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- Last updated: 16/12/2016
Sabatti have been producing affordable Italian shotguns since 1960 when Antonio Sabatti’s two sons more or less formed the company as it is today.Trading on the family’s name reputation that first started in 1674 when Lodovico Sabatti was busy designing flintlock pistols and manufacturing barrels, it was then a succession of Joseph Sabattis who perfected the production and design of Damascus steel barrels and barrel welding. Shift forwards to 1946 and Antonio went into partnership with a chap called Giuseppe Tanfoglio to design and manufacture a range of shotguns and semi-automatic pistols, the dissolution of the partnership resulting in the current business.
Manufacturing a full range of shotguns and rifles from entry level models up to some sought after high-end kit, its Sabatti’s venture with Range Right Limited that now means UK shooters have the chance to own and shoot a Sabatti for themselves. One of the first to appear on the shelves being the Adler, an Italian built over-under with a German name that in English means Eagle. But however you want to translate it, whether by good luck or good fortune, the Adler has arrived here in dear old Blighty at what has to be the most opportune moment, 410’s currently enjoying a noticeable resurgence, as the popularity of this diminutive gauge finds ever increasing favour.
One of Two
Like most 410 shotguns the Adler is a no frills package all in for just £649. Maybe a fraction more than some of the new Turkish equivalents but excellent value all the same and a price that actually seems even better value once you’ve actually shot the gun. Although there aren’t any accessories the buyer does have an initial one of two choices when it comes to the chokes, the options of either Full and ½ or ¾ and ¼ being available, my own personal preference being the former since I’ve always liked my 410’s to shoot as tight as possible.
Starting with the semi-oiled woodwork, the first point of note is the London style forend, this instantly adding a degree of elegance to the Adler, the neat panels of chequering that run either side adding to both the looks and tractability of this most usable design. Shifting rearwards the sporter stock complete with an opened radius and chequered semi-pistol grip is full sized with enough cast to ensure it’ll suit most shooters whilst a simple, stippled plastic buttplate finishes off the whole.
Less is More
A nice usable length and more importantly quick to react, the 26”, 3” chambered monobloc barrels are finished in a deep gloss black. Well struck as you might expect given Sabatti’s history, a deep solid mid-rib joins the two tubes together whilst a small brass bead sits atop the pronounced vented top-rib just back from the muzzles. The barrels and chambers in turn feed into a mechanical lockwork alloy boxlock action based on the now almost universally familiar Italian design.
The action itself has a satin finish with an understated panel of bordered scroll engraving with the Sabatti script inlayed just below. The neat engraving also repeats just above the stippled fences, top-tang, black top-lever, hinges and baseplate, a neatly picked out feather just to the front of the gloss black trigger guard hinting at the Adler’s lightweight and ease of handling. The only break in the ornamentation occurs on the automatic safety and barrel order catch and the deep radiused, gold-plated trigger-blade, the curvature of which when combined with the deep ovoid guard makes for ease of use and access for the gloved hand.
Keep to Magnums
If any 410 has an ‘Achilles Heel’ it tends to be the cartridges, many shooters dismissing the gauge on the basis it struggles to kill things be they animate or otherwise. However, with the right loads onboard, the 410 is a far more potent weapon than many give it credit for; the Adler is a most capable performer with a pair of 3” 19g Eley Trap 410 chambered up, these competition orientated loads are devastating on clay targets and none to shabby on settling crows.
From a physical point of view the Adler is well sized with an overall length of 43 1/8”, 26” of which constitute the barrels whilst the weight is a long distance carry friendly 5lbs 10oz. A moment or two with the Arrow Laser Shot confirmed that the Adler shot every so slightly high but that a slight shift in my mount rendered the gun flat, the 1 5/16” and 2 3/16” drops at comb and heel combined with a 14 1/16” length and 6lbs 9oz weight pull meant that the Adler was a comfortable fit to my own dimensions.
On the Money
It always helps when the first shot you fire takes out its target, the Adler levelling out an unsuspecting crow within three minutes of loading up in the courtyard of Huntroyde Hall. Broken over the arm the Adler might as well not actually be there, the gun as balanced when open as it is closed and ready for business. Where the Adler comes alive is when mounting and swinging, the gun balancing directly beneath the hinges whilst the general dynamics means the gun it to your shoulder and releasing its first charge of lead almost before you’ve realised, the overall characteristics and poise making the Adler an absolute pleasure to shoot. If there was one feature I’d personally remove it’s the automatic safety-catch, as a clay shooter who keep’s his gun broken until required, I find auto safes an annoyance but that could just be me.
One thing you will also have to remember is that the Adler comes with extractors not ejectors, so you’ll have to remove your spent cases by hand, the upside being that the empty cases go straight back into your pocket and not lost on the floor. What you will continue to find is that Sabatti’s Adler is a pleasure to shoot to a degree if you’re not a fan of the 410 gauge you soon will be, the onset of dusk and roosting time a part of the day to start savouring whilst a stroll underneath the branches frequented by grey squirrels ceases to be a chore, instead a pastime to be enjoyed in the company of your polite Italian friend.
Certainly not designed as a clay breaker, the Adler also proved its effectiveness on a few impromptu targets. As with all 410’s, you will have to be accurate but breaking a fast orange target with the Adler more than proved the gun’s worth whilst a quick check on the patterning revealed the tight choke was especially effective. The session also highlighted just how effective the shorter barrel length actually is, one of the Adler’s genuine assets whilst the design and dimensions of the stock, grip and forend allow the gun to remain fluid within the hands, allowing the shooter to snap the gun into position no matter how physically obscure or fleeting the target may be.
For any Italian shotgun, especially one designed for shooting game, to be worthy of the distinction they should be light, lithe, stylish and deft of handling. As a rule three out of the four will put a shotgun of note in your hands but the Adler scores four out of four. It positively leaps to the shoulder and locks onto its intended target with devilish ease, all the while this little 410 more than looking the part. For the average shooter most 410’s tend to be a shotgun they reserve for a quiet evening stroll looking to pick off an unsuspecting crow or slow witted rabbit or, if they’re up to the task, a driven game gun that allows them to display their shooting prowess. It’s the latter shooter who tends to go for the expensive models manufactured by the top end names, the main downside being a price tag that at times defies belief. With the Adler, Sabatti have an elegant, well defined and balanced over-under that’s equally at home around the boundaries as it is in the field, able to take a well presented pheasant with the same level of neatness as it is around the roosting corvids.
Whether it’s as a walking, late evening companion or a first shotgun for a beginner, the Adler will always oblige. Equally, as junior’s shotgun, it’s the sort of piece of kit they’ll want to keep clean and well presented, the Adler just the sort of gun that makes maintenance a pleasure, not a chore. No matter how you scan it or go into verbose descriptions, Sabatti’s Adler is an all-round nice little 410 that’ll do everything you ask of it and if used within the boundaries of this diminutive cartridge, will deliver the results each and every time. GM