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Old June 8, 2019, 10:15 PM   #1
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Sako A7 Roughtech Range review

I thought I'd post a review of my latest rifle. It's my first Sako factory offering. It is the A7 Roughtech Range, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The barrel is a 25" 1:8" twist medium heavy contour fluted design. The weight (without optic and bipod) is 9.25 pounds.

I really didn't need another 6.5 to load for, since I already have a precision custom build in 6.5x47 Lapua. But I kind of fell into this rifle deal and just could not pass up the absolute bargain on an unfired rifle.



What I've added is as follows. A Zeiss Conquest V4 6-24x50 (moa) scope. I upgraded the original aluminum scope rails with steel Warne bases. Those rings are by Burris and have the 20moa inserts installed. You can see a very nice ATRS brake. I also had the sling swivels on the fore end replaced with a picatinny rail for more mounting options. And in this picture, I have one of my Atlas bipods (which got replaced - more on that later).

My first impressions were that the rifle felt comfortable on my first outing. I added a couple of spacers on the butt stock and got the length of pull satisfactory for me. The scope eye relief was also very nice, so I was off and running.

Load development followed. While there are a lot of people that say the Creedmoor round is easy to load for, it didn't go without some issues to begin with. The virgin Lapua brass, I have found, doesn't yield satisfactory results on the first firing. At least for me. While I have never had problems before, this time the neck tensions were very tight. Oh well, I had planned on annealing after round one anyways, so my first outing consisted of barrel break-in and scope zero. Which went as planned. The factory trigger is very nice. There is no creep and zero take-up. It breaks clean and crisp with a pronounced "snap". My estimate on the weight of the trigger pull is probably less than 3 pounds (damn, I really need a trigger pull gauge).



I did 6 different weights of Varget for my OCW tests. And then when the field narrowed, I also did two depth tests. What I came up with was a very nice node.



Here's my load information;

Brass: Lapua
Bullet: Lapua Scenar-L 136gr
Primer: CCI BR4
Powder: Varget 37.2gr
COAL (ogive): 2.281" (.010" jump)
Shoulder bump: 0.0015"
Speed: 2697fps -10 shot average, S.D. 4.3, E.S. 13
EDIT: Updated speed after 300 rounds 2715fps - 10 shot average, S.D. 3.5, E.S. 9
(The updated speeds recorded are pretty normal for a barrel after a few hundred rounds.)

The results at 97m were 1/2moa. Temperature was 19c and R.H. was 43%. Wind was negligible. I was confident and headed off the short range to see what it could do a little longer out.

I entered the speed into my Kestrel and backed up the Applied Ballistics software with shots out to 300m, 500m and then 800m. Everything seems spot-on, at least to 800m. I will be taking the rifle out to the mile range to see just how it performs to a kilometre and beyond.

My impressions are favourable for this, my very first Sako factory rifle. The action was very tight to begin with but after 200 rounds, is as smooth as silk. The Sako bolt is a 3 lug design. The bolt handle has a nice large knob that is easily cycled. The safety has a pretty cool function too. When you have a round chambered, you can engage the safety which disables the trigger. But, you can manipulate the bolt and eject a live round without fear of the trigger breaking. You can also load another round, if you so choose. And the trigger will still be cocked.



What I don't like about this rifle is small. That stock. While I think it looks pretty and functions very well, the fore end is very flexible. It is almost to the point of being like a wet noodle. This gave me problems with the Atlas bipod to begin with. I ended up replacing it with an LRA Light Tactical, and the "flexy" fore end issue seems to have cleared itself up. The larger footprint and weight of the LRA solves this issue.

I also got a factory muzzle brake from the previous owner. But being from the "Swiss cheese" design bureau, I quickly sold it. I got ATRS in Calgary to install one of their big open gill designs. I have one of these on my .50BMG (quite a bit larger) and it works very well.



So my first Sako has potential. While I'm not yet finished stretching her legs out, I can say that I would offer an 8 out of 10 as my rating. As I mentioned before, I need another 6.5 calibre like a hole in the head. But I guess I can now join the masses and extol the virtues of this very popular caliber. For me, this is only a target rifle, as I'm not a hunter. But, I believe it would make a great deer or medium sized game gun. Or even a great varmint gun.



Andy 6MT

Last edited by 6MT; June 8, 2019 at 10:20 PM.
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Old June 9, 2019, 05:06 PM   #2
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Nice review. I have an A7 Roughtech Pro in 308 that is my main hunting rifle. I find it quite nice and would recommend the A7 to anyone. FYI, one can replace the plastic bolt shroud with a steel one from an 85. Such as this blue one, or a SS one if your gun is stainless as mine is.

