Skip to content

How Sabatti Compact Scout Changed Through the Years

One day over a nice Sunday BBQ your friend tells you about his new scout rifle. He goes on and on about how great it is, how it meets all his needs, and how “multi-purpose” it is, supposedly being the right choice for just about anything that includes shooting. You become curious and start looking into scout rifles, thinking you should get one for yourself. Perhaps you already know what you’re looking for, or you start digging as much info as you can possibly find before making your final decision, but in any case, you end up stumbling upon Sabatti Compact Scout. You decide it’s the right rifle for you and you search up some dealers.

Then you notice it… Every single one of them offers a different variation of the Compact Scout, and you haven’t got a clue what’s going on. No worries, you came to the right place. We’ve been there before, and we decided to look into it, so you don’t have to.

What is a Scout Rifle?

Sabatti Compact Scout History
Sabatti Compact Scout History – Colonel Jeff Cooper (Source:

Let’s first quickly revise what defines a “scout” rifle, as this is going to make it easier for us to clear some things up later in this article.

During a conference in 1983, Colonel Jeff Cooper (1920–2006), a famous hunter, instructor, author, and apparently an inventor as well, came up with the concept of a scout rifle. He wanted a weapon that would assure “maximal practical efficacy”. A rifle that would be light, short, ergonomic, and quick to operate, but still able to take down a 200 kg (440 lbs.) game.  Cooper imagined the scout rifle as the ultimate multi-purpose weapon, usable anywhere, anytime. A Swiss army knife of rifles, if you will.

Scout Rifle Criteria

Cooper even went as far as to define some general criteria for what makes a rifle a “scout” rifle.

Following Cooper’s rules, a scout rifle shouldn’t be longer than 100 cm (39.4-inch), weigh more than 3 kg (6.6 lbs.), and the barrel shouldn’t measure more than 48.3 cm (19-inch). To assure maximum operational speed, he envisioned the scout rifle with a forward-mounted fixed-power scope.

Looking for a Scout Rifle Scope?

In order to give the shooter a bit of a wiggle room when it comes to optics, though, a forward-mounted Picatinny rail ended up being the standard with scout rifles. As per Cooper’s definition, the rifle’s barrel should also feature iron sights in case of scope malfunction.

Furthermore, the pull-weight of the scout’s trigger shouldn’t exceed 1.36 kg (3 lbs.), while the bolt should have a 90° degree throw and two locking lugs for safety purposes.

Because Cooper realized that his then-favorite .30-06 Springfield caliber would require a large action that would render the 3 kg weight limit impossible to follow, he insisted that scout rifles should be chambered for .308 Winchester instead. He later allowed for use of some smaller calibers, though.

On top of all that, Cooper also recommended that scout rifles should feature a synthetic stock in hopes to reduce the overall weight of the rifle.

Why are Scout Rifles Problematic?

There is no denying the colonel had good reasons for each criterion, but how many of them are actually attainable?

Well, let’s put it like this… Some manufacturers still produce scout rifles, indeed, but most of them just barely hit the 3 kg (6.6 lbs.) weight limit even without the forward-mounted scope.

On top of that, the low fixed-power scopes are slowly but surely falling out of favor with hunters, so rifle manufacturers are now usually offering scout rifles with the traditional mounting surface on the receiver.

It seems like scout rifles are in some sort of a “limbo” where Cooper’s concept is more of a guideline than a “rule book”, and where everyone can take the liberty to add (or take away) some of the modifications.

Unfortunately for the buyers, that may lead to some confusion, which is especially (and sometimes painfully) true for the Sabatti Compact Scout.

Sabatti Compact Scout: A New Scout Rifle in 2014

Sabatti Compact Scout History
Sabatti Compact Scout History – Top: post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout (Source: vaughansports); Bottom: pre-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout (Source: visiontarget)

In 2014 Sabatti finally announced their first “scout” rifle: Sabatti Compact Scout. In our opinion, it came as close to being a proper scout rifle as a massively produced rifle could be at the time.

“That’s great!” right? Well, not quite.

As it turned out, the Compact Scout soon started to see some gradual changes that made it into a considerably different rifle by 2017. We’re going to use this year as a defining point where the Compact Scout changed, so from now on, we’re going to talk about a “pre-2017” and “post-2017” Compact Scout.

Let us now slowly unpack this whole transformation and see where it brings us.

Pre-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout: A “Proper” Scout Rifle?

