It’s interesting that a 400+ year old Italian firearms company is relatively unknown in the United States. In the early 1700s, Mr. Ludovico Sabatti was making flint lock pistols and barrels. Subsequent generations developed specialized barrel making capabilities as well as other parts. It’s worth noting this history – they have been making barrels for four hundred years!!
Following WWII, Antonio Sabatti formed a partnershp with Giuseppe Tanfoglio to make hunting arms and began to build semi-automatic pistols in 1956. By 1960, the two parted ways and the children of Antonio Sabatti formed what would become Sabatti today based in Trompia, Italy.
Today, Sabatti makes a wide range of firearms for target shooting, hunting. upland game and competition plus some niche tactical rifles including the Urban Sniper that will be covered in this post.
Italian Firearms Group
Of course, when you have a foreign manufacturer such as Sabatti, you need an importer and that’s where the Italian Firearms Group (IFG) enters into the picture. IFG was created in 2014 and represents four respected Italian gunmakers – F.A.I.R, Sabatti, Pedersoli and FT Italia.
I spoke with Justin Dodd, IFG’s Chief of Operations about their philosophy. He related to be that the US partners came out of the oil field service industry where customer service meant everything. It is critical to them to bring “…unprecedented levels of customer service to this industry – something we felt the industry as a whole was lacking.” I think most of us can readily agree with Justin on that – the US firearms industry is not known for great customer service in general.
I asked him what brought Sabatti to their attention. It turns out that Sabatti and the other three gun makers listed above were looking to create a sales, service and support hub in the USA. For Justin personally, the double express rifles in 450/400, 450, 470 and 500 NE were the initial draw.
Of course, I had to ask Justin why the Sabatti name was not better known in the US. His reply struck me as very pragmatic – “The past few years have been spent making sure the guns met with the USA’s standards. Historically, they have done quite well with their rifles in Europe but the features on those rifles did not sit well with the US consumer. For example, we started threading muzzles, shortening barrels, adding more US styled features like bolt knobs, sling swivel cups, and switching to the new bottom metal / magazine system. Now that the guns are where we want them, the marketing push will begin.”
The Urban Sniper
What caught my eye was a product announcement for their Urban Sniper rifle. It is a relatively compact rifle at 41-3/4″ overall, is chambered in .308 and 6.5 Creedmor and claimed sub-MOA accuracy from a 20″ (510mm) barrel. They claimed to be using a proprietary rifling method known as “Multi Radial Rifling” (MRR). Sabatti also said it was intended for use within 400mm.
My very next thought was “what the heck is MRR”? So I started digging on the WWW and found numerous posts and attempts at explaining it. Justin finally helped me sort it out – imagine polygonal rifling but without the points – that gives you an idea now let’s look at a cross-section of a barrel in a photo Justin sent me:
Sabatti also produced a PDF explaining MRR and how to care for it. Their claims are pretty big. Sabatti says that MRR enables:
- HIGHER BULLET SPEED
- IMPROVED GROUP CONCENTRATION
- REDUCED NUMBER OF FLIERS
- LESS COPPER DEPOSITS
- LESS CLEANING REQUIRED
- EASIER CLEANING WHEN NEEDED
- LESS BARREL WEAR
To make a long story short, I bought an Urban Sniper in .308 because I have quite a bit of .308 match ammo to try it out including rounds from Federal and Remington.
A tad over a week later it arrived and in typical George (me) fashion, I got derailed and the rifle had to sit until I could get to it. In the next post, I’ll tell you more about the rifle and my impressions when I took it out of the box.
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