There is also an extended bolt handle if you fancy one: https://www.boltknobs.com/sako-a7/

(I am not affiliated with any of the above but have bought a lot of parts from Midwest Gunworks)
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Old June 9, 2019, 09:41 PM   #3
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Thank you for those links! I will contact them to see if they will ship to Canada.
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Old June 10, 2019, 07:37 PM   #4
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NP, happy shooting.
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Old June 11, 2019, 04:07 PM   #5
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Well done review. Have seriously considered an A7 in 6.5cm but really want an 85 Finnlight if they’ll ever ship them. I just can’t see the difference in price between the I and II.
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Old June 11, 2019, 07:14 PM   #6
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Does anyone know if Sako has discontinued the A7? Someone on Snipers Hide says that they no longer make it.
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Old June 11, 2019, 07:24 PM   #7
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Saltydog are you looking for a creedmoor?https://www.eurooptic.com/Sako-85-Fi...e-JRSF382.aspx
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Old June 11, 2019, 07:26 PM   #8
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6MT what caliber you looking for? https://www.eurooptic.com/sako-a7.aspx
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Old June 11, 2019, 07:30 PM   #9
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I'm not looking. I was just wondering. In the review above, that's mine.
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Old June 11, 2019, 07:47 PM   #10
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Thought maybe you were looking for another 1.
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Old June 12, 2019, 05:19 AM   #11
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The great thing about 6.5 creedmoor--after shooting it for a year or two you'll think; "What about that 6 Creedmoor?"
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Old June 12, 2019, 01:28 PM   #12
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Hmm...6? I think my 6.5x47L and the CM will suffice. I also load for precision long range in .223rem, .308win, .338LM, and .50BMG. Right now, six calibers is enough. My wife will tell you that.
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Old June 12, 2019, 03:01 PM   #13
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I am looking for the 6.5cm but in the Finnlight I, not the 2. I don’t see the $700.00 price difference between the two. EuroOptic says the I’s are coming but don’t know when. My local sporting clays range sells Beretta products to members at 10% over invoice so I’m hoping to get it through them and save a bit. One of those rifles I want but not with enough desire to pay extra for. Heck, I may just get another .300wm. I have a Leica Magnus without a home right now though I may swap some around and have something else without a home, either way I got an optic without a mate, seems a pity to deny an optic a rifle to go on. At least I have justification to a wife that just shakes her head these days.
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Old June 12, 2019, 07:34 PM   #14
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Wife's just don't understand.
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Old June 13, 2019, 09:53 PM   #15
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Here's a few shots of mine so you can see the SS bolt shroud:



Attached Images
File Type: jpg SAKObolt.jpg (73.4 KB, 277 views)
File Type: jpg SAKOside.jpg (132.3 KB, 282 views)
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Old June 13, 2019, 10:03 PM   #16
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Very nice!
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Old June 18, 2019, 09:19 PM   #17
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OK, so I got the new bolt knob and handle today. Very easy and slick install...all of a minute or so. Fit, form, and function are perfect.



I'm still on the fence about the metal shroud.
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Old June 20, 2019, 09:19 PM   #18
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Looks excellent!
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Old June 25, 2019, 04:39 PM   #19
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So, I took the A7 out to the mile range to see what she could do. I walked it out from 600m. Good solid hits right out to 1300m, then it seemed to peter out. The biggest thing was the scope. That Zeiss just doesn't do well past a kilometre. The reticle etching is quite large and tends to obscure smaller targets past 1000m. There was not enough elevation in the turret past 1300m. I did try a few shots out to 1500m and estimated my hold at 10moa with the scope topped out. Unfortunately, no joy. The glass isn't the greatest either. But for most things up to 1000m, it will do. (BTW, I was shooting steel. Mostly 12" gongs.)

The 136gr Scenar-L performed quite well. But because I loaded this round on the moderate to low charge weight side, the speeds I am getting combined with the somewhat lighter bullet weight mean the dreaded transonic transition is occurring. I didn't document where this occurred, but I am almost certain it is just past 1200m.

The weather conditions were almost ideal. The temps were in the mid 50's and the wind was variable and light. My windage holds were 1 to 1-1/2 moa at 1000m, just to give you an idea what the winds were like.

So, I am pleased. For comparison, I also shot my custom heavy barrelled 6.5x47L. It easily stepped out to 1500m. With a much better scope, more velocity, and a heavier bullet (139gr Scenar) I wasn't surprised.
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Old June 25, 2019, 04:56 PM   #20
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Sounds like excellent results--my guess is the bullets were going transonic when things went south.
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Old June 28, 2019, 09:28 AM   #21
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Does anyone know if there are any larger capacity magazines available for the A7? The silly thing that comes with the rifle from the factory doesn't suit my needs. Although, it does function ok.
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