Sabatti Safari Double Rifle

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by Eventually_Africa_Again, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I would never buy a double rifle with those sorts of obvious soldering issues. The rib soldering gaps are, well, gaping at the muzzle. @ActionBob has it exactly right. Check out the front end of a well made double - shotgun or rifle.
     

  2. Eventually_Africa_Again

    Eventually_Africa_Again AH Enthusiast

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    I can see, now that I'm looking at it, exactly what you mean on this. I think that seals it for me, I will pass on this one. I want to thank you all for your input, it's been invaluable. Looks like I'll just have to keep searching. Still, better that than buying something crummy.
     
    Ridgewalker likes this.

  3. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I think you've made the right choice. Move on and know you didn't get stuck with a $3500 boat oar. Might you have to spend more for a properly built double? Probably, but better you not ever have a double than some piece of junk.
     
    Ridgewalker and ActionBob like this.

  4. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Yup, for $3500 you can get one heck of a good bolt gun.

    Or you could buy a cheap double, become frustrated with it and eventually get something better. But then if you buy say a $10,000 gun, you'd have $13,500 invested;)
     

  5. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Oh yeah, THAT "fix"...

    By the looks of it, it could be one of the butchered guns that were "fixed" by chopping off or belt-sanding 1/8" or so of the barrels, just enough to remove the dremel-damaged crown. If this is what was done on this one (?), the "fix" certainly cleaned up the muzzle, enough for a basic re-crown - although they did not do such a great polishing job :E Horrified: - but that could not possibly address the lack of proper regulation to begin with... :A Naughty:

    If I could not shoot it myself, I would not touch it with a 10 foot pole... :A Outta:

    Here is a genuinely well meaning suggestion Eventually_Africa_Again: put the $4,000 in a sealed envelope in the gun safe, save another year or so for another $4,000, and get yourself a solid double. Kreighoff, Chapuis, Merkel, etc. occasionally pop up on gunbroker.com for $8,000 or so after the safari season closes around the end of October (now is not the best time to buy).
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019

  6. Eventually_Africa_Again

    Eventually_Africa_Again AH Enthusiast

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    Yea, I agree. It just looks too...I suppose "Doctored" would be a good word. Reminds me of horse trading. When you first look at the horse, everything looks great at a great price. Then you open the mouth and see past the spit at the teeth and realize that yea, maybe there are file marks to make the horses teeth look the same age as they claim but it's not and your going to want to walk away from that. Sure, it might still be a great horse, or it might be a total screw.
     

  7. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Yeah, this is a torment for sure. You know at 90% that you are making the right decision to walk away or you would actually end up throwing away most of your $4,000, but then you can't help thinking that there is that 10% chance that it is a legit gun that someone just needs to move to collect $ to pay medical bills...
    I have been there myself a couple times on a couple guns, scopes, or outfitters... Too good to be true, right? Then we all know the answer... One time last year I went against my guts selecting Huntershill as a RSA Safari destination and I won the jackpot - it was everything and more that they were representing at a truly much lower price, and I am going back this year - but generally I have ended buying twice: one time the wrong thing that indeed WAS too good to be true, then a second time the right thing after loosing much of the money I had spent the first time. I just do not do it anymore...
    Another year will go fast. Just keep putting $350 aside every month and by November 2020 you can buy something that you can trust... :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019

  8. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    Walk away....
     

  9. Thomas Rutledge

    Thomas Rutledge AH Member

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    A lot of commentary here from folks who know more than I do on the subject. My thinking is at this price point what would be the harm in getting an agreement with the seller to see how the rifle shoots pre purchase. 4 rounds at 50 yards would mean a lot....
     

  10. Ed Hawkins

    Ed Hawkins AH Senior Member

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    IMG_0706.JPG
    This is what a brand new Sabatti looks like at the muzzle. I don’t think the one you looking at was hacksawed off, but I’m no expert either. If it was cut down it was soldered and chamfered, so I would presume regulated properly.

    Mine shoot great, and I’m very happy with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019

  11. cbvanb

    cbvanb AH Senior Member

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    Here is another new Sabatti muzzle, in .500 NE, built about 18 months ago. The truth is macro photography can make some surfaces appear rougher than they are. I don't know what advice to give you on that rifle, but a new Sabatti isn't all that much more in that caliber.

    IMG_0160.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2019

  12. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    Yikes that looks rough!!!
     

  13. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    That was my thought, too. For a high priced gun that's pretty poor finish work and quality control.
     