Sabatti Compact Scout History
Sabatti Compact Scout History – Pre-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout (Source:

As mentioned above, Sabatti announced the Compact Scout in 2014. It was introduced together with another new model: Sabatti Rover Thumbhole. The latter was marketed as a “faster” and “more precise” version of the already proven Rover 870 and 600 models. It featured a thumbhole, which was a new and previously not seen addition to Sabatti rifles, and its stock was made of a very light technopolymer.

Pre-2017 Compact Scout, on the other hand, looks very similar and an inattentive eye could easily mistake it for the Rover Thumbhole.

They are both made of the same technopolymer, they are designed around the Rover action, and are of the same, dark-grey color (Compact Scout also comes in green color, though).

But several characteristics set them apart.

First of all, Compact Scout comes with a pre-installed muzzle brake, something that the Rover Thumbhole doesn’t have.

In contrast to Rover Thumbhole’s 560 or 610 mm (22” and 24” respectively) long barrel, the pre-2017 Compact Scout also has a considerably shorter barrel. It measures only 470 mm (18.5”), keeping the overall length of the rifle even below colonel Cooper’s intended criteria. The barrel also features a front fixed sight and a fully adjustable rear sight, just as the scout rifle should.

Need a Mount for your Sabatti Compact Scout (Pre-2017)?

Burris 25.4 mm Signature Zee Rings, Picatinny_CTA

The bolt of Sabatti Compact Scout has 2 locking lugs for safety purposes – another step towards achieving the “ultimate scout rifle” goal.

The action is of the push-feed style and on the right side of it, behind the bolt handle, there’s a 2-position safety catch that locks the rifle’s bolt and the single-stage trigger. The latter has a pull weight of approx. 765 g (1.7 lbs.).

The most important feature of the pre-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout, however, is the forward-mounted Picatinny rail. It sits perfectly fitted between the rear iron sight and the rifle’s receiver. This is perhaps the most distinctive feature of the scout rifles and something that we should keep in our minds for later purposes.

Problems with the Sabatti Compact Scout Rifle (pre-2017)

Everything written so far points toward the Compact Scout being an ideal “all-purpose” scout rifle, one that even Jeff Cooper could be proud of. But that’s where things start to get a bit complicated.

Sabatti is no stranger to testing and adding new features to their models, and unfortunately for us, Compact Scout is no exception.

It can be chambered for .308 Winchester, but it is also available in .30-06 Springfield, which requires a longer and heavier action than the smaller counterpart. You can almost hear the colonel yelling “Strike one!” somewhere in the distance.

The model that was first introduced in 2014 was presented with a removable 5-round magazine, but both, the pre-2017 and post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scouts are now available with a 5-, 7- or 10-round magazine, adding further weight to the overall rifle’s weight.

Looking for a Detachable Mount for Sabatti Compact Scout?

On top of the pre-installed forward-mounted Picatinny rail, the pre-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout also comes with 4 tapped holes on the receiver which allow for a more traditional scope-mounting solution.

If you couple all of that with the fact that the barrel was soon extended to reach 500 mm (19.7”), it soon becomes apparent that Sabatti was gradually taking more liberty with their definition of what defines a scout rifle.

Queue the post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout

Post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout

By 2017 Sabatti Compact Scout looked noticeably different than it had when it first entered the market, but let’s first go through the similarities.

Sabatti Compact Scout History
Sabatti Compact Scout History – Post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout (Source:

Same as the pre-2017 version, the post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout comes with a cold-hammer-forged barrel with 2 iron sights – a fixed one in the front and a fully adjustable rear sight. It has a threaded muzzle and comes with a muzzle brake.

Post-2017 also has a durable technopolymer stock, just like the pre-2017 version. It comes with the same 2-lug bolt, and its action is modeled after the older Rover action as well. It also comes with a single-stage trigger (although the pull weight is now approx. 1100 g).

The 2-positions safety catch is behind the bolt handle on the right side of the rifle, and it feeds from a 5-, 7-, or 10-round removable magazine. How is the post-2017 Compact Scout different from the pre-2017 one, then?

How is Sabatti Compact Scout (pre-2017) Different than Sabatti Compact Scout (post-2017)?

The most obvious thing that first catches our eye is the difference in the buttstocks. Pre-2017 Compact Scout has a simple thumbhole buttstock that looks like some sort of a mix between Monte-Carlo and Bavarian styles. Post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout, on the other hand, comes with a straight buttstock that features an adjustable cheekpiece.

It doesn’t stop there, though.

Looking for a Scope Mount for your post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout?

Contessa 30mm Rings for Picatinny cta

Post-2017 Compact’s Scout’s barrel was further extended to reach 510 mm (20”). Coupled with a muzzle brake that it comes with, it goes even beyond that.

