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Old October 18, 2008, 08:44 AM   #1
sikasambared
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Sako 75: comments after owning

HI All,

I've seen a few reviews in magazines and comments on the net about these rifles over the years.

I've owned my Sako 75 stainless hunter now for about 4 years, so I thought I'd put up some comments of my own and see how they line up with other sako 75 owners comments.

Briefly, I think the rifle is a good shooter, well made from good materials.

Mine
is a size IV action: 270 win. This action sizing thing is a good -- you don't end up carrying extra action metal -- which you do for some brands that do not tailor their actions to the cartridge size.

The rifle is quite heavy. Not really one I would recommend as a mountain rifle -- though that is what I have principally used it for. The extra mass of this rifle (which has a fairly heavy barrel for a sporter) makes it stable to shoot for a sporter.

The whole thing is very durable. In the 50 + days I have hunted in the mountains in the last two years, I have hunted for four days straight in the rain, fallen over in rivers and streams (taking the rifle under the water with me). The rifle has become a sort of heavy walking stick on many occasions.
I've given myself RSI in my left bicep (did I say it was fairly heavy?).

Having pulled the thing apart after these trips I find there is only one thing that seems to corrode -- a tiny little pin in the trigger group.
Leaf litter and dirt does find it's way beneath the free floated barrel. This needs to be cleaned after a trip too. With a wood stock I was expecting warping problems -- but I find the barrel is still centered in the free floated channel and have never had any problems.

The trigger is lovely, and adjustable. Mine is set just under 3 pounds. No discernable creep. The stock is the right shape for me, the pistol grip the right size for a relaxed grip. The stock forend is not overly flexible, and broad enough to sit on a rest reasonably well.

about 1200 rounds into it's life, it has proven very reliable, and accurate. It is certainly a 1 MOA rifle, and in better hands than mine would produce better results. Different loads do produce different results in it. 100gr hornadies are great, 140 gr accubonds are too.
The barrel is a bit of a marvel. After the first 20 rounds at break-in, I've seen almost no copper fouling (I clean with sweets 7.62 and butch's bore shine).

While the rifle performs well, I believe that the throat is unnecessarily long. I've measured this recently with my precision mic -- and find I have no hope of reaching the lands with load that will fit in the magazine. I guess the lands may be eroding a bit at 1200 rounds, but from previous determinations with lamp-blacked bullets etc when I first bought the rifle, I believe that the rifle has always had a long throat. With a shorter throat and the ability to seat bullets close to (but not touching) the lands -- who knows if there would have been a substantial improvement. A lot of experts say this is the way to go.

It is not practical to hunt with the rifle at half cock. Climbing up a bank or over a log in the river, it is likely to slide open and drop your cartridge in the drink. The safety is relatively quite, and when appropriate and safe you could hunt with the rifle on safe. However, when the going is tough, I find I have to unload the rifle completely. Half cock is just not the go with these actions.
If they could lock in that position I would be happier (question for other brand owners...don't remingtons do that? Or at least have a very positive half cock position with the safety engaged). This is a noisy operation. Every sika for 200 m will know about it.

The action is extremely smooth however, and feeds flawlessly in this chambering.

The neck is relatively tight. Some lapua 30-06 cases I recently formed to 270 shoot fine in the rifle. They are at max neck diameter when loaded. When the extracted case is measured at the neck diameter has increase on 0.002 inches. I am told this is quite tight tolerances, similar to target rifles. Maybe this makes up for the long throat to some extent, explaining the decent accuracy. I don't know.

Now I have heard substantial criticism of the sako 75's detachable mag. Apparently it falls out. Now as you can probably tell from some of the punnishment I have dished out to this rifle, I have not babied it. Up hill, down dale, falling off logs, falling off rocks, getting trapped in vines, thorn bushes. Using it as a walking stick, or dropping it from heights. That magazine has never fallen out. Never.