  14. cal pappas

    cal pappas CONTRIBUTOR AH Veteran

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    Gentlemen:

    Allow me to chime in here, If you don’t mind. I’ve handled a few doubles in the past 30 years (1989 was my first double purchase) including several Sabattis.

    First, there is more than the muzzle grinding. I’ve seen and shot rifles with the grinding and without the grinding and know have reports from several friends and many who white via my website. A few shoot well. Most shoot like shit. It’s common for one barrel to shoot well and the other to shoot a foot or two off target. Others shoot both barrels way off target. Some shoot fine. An attorney friend asked me to shoot his to get it on target. I could not. One of the muzzles was ground away and the muzzle looked egg shaped. Since the grinding sent the bullet off path, no amount of load adjustment would get the rifle to regulate property.

    Second is the construction. Face it, gents, no double rifle can be made properly for the amount of a Sabatti. Remember, whatever the new ones sell for is retail, wholesale is approximately half that, and the amount paid directly to Sabatti is even less. They are priced the way they are because absolutely every step in the manufacturing process has been cut to the bones: time spent, cost of raw materials, finishing, quality of materials, etc.

    A good mate in Zimbabwe bought a .500 Sabatti. It was not muzzle ground and it shot fairly well—3 to 4 inches at 50 yards. It probably could have been regulated to shoot a smaller group. Problems soon arose. The ribs began to loosen as the solder was both not well applied and not 100% soldered the full distance (spot soldered). The sights on the rib also began to shoot loose under recoil.

    The rifle of my attorney, not only could not shoot accurately, but when shooting it on a foggy and moist day (not raining) light surface rust appeared on the action. This is a sign of soft, low carbon steel. Read cheap steel.

    I’ve seen and/or been told of recoil pads that loosen, top levers that quickly become off center, stocks that develop cracks at the wrist, solder separation of the muzzle wedge, top rib coming loose, and front sights falling off.

    Several non-English doubles cost more than a Sabatti but far less than those from the UK. Merkel, Verney Caron, Kreighoff, Heym, are four. The English and Scottish vintage doubles are the best in my humble opinion.

    The only double of less quality than Sabatti is the Baikal (<$1000).

    Personally I believe a good compromise can be had (price vs. quality) in the vintage black powder express English and Scottish doubles. The price of vintage doubles has dropped 25% on average the past six years. A good quality, engraved, tight on the face, perhaps with an original case, in .450 or .500 black powder express can be had for $5000 to $8000. Add another 50% for a .577. These rifles have dropped Cape buffalo and can still do so. Formulas are available to duplicate black powder ballistics with modern smokeless powders and, when combined with Woodeligh bullets, are suitable for plains game, Cape buffalo, bears, cats, elk, moose, bison, water buffalo, etc. Perhaps not hippo, elephant, or rhino. That said, a frontal brain shot on a hippo is easy done with a good bpe double rifle as the skill is only 1/4 to 3/8” thick.

    More expensive than a Sabatti? Yes, About the same money as Merkels and other? Yes. I takes some effort to not want something new and to get used to hammers and a Jones under lever (although many hammerless bpe doubles are out there). I know my words will fall on deaf ears and many will disagree. That’s good. It leaves more vintage doubles out there for the minority such as myself. And, are reasonable prices.

    Fellas, It’s not just accuracy. A cheap double can shoot accurately—for a while. Sabattis are bottom of the barrel double rifles: the materials used, the construction, and the finish.

    Cal
     

  15. Adam Stevens

    Adam Stevens AH Veteran

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    Thanks for that Cal. I’ve always wanted a double. And budget wise a sabatti would be the easiest to get into. I guess I’m trying to sell myself on it over the past couple years but since I never pulled the trigger on one I should forget about them.

    I wise of CAD exchange wasn’t so horrible that doesn’t help much. My realistic only affordable choice is merkels. Which can be bought new for 8-9K CAD. Kicking myself for not grabbing a display krieghoff 470 for 10k a few years back, they’re 16+. Same goes for VC except Ive heard of a few too many infield issues if I spent that money I’d save up for a Heym.
     

