Sabatti Safari Double Rifle

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

  1. Philip Glass

    Philip Glass AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Yes I agree having something to compare to would be good. I am afraid of where the discussion of looking for a cheap double will lead. It’s like me asking to buy a $10,000 Ferrari. There may be one out there but you don’t want it!
    Philip
     

  2. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Pretty sure Cal doesn't get a "consideration" from any 19th and early 20th century makers as well.

    I quibble a bit with Cal over the suitability of the 500 BPE as an effective buffalo rifle. Yes for an expert - no for a first double for dangerous game. But I could not agree more with regard to quality and getting a product commensurate with what one invests. And I know of no one who frequents this site with more experience with double rifles than him. I would second the notion that there are some great buys in vintage doubles out there. I own several. However, I would urge anyone embarking on such a purchase for the first time to get expert help evaluating the rifle before writing a check. My personal SxS education over four decades was very expensive.

    I personally believe that the Sabatti is a "cheap" double in just about every way. I would urge anyone wanting a quality new production rifle to save a bit more and get a VC or K-gun. My second choice (but very close) recommendations would be Merkel and Heym.
     

  3. cal pappas

    cal pappas CONTRIBUTOR AH Veteran

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    Gentlemen:
    My comments on Sabatti doubles are not what I read of other's experiences. I have held them, shot them, and known many who own them. A friend's Sabatti was worthless and he asked Cabela's to take it back. They refused. After my written evaluation of the rifle was submitted to Cabela's adn Sabaiit in Italy, it was rejected. My friend threatened to file a law suit. He was ignored. Then he let it be known he was a lawyer. Cabelas took the rifle back and gave him a refund. Damn! I was looking forward to being on the witness stand.

    As to Craig Bodington. Ever notice all he says are good things about rifles, optics, ammo, slings, scope mounts, outfitters, etc.? He is paid to say them. He gets lots of free stuff. Although you'd never know it reading his bankruptcy papers. He's no different than those on TV who endorse products.

    I have decided to sell most of my double collection and only keep a few to hunt with. I'm getting old with no family to leave anything to. Doubles I have are flawless in operation and are 0ver 100 years old. They won't fail to function tomorrow as they have a history of performance. I do have a couple of .450-400 rifles that will go on the block soon. Lots more than a Sabatti, 2x more than a Merkel. Vintage doubles are head and shoulders above anything made today; including today's doubles from the UK.

    My apologies if anyone took offense to my Sabatti post. No harm was meant, just my personal experiences.
    Cal
     

  4. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    There is another recent thread on Sabatti doubles at https://www.africahunting.com/threads/how-are-the-new-sabattis-in-470-and-500.48462/#post-522796

    Allow me to re-post here what I said there, because it seems relevant here:

    "You never have a second chance to create a first impression" they say...

    The thought that comes to mind is: did the .458 Win ever recover from its 1960's launch era issues when factually the early ammo under performed its specs, and factually there were genuine cases of compressed charges of Olin Chemical’s early ball powder causing erratic ignition. To this day, almost 60 years later, one continues to read about the .458 Win being an unreliable round, which is hogwash with current loads, although it is, naturally, less powerful than the full length Lott...

    Will Sabatti ever recover from their attempt at "regulating" doubles by intentionally butchering the barrels crown to create sideways jetting of propellant gases? What do such short cuts by manufacturers tell us about their core business philosophy? Was this an individual judgment error or the symptom of systemic issues? Were there, are there, other short cuts in the Sabatti doubles manufacturing process? Your, my, or any poster's answer all have the same value: we would all be speculating...

    For what it is worth, my Beretta Black Onyx shotgun has proved indestructible; but
    1) my Zanardini kipplauf (single barrel break open rifle) in 7x65R had steel so soft that the cocking bar inside the action was bent out of function after less than 100 rounds, and the silver solder joint holding the barrel in the action monoblock broke when I shot it one day in negative temperature; and
    2) my Zoli over/under double 9.3x74R went off the face and lost any semblance of accuracy in less than 200 rounds.

    Are Italian smaller companies or artisan shops more susceptible to manufacturing issues than Italian international corporations (Beretta, Benelli, etc.)? I do not know... Were Italian steels softer in the 80's? Clearly! Has this been resolved? I do not know... Are these considerations relevant to Sabatti? I do not know... but there it is, based on my own first impressions and personal experience with smaller Italian firms break open rifles, my own .470 NE double is ... a Kreighoff.

