Sabatti Mercury 870.308 Rifle review
Sabatti Mercury 870.308 Rifle review
With global markets feeling the credit crunch and the euro almost level pegging with the pound, it is nice to come across a rifle that offers good value for money as well as excellent performance. One such firearm is the Mercury, by Italian riflemaker Sabatti. There are synthetic, standard wood and deluxe wood models, and prices start at £634. 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), so they cater for all kinds of game. The Mercury looks and feels very well made. It is easy to shoulder, operate and point, as a Sportergrade firearm should be.
Action and barrel
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 (Heym SR21 Classic, 23 April), it is on the small side. The bolt locks into the action via twin-opposed 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 medium-weight 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.
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).
For more details contact UK distributor: Reeves UK www.mercuryrifles.com
www.reevesuk.com or tel 01296 748 741.