Bolt action rifles: if we had to rank shooting disciplines from the hardest to the easiest, we would have a hard time to come up with the same list. They are all hard. They all require effort, dedication and an almost devotional passion. However, we would all agree that Standard Rifle shooting at 300 m. is probably the most difficult discipline of all, and yet not very popular.
In the 300-m discipline, shooters are required to shoot from the 3 mandatory positions (prone, kneeling and standing). Just like in every other ISSF discipline, they can only use metal sights and no external rest. The discipline is a byproduct of a military practice hence rifles must be very essential and light, with simple sighting systems, and no sophisticated regulations. When shooting “Standard Rifles”, competitors don’t worry about regulating or modifying what they have. They just worry about shooting!
As if this was not enough information to appreciate how difficult this practice is, let’s get into some more details:
- Weight of the gun ready to fire: 5.5 Kg
- Trigger pull: 1.5 kg
- Max Caliber: 8 mm
Swiss makers have always dominated this discipline. Austrian and German companies have occasionally had a presence (with the SIG SAUER STR, for example) next to one other Italian maker. But for the first time this past season, SABATTI decided to embrace the challenge and bet on Riccardo Ranzani. The extremely talented and passionate Riccardo competed with SABATTI MRR barrel in 308 Winchester and won the Italian Championship in a discipline SABATTI had never sponsored before. Once that happened, we at SABATTI decided to go from “betting” to “committing”. We began working with Riccardo very intensely to create a dedicated precision “Standard 308 Rifle”.
Strong from the recent success and wins, we now want to prove that shooters with small budgets can compete and win against real giants with our bolt action rifles. Currently we are prototyping and testing several new concepts. If the test results prove us right, we may manufacture a limited series.
The prototype rifle features a traditional SABATTI Rover action, Multi-Radial tapered barrel – 22 mm at the muzzle and 56-cm long – with an aluminum extension to get the correct length for the precision required.
The stock is a lighter and slightly modified version of what we use on our Tactical LW. It comes with a UIT aluminum rail under the forend required to mount the hand stop for the strap shooters need when firing from the kneeling or prone positions. The rubber recoil pad is adjustable in height.
The target 308 rifle comes standard with the traditional 3-shot removable magazine. On request, it can feature a 5-round magazine to participate in CISM competitions. In Italian competitions, the standard 3-round will be replaced with a single round magazine.
For the first few tests we have chosen the most traditional of all calibers i.e. the 308 W. Shooting this caliber and a Sabatti MRR rifle barrel, Riccardo has just won the Italian AL 3p at 300m championship. In the future, we will very likely test the 6,5×47 Lapua.
As for sighting devices, Riccardo has chosen an Anschutz 7020 diopter anchored to the action by means of a Contessa 11-mm dove tail rail and a 22-mm Centra Score tunnel fixed to the extension.
The first few tests of this bolt action rifle are scheduled for the end of October at the National Shooting Grounds in Colle Val d’Elsa. After the breaking-in period, Riccardo will begin testing in all traditional positions.