ATA SP Elegant
- 11 Comments
- Last updated: 23/01/2021
ATA of Turkey’s SP over & under (O/U) shotgun distributed by The Sportsman Gun Centre, has really taken the UK by storm, offering a competitive gun with great woodwork, given the price. The model range includes black, nickel, laminate, sporter, game and deluxe hand engraved to name a few options, so something for everyone.
They feature a single selective trigger mechanism, 28 or 30”, multi-chokes, steel-proofed barrels, ejectors, side plate design and real quality Turkish walnut furniture. All for a list price of £799 for the gun on test. It really is a staggeringly cheap price point for a shotgun with all these features, so let’s take a good look at what you get.
Practical yet good looking are definitely the words here! ATA are well known for adorning their guns with particularly good quality walnut, sometimes it’s hard to believe the price of the gun you are looking at. The timber compares well perhaps, to more well-known and certainly more expensive sporting shotguns on the gun racks of your local dealer!
Described as Grade 2.5 walnut, they must all be blind in Turkey! As to me and others who saw this example thought it was a Grade 5 top quality shotgun. And when I told them the SRP of £799, they all must have thought I was going mad.
Visually, the oil-finish is a lightly rubbed and matt affair in keeping with this Elegant 12-gauge shotgun. The walnut is incredibly striking with a background of honeycoloured figuring, with dark/deep and varied black figuring running horizontally through the entire butt and it pleasingly matched well to the forend too. It’s amazing really, and to my eyes, the stock alone is worth the full asking price of this gun.
It has a generous 10”, semi- Schnabel forend with a deep belly, and a typical palm filling swell to the bottom section plus those large finger grooves to the top. To aid further in comfort and surface contact is some nice chequering and a laseretched ATA logo. The forend release is a push-button type located in the tip, so does not get in the way, and is easy and reliable to operate so making disassembly easy. The butt is equally wellappointed with a length of pull (LOP) of 14.5” and shows a pretty straight comb and little cast, so not bad from either shoulder, although left-handed versions are available, regardless it really comes up nicely. I really like the walnut butt pad, a touch of class that is grooved in its central portion for some grip in the shoulder. However, a rubber recoil pad might be preferred by some users, especially in a 12-gauge like this!
There is no palm swell but the pistol grip is generous and large so any hand size can get a good hold. At the base, there’s a small lip for added security and maintaining your firing position easily. All in all, an excellent, wellexecuted design for those that demand performance in the field in all weathers yet looks superb. The 14.5 LOP, which I assume is standard, proved a bit short for me and doubtless others with longer arms.
It is no secret the barrels and action look to some degree like that of a Beretta 686, but there are many internal differences. Locking is by twin protruding lugs from the action face that wedge into mortises. These are tapered, so a certain amount of integral tightening is achieved, this one was very tight and a bit sticky at times. They hinge on steel inset pins in the action walls and the whole design is low profiled, as is the case with this type of action lock up design. The twin selective ejectors are powerful plus the whole thing locks up securely and I had no issues.
The barrel sides and monobloc are jewelled, a nice touch when the rest of the ATA has a really good coin finish that is nonreflective and elegant. You have faux side plates that allow the machine-cut engraving to flow over to this area and gives a really good classic look on this model. Simple, laser-cut scroll engraving is all that is needed and covers all the metal sections of the action, tang, and trigger guard top.
The top lever is blued and behind this is the usual sliding barrel selector: push left (two dots) top barrel and right and one dot bottom. This also doubles as the safety catch, with an automatic function that sets as the action open. The hammers work off a mechanical system so fire on both trigger pulls, not by inertia from the second shot. I prefer this.
The trigger is a smooth grooved unit and goldwashed for appeal plus pretty standard in weight at 5.0 and 5.5 lbs for each barrel. The guard is metal and has enough space in front of the blade for a gloved finger if necessary. A disconnector mechanism also prevents the trigger from releasing the hammer if the breech bolt is not closed correctly, a nice safety touch.
I fitted the ¾ choke to the top barrel and ½ to the bottom and shot some pattern boards at 30 yards to see how the SP Elegant would handle. It felt good with a natural balance from the 28” barrels being better than the longer 30s. Sighting and recoil were particularly good and manageable.
First up was the Eley VIP Game, with a 67mm case, high 15mm rim, black casing and white lettering. They use a plastic wad and not the fibre, with a load weight of 32-grams of #6 shot. A total of 232 pellet strikes were recorded which were distributed 137 inner and 95 outer hits. Nice and dense, plus well centred for such a cheap gun and equally good for rough or pigeon shooting too.
Next, 70mm Game Bore Clear Pigeon fibre wads and 32-grams of #6 shot. These are always very consistent pigeon loads and in the ATA, proved so. This time the bottom barrel and ½ choke for a total of 248 pellets on the board with 71 hits in the inner 15” and the remaining 177 in the outer sectors.
Last, but not least; Hull Cartridge High Pheasant Extreme in a 70mm black case, with 16mm rim and fibre wads, with their Xtreme shot for extended range and less deformation. A 32-gram load of #5s, this time with a ¾ choke. The SP Elegant printed a total of 204 pellets.
136 to the outer regions and a nice even cluster of 68 to the inner sectors. Actually, quite mild to shoot and a really good coverage of the whole pattern board so a nice game load.
I am still amazed looking at the test gun that it costs so little in real terms for what you get. The quality of walnut is like this on all the ATA Elegants, this gun is representative of all of them. It handles very nicely, shoots particularly good patterns, is capable of shooting lead or steel loads up to 3” cartridges, what’s not to like? It also amazes me that this combination of looks, quality materials and performance compares so well for what is a fraction of the price to the more expensive and prestigious brands that we all seem to look to with awe and admiration. Maybe these big names need to be looking to their laurels in this more cost-conscious world!