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- Last updated: 16/12/2016
Artemide is an Italian derivation of Artemis, a Greek deity better known to the ancient Romans as Diana, the goddess of hunting. So the test gun is well named, as the performance of this game model proves. Positioned firmly and squarely in Sabatti’s range of affordable Italian shotguns, the Artemide personifies why these shotguns are so popular in Europe and why they’re already enjoying early success here in the UK.
Aimed fairly and squarely at the shooter who’d prefer an Italian shotgun but at - shall we say - more eastern orientated prices, all the Sabattis give UK buyers a new yet traditional choice. The other aspect of the full range of Sabatti shotguns is that whilst certain of them are what you might call purpose specific, the Artemide theoretically designed for live quarry, as a game gun it makes an extremely accomplished clay breaker not to mention a serious crow numbers reducing device.
A slight oversight to my mind, instead of the now familiar plastic travelling case the Artemide arrives in a cardboard carton. Come on Sabatti, if those offering shotguns at below a thousand pounds can include a proprietary car case then so can you, especially when you consider that the flush-fit choke tubes come in a small version of the self same case! Apart from this small gripe what you do get is a nicely presented 12 bore with straight grained semi-oiled walnut furniture, a thick soft rubber recoil pad, a wide, relaxed radius semi-pistol grip and semi-Beaver styled forend complete with neat panels of well defined machine cut chequering.
Like many Italian over/unders, Sabatti have employed the services of the now familiar inertia driven boxlock action. Reason being, this style and design has proven itself to be one of the most reliable, long lived of its type providing years of service, remains relatively tight even after thousands of rounds have been discharged and as a rule requires only minimal service; light lubrication being about as intensive as it gets.
The satin finished action is decorated with game scenes including flighting ducks, a spaniel retrieving a pheasant along with rose and scroll. Well defined although additional depth would improve matters and take away the at times two-dimensional effect. Scroll work continues along the base of the gloss black trigger guard, top tang, top lever and around the manual safety-cum-barrel order selector whilst subtle stippling around the fences keeps glare and shimmer to a minimum during intensive shooting. One area more than worth noting is the quality of the wood to metal fit, precision and exactness as good if not better than 12 bores costing two or three times that of the Artemide.
As regards the action, all that remains is the rather larger gold-plated trigger-blade. Unusual in that a larger than normal portion protrudes from the lockwork and does to my mind make the unit look slightly oversized, the large guard ensures that even winter gloved fingers will still have uninterrupted access to the blade.
Deep gloss blacked, the chrome lined monobloc 3” chambered barrels, 30” in this case, are game shotgun conventional in that the mid-rib is solid but unusual in that the low, vented top rib is 10mm in width, a distinctly 60’s American style touch if ever there was one. Flaring almost imperceptibly at the muzzles so as to accommodate the choke tubes, the business end is rounded off using a bright white lozenge shaped bead which, even in low light conditions is easily acquired, the well struck tubes substantial in construction and more than inkeeping with the rest of the Artemide.
In the Swing
Like all shotguns I test, the Artemide was introduced to the Arrow Laser Shot within minutes of it being delivered. Inserting the device immediately highlighted the fact that the gun would shoot exactly as I personally like - namely flat - my right eye seeing nothing but the white bead when the Sabatti was dry mounted. Physically the Artemide as tested was a big gun with a total length of 47 1/16” and a weight of 8lbs 3oz with a balance point just short of two inches in front of the hinges although the mass does suit the rest of the Artemide proportions. Not my ideal dynamics when it comes to a walked-up 12 bore but a trait often favoured by driven shooters, the weight distribution promoting a smooth swing especially on high driven birds.
Physically drops at comb and heel measure 1½” and 2 5/16” combined with a comfortable 14 ¼” length of pull, although the trigger could do with some attention breaking on average at just over 7lbs and just a hint of creep. Loading up with 28g Eley VIP Sporting and VIP Trap the first targets were the small but entertaining layout hosted by the Rossendale Fusiliers followed by some of Huntroyde Estate’s more demanding sporting targets, and some late evening roosting crows with the chokes tightened up to ½ and ¾ from Cylinder and ¼. Likewise the loads were increased to 32g Eley Grand Prix, just the right amount to bring down a few high corvids and evaluate the Artemide with the loads for which it was designed.
Besides the fact the deep butt pad and stock angles did an excellent job of reducing the perceived recoil, the grip’s profile and excellence of the forend’s profile have been conceived to ensure the Artemide remains malleable between the hands, a gun that is responsive and fluid especially on opposing targets be them live or inert. The Sabatti mounts freely whilst the overall balance, whilst not my ideal, more than promotes a smooth, measured, easily controlled and maintained momentum swing whilst the extended steel proofed chokes all throw an even, uniform pattern.
Balancing as it does, the first few seconds getting onto an overhead target do require the shooter to give the Artemide a distinct heft, but once the muzzles are in motion the weight and physical attitude takes over whilst sweeping through fast crossers is a pleasure, the wide rib and white bead noticeably focusing the peripheral vision directly onto the target.
Little & Large
Available in a variety of guises, whichever Artemide you go for will cost the exact same. Be it the optional 28” barrels, the length I’d personally choose since the short length would bring the balance back towards the stock or the 20 bore version, be it smaller or larger all you’ll have to part with is £1,150. And for what these days is a genuine value for money price especially for an Italian shotgun, you’ll find yourself the owner of an attractive, well made 12 bore that’ll turn its muzzles towards any target you care to take on.
As I’ve already commented, Sabatti is a name relatively new to the UK market. But over in mainland Europe they’re a highly respected brand, renown for delivering the goods at a price most shooters can willingly afford. And if the Artemide is anything to go by, it’s easily understandable as to why. GM