Sabatti Mercury 870 .308 rifle review
There are synthetic, standard wood and deluxe wood models and the calibres in the range are those most commonly used in this country (243, .25-06, .30-06, 6.5-55, 7×57, .308 and 9.3×62).
The Mercury looks and feels very well made. It is easy to shoulder, operate and point, as a Sportergrade firearm should be.
ACTION AND BARRELL
The Mercury?s finish gives a good first impression. It is well polished, blued and has few tooling marks.
The action is substantial yet smooth to operate and is machined from a single piece of chromium nickel steel.
It is 6.25in long and has a 3.5in-long ejection port to the right side. The receiver top is drilled with the same spacings as the Remington Model 700, so you can use Remington scope mounts, which are widely available.
The bolt is 6.75in long and brightly polished with a blued bolt knob.
Like the Heym I tested, it is on the small side. The bolt locks into the action via twinopposed front-locking lugs and there is a Sakotype small claw extractor and plunger ejector.
On this model, four .308 cartridges are housed in the blued-steel hinged floorplate and painted housing. The housing and triggerguard are secured to the action with two Allen key bolts.
The barrel is 22in long with a mediumweight Sporter profile and a muzzle diameter of 0.597in. It comes factory-threaded for UNF sound moderators, which makes life easier.
The thread cap has an almost invisible join and the exterior finish is evenly blued. The barrel is freefloated for its entire length and is constructed by the cold-hammer method.
The bore looks clean and free from machine marks.
ACCURACY AND TARGETS
The factory ammunition shot very well. Only bullet weights of more than 180 grains failed to shoot tight groups.
Most shot just over 1in three-shot groups from 100 yards, which for a low priced Sporter is very good indeed. However, once I tried a few reloads, the Mercury reached its true potential.
The best group was from the Barnes TSX 130-grain bullet travelling at 2,776fps.
It managed consistent 0.4in to 0.5in groups when loaded as close to the rifling lands as possible while maintaining good neck tension.
The Sierra GameKings also shot well with 0.5in to 0.75in groups depending on powder and bullet seating depth. The 110-grain V-Max bullet is ideal for foxes, with 0.65in groups at 3,029fps.
TRIGGER AND SAFETY
Unusually for a rifle in this price range, the Mercury has a single-set trigger unit. These have always proved popular in Europe and allow the shooter to operate the trigger in two ways.
When the rifle is cocked, a pressure of 3.5lb to the trigger-blade releases the sear, but if you push the trigger-blade forward prior to taking the shot, the single-set option is engaged.
This gives a much finer and lighter trigger/sear release for a more precise shot, but be warned, it only requires a pressure of 1lb, so though the normal trigger pull creeps a little, it may be the safest option for most people.
However, I like the set trigger, which certainly helped to shrink the groups in the accuracy tests. The safety is a pretty standard toggle lever to the right of the bolt shroud.
In the back position a white dot appears to show the rifle is safe and this locks both the trigger and the bolt operation. If you push it forward a red dot is revealed and the rifle is ready to fire.
The standard wooden stock is a good design with some nice figuring, but for those who like high-quality walnut, the deluxe version has some really eye-catching figuring and colour, and is good value at only £740.
I chose the synthetic option as I wanted to see how the Mercury?s stock compared with competitors in the market.
It is constructed in two moulded halves glued together with strengthening struts and spacers to keep it rigid. Its hard plastic feel is a bit like the old Butler Creek stocks.
The raised chequering panels on both fore-end and pistol grip are very grippy, in fact quite sharp, but that?s a good thing.
The stock is not bedded to the action, but the fit was quite snug and secure. There is a moulded cheekpiece and solid black recoil pad.
There is some flexibility in the fore-end, but overall it offers favourable handling and ruggedness with a 13.75in length of pull (14.25in when the set trigger is used).
Good accuracy with reloaded ammunition
The synthetic stock was light and easy to carry, but the wooden version felt more substantial
Having the single-set trigger as standard is a real bonus
The synthetic stock is practical and the deluxe wood version has some good figuring
Considering the cost and the way it shoots, it offers excellent value for money
I didn?t expect too much from these rifles given the price, but the field tests with both factory and reloads completely changed my mind.
The Mercury is a wellmade, rugged and accurate sporting rifle.
It has a wide range of calibres and stocks, and with prices starting at only £634 the Mercury is a good option for both novice stalkers and professionals.