Gun test: ATA SP over-and-under
PUBLISHED: 11:01 17 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:01 17 November 2014
The latest budget gun to emerge from Turkey takes inspiration from the popular Beretta brand, offering no-nonsense styling and surprisingly good shooting qualities
This month’s test focuses on an ATA SP over-and-under – a product imported by Wild Hunter, a Republic of Ireland-based company. The black-actioned, 28” all-rounder weighs in at about 8lbs and has a relatively modest RRP of £949. It appears to be a fairly blatant copy of a Beretta 600 series/Silver Pigeon-type gun. The test gun has a steel action, black-finished as noted. There is also a silver-finished model which is a little more expensive for some reason, and an alloy-actioned gun (with steel inserts) at £835. To put this into context, the cheapest Beretta Silver Pigeon has an official price tag of £1,600 now.
First impressions of the ATA are good, both with regard to its looks and its engineering. I thought the action looked ‘businesslike’ (I wish Beretta would offer the plain black action again). I did not have the chance to take the wood off, but, externally, it is a dead ringer for a Beretta with the same barrel shoulders, the same conical locking bolts, mating with recesses in the monobloc, and similar cocking rods, too. The ejector work on the monobloc looks very Beretta-like, too. The only external difference that was immediately obvious was the form of the safety thumb-piece cum barrel selector. This did not have the small horizontal slider of the Gardonne gun, but rather the whole safety moved to change barrels in the manner of a Browning (which I find less fiddly).
When I tried the trigger (and the pulls were not too heavy with only a little creep evident), it was also interesting to note that the trigger function is mechanical, not recoil operated as in nearly all Berettas. Personally, I prefer a mechanical trigger (and most Berettas by the way are quite easily converted if your gunsmith knows the secret) because it is not ammunition dependent. I liked the form of the trigger blade and the matt gold finish did not look bad at all (much better than the shiny gold plating which sometimes afflicts guns).
Any other differences to Beretta? The fore-end of the ATA which, like the grip, is laser-chequered and oil-finished, has a push button release rather than a lifting latch. Nothing wrong with that either; actually it is my preference (because I find the latches and their surround can transmit heat to the hand when they get hot). When you look at the proof marks, struck in the UK because Turkey is not a member of CIP as far as I am aware, you will note tightish bore dimensions of 18.3 and 18.4mm (like an old Beretta), 3”, (76mm) chambers, and, reassuringly, fleurs-de-lys steel shot-friendly marks. The monobloc itself looks nearly identical to a Beretta one. The sighting rib, a sensible, do-anything 8mm ventilated design, was well presented, as were the bores.
All good thus far. Any negatives? I did not particularly like the styling of the fore-end. And, the stock, though of reasonable length (14¾” – longer than the Turkish norm), was quite low in the comb. There was about 2½” of drop at heel, too much for most people (Mr Average may find the wrong eye taking over on occasion if he applies normal cheek pressure). The general form of the butt, which is made from adequately figured wood and finished with a shortish, black rubber-faced recoil pad, was okay save for the excessive drop. The grip is relatively tight, but comfortable (like the fullish comb) and there is a palm swell. My own ideal would be for a semi-pistol grip without the bulge. There was one other thing I noted, the gun did feel to be a little loose as it opened towards full gape. There was no issue with the jointing though.
Model: SP over-and-under
Chamber: 3” fleurs-de-lys superior proof for steel shot
Barrels: 28” (with 26 and 30” options)
Rib: 8mm vented
Chokes: Multi - similar to Beretta Mobil - five supplied
Weight: 8lbs approx.
The black action
The mechanical trigger
The sensible stock length
The low comb
The feeling of looseness at full gape