    If I were a PH and my double was a daily-use tool that I must rely on to keep my clients, trackers, and myself alive when everything has gone wrong, there are darn few modern manufacture doubles I would consider:
    -- Heym, Kreighoff and Blaser would be at the top of my list;
    -- followed by Chapuis;
    -- followed by a big gap as these four really dominate;
    -- followed by Verney Carron;
    -- followed by Merkel (although I had a sidelock hammer break - brittle steel ! - on a 20 gauge sxs, which considerably reduced my trust in the brand)...

    This post is sure to create a firestorm, but you asked for opinions, right? So, this is just mine...


    As to a few posts here:

    - I fully agree with cal pappas about low carbon soft steel being a perennial issue with Italian break open rifles. See my own experience described above. Has this been resolved? Maybe.

    - In the electronics assembly business, a typical signature from a rookie is the excessive amount of solder used in a joint. The same applies to gun. What strikes me in these muzzle pictures is the amount of solder being used to fill holes that should be occupied by steel. A well made double does not have a gaping hole at the barrel junction, it has a steel wedge that are used to adjust the barrels spreads and solder joints are just hairlines between steel.

    - Yes Boddington is on record for loving his Sabatti double. Leaving aside for a minute the issue of commercial endorsement, which he vehemently denies, I will observe something which in my mind is vastly more important. His Sabatti double is in 9.3x74R caliber. A vastly different kitten from the classic Nitro Express beasts.

    - Regarding alternative offerings (twice as much as a Sabatti, but half the price of a Heym), George Caswell of Champlin Arms, a well recognized name in the American double market, and JJ Perodeau consider Chapuis as unbeatable. George states: "We have had every current made boxlock double rifle in our shop, have shot them all, worked on all, had all of them apart and we know for fact that you can't buy a better one for the money than a Chapuis. We regulate, re-joint, do triggers, re-barrel and hunt with and shoot a lot of double rifles. We flat know this is one tough, attractive, high precision, go to Africa and have money left for the second Buffalo type of gun. I challenge you to show me a better current double rifle for the money."

    I am with Philip Glass, Red Leg, etc. here, guess what: there is a pretty darn good reason why the Ferrari is on the block for only $10,000...
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019

  5. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Here is one FACTUAL issue with the Sabatti...

    This is what a double rifle muzzle should look like (my Krieghoff .470 NE):
    Muzzle Kreighoff.jpg

    upload_2019-3-30_10-29-36.png
    • Notice the massive regulation wedge (red arrow) THAT ACTUALLY HOLDS THE BARRELS TOGETHER;
    • Notice the hairline solder joints between the wedge and the barrels (blue arrow);
    • Notice the hairline solder joint with the front sight (blue arrow);
    • Notice the small gaps between the wedge on the ribs (yellow arrow).
    This is not TIG or MIG welding, the joints are not steel. They are soft solder. Soft solder has no structural integrity or mechanical strength, its only function is to join two pieces of steel.

    This Sabatti's regulation "wedge" cannot possibly prevent overtime the barrels from yawing. It will ultimately act as a pivot point for the barrels...
    Sabatti 1.JPG

    This Sabatti apparently does not even have a regulation wedge !?!?!?
    Sabatti 2.JPG

    These, Gentlemen, are facts.

    And of course, if you look at the muzzle of classic British doubles, the regulation wedge is so finely adjusted, that you do not even have ANY gap over and under it between the wedge and the ribs. These small gaps do not compromise the strength of the Kreighoff, but they contribute to explain why a Kreighoff is so much cheaper than a classic British.

    And this is the point on which cbvanb is of course right: modern manufacturing can do faster and cheaper and just as strong (I bet you that a Heym, Kreighoff, Blaser, Chapuis is just as strong as a classic British or Scottish double), but these folks spent more time making sure that BOTH form and functions were perfect.

    In my mind, Kreighoff sacrifices nothing on function but a little bit on form. I would love someone to post a pic of the muzzle of a Heym. I would not be surprised if it had no gap. There is certainly a reason why a Heym costs twice as much as a Kreighoff, and it is not function. it therefore has to be form...

    It looks like Sabatti completely sacrifices function. Period. Seriously, how long do you think that a .500 NE assembled with only soft solder and without a regulation wedge is going to hold together?

    I feel so sorry for the folks taken advantage of when buying these "rifles."
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019

  6. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Ain't that the truth.
     