The rifle is just great. Too heavy for my liking -- but maybe if it was lighter I would not be shooting as well as I do (which is a good thing, I need all the help I can get). My solution is to buy a safari sling. Hopefully no more repetitive strain injury thing in my bicep from carrying it 11 hours a day.

I'm looking forward to burning the barrel out and fitting a madco or shillen barrel chambered in 280 something or other. Maybe a wildcat. Z-hat does not sell reamers, so I don't think I will be getting a hawk chamber from here in Australia. Which is a shame, because they look great.

Well if you were thinking of buying one of these rifle's second hand -- you won't be getting mine -- but then hopefully I have given you an honest appraisal.

Kind regards,

Matt
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Old October 18, 2008, 09:19 AM   #2
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I appreciate the info. My model 85 should be in on Monday. I read somewhere they shaved off 1/2 lb from the 75. I'm surprised to hear about the long throat though. My T3 in 243 doesn't have an unusually long throat.
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Old October 18, 2008, 11:29 AM   #3
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Sounds like you have an excellent rifle. Sakos in general are very nice rifles, but they are not a lightweight rifle. I have never seen a Sako that would not shoot well.
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Old October 18, 2008, 11:46 PM   #4
sikasambared
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Yes I was surprised both by the close tolerances of the neck and the long throat. BUt on the up side, there is not a bullet in existence that is going to impinge on powder capacity with this thing. The magazine length is pretty generous.

Scorch, I have wondered how well the finnlight models would shoot. They could very well be excellent mountain rifles.
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Old October 19, 2008, 03:58 PM   #5
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It's been a long time since I saw a Finnlight, but they were not really significantly lighter than other rifles, maybe 1 pound or so. But they shoot very well, too. Sako ships their rifles with 5-shot test targets, so you can tell accuracy is one of their main considerations.
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Old November 19, 2008, 06:40 AM   #6
sikasambared
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.75 MOA

An adendum to my review. Without modifying the rifle, but by sorting cases, neck turning, sorting projectiles, and load development, I have been achieving 0.75 MOA 5 shot groups with this rifle. I believe I can get this down a bit further -- but the accuracy of this rifle realy is great. As I improve I have yet to find it's limit.

Matt
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Old November 19, 2008, 04:41 PM   #7
brewman
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Happy Sako ownwer down under

G’day from Australia,

Thought I would join this forum to add a comment on the Sako 75.
I have owned a 75 Stainless Synthetic in 270win for about 5 years now.

When I first got it the chamber was oversize and swelling cases down at the rim, not happy I can tell you. Having said that I took it back to the shop where I got it and they tried to tell me the cases I used where on the lower limit that’s why they looked like they swelled etc etc but I said no return it. It went first to Beretta Australia who import them the guy there fired it and told me that yes it’s big and needs to go back to Finland. I was worried they might just re-ream the chamber and face off the barrel to get the head space back but to there credit they replaced the whole barrel and it came back as good as new and did not cost me a cent, just took over 3 months to get it back, and no they did not start my warranty again.

Anyway as far as my opinion and performance of this rifle, first up yes it is heavy for a field rifle and after lugging it around for more than 5 hours it is like someone hung another few kilograms on it (Sorry for the metric talk, but you can convert I’m sure). Like Matt's mine has been dropped, knocked, bounced around in the car and has never failed to function. The detachable mag has never even hinted at coming out unless I wanted it to and I must say it is great to be able to load through the chamber or drop the mag out, in the future I want to get another mag so I can carry a second ready to drop and swap.

Accuracy is fantastic and seems to be getting better and better, I have put about 700 rounds through it and the barrel shows no signs of wear, the lands on mine are not that far out and by putting some candle soot on a dummy load to check my seating depth I can comfortably fit in the mag and seat to 0.1-0.2mm off the lands.

Trigger is great, no creep, easily adjustable and the whole assembly feels rigid and well made.