  16. cal pappas

    cal pappas CONTRIBUTOR AH Veteran

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    Of the new doubles, non English, Verney Caron would be my pick. I bought one for a friend a few years ago and it's a dream. Don't hurry, your rifle will come up.
    Cal
     

  17. cbvanb

    cbvanb AH Senior Member

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    I couldn't help but laugh when I read this, because it reminds me of a time in my life when we had the same argument over a different brand. I spent a lot of years in the long range accuracy game, and at that time a Remington 700 was barely an entry level gun, usually requiring thousands of dollars in upgrades to be considered a serious rifle. But we began to hear rumors of a factory rifle that could stand side by side with our custom guns, made by Savage Arms. It was dismissed at first, and a guy showing up with a stock Savage rifle would be laughed off the line. But over time we learned that they could hold their own, and even win on occasion, even though the cost of a Savage then was about $250. So then we believed that they were using cheap steel and the throats would wash out quickly and the barrels would fail, but we were wrong about that too. The truth, in the end, was Savage had figured out how to build an accurate, reliable rifle a lot cheaper than anyone else. They pretty much still do that today.
    The idea that something being manufactured today can't be built cheaper than it used to be is patently ridiculous. Modern manufacturing techniques and materials give us things that are cheaper and better than they used to be all the time. You could buy a Chapuis UGEX for what a Sabatti costs, even less in some calibers. Is that a junk product? A Merkel costs about $5000 more than a Sabatti, which is still very cheap by double rifle standards. Is that a junk rifle, or does the extra $5000 cross the threshold of a well-built gun? Obviously there is a point at which too many shortcuts are taken, but Craig Boddington has more published real-world experience with Sabatti rifles than anyone else, and he continues to own and use them. I take that as a valid endorsement, and from what I can tell he doesn't get paid to use them, he just trusts them.
    Sabatti learned the hard way, as all manufacturers do, that you do not violate the cardinal rule of adhering to quality control above all else. They made some stupid decisions regarding an unrealistic production schedule for Cabelas and it haunts them to this day. A careful reading of Sabatti criticisms on any forum always reveals more stories that were "heard about" than actually seen first hand. That's typical human nature, and gun owners in particular are an unforgiving lot. Marlin, Remington, Smith & Wesson, Colt, Winchester and a host of others all violated the same cardinal rule at some point and we all remember, don't we?
    I own one Sabatti, and frankly it was the price that attracted me. I own and have owned others that cost far more. I have no quarrel with anyone who wants to spend more on a double rifle, which obviously is easy to do, but in the end I believe we have the same thing: a two shot rifle, built to traditional specifications, that functions reliably and accurately. Mine is built with modern steel, in a modern manufacturing facility , to modern quality control standards. I'm comfortable with that.
     

  18. BnC 04

    BnC 04 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I'm in the market for a double myself and having very little first hand field knowledge of a double I have been watching this thread closely.
    What I have come to understand is the terms of reliability vs quality vs price.
    Almost identical scenario when talking of Hornady DGX ammo, some have used that ammo and have had satisfactory results. Others condemn that bullet to h@ll at all costs due to proven/know failures. And yet others simply are not interested in taking a chance and playing the odds if "their" bullet will be the one is fail.
    Seems almost identical theory with a Sabatti. Roll the dice, play the odds you get a reliable tool or don't.
    I looked at them and myself personally would have more heartburn over a failed "great price" boat oar then the pain of coming off a few $$$ more.
     

  19. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Personally, I would take the advice of Cal Pappas over Craig Boddington any day of the week.
     

  20. Eventually_Africa_Again

    Eventually_Africa_Again AH Enthusiast

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    I'm just glad that so many people here are willing to give their input. I will, hopefully, own a 450/400 double rifle someday. That's my goal and I thought that perhaps it was in reach this time. I suppose it was, but I chose to pass based on the experts here. I do not regret that at all now and only time will tell if I end up regretting it in the future. The problem for myself, and I take it for several who are in the same boat as me, is that while almost any forum out there will extol the virtues and pitfalls of bolt action rifles there are very few places to look for actual real-world double rifle knowledge. You end up feeling like you will need to drop 10-20k on a rifle and at this time in my life, and possibly the future as well, that's not happening. I'm sure the rifles are worth it, truly I am, but they are just too far out of realistic reach to aim for. So we start looking at the more affordable options such as Sabatti. If this rifle had not been a Cabelas Sabatti in all honesty I probably would have jumped on it, but the risk was just too great for what it was. Of course I know that owning one of these rifles is a privilege, not a right, and if I can't pony up to pay the piper you would be right to call me out on wanting an excellent product for a paupers price. Still, a dream is not easily ignored and while I can I will continue to dream of, and work towards, finding an affordable double rifle, in the caliber that I want and a platform that I can feel good about owning. And until that day I know I can come here, throw out what I find and see what those who have far more experience than I will ever have say about it. Rest assured, if and when the day comes that people start saying "Jump on that, it's your ticket man!" I'll jump like a startled cat, it just didn't happen this time around.
     
    CAustin, gillettehunter and BnC 04 like this.

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