A bit of history
Approximately by the mid-2010s, the Sabatti company – previously known and appreciated mainly for its extensive line of almost bespoke hunting rifles and shotguns – started to focus its decades of company experience into the manufacture of high-performance, high quality long-range rifles for competition shooting and tactical applications.
The first STR (“Sabatti Tactical Rifle”) model was launched in 2016; the STR Sport, a dedicated competition shooting version, would be introduced one year later. Both versions were phased out of production in 2021 and replaced by a new STR Sport version: unlike other manufacturers, that saw their production and development process slow down or grind to a total halt as COVID-19 struck, Sabatti never lost its focus.
The 2021 iteration of the STR Sport was conceived jointly with Victrix Armaments, a brand of the Rottigni Officina Meccanica (ROME) company, headquartered in northern Italy and specializing in high-precision bolt-action rifles and relevant systems – including chassis-type stocks – for long-range shooting competitions and for military, law enforcement, and other professional and tactical applications.
Sabatti STR Sport bolt-action rifle, right side
Sabatti STR Sport bolt-action rifle, left side
The Sabatti STR Sport US rifle, equipped with a 20” fluted barrel, will be launched on the north American market in 2023
The result of this collaboration was a good all-round long-range shooting platform, with an eye on all disciplines in general and PRS or F-Class in particular that aims at beating the competition under numerous aspects, last but not least the price point.
The first STR series represented Sabatti’s first line of chassis rifles. In the 2021 iteration of the STR Sport, however, the chassis represents Victrix Armaments’ contribution to the design; it is CNC-machined out of a block of 7075-T6 lightweight aluminum alloy, and available in hard-coat anodized matte black or bright red colors, and in two versions – standard and F-Class – with all the difference being in the handguard.
The action of the STR Sport rifle features a bolted-on, removable Picatinny rail for optics
The chassis of the Sabatti STR Sport Rifle has been designed and is manufactured by Victrix Armaments, a specialist in high accuracy long-range competition and tactical rifles
The standard Sabatti STR Sport rifle features a tighter handguard with M-LOK slots at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, allowing for the installation of Picatinny rail segments, bipods, weights, or other useful accessories.
The bolt body of the STR Sport rifle is rectified, heat-treated, and chrome-lined until it reaches the necessary level of thickness to ensure a perfect balance between fast, smooth operation and resistance against wear and corrosion
The handguard on the standard Sabatti STR Sport rifle features a set of M-LOK slots at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions, providing plenty of room for additional Picatinny rail segments for accessories
The Sabatti STR Sport F-Class version comes instead with a larger “Bag-Rider” type handguard with a wider flat bottom surface and three ARCA Swiss interface guides designed by another Italian company specializing in long-range shooting and tactical rifles – BCM Europearms. Originally conceived for photography, the ARCA Swiss interface has recently gained wider acceptance among shooters due to its fame as a rock-solid mounting platform, particularly when it comes to the taller bipods and tripods. Anschutz interfaces are also available upon request.
The Sabatti STR Sport rifle is available with a hard-anodized red or black chassis
The chief difference between the two variants: the STR Sport F-Class model features a wider, “Bag Rider” type handguard, with ARCA Swiss or Anschutz interfaces, designed not by Sabatti but by BCM Europearms, another Italian specialist of long-range competition and tactical rifles
Stock and grip
All Sabatti STR Sport bolt-action rifles accept AR-15 compatible pistol grips and come issued from factory with a FAB Defense GRADUS rubberized, reduced angle ergonomic grip, which can be replaced with any other aftermarket compatible grip.
The factory buttstock is a fixed, lightweight Sabatti and Victrix design, entirely manufactured out of aluminum, with two QD sling swivel cups on both sides, a flat bag-riding bottom surface, and a manually adjustable cheek riser; a set of rubberized spacers can be used to adjust the length of pull. The buttstock is attached to the rear of the chassis via a screw, and can be removed and replaced with other aftermarket buttstocks with a similar attachment system, such as those manufactured by MDT – Modular Driven Technologies in Canada.
The standard factory buttstock of the Sabatti STR Sport rifle is manufactured out of aluminum, skeletonized, and features an adjustable cheek riser. Spacers can be use to adjust length of pull. The buttstock is attached to the chassis via a screw, and can thus be removed and replaced with other compatible stocks
The chassis-based design of the Sabatti STR Sport is rugged, lean, and helps keep the overall weight of the rifle within acceptable levels
The Sabatti STR Sport rifle comes from factory with a FAB Defense GRADUS ergonomic pistol grip; alternatively, it is compatible with a vast majority of aftermarket AR-15 grips
The chassis also includes the magazine well. The Sabatti STR Sport is available in three calibers – 7.62×51mm – .308 Winchester, 6.5×47 Lapua, and 6.5 Creedmoor – and feeds through AICS (Accuracy International Chassis System) detachable box magazines, whose capacity will vary depending on caliber; AICS magazines are normally available in 5 or 7 rounds versions, but slightly higher capacity variants are also available from third party suppliers. An ambidextrous paddle release lever is located at the base of the trigger guard, and the shooter can easily access it with his or her trigger finger.