Recently I was after a varmint rifle and opted for the Rem VSSF II in 22-250 and can say that although the Rem is a top rifle it don’t come close to the Sako in build quality or smoothness. If I had my time again I would probably spend the extra couple of hundred get a Sako varmint. But hey please don’t get me wrong the Rem will always have a spot in my gun safe….

All in all I am very happy and would defiantly recommend Sako rifles to anyone.

P.S. You guys are lucky in the US as here in Australia firearms are largely seen as barbaric and anti social we have heaps of political parties, conservation groups, animal right groups trying to get rid of all guns in this country and they seem to be slowly winning the bastards…..
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Old November 19, 2008, 05:30 PM   #8
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brewman,

Here in the states the Sako varmint is more like $700 more than a 700 SF II. I've always heard that, in other countries Leupold's are prized as much as the big name European scopes. Is that true?

sikasambared,

My Sako 85 in 270 wsm has a moderately long throat. It's certainly not going to be a problem and I still have roughly 1 bullet diameter seated into the case for concentricity. The magazine has plenty of length for seating bullets out to the lands too.
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Old November 19, 2008, 05:55 PM   #9
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Horseman

I guess that in the US the Sako is imported but the Rem is made there so that would explain the difference whereas over here they are both imports so the difference is not as much.

As for Leupold’s “Yes” they are looked at as a higher grade scope but are still not seen in the same class as Swarovski or Schmit & Bender for example. All my centre fires carry Leupold’s, they are a quality middle price range scope that I personally have heard no real bad things about. The last two scopes I bought I purchased direct from the states as the prices are much cheaper even with the postage to Australia, as a comparison I got a VXIII 1.5-5x20 Delivered to my door from the States worked out to around $480 AUD from memory (Our dollar was stronger then) the same scope purchased here is priced over $800 AUD
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Old November 19, 2008, 08:59 PM   #10
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i believe Weatherby's have always had quite a long jump in the chamber department. it doesn't seem to affect their accuracy at all.
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Old November 19, 2008, 09:09 PM   #11
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Yes Weatherby's have long leades to stay away from pressure spikes with all the powder they burn. At least that was Roy Weatherby's idea. It seems these days we have cartridges with just as much pressure that don't require such a leade. I've seen enough freebore in Weatherby chambers you practically have to duct tape the bullets on to get anywhere near the lands. As you said though, Weatherby's can be quite accurate. Different way to skin a cat.

Brewman,

Are you sure the Leupy's aren't considered as good? You're bruising my American ego here!(kidding) Are the Sako's considered top shelf there too? It's always fascinated me what other parts of the world think of this stuff.

Last edited by Horseman; November 19, 2008 at 09:15 PM.
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Old November 20, 2008, 05:27 PM   #12
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I have a Sako 85 7mm rem mag Hunter with a Conquest rapid z 600 on it. Im very happy with the gun. It is so smooth and is more accurate than I am.
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Old November 21, 2008, 04:03 PM   #13
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Hopefully my sako 85 hunter will have a long throat so i can seat my .260 bullets high.
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Old November 21, 2008, 04:49 PM   #14
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How's the wood on that 85 Hunter. I got one last month and the wood was really nice. THe wood seems to be a little fancier than the old 75 hunters. THey were kinda plain on average.
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Old November 22, 2008, 03:02 AM   #15
sikasambared
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As I think I mentioned, I returned my Sako when I first got it -- due to some dodgy chequering. Now I figure that was quite a poor thing in itself, but Berretta Aus did deal with it very quickly.

Now I guess that you could say that that was a QC issue that was completely obvious and should have been picked up.

The thing is just so rubust, accurate, and reliable. Heavy though.

I guess achieving reliable .75 MOA groups raises it in my estimation -- now I know how to do it.

I had a chat to a gunsmith I shoot with the other day. His wife is a champion metalic sihouette shooter. He says Sako's always seem to be reliably accurate out of the box. He indicated that the most common requirement he comes across to squeeze a bit extra out is that most of them have throats that are too long to reach the lands with cartridges that can be fit in the magazine -- so apparently I am not alone. That was without me even mentioning the problem.

