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Thread: New Sabatti Rover 6.5 x 55 review

  1. #1
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    New Sabatti Rover 6.5 x 55 review

    So I just got myself a new Sabatti, and because I couldn't find a decent deep dive into what they're like anywhere when I was weighing things up I thought I better do one.

    Sabatti is a really old company from Italy, who've been making rifles for a few hundred years.

    I saw a new 6.5 x 55 on TradeMe a few weeks ago that caught my eye - it looked nicely classical, versus all of my other black plastic rifles. I shoot goats and wallaby at some distance sometimes so I thought the 6.5 factor would be ideal.

    The TM pictures...

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    It arrived yesterday and it's as finely made (to the eye) as it looked in the photos. If I have a whinge, it's that there's a slight half ring worn round the barrel where it's been resting in a gun rack. I realize now it's visible in the TM photos too.

    But otherwise it looks and feels great. The bolt is heavy and solid and fairly stiff to close, but the rifle itself feels quite light (without the glass on it yet). The trigger hardly moves when you pull it, a bit like a Browning X-Bolt, just a little tick and the rifle fires.

    My first job last night was to wipe it down, clean the barrel - for the sake of the close inspection that encourages - and then I pulled the action from the stock to see if the inletting was well protected.

    Answer: ish. I could see all the inletting had been oiled at least once. Unlike the last two X-Bolts I've purchased. But it also looked like the Sabatti's barrel channel was trimmed to float the barrel after it had been oiled.

    So it got another coat of tung oil to be sure.

    The inletting was nice and tidy though, not much burr, fairly smooth. I've seen good rifle brands hiding inletting that looks like a chain saw was used.

    Here's the innards of the stock, with the recent coat of tung oil soaking in...

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    I've got a box of those cheap Serbian PPU rounds to break it in this weekend. 149g FMJ from memory. I'll swar in the iron sights while I'm doing that. I'll post a range report when I'm done and before I add the glass.
    Tahr, nor-west, Beaker and 5 others like this.

  2. #2
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    I'll follow this as I'm interested in how these shoot and handle. What glass, bases, rings are you looking at?
    YosemiteSam likes this.

  3. #3
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    I've got a Vortex Viper 4-16 X 50 scope and planning on Warne quick release rings on an EGW 20MOA rail. Sabattis use the Rem700 rails. I did the playdough job tonight to see what height I needed in the rings and rail combo. Answer: 14mm will put the bell 2 or 3mm off the barrel so I'm guessing I can use the low rings. The bolt handle swings up quite high so the scope height has to factor in bolt handle avoidance.

  4. #4
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    One good sign this is a well made rifle.....the safety and bolt release levers. Solid as... the safety on my last Howa is made from pressed sheet metal. But the Sabatti has solid steel parts.

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    jakewire, Tahr and ZG47 like this.

  5. #5
    Caretaker jakewire's Avatar
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    Excellent.
    I also have been wondering abut these rifles and will follow your thread as well.
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  6. #6
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    Good solid looking rifle. Nice stock also

  7. #7
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    Post a pic when she's all together please.
    Max Headroom likes this.

  8. #8
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    So here’s the rifle back together. I’m very happy with how well the free-floated barrel sits in its channel.

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    I have spotted a blemish in the powder-coat. Looks like a thumb print.

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    But in all other aspects I’m pleased so far.

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    That blemish will be mostly covered. I’ve ordered a 10MOA rail made by Contessa from a UK shop. They’re Sabatti specific rails. You can use Rem700 two piece mounts instead. But not a Rem700 one-piece.

    I noticed while measuring heights for the rings that the Vortex would be quite a tight fit using two piece bases. To meet the bases each of the rings would be hard up against the bells. So no chance of adjusting for eye relief. Which makes the rail a definite need.

    With the barrel taper I only need about 13mm of clearance between scope tube and rifle to comfortably fit the 50mm objective. The rail is described as 8mm high so I might be able to get away with a set of Warne low QR rings. But I’ll wait until the base comes because I don’t know where the 8mm was measured. As an MOA rail it will taper. And like all Rem700 style mounts the rear base is taller than the front by about 3mm I think. So I think I better eyeball it first.

    I’m not going to make it to the range today for barrel break-in. Dunedin has a nor-easter delivering the grey claggy weather we’re famous for. I’m going to teach a visiting ice-hockey player from Canada to fly-fish instead.
    trooper90 likes this.

  9. #9
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    I made it to the local range today to start breaking the barrel in. The break-in procedure from Sabatti is insane. Something like two cleaning rods worth of copper remover, two of carbon remover and two of bore paste for every shot. I just gave it one run with a brush and one with a swab after each shot, using #9.

    It shoots real nice. Recoil is straight back and not some other direction.

    With all the cleaning and cooling, and some time talking to the cocky I only got five shots off.

    But with only the built-in iron sights and a brand new barrel all shots were within 3 inches of the bull at 50 yards. 3 of them were inside 2 inches. Iím ok with that. I didnít put much effort in, the sights covered most of the target, the shooting position wasnít great and the ammo was cheap as.

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    Possibly nice grouping there. Time will tell.

    I did notice one curious thing. A wee ring being worn into the base of the ammo by the bolt. Thatís from the lip of the extractor.

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    Next step?... Weíll see how well seated the Contessa 10MOA base is when it comes.

  10. #10
    Member Max Headroom's Avatar
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    Is your target mounted on steel plate? I was looking at the lower group and trying to work out what all the small perforations were, and guessed it must be splashback from the rounds hitting the steel.

  11. #11
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    What's the trigger like?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Headroom View Post
    Is your target mounted on steel plate? I was looking at the lower group and trying to work out what all the small perforations were, and guessed it must be splashback from the rounds hitting the steel.
    The targets are mounted on single fencing posts, running right behind the bulls eye - design error that one - so yes, frags are bouncing back and making a mess of things.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nor-west View Post
    What's the trigger like?
    It's a bit heavy, a single-stage trigger, but can be adjusted in two different ways evidently. I'll dig into that. Almost no travel in it, must be half a mil or a mil between touching and firing.
    nor-west likes this.

  14. #14
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    The 10MOA Contessa rail from Alan Rhone in the UK came. Great shop... UK to my (rural NZ) door in under a week! And the price was comparable to Brownells. If you need anything for a Sabatti they're a good choice I think. And a very nicely made rail too. The usual concern is that it doesn't sit flush with the receiver. I tested it by holding one end onto the receiver and tapping the other end listening for a little click sound to show the base is see-sawing on the mount points. It sat firmly without any need for bedding at all. And a great semi-gloss finish with none of the tell tail signs of factory metalwork. Hopefully the Warne QR rings come just as fast.

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    nor-west, gadgetman and ZG47 like this.

  15. #15
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    The Warne QR rings came very fast indeed, overnight ex my favourite shop in ChCh.

    A bit of a deep inhale as I put them on because I got the low rings and wasn't 100% sure I'd be able to mount the 50mm objective lens with them. But all good....

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    Just enough room to spare to fit a pair of butler creek caps on the scope.

    I did make a newbie mistake though and fit the rings so the QR levers were on the right side of the rifle. I realised it'll be tight enough already top loading the rifle with the rail where it is.

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    So I pulled the rings off again and mounted them the other way. Sweet.

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    I've bore-sighted the scope and the next stop is the range. I'm not sure I like this Vortex Viper 4-16 X 50. It's got 1/2MOA adjustment on the vertical plane...I'd rather 1/4MOA. And the focus/parallax knob on the left side of the scope does my head in. I'll probably keep forgetting to adjust it. And playing in the backyard, it seemed to drastically reduce the eye relief at higher magnification and I felt like there was a lot of distortion. But that wasn't a fair field test so I'll find out this weekend I hope.

    PS: I said earlier the trigger was adjustable. I was wrong. Officially it's not adjustable. Though that big bolt head at the back of the trigger group is begging to be tested I think.

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    But I know nothing...so I'll look around for some advise on that or go down to Elios, which is literally 1km from where I am writing this.
    muzr257, nor-west and Sonicjoe like this.

 

 

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