The Sabatti STR Sport feeds through Accuracy International AICS compatible magazines; the magazine release paddle is ambidextrous
At the heart of the Sabatti STR Sport rifle is the Company’s own, patented Blizzard short action with a three-locking lugs bolt and a very tight 60° throw for faster follow-up shots, which also keeps the shooter’s hand away from the eyepiece of the scope when reloading. Both the bolt and the receiver are CNC-machined out of solid, high-strength special purpose steel; the receiver is then finished in black and features a top Picatinny rail for optics – available in a 0, 10 or 20 MOA tilt to facilitate holdover in extreme long range shooting – while the bolt body is heat-treated, rectified and subsequently hard chromed until it reaches the exact level of tolerance requested by the manufacturing process.
The top Picatinny rail is also available with different levels of inclination, making it easier for shooters to calculate holdover at extreme distances
The face of the Sabatti three locking lugs bolt. Note the sturdy 17-4PH steel “Guillotine-style” extractor, a guarantee of constant reliability and a sturdy safety feature against high pressures
This allows the bolt body to be extremely resistant against corrosion, wear, and dirt; and to be a perfect fit for the receiver, just loose enough for a smooth, quick operation, and tight enough to prevent any wobble that may be detrimental to the overall accuracy level. All of Sabatti’s Blizzard actions feature the Company’s own, patented “Guillotine-type” extractor, whose construction – in 17-4PH steel – and positioning were carefully studied to ensure reliable extraction in all conditions and to dub as an additional safety feature. Sabatti’s “Guillotine-type” extractor is engineered to withstand prolonged use with high-pressure ammunition, to support the cartridge case rim when the bolt is locked, and to make sure that even in the event of massive pressure spikes, cases will be extracted reliably and without rupturing.
Other features of the Sabatti Blizzard action include a sliding safety located right behind the charging handle, at quick and convenient thumb reach, and an interchangeable bolt knob, which is attached to the charging handle itself via a 5/16” thread and can thus be removed and replaced with any aftermarket knob to meet the preferences of each individual shooter.
The factory bolt knob on the Sabatti STR Sport rifle can be removed and replaced with any compatible knob at the user’s convenience
A bolt release lever is located on the left side of the receiver
The safety is placed right behind the charging handle, at easy and convenient thumb reach
Barrel and rifling pattern
The barrel, also manufactured entirely by Sabatti, is the cherry on top. Available in three lengths – 61, 66 or 71 cm, with a 22 mm or 28 mm muzzle diameter and a protected thread for flash hiders, muzzle brakes, or sound suppressors – the barrel is cold hammer forged, finished in black, and features Sabatti’s own, proprietary MRR rifling pattern.
All of the Sabatti STR Sport rifles feature the Company’s own, cold hammer forged MRR barrels with Sabatti’s patented multi-radial rifling pattern
First introduced in 2011, MRR (“Multi-Radial Rifling”) barrels are covered by numerous international patents and unique to the Sabatti production, heavily featured on the company’s tactical and sporting long-range rifles. MRR barrels were developed with accuracy in mind, with the goal to achieve levels of performance that couldn’t be matched by existing rifling patterns – including 5R – while at the same time allowing easy manufacture through cold hammer forging, a procedure that Sabatti has been mastering for decades and using for the entirety of their barrel production.
Multi-radial rifling (MRR) is “softer” if compared to both standard and polygon rifling, with somewhat “duller” edges between lands and grooves, and features a modified forcing cone geometry for a better fit of the bullet to the rifling and alignment to the bore axis.
The MRR rifling fits tighter on the bullet, which “seals” the bullet allowing very little – if any – gas to escape through the lands and grooves. When passing through an MRR barrel, the bullet will be deformed – albeit only even so slightly, as the company stresses the low bullet deformation factor inherent to MRR rifling – but not cut, avoiding excessive levels of friction that may be detrimental to accuracy and service life; at the same time, the propulsion from expanding gas is optimized. Thus, not only do MRR barrels require less cleaning and maintenance than standard barrels and deliver muzzle velocities that are up to 16% higher on average than most of the competition’s, but are guaranteed from factory to deliver sub-MOA accuracy at 100 meters with factory ammunition
The Sabatti STR Sport and STR Sport F-Class rifles are available in three different barrel lengths and two different barrel profiles, with a 22 mm or 28 mm diameter at the muzzle
The muzzle thread is covered by a screw-on protector, and allows the use of flash hiders, compensators, muzzle brake, or silencers where legal
The Sabatti STR Sport also comes from factory with a Match-grade three-lever trigger of Sabatti’s own design and production. Sabatti’s rifles are currently not compatible with aftermarket triggers, but Sabatti’s factory triggers are every bit as good as the most highly regarded aftermarket competition alternatives. The STR Sport’s Match trigger is set at a 550/600 grams break, but can be further adjusted by the shooter upon stripping the rifle.
