This sparkling new ATA SP Elegant Gold impresses Becky McKenzie when she puts it to review, and is this week’s Gun of the Week
ATA have made quite a big impact on the UK shotgun market, with their range of well made and very affordable over-and-under shotguns.
ATA are known for their quality woodwork and on this Elegant Gold version it truly is something to behold. Bear in mind that the ATA price range starts at around £595 for a brand new, black actioned Sporter. The model shown here, the Elegant Gold, is a mere £990 new! Look at that wood, that stunning sideplated action – all for a penny under a grand. Seriously, how do they do that?
ATA SP Elegant Gold – tech specs
MODEL: Sp Elegant Gold
GAUGE: 12, 3in
BARRELS: 28 or 30in. Matt black finish, chrome lined, steel proof
CHOKES: Multichoke, five flush tubes supplied
SAFETY: Top tang, selective, automatic
STOCK: Oil finished Turkish walnut, 14¾ins on test model
WEIGHT: 7lb 6oz as tested
At the time of writing we are in our third lockdown. I met up with James Marchington for this review but all we could do was mount guns and take photographs – no shooting allowed! Fortunately I had shot a very similar ATA not long ago, when I was coaching one of my clients, Postlady Pat, at Eriswell Lodge in Suffolk. She kindly let me try her new pride and joy.
The gun in the photos is the ATA SP Elegant Gold. It’s available in 28 or 30in, and the gun I had on loan was 30in. The barrels are finished in a matt black; they are multichoked, and come with a set of five flush chokes, covering the range from cylinder to full choke. The full and three-quarter tubes are not steel shot proofed, but the others are. As you would expect, they come with their own choke key and box.
The ATA Elegant Gold has a 3in chamber (76mm) so it will accommodate the bigger loads should you wish to take it game shooting. The action is available in standard steel or lightweight aluminium. The top rib is 8mm wide, not tapered, with a light chequered finish and a highly visible red bead.
In the hands, this 30in gun felt well balanced, though after some time it did start to feel slightly barrel heavy – probably due to lack of shooting. I didn’t feel any negativity on mounting it, so it may have been just perceived weight. This gun weighed in at 7lb 6oz on my kitchen scales. ATA claim a standard weight of 6.2lb, but maybe that is with the aluminium receiver.
The gun has a single selective trigger with an auto safety. The safety mechanism is smooth and positive in its movement to select the barrel, and clicks when it is in the final position. The trigger, feels of moderate weight, consistent and with no creep that I could feel.
The overall wood to metal fit is ok, and it’s pretty well finished too. The engraving is a sort of scroll pattern, with gold inlay pheasants, which I imagine must be lasered not hand engraved. It is a very pretty action nonetheless. I was really quite taken with this gun, noticing the top lever was also engraved, which I am quite keen on.
The quality of the grain of the Turkish walnut stock is hard not to notice, even at a distance. I was really impressed by its quality. There are guns out there for three times the price with some very plain and straight-grained wood on them. The chequering on the wood was also good, not too sharp. Length of pull is 14¾ins. It felt a little longer than that to me, but then I was wearing quite a few layers!
The fore-end release catch is on the end of the fore-end, which is very convenient. The stock is finished off with a rubber heel plate. The stock is available in right hand, and left hand.
When I shot the ATA I was surprised how little recoil I felt, considering the gun is quite lighter than what I am used to. The gun acquires the targets with plenty of speed, but wasn’t too fast, and didn’t move off line.
For a gun under £1,000 this is a gem. Even their basic ATA Black Sporter is a very attractive buy, at under £600. With a satin black finished action, with just ‘ATA Arms’ written on the side, it’s one of the first guns I would recommend to those who are taking up the sport and don’t want to spend a small fortune in case they don’t enjoy it.
It’s an utter marvel how ATA have made such a good gun that’s attractive, strong, patterns well, has low-ish recoil and is none to heavy, all at such a low price. The SP Sporter even has a detachable trigger unit, and adjustable trigger group, which allows its owner to set the length of pull from 375mm to 390mm.
Weight of pull is fairly light and can be adjusted from 1.2kg (2.65lb) out to 1.6kg (3.52lb).
ATA have certainly produced a good range of guns. In their SP range they have guns such as the Elegance Gold tested here, the SP Walnut Steel, Walnut Aluminium, SP Bronze, Nickel, Silver and White, the SP Super Sporter, SP Skeet, SP Trap… you really are spoilt for choice, and ATA also have a massive range of semi-auto shotguns, not forgetting their bolt-action rifles, and a PCP air rifle too!
I have tested many guns over the past months, but on price alone I have been mightily impressed by the ATA brand’s quality and handling. Well done ATA!
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