The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Sabatti Rover Shooter .308

Sabatti’s new hunting rifle lives up to the name ‘Shooter’ and combines excellent handling with accuracy and innovation, says Bruce Potts

Sabatti Rover Shooter

Sabatti Rover Shooter

Overall Rating: 86%

Manufacturer: Sabatti

Price as reviewed: £950

It’s been a while since I tested a Sabatti rifle; it was the Mercury model in 2009 and I remember being impressed with this Italian manufacturer’s attention to detail. The new model, the Sabatti Rover shooter, is a typical bolt-action hunting rifle that continues Sabatti’s reputation for high quality while utilising its decades of experience with a redesigned action and bolt, manufactured using the best materials and CNC-quality machinery. (Read our list of the best stalking kit.)

Sabatti Rover Shooter

Sabatti Rover Shooter .308

Sabatti Rover Shooter

This Shooter model is one of 10 different Rover rifle options. The range includes wood-stocked blued traditional rifles, short carbine synthetic stocked rifles and this soft touch and large-capacity magazine rifle. Available in .223 Remington, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, .30-06 Springfield or .308 Winchester, all Rover rifles feature a new three-lug aluminium action.

You can also change the calibres with a simple barrel exchange mechanism. I don’t know why Sabatti isn’t shouting about this more. The Rover range also includes a match three-lever trigger system and cold-hammer forged barrel with muzzle brake. The Sabatti Rover Shooter has a very comfortable wooden stock with soft-touch cover and detachable high-capacity magazine, making it a true all-round stalking rifle. At under £1,000 you get a lot for your money and it deserves serious consideration as it is a well-made sporting rifle.

Rifle cartridge holder

In .308 the mag holds seven cartridges, ideal for hind stalking on the hill

Need to know

  • Manufacturer Sabatti SPA, Italy
  • Model Rover Shooter
  • Type Bolt-action Sporter
  • Calibre .308 Win on test
  • Capacity Seven-round detachable box magazine
  • Barrel 20in
  • Overall length 41.75in with muzzle brake on, brake is 2.5in long
  • Weight 3.565kg
  • Stock Soft-touch finish over wood
  • Length of pull 13.75in
  • Finish Matte black blued and anodised
  • Trigger Single stage adjustable
  • Sights Integral Picatinny
  • Safety Two-position tang
  • Price £950
  • Supplier Rangeright Ltd 01423 881919
Sabatti Rover Shooter

Universal Picatinny rails can hold any scope; Bruce uses Kahles

In depth

The Sabatti combines good handling and dependable accuracy with a tough ambidextrous stock. This makes it an instantly usable and dependable rifle for the field.

The action design is made out of a solid billet of high-strength, low-weight 7075 aluminium alloy and then hard anodised for a perfect tough finish. I particularly like the integral Picatinny rail with universal fit for a myriad of scope and mount choices.

Another nice touch is the CNC-machined bolt from a single bar of steel with a new three locking-lug arrangement that is both strong and allows a shallow 60-degree opening for speed and avoiding the scope’s eyepiece. The extractor has been beefed up so cartridge removal is assured and the bolt handle has a good grip due to the flat-faceted knob.

You can feed the Rover via the detachable magazine system; the .308 Shooter on test holds seven rounds. The mag system is ideal for hill stalking on hinds where numerous shots are needed and its polymer construction is rustproof too. A secure release catch is pushed forward and a retaining lever disengages; you need to drop the mag vertically to get it out.

The trigger, too, has been upgraded. The pull is a very fine single stage and broke cleanly at 1.25lb, which makes a big difference for consistent accuracy. Talking of accuracy, Sabatti uses premium chromoly barrels with a precision button rifled bore, made by the hammer forged method. This produces hard-wearing and accurate barrels. The Rover Shooter sports a sensible 20in barrel with a 2.5in muzzle break to reduce recoil, which I removed in favour of a much quieter sound moderator.

The barrel comes fitted with an extension, which allows for easy interchangeability without any need to adjust the headspace. This is what makes calibre changing possible.

The barrel is also free floated so the stock will not interfere with the barrel on firing. Again, this is important for consistent accuracy. The Shooter utilises a wood-polymer hybrid to create a well-balanced overall feel. Additional chequered panels also help with grip and a removable polymer cheekpiece comes as an added extra.

Stalking roebuck

In the hot and humid woods, the Sabatti’s non-slip stock helps Bruce harvest a lovely roebuck


As rifle shooters and stalkers, we tend to focus on firearms from the major manufacturers. This Sabatti Rover Shooter proves thinking outside the box can grab you a good rifle at a great price. I certainly won’t be waiting 13 years to review the next one.

  • Accuracy: Consistent accuracy with different loads 17/20
  • Handling A compact and intuitive rifle 18/20
  • Trigger: Nice crisp trigger with light let-off 17/20
  • Stock: Balanced and good soft-touch finish 17/20
  • Value: Good value at this price point 17/20
  • Overall Score: An underdog to keep a lookout for 86/100

Field test

I fitted two differing Kahles scopes and zeroed in with some new Winchester lead-free Extreme Point Copper 150-gr rounds that fired 1.35in three-shot 100-yard groups at 2,674fps for 2,382ft/lb.

A Barnes TTSX 130-gr factory load shot consistent 1.15in groups at 2,887fps for 2,407ft/lb. Sako 123-gr Gameheads with 2,916 fps for 2,323ft/lb shot sub-inch groups.

I like the lighter 110-gr Barnes TTSX bullets in reloads for .308 calibre so using 44 grains of Alliant RL10X powder shot 3,103fps and 2,352ft/lb plus 0.95in groups. A 150-gr load such as the Nosler Ballistic Tips shot 1in groups, burning 44.5 grains of RL15.

I loaded the Sabatti Rover Shooter with the 110-gr TTSX reloads and fitted an Ase Utra Jet-Z moderator then headed for the Surrey woods. It was a hot and humid morning and the non-slip stock was a bonus for sweaty palms. I liked the short stature of the Sabatti, which makes it easy to sling on the shoulder and avoid foliage. In the hold it felt just as planted and steady. Stalking quietly along the narrow rides between the buddleia and brambles yielded a lovely roebuck feeding 65 yards away. A short whistle stopped him in his tracks and, as he turned broadside, the Sabatti helped harvest another great buck.


The Sabatti Rover Shooter has a very comfortable wooden stock with soft-touch cover and detachable high-capacity magazine, making it a true all-round stalking rifle.