The STR Sport rifle comes from factory with Sabatti’s own, 3-lever Match trigger
And stripping the STR Sport – as well as any Sabatti rifle with a Blizzard action – is just as easy as taking out two screws, and so is putting it back, with no issue with accuracy. There is no bedding to keep the action and the chassis together, only two hex screws: one behind the receiver, one right underneath the trunnion.
The company calls this design “Azione sospesa” (“Suspended action”, or “hanging action”), because the barreled action is free to float over and within the chassis, eliminating coupling tensions which may be the cause of vibrations that are detrimental to accuracy. Removing the barreled action from the chassis will not cause a loss of zero; the rifle will also hold zero once reassembled as long as the proper torque settings for the two coupling screws are followed: 8 N⋅m for the rear screw and 9 N⋅m for the front screw.
The handguards are attached to the chassis by a set of three hex screws, and can be easily removed
A Sabatti STR Sport F-Class rifle, fully disassembled: it just doesn’t get any simple than that
The STR Sport features a “suspended action” design, with the barreled action and the chassis being held together by two screws and no conventional bedding of sorts
Via Alessandro Volta 90, 25063 Gardone Val Trompia (BS) – Italy
|Distributor||Malik & Malik
Brzegowa 41A, Strzelin 57-100
|Model||STR Sport – STR Sport F-Class|
|Calibers and rifling twists||.308 Winchester / 7.62x51mm (1:11”), 6,5×47 Lapua (1:8”), 6.5 Creedmoor (1.8”)|
|Action||Blizzard action – three front-locking lugs with 60° opening angle|
|Trigger system||Match-grade, three-lever|
|Capacity||5 or 7 rounds in AICS compatible magazines|
|Sight systems||MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail for optics|
|Barrel||61, 66 or 71 cm
22 mm or 28 mm diameter at the muzzle, 5/16” thread with screw-on protector
MRR Multi Radial Rifling pattern
|Total lenght||110, 115 or 120 cm|
|Weight (empty)||6 kg|
|Materials||Steel barrel, receiver, and action; reinforced polymer pistol grip; lightweight aluminum alloy chassis and adjustable buttstock|
|Finishes||Matte black finish on all steel surfaces; MIL-STD Type III black or red hard anodized finish on aluminum surfaces|
|Price||Ca. 10 500,00 zł (Sabatti STR Sport) – Ca. 11 500,00 zł (Sabatti STR Sport F-Class)|
At the range
We tested the Sabatti STR Sport in summer 2022 in Rome (Italy), using a .308 Winchester (7.62×51mm) model loaded with Fiocchi EXACTA factory ammunition: the Fiocchi EXACTA is a commercial version of the loads manufactured by Fiocchi for the Italian Army, Police and Special Forces snipers, and is loaded with American-made Sierra Match King 168-grain Hollow Point Boat Tail bullets.
At 300 meters, on a standard regulatory long range shooting target, the Sabatti STR Sport kept the promises, with only four out of fifteen rounds ending up in the second target circle, all others grouping tightly in the bullseye.
We did not, unfortunately, have a chance to demonstrate how this already astounding level of accuracy improves even more dramatically with the use of Sabatti’s own MRR line of monolithic copper bullets, designed and manufactured by the Company to optimize the performance of its Multi-Radial Rifling barrels.
We tested the Sabatti STR Sport bolt-action rifle in .308/7.62mm caliber in Italy, using a Sightmark Latitude riflescope and Fiocchi EXACTA factory ammunition
The Sabatti STR Sport is a largely underestimated but rugged, extremely well performing shooting machine
300 meters 15 shots – The results of our tests: the Sabatti company advertises its MRR barrels as consistently more accurate than any competition, with guaranteed sub-MOA performance at 100 meters with factory ammo. This 15-shots group at 300 meters appears to confirm the inherent good accuracy of the designed
The Sabatti MRR bullets are dedicated to reloading enthusiasts and experts who want to get the best out of their Sabatti rifle and MRR barrel, and are available in three different lines – Green Hunting, Green Sport, and Green Long Range, all different in terms of specific features and bullet design depending on the intended use – and in .30, .270, 6.5 (.264) and 7mm (.284) calibers.
Last, but not least, the Sabatti STR Sport line of rifles is slated to expand in 2023 with the launch of a third variant, dubbed the STR Sport US, dedicated specifically to the US market; this will be a standard STR Sport rifle equipped from factory with a fluted 508mm-long barrel. As of today, Sabatti won’t confirm whether the STR Sport US will also be available for sale in Europe.
The Sabatti STR Sport standard rifle head to head with its fiery red brother, the F-Class model
The Sabatti STR Sport F-Class bolt-action rifle
Sabatti’s STR Sport bolt-action rifle in its standard configuration
The STR Sport rifle is a perfect example of Sabatti’s high level of craftsmanship and accuracy; it is a pity that Sabatti rifles aren’t better known among sport shooters in Europe and worldwide, because their price point is almost unbeatable for the type of features that they offer, and their quality and performance levels will easily rival or outmatch those of best known international brands. But the Company is now adopting a more aggressive approach towards global markets, and it’s just a matter of time before the Sabatti name gains the recognition that it deserves.
Nobody has commented on this article yet.