Don’t be put off by the word 'Trap' in this gun’s name… it is a great en­try-level all-rounder and per­fect for those who are just get­ting started

Sporting Shooter - - Contents -

This month’s test gun – a 30" Sabatti CTS Trap – is from a firm that, though a long es­tab­lished and much re­spected mem­ber of the Ital­ian gun trade, is not that well known in Bri­tain. I have vis­ited Sabatti (aka FIAS – Fab­brica Ital­iana Armi Sabatti) in Gar­done twice. A sub­stan­tial fam­ily con­cern, they man­u­fac­ture guns un­der their own name and also for other brands. They don’t just pro­duce solid and re­li­able shot­guns for which they are best known abroad; they also make ri­fles (bolt-ac­tion and double) and qual­ity ri­fle bar­rels in-house. In ex­plor­ing the fac­tory a few years ago (which is an in­ter­est­ing place be­cause of the di­ver­sity of work), I was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by the firm’s ex­per­tise in reg­u­lat­ing double ri­fles. This is one of the tough­est of all jobs con­cern­ing double-gun fab­ri­ca­tion, and it was good to see so much hand­work go­ing into them and real ef­fort ex­pended on the range to get them just right. Sabatti are proper ‘old-school’ gun­mak­ers with pro­found knowl­edge; the fam­ily has been mak­ing guns for al­most 400 years – only Beretta can claim to be older, and only just!

Re­turn­ing to the test gun, it is a fairly big beast, and rather rem­i­nis­cent of an old sil­ver-ac­tioned Beretta 682. It hits the scales at some­thing over 8lbs. The sil­ver-fin­ished ac­tion has a gold clay inset. No one is go­ing to mis­take the ap­pli­ca­tion, though my pref­er­ence would have been for plain ac­tion dec­o­ra­tion on a com­pe­ti­tion gun. Bring­ing the CTS to the shoul­der, one is im­me­di­ately aware that this is a big, heavy gun. Bal­ance is about ½" for­ward of the hinge pin, and about right in my opin­ion. Nev­er­the­less, it feels a lit­tle pon­der­ous be­tween the hands; one has to fac­tor in an RRP of £1,395 (and a bit less from Neville Chap­man, who lent this one to me out of his stock for test­ing pur­poses). This is clearly de­signed as an en­try-level all-rounder and must be judged as so – don’t let the ‘Trap’ in the name put you off. To quote Sabatti: “A re­li­able com­pe­ti­tion shot­gun at a very good price? A prac­ti­cal, well-bal­anced and ro­bust com­pe­ti­tion shot­gun? A gun that will al­low you to nur­ture your pas­sion with­out break­ing the bank?” You can see where they are pitch­ing it...

Al­though the CTS bar­rels do not feel es­pe­cially lively, some may pre­fer this qual­ity in a Trap or Skeet gun. My pref­er­ence is for lighter bar­rels which are, as I usu­ally term it, ‘light for length’. It can be as­sumed, how­ever, that the bar­rels here are com­pe­tently made, since Sabatti are true bar­rel-mak­ing ex­perts. The CTS might not feel or look es­pe­cially re­fined, but it did feel re­as­sur­ingly com­fort­able when mounted. The large grip is not too tightly ra­diused and has a hand­fill­ing palm swell. The ad­justable stock was nicely pro­filed and the fore-end was well shaped too, and rounded with flutes. Che­quer­ing, by laser, was com­pe­tent. The wal­nut seemed well fig­ured too, and I won­dered if the fig­ure had been en­hanced – the wood is marked ‘PTO’ on the grip. The ven­ti­lated re­coil pad did not quite do it for me but is eas­ily changed.

Look­ing at the bar­rels, the 10mm vented rib was well laid and is equipped with a white plas­tic fore­sight which does the job,

al­though my pref­er­ence on a sporter is a red flu­o­res­cent bead. My own pref­er­ence is for an 8mm par­al­lel or 11-8mm ta­per, but this will do nicely. Join­ing ribs were solid; han­dling might have been im­proved if th­ese were ven­ti­lated and ex­tended back only as far as the fore-end. The chrome moly steel bar­rels are monobloc – as are nearly all mass-made double guns to­day – with the usual band of en­grav­ing around the top join. The joint­ing it­self is very tight and a tes­ta­ment to Sabatti’s com­pe­tence in this area. The gun is proofed for 3" (76mm) car­tridges. The straight bar­rels pass muster in all de­part­ments, with my only quib­ble be­ing that the forc­ing cones looked quite short – 25 or 30mm I would guess from vis­ual in­spec­tion.

Me­chan­i­cally, there is not much to say about the ac­tion. Hot-forged like the monobloc, it is of typ­i­cal Ital­ian mid-mar­ket pat­tern with stud pins at the knuck­les (as on a Beretta or Per­azzi), and a full-width bolt meet­ing a bite be­neath the bot­tom cham­ber mouth (as seen in a Browning). The works are pow­ered by he­li­cal springs. There are the usual cen­trally lo­cated double cock­ing bars as also seen in me­chan­i­cally sim­i­lar Rizzini and FAIR over-and-un­der guns. De­tail­ing and fin­ish is pretty good. The safety and bar­rel se­lec­tor on the top strap are well pro­por­tioned and the thumb piece of the top-lever is com­fort­able. The gold-plated trig­ger blade is well shaped and not too broad or gar­ish. The sin­gle-trig­ger mech­a­nism it­self is re­coil ac­ti­vated. Sabatti uses its own patented ham­mer ejec­tor sys­tem.

The stock on the CTS was full but well pro­por­tioned. For quite a while the Ital­ians in­sisted on putting very bul­bous stocks on their clay guns, which re­lates to the na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence of Trap shoot­ing. The butt here is not too thick, al­though the fore-end is quite wide. The grip is quite large, as noted, but I liked it be­cause it of­fered good pur­chase. The ad­justable comb was sound – a

real bonus on a com­pe­ti­tion gun and sim­ply ad­justed with an Allen key. The stock length with the sup­plied ven­ti­lated re­coil pad was 14½". The comb was higher than the av­er­age which is a pos­i­tive, though it might be too high for some with large heads. Af­ter rais­ing it a few mil­lime­tres ei­ther end, it fit­ted me – Mr 5' 11" Av­er­age – per­fectly.

The sil­ver-fin­ished ac­tion is inset with a gold clay

The chrome moly steel bar­rels are monobloc and the gun is sup­plied with five multi-chokes

As on a Beretta or Per­azzi, stud pins are used at the knuck­les of the ac­tion

The gold-plated trig­ger blade is well shaped

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