The resulting rifle consequently noticeably exceeds the proposed 100 cm (39.4”) overall length limit.

Furthermore, in contrast to the pre-2017 Compact Scout, the post-2017 Scout doesn’t have a forward-mounted Picatinny rail on the barrel anymore. It lost it in favor of a 2-base Picatinny rail on the receiver, which is intended for the traditional scope mounting.

So… Combat Scout now weighs approx. 3.4 kg, it is longer than 100 cm (39.4”), and above all, it lost the forward-mounted Picatinny rail. Is Sabatti Compact Scout even a scout rifle anymore?

Is post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout even a Scout Rifle?

With weighing well over 3 kg, measuring more than 100 cm, and without the Picatinny rail on the barrel, one can only wonder what colonel Jeff Cooper would have to say about Sabatti Compact Scout if he ever witnessed it.

If you, too, are wondering if it could even be considered a scout rifle, you’re not alone. But if you were counting on us to give the final verdict, you will (sadly) be disappointed.

We feel like it is not our place to judge. In Sabatti’s words, Compact Scout is an improved version of a scout rifle. Some might agree, while others will protest that it goes beyond what is an acceptable deviation from the original concept.

It seems like the shooters are slowly, but surely moving away from the scout rifle concept, though.

Forward-mounted fixed scopes with small-diameter lenses can be tricky to use, and they can be quickly rendered almost useless in the dim lighting of the first and last half an hour of the day. That is why even the proudest owners of scout rifles are known to replace them with high-power variable scopes mounted on the receiver, instead.

Most of the shooters are also not all that much concerned about other guidelines that Jeff Cooper first introduced in 1983. To most hunters, for example, a difference between 3 kg (6.6 lbs.) and 3.3 kg (7 lbs.) doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.

They most likely also don’t worry about a 10 mm (0.4”) difference in the rifle’s length, nor do they lose much sleep over the trigger’s pull weight, as long as the rifle does its job.

Looking for a 30mm Scope Mount for Sabatti Compact Scout?

Contessa 30mm Light Rings cta

But if you are one of those who do stick to the strict rules of the scout rifle concept, kudos to you! You like a good challenge, and you are not afraid to go the extra mile to get a good scout rifle in your hands. You are definitely not alone in your passion.

There’s a relatively small, but very loyal following of the scout rifle enthusiasts out there, some of whom even have special social media groups dedicated to Jeff Cooper’s concept.

One of them is this Facebook group, for instance.

But however you put it, it seems like scout rifles developed into a very niche market that not too many manufacturers are interested in nowadays.

And where does that leave Sabatti? Well, Sabatti is only doing what everyone else is: Trying to find a balance between what colonel Jeff Cooper first wanted the scout rifle to be, and what a modern buyer wants. A limbo where almost everything is fair game.

Why are There so many Different Sabatti Compact Scout Rifles on the Market?

We’re still left with one very important question. Why are there so many variations of the Sabatti Compact Scout out there?

You now know what is the difference between the pre-2017 Compact Scout and the post-2017 one, but you still feel there’s something more to it, right? Like there are even more versions of the model that we didn’t cover in this article yet?

You’re right.

In Search of a Forward-Mounted Detachable 30mm Scope Mount for Sabatti Compact Scout?


Unfortunately, if anyone can take the liberty to custom the concept of a scout rifle in their own way, that means that not only manufacturers can do that, but the gun dealers and distributors who sell these rifles can, too. This is a perfect recipe to create a good measure of confusion.

Some merchants request that the manufacturers send them a modified version of the rifle, while others modify it themselves.

Let’s take Frankonia, for instance. Frankonia is the leading seller of hunting and sport shooting equipment in Germany, and it sells Sabatti’s rifles under the label “Mercury”.

To further elaborate, since 2015, Frankonia sold Sabatti Compact Scout as Mercury 870 Compact Scout. It is the same rifle, but Frankonia sold Compact Scout with both, the forward-mounted and the 2-base Picatinny rail.

If you were to look at some other stores, you could even find the pre-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout with a 2-base Picatinny rail on the receiver; a pre-2017 version with a standard Picatinny rail on the receiver; a post-2017 version with 2 standard rails – one on the receiver and one on the barrel; etc.

Further confusion is added by the fact that some of the retailers are still selling their old stock of rifles, so it wouldn’t be surprising if you stumbled upon a “brand new” pre-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout for sale.

The seller might have got it in 2015 but couldn’t sell it, so it has been in the window ever since where the sticker just says “Sabatti Compact Scout”.

How about other Sabatti scout rifles, though? Are there any? In short: yes. But if you want the full answer, then it is sadly more complicated.

