Sabatti CTS 12g Trap Gun
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 16/12/2016
Over the past few months I’ve been able to take a look at a couple of Sabatti’s basic hunting shotguns in both 12-bore and 410, both of which were extremely well made, nicely presented, competitively priced and more importantly shot well. But like many makers the heart of Sabatti lies within the world of competition, most Italian manufacturers and shooters almost addicted to trap shooting to a degree it’s almost a religion for them. So it comes as no surprise that within their portfolio of models you’ll find a 12-bore dedicated to shooting the trap disciplines at the highest levels. Olympic Trap, Automatic Ball Trap, Universal Trench, Double Trap and Live Pigeon where it’s still legal all falling within the remit of Sabatti’s Competition Trap Special or CTS as its better known.
But unlike the trap guns the British are used to seeing and using, the CTS is overtly Italian in design and execution which means it looks different, which in turn means it handles and feels like few other trap specific competition guns. The reasons being that unlike traditional DTL and the 12-bores most UK shooters are used to, for trap disciplines that the Italians shoot require a slightly more spirited shotgun due to the higher speeds and greater degree of flight variations. It’s because of this that trap guns such as Sabatti’s CTS also make for superb sporting shotguns, the handling and balance instantly translating across. Where the CTS differs is that this absolute gem of a competition shotgun will set you back just £1,600, a fraction of the price many others charge.
Quality Will Out
Complete with a neat, fully fitted Negrini travelling case the visual impact of the CTS is instant, the lacquer finished Californian walnut oozing quality. The forend - that’s loosely based on the Schnabel pattern - features two deep finger grooves and is comfortable to hold, keeps the hand in place yet still gives the gun forward fluidity. If I had to make any amendments it would be to increase the overall diameter to fill the hand a little more and increase the length by around two inches. Personal observations but there you have it.
One of the most obvious differences between the CTS and a conventional trap gun is the stock, although the familiar thick rubber recoil pad makes for a big, comfortable butt. More sporter than trap although rumour has it that a bigger, Monte Carlo style stock could well be in the offing, the adjustable comb allows the shooter to position the comb exactly where they need it to be. A propriety design that can be found on a variety of Italian built competition shotguns, for the system to be included in the price once again confirms Sabatti’s dedication to value for money. Similarly, the hand filling grip and fine cut checkering are nicely proportioned whilst the palm swell is of a size that both positions and anchors the shooter’s hand without being oversized.
Plain and Simple
Based on the now familiar Italian inertia driven boxlock, the steel action is to a degree plain and simple. The light scroll work and bordering are all that are actually required to lift the satin finish and add that all important element of class. However someone somewhere over at Sabatti took what I can only describe as the most tasteless of decisions, exploding the myth of Italian style. The added visual bonus of flying golden clays along either side of the action devalues the looks of the CTS and I’m not the only one to think so. Not one single person who looked at the CTS liked them; everyone asking if there was a delete option. Sabatti take note, these clays could well have the effect of preventing sales, the inclusion of this unnecessary ornamentation actually making the CTS look cheap.
Stunned disbelief at the inlays aside, everything else is exactly as it should be. A long top-lever gives the shooter plenty of leverage whilst the oversized manual safety includes the usual barrel selector. On the underneath, a deeply curved though non-adjustable gold plated trigger blade sits within a broad, ovoid guard which means glove wearers like myself have plenty of room when engaging the blade and moving the gun around.
Like many fast handling trap guns the CTS features 30” monobloc barrels. Feeding into 3” chambers and strong, well timed ejectors, the gloss black tubes are separated by an elongated vents mid-rib and a vented 10mm wide top rib that steps up just above the chambers, rounded off by a single white lozenge bead. This sits above the muzzles, these in turn house the extended multi-chokes. Adding 1” to the barrel length, the shooter can select from full chokes down to cylinder, once again hinting at the multi trap discipline intentions of the CTS.
It’s A Set Up
Setting up the CTS is so easy that you can actually carry out the process at home. Complete with a set of eight plastic washers, four of them 4mm in thickness, four of them 2mm, the comb can initially be lifted a total of 12mm from the basic flat drop of 1 5/32”. Similarly, the stock posts can be shifted either left of right of centre by 5mm in either direction, my own preference being a 6mm lift. Courtesy of the Arrow Laser Shot this simple adjustment meant the CTS shot flat and worked well on both trap and sporting birds.
Without any form of alteration to the stock the basic measurements of the CTS have been well conceived the overall length of 48¼” including the chokes along with a total weight of 8lbs 4oz that balances an 1” forward of the hinges makes for a well balanced competition gun that handles well whilst exhibiting a controlled, elegant swing. Drops at comb and the fixed heel are 15/32” and 29/16” with a 14½” length of pull to the 5lbs 8oz weighted trigger, although the mechanism would could be improved by the elimination of the hint of creep.
Since the main purpose of the CTS is trap, it was decided that fifty DTL birds were first on the agenda. Fitting ¾ and ½ chokes and loading up with Eley’s 28g VIP Trap load, even the gale force winds failed to dampen the Sabatti’s performance. Smooth and refined, the CTS doesn’t so much swing onto its target it rather tends to stalk them as it glides through them. If your one of those who likes to shoot at the broken bits working on the theory your first shot did the business, the CTS allows the shooter to maintain a an easy and controlled swing and take a measured second shot.
Drive the gun a little harder and the true nature of the CTS makes itself known, the balance exactly as before but genuine active dynamics coming into play. A gun designed to hunt down some of clay shooting’s fastest most demanding targets, the CTS encourages the shooter to up their game and capitalise on this Sabatti’s inherent poise and Italianate equilibrium.
Just like all top trap guns with lower top ribs the CTS is equally accomplished at sporting targets. Like many of the top sporting shooters who prefer the trap gun format, the CTS switches rolls in an instant, the only changes necessary being ¼ and Cyl chokes along with 28g Eley VIP Sporting cartridges. Whilst the close to middle distance clays broke with hardly any effort it was the longer birds that succumbed to the CTS’s trap format. Even wind affected birds that started a good way out became relatively easy targets, gun up or gun down, the CTS easy and efficient to mount exactly as before, the soft recoil pad filling the shoulder pocket, the palm swell allowing the hand to faithfully recreate the exact same hold time after time.
If you’ve ever wondered what a fast trap gun looks like or feels like, look no farther than Sabatti’s CTS. Granted to the untrained eye it looks like a slightly bulkier than average sporter but close examination and actually holding and mounting the gun will prove educational as to why this gun looks and feels and handles as it does. Your hands and senses will also quickly tell you that this gun was conceived initially for fast, going away targets, an ability that allows the shooter to translate the gun’s physical personality into one of the most accomplished all-rounders you’re likely to hold.
Apart from the questionable decoration, a feature I’m reliably informed will probably be deleted for the UK market, Sabatti’s CTS stands a chance of being the most comprehensive £1,600 you’ll spend. A competition 12-bore of consummate ability, if any of the other big name Italian manufacturers had made the CTS I guarantee they be wanting at least five times Range Right’s asking price.