Now I used to use th e candle black on a bullet technique -- for a while there I believed that my lands were closer in. However, I would usually notice that I only had "land" marks on one side of the bullet. I was mistaken -- I don't believe they were land marks at all! When I purchased an RCBS precision mic -- it proved that the lands are way out there.

So what my gunsmith associate does is takes off the barrel and shortens that distance to the lands by cutting down the barrel appropriately (on a lath I guess) . Not quite sure how that is done, or how m uch has to come off. BUt to use a sako as a target or silhouette rifle that is one of the things he has up his sleeve. 0.5 MOA is what he does that to achieve.

Interesting, huh?

I also said to him that it is very difficult to true or blueprint a sako compared to a remington. That got a pretty short answer from him -- (dont flame me, I did not say it!) -- "they only need to true a remington action because they are made rough in the first place". Now I look at the remington range, and I see rifle's that I really really want. Dont get me wrong. I think a model 7 with the cool barrel coating in 7 MOA is an ideal mountain rifle for NZ, where I do a lot of my hunting (did anyone say how bad hunting opportunities here in Queensland, Australia are? Unless you are a land owner -- you are virtually stuffed -- other states are better).

Yes, I think sako are regarded as top shelf or at least "mid expensive". REturns due to poor QC are going to whittle away at that though, if they happen at a high rate. Leupold are highly regarded. I have begun to think that they are overpriced for what is actually gained. Now having heard that they can be got for $400 direct from the US -- they are back on the menu. VXIII's are just ridiculously priced here.

Are customs able to chip you extra tax if you buy in a scope from OS?
Which supplier did you use?



Matt
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Old November 22, 2008, 09:30 AM   #16
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Would it be legal for a member to ship you a Leupy? Big deals on them right now as Leupy just announced yesterday on their website the VX III will be replaced soon. Price reduction across the board after Thanksgiving is the latest rumor.
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Old November 23, 2008, 05:52 PM   #17
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I'm not a wood guy but it is beautiful. Mine is a 7mm rem mag and is heavier than my tikka t3 but the kick is almost negligible.
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Old November 30, 2008, 07:47 AM   #18
sikasambared
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Actually, I have no idea how they would treat a transaction like that --
A luepy just being sent with no purchase recorded.

Customs seem very dilligent with their most important duty -- keeping the tax man fat!

Interesting suggestion though, thanks. Timing does not suit that well.
Still half way into saving for my next acquisition (steyr scout [mixed review
might put me off], kimber 84 or 8400 montanna, or blaser R93, or heck, sako 85). Don't know what it will be, only know that it will be a centrefire rifle!

Kind regards,

Matt
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Old December 1, 2008, 10:10 AM   #19
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Matt,

You wrote:

"It is not practical to hunt with the rifle at half cock. Climbing up a bank or over a log in the river, it is likely to slide open and drop your cartridge in the drink. The safety is relatively quite, and when appropriate and safe you could hunt with the rifle on safe. However, when the going is tough, I find I have to unload the rifle completely. Half cock is just not the go with these actions.
If they could lock in that position I would be happier (question for other brand owners...don't remingtons do that? Or at least have a very positive half cock position with the safety engaged). This is a noisy operation. Every sika for 200 m will know about it."

I am not a fan any longer of the Sako design. Long ago I too made the mistake and selected a Sako action for a custom rifle. Now I know better.

The Sako I have (L61) does not have a three position safety. This means that the safety does not lock the bolt closed or is not on safe when you open the bolt on a hot chamber. Neither way is good.

Look close at the new Kimber rifles. I now hunt with Kimber 84m and 8400 Montanas and they have control round feeding also that the Sako does not have! The Kimber has an excellent three position safety that locks the firing pin. The Sako only locks the trigger which is not good.

Best of luck to you.
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