Is Sabatti Tactical Scout the Same as Sabatti Compact Scout?

Sabatti Compact Scout History
Sabatti Compact Scout History – Sabatti “Tactical Scout” as found on (Source:

There is a pretty good chance that you already visited a few online stores before you landed here, in hopes of better understanding the whole Sabatti Compact Scout situation. That means that there is also a probability that you encountered something called a “Sabatti Tactical Scout”.

Some merchants are selling what is labeled a “Sabatti Tactical Scout” that looks almost exactly like the post-2017 Compact Scout.

We weren’t able to get a 100% confirmation on this, but we are fairly comfortable in saying that this is, in fact, a Sabatti Urban Sniper, a different rifle than the Compact Scout.

We, unfortunately, can’t be sure where the term “Tactical Scout” came from since it doesn’t seem like Sabatti ever used it for any of its rifles.

And while Urban Sniper does indeed show a remarkable resemblance to the post-2017 Compact Scout, and it, too, was introduced in 2017, it is not the same rifle.

How is Sabatti Urban Sniper different than Sabatti Compact Scout?

Sabatti Compact Scout History
Sabatti Compact Scout History – Top: post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout (Source: Vaughan Sports; Middle: Sabatti Urban Sniper 2017 (Source: DeltaMike); Bottom: Sabatti Urban Sniper 2021 (Source: Sabatti)

When Sabatti Urban Sniper first entered the market, it had a standard Picatinny rail mounted on the receiver, an interchangeable bolt handle, it came without iron sights, and it had a wider barrel that made use of the Sabatti’s patented Multi-Radial Rifling system (MRR). Those seem to be the only differences compared to the post-2017 Compact Scout.

Do you need a Scope Mount for your Sabatti Urban Sniper?

RUSAN 30mm tactical rings cta

Later on, in 2021, Urban Sniper experienced a bit of a “glow up” when it got a new and improved “Blizzard” action, as Sabatti named it, but it visually remained very similar to the post-2017 Compact Scout.

It is due to the remarkable resemblance that we think it is fair to say that Urban Sniper was most likely inspired by the Compact Scout in one way or another, as was the Sabatti Rover Scout.

Yes, there’s one more, and yes, we know… Sabatti simply couldn’t make this whole “Sabatti scout rifle” thing more complicated than they already have. But if it makes you feel any better, we’re almost at the end.

Is Sabatti Rover Scout the Same as Sabatti Compact Scout?

Sabatti Compact Scout History
Sabatti Compact Scout History – Top: Sabatti Rover Scout (Source: Sabatti); Middle: post-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout (Source: Vaughan Sports); Bottom: pre-2017 Sabatti Compact Scout (Source: Vision Target)

This whole situation with the Compact Scout and Urban sniper makes us believe that Sabatti at some point started to struggle with finding the right direction for their scout rifle.

Until 2021, both rifles remained on the market, but it was at the beginning of 2021 when Sabatti decided to rejuvenate their whole collection.

The height of this rejuvenation was marked by the launch of the 2nd generation of Sabatti Rover models in 2021. With it, Sabatti introduced a new and improved “Blizzard” action (as they decided to call it), a better and safer bolt with 3 locking lugs, an integrated 2-part Picatinny rail on the receiver, and a new design, etc.

Some of their older models managed to ‘survive’ this process while others haven’t. Compact Scout hasn’t.

Sabatti Compact Scout got replaced by Sabatti Rover Scout. The latter is part of the improved 2nd generation of Rover models, and it is our opinion that it gets much closer to being a scout rifle than its predecessor.

Do you own a Sabatti Rover Scout rifle?

Rover Scout has both, an integrated Picatinny rail on the receiver and the forward-mounted one. It either comes with a 410 mm or 460 mm (16” or 18” respectively) long barrel with front and rear iron sights. It has a nice and “crisp” standard trigger with a 1.2 kg pull weight (2.6 lbs.), and it only weighs around 3 kilograms (6.6 lbs.). Combined with the innovative action, the Sabatti Rover Scout has everything a scout rifle needs and more.

So, there you have it… Sabatti Rover Scout is a successor to the Compact Scout, and a very much worthy one, if we may say so, but they are not the same rifle.

How Sabatti Compact Scout Changed Through the Years
Article Name
How Sabatti Compact Scout Changed Through the Years
There are a lot of variations of Sabatti Compact Scout. It was first introduced in 2014, saw a re-design in 2017, and was finally retired in 2021 when Sabatti Rover Scout took its place.
Publisher Name
Optics Trade
Publisher Logo



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *