They seem to have finally worked through most of the accuracy issues on these guns. Time will tell with regard to durability. I own and shoot a few English guns and rifles. Holland & Holland builds approximately eighty guns a year. Which were built by Sabatti?The Sabatti rifles have to be the best deal in a double rifle you can get. Ever since IFG took over the importation of them, they have taken off with top quality doubles. Unfortunately IFG has stopped importing the plain big five rifles except for special order. But they are focusing on the more expensive and fancier version EDL which is basically the same gun but with Flux side plates that are engraved, a higher grade of walnut stock and finer cut checkering. Most people don't know this but you can order a new Sabatti with spare barrels in other calibers or shotgun barrels. I also own a double 9.3X74R with a spare set of 20 gauge barrels. But the spare barrels have to be ordered at the same time as the rifle. There are only a few new Big Five rifles in circulation for sale going for around $5,000, the EDL version sells for about $7,000. I own a 500 NE, a 450/400 3" in the Big Five and 9.3X74R in the smaller frame. All shoot exceptional well. the 450/400 and the 9.3 guns with scopes on them can easily be used out to 150 yards or more. Craig used his 9.3 out to a think 175 yards. Most people don't know that Sabatti use to make the Remington Pro Bore shot guns at one time they also made shotguns for Holland & Holland.
I certainly would not go as far as saying owning a Sabatti is like owning a Mossberg. I own a Benelli and I have shot Mossbergs. I guess you will need to own or shoot a Sabatti to understand them. They look good, they feel good, they hit to point of aim and they are very reliable. I can't say that about a Mossberg. Sabatti will guarantee a minimum of 2 1/2" groups at 50 yards. Most do much better, I don't think any other manufacturer in a starter class will guarantee that. Sabatti doesn't sponsor Craig so he has nothing to gain by writing about the gun. It's his honest opinion. He is simply amazed they can put out such a high quality rifle so inexpensive. Sabatti's main market is Europe where small bore double guns are common and they build thousands of them with a seller reputation. They also build combo rifle/shotguns and sxs and o/u shotguns. They have been making guns longer than we have been a country. They are not the new guy on the block on the world stag. I have fired many hundereds of rounds in Sabatti doubles, they function flawlessly, they hit to point of aim and group well. I don't know what else you expect a rifle to do. I guess a better comparison is would you be happy with a CZ 550 magnum rifle or do you have to have a Dakota. I buy the CZ and use the money I save to go on another hunt.Well I'm 65, and I have my own range at home where I shoot every week - all types of guns. Been shooting one thing or the other for a while.
Look I think we are probably closer to agreement than we might seem to be. If we limit our discussion, as you note above, to under $15k - not what I understood from your previous post - then I am happy to put the Sabatti into the mix. Your opinion is as good as mine - I'll not trot out my list of gun writer and TV dudes who agree with me, if you will allow that I can be permitted to not be particularly overawed what Craig may think about the gun.
So, if I had 15k to spend, I personally would purchase a Krieghoff, Verney Carron, used Blaser S2 (no longer in production), Merkel or Heym before I purchased a Sabatti (assuming I could find the Merkel or Heym at that price point). None of that says that the Sabatti is crap. If I had 8k to spend, I likely would buy a Sabatti (though I would be looking really hard for a lightly used VC in that price range). It is an excellent value for that money. But an excellent value at that price does not make just "as good or better" than rifles produced by other established double rifle makers which cost twice as much.
Perhaps an analogy would be the Mossberg 930. It is a robust dependable shotgun. From a quality perspective it probably isn't a Benelli Super Black Eagle. But it isn't trying to be.
And you and I can both absolutely agree that the Zambezi Delta is an incredible place to hunt buffalo!
Yes to my surprise Craig used Hornady DG ammo but in the 9.3 it comes loaded with a Interlock bullet. One shot is all it took and showed me the recovered bullet which appeared to retain about 70% of it's weight. I did not expect it do that well.
In my opinion the 9.3 is a bit light for buffalo except in an experts hands like Craig. He certainly made it work with one shot. He used the Hornady Interlock 286 gr bullet. But I have only shot 5 buffalo, 2 with a 375 H&H, one with a 460 Weatherby, one with a 416 Rigby and one with the 450/400. For me I felt the most comfortable Rigby. But in the big heards the PH's are worried about through penetration so they perfected softs with the 375 or the 450/400. All 5 buffalo I shot where hit at least partially through the heart so all the guns worked for me. The 460 was just way more than you need, the 375 certainly worked good but that 416 was manageable and dramatic.My outfitter in Oz who apart from being a PH is a gun nut (man after my own heart) spoke highly about 9.3 for Water Buffalo. When I hunted with him he had several guns available for use by the clients including two Merkel doubles, one in 470N.E. and the other in 9.3x74R with a reflex sight. His wife who is also a hunter had a lovely custom 9.3x62. He also had some 375H&H and 458 rifles in the cabinet and personally carried a 500NE double but reckoned that the 9.3 did most of the buff shooting. I would illogically feel under gunned with my 9.3 against buffalo but it is clear the experienced fellas don’t mind it and prove it is perfectly adequate. I know 9.3 was quite popular in parts of Africa where Germans were present, but obviously availability was an important factor. 9.3s are quite popular in Europe and for good reason but we do not hunt buffalo here.