velocity while reducing barrel fowling and improving accuracy. This will be very difficult to measure as there are a countless number of factors that contribute to each of those variables, but it is something different and we were excited to try the rifle out.
The overall appearance of the rifle is not very tactical with its silver barrel and action and a big Sabatti logo printed in white on the side of the stock. But the heavy barrel and stock design do give it the tactical look if it were all camo’d up and prepped for field use. The fit and finish of the rifle is nice and the cerakoting job is not bad. From what we could tell, everything works as designed and goes together well. Sabatti makes everything themselves, which is apparent by how everything comes together nicely on the rifle.
With all of the poking and prodding done, it was time to get this rifle to the range in order for us to see what it really could do. The rifle itself seemed to be solid, but shooting it tells the rest of the story. Because these actions are unique and designed by Sabatti, that means they require their own unique scope mounting rails if you elect to go that route, but you have to purchase them from Sabatti, at least for now. The other option is that you can use a set of Remington 700 two piece bases, which is what we elected to do. We used a set of Leupold Mk4 steel two piece bases for the Remington 700. Everything lined up just fine and while they overhand a bit into the ejection port area, it was simple to get the bases mounted and the Leupold test scope in place with the Mk4 medium height steel rings. This mounted the scope extremely close to the barrel with probably less than a one-millimeter gap. But it wasn’t touching, and that was what mattered.
The weather had been bad here in Montana for several days which postponed our shooting, but finally a cool and clear fall day emerged and we headed to the range with three different types of 300 Win Mag ammo. These included the standard Federal Gold Medal Match 190gr, HSM 190gr Match, and the Choice 220gr HPBT. The weather on both the days we spent at the range was clear, calm and right at about freezing temperature. The results from the 100 yard shooting is listed below. If you are not familiar with how we test rifles, please read the article How we Test Rifles and Scopes.
|Ammo||Average Group||Best Group|
|Federal GMM 190gr HPBT||0.701″ (0.670 MOA)||0.449″ (0.429 MOA)|
|HSM 190gr HPBT Match||1.509″ (1.441 MOA)||1.006″ (0.961 MOA)|
|Choice 220gr HPBT||1.255″ (1.199 MOA)||0.539″ (0.515 MOA)|
As you can tell from the chart above, the rifle had very mixed results and our shooting evaluation brought out some interesting points that need to be mentioned. As we thought would be the case, the recoil was fairly tame for a big 300 Win Mag, even without a muzzlebrake and a lot of that had to do with the large and heavy barrel hanging way out front. The rifle has a good shove, but the recoil was not sharp and is well managed. The shooting results were effected to some degree by the large amounts of barrel mirage coming off of the big thick barrel after only about 5 or 6 rounds. We were taking our time and were not firing rapidly, but the mirage became a major point of concern after just two groups were fired. Some of that probably had to do with the cool crisp air, but it became a struggle and was a major reason why we broke the shooting up into two days.
The accuracy from the Federal Gold Medal Match was pretty good with some sub .5 MOA groups and an average that was under .7 MOA. But the other two brands struggled and did not show the same consistency with some wild group sizes. Unfortunately, on top of the group sizes, we ran into some ejection issues. The extraction of the spent brass was not a problem, but ejecting it out of the open chamber was. The only way we could get the rifle to eject the brass clear of the action was if we harshly slammed the bolt back, then it would bounce and then barely fall out of the action. Any other way and the brass would eject back, hit the rear of the action and bounce right back into the open chamber. Every time. You would then have to clear the brass with your fingers. Clearly not acceptable with a tactical rifle and it would be an issue that would require having the factory look at it or something else to be done.
As we mentioned above, the action was not particularly smooth with some rough stiffness the last half of the bolt stroke forward, but the rifle did feed very well from the internal magazine as well as just single feeding the action. Because of the ejection issues, we really could not test rapid bolt manipulation because the spent brass would cause feeding issues while chambering the next round. Because of this and a very busy shooting range, we decided to forgo the 300 Yard Head Shot test as the time would not be useful.
The Sabatti rifle has some solid foundations and we liked the stock and fit and finish of the rifle well enough for this price range. But we obviously cannot recommend it with the ejection issues and of course it does need some swivel studs and tactical paint to bring it into spec. The accuracy with the Federal ammo was good enough for a factory rifle, but it didn’t really do great with the other ammo types, so that makes it hard to recommend as well. It seems that the rifle is a good foundation and start, but it’ll need some additional changes before its ready for tactical work.
The problem with the ejection was you scope bases. Dont blame the rifle if you cant mount the scope. Also appart from the Federal ammo, why dit you use such crappy ammo.
Is this a real comment? We used steel Mk4 bases for this test, and the two piece bases would be LESS restrictive or interfering on ejection than a single piece rail. Additionally, all three types of ammo we used in the test are high quality match grade ammo. Have you used any of them? We always test with multiple makes of match grade ammo with different bullet weights to give a good representation of what operators and shooter may use.
Sabatti mentioned in their press release for the new Rover Tactical that they updated their bolt and extractor. It now throws the brass out at a different angle. They mentioned brass would some times bounce off the turret or full length picatinny scope rail on the old models. I own two of the old models. And made sure to have a quarter inch of clearance for the objective bell. Mine work fine. But the brass does hit the bottom of the scope rail when ejecting brass. Might have been your problem. Both are extremely accurate once I found what bullet they liked.
What dates are considered “old model”? I got mine in 2018 or 19. Did they mention have the new setup available as an upgrade?
I do not have an exact date, but I am pretty sure it was before 2018
Thanks for the excellent review, as for CJ Bantjes, when you post real reviews there is always going to be those kinds of comments. I just came across your website a few days ago and there is a ton of really good information on here. Thank you for all the work that you put in to these reviews.
Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoy. MEL
Where can one buy a Sabatti evo?
Thought I would follow up on my last comment. Mine started not wanting to eject the brass. Took it to my gunsmith. He replaced the ejector spring with a slightly stronger one. He also polished the ejector plunger and the hole that it sits in. I also had him thread the barrel and install a Area 419 magnum muzzle brake.