  7. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Excellent analogy Phillip. You can buy the $10K Ferrari and say you own one, but if it won’t make it out the driveway, are you still proud to say you own it. Yet some folks do just that. Too good to pass up. However, if I am putting my life, or that of the PH and staff on the line, I think I would just wait until the right, well regulated double came along. If you never plan to hunt with it, then by all means, buy the cheapest thing out there and keep in in the gun safe, except when impressionable guest are over who won’t know better.
     

  8. Philip Glass

    Philip Glass AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Mort that is a very good point. Ive found out the hard way not all big guns should be DG guns.
    Philip
     

  9. Eventually_Africa_Again

    Eventually_Africa_Again AH Enthusiast

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    While I have no doubt that I cannot afford anything that you would put up, I would ask that you link them anyway so that at least I can look at them and get more examples of good doubles and what to look for in the future when I can afford something like that. As for them being old, well, I collect WW2 rifles as well and none of them have ever failed me. Old doesn't mean junk by any means, and anyone who thinks it does just needs a bit of re-education.
     
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  10. Eventually_Africa_Again

    Eventually_Africa_Again AH Enthusiast

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    This is such an excellent breakdown I couldn't have asked for better if I was in a classroom. Thank you for the labels, the pictures, all of it. The more I learn the more I want one, but not just to "have" but to be proud of and use. Thank you again for all your knowledge!
     
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  11. Dewald

    Dewald AH Veteran

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    One Day, your post caused me some serious doubt. I also always profess the value of vintage British boxlocks.

    Would my almost 100 year old .450-.400 3&1/4 made by that Gibbs fellow be put together with heaps of solder or not?!?

    Although I hunt with her often, recreationally and as backup, I’ve never paid that much attention to the muzzles, except to make sure they are clean.

    Please excuse the exaggerated pitting on the macro photo of this working rifle. In reality they are tiny black dots, a mere thou or two deep, on a very old, and otherwise pristine rifle.

    I believe Mr Gibbs’ soldering and regulation was quite neat, and as good as the best out there today.

    IMG_6515.JPG
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
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  12. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    "Pleasure!" as your PH would likely reply :)

    Yep, this is the perfect illustration of my point in the previous post. Thank you for posting this pic.
    On this Gibbs, one can barely discern the two horizontal hairline solder joints between the regulation wedge and the top and bottom ribs. This rifle was assembled the way it should be done. About a full 1/4 of the circumferences of the barrels are soldered to the massive regulation wedge, the massive upper rib and the lower rib. Nothing is ever going to be shaking loose there.
    This compares advantageously to the 1/16 of circumference soldered to the upper rib on the .500 NE Sabatti pictured above, and the two tiny contact points on each barrel with the lower rib. Saddly, for this Sabatti, it is not "if" it is simply "when"...
    And this is why, to cal pappas' point, a well made century old rifle is infinitely more desirable, more reliable, and safer than a modern poorly made rifle...
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
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  13. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Perfect photo to show those perfect tiny seams ............
    Beat me to i! But exactly the sort of incredible fitting that goes into a well made double - now or a hundred years ago. And the action, the heat treatment of the springs and sears (different at different places on the same tiny part), the fitting of the joint, etc, etc are the differences between a rifle or shotgun that will shoot for a few hundred rounds or a hundred years.
     
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  14. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Amen!
     

  15. DaveL

    DaveL AH Member

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    So what should the crown look like if the gun is not one of those Cabela's ones with gremlins? Again, I'm one of those double gun tyros but am very interested in a Sabatti in either .470 or .500.
     

  16. Ed Hawkins

    Ed Hawkins AH Senior Member

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    IMG_1668.JPG
     

  17. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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  18. Opposite Pole

    Opposite Pole AH Fanatic

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    Here is another Krieghoff muzzle IMG_1030.JPG
     

  19. 3S Safaris

    3S Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Enthusiast

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    Latest and greatest from Sabatti or IFG sent email in regards to the new EDL rifle they have as I am interested in a double but all I have found is 450/400 on Gunbroker. I am interested in seeing one in person and handling it , they said they were at DSC last 4 years as I was looking for Sabatti booth not IFG , any way want to compare the feel of the EDL compared to a Merkel .
    They said they are on order and don't know when they will arrive ( they have said that since the EDL came out last year) went down the list of dealers I called roughly 30 of them all over the US and they only have older models.
    So if you are looking for one there you have it …… keep looking I guess.
     

  20. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    Slightly off subject, since the manufacturer is different. Are the Davide Pedersoli Mark IV doubles in the same sketchy class as the Sabatti doubles? I remembered the 45-70 and then looked them up and they also make (or made) a 8X57 JRS.
     

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