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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2016 at 17:52
LRSMike View Drop Down
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There was some discussion some time ago of me looking into a Tikka T3/Weatherby Vanguard/TC Icon, but due to children and a divorce, back to back knee surgeries and work I've lost some touch with rifles and scopes. I'm looking for something with a wood stock, grey or brown, and blued barrel. In 7mm-08 until I can get back into the chance to reload. My divorce saw my Benelli, my Sendero and my LWRC International all disappear. I'm looking for 22-24" barrel. Somewhere around 1000-1200 for gun and half for glass.


What say y'all?
Thanks in advance.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2016 at 19:32
LRSMike View Drop Down
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Although it's a little more pricey, anyone have a Sako 85 in here? Looking at the Varmint. Thing is a work of beauty.

Edited by LRSMike - November/21/2016 at 19:42
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2016 at 20:18
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I have 2 Sako 85s. I'm a fan. What do you want to know?

I do have a Varmint model as well, but in a 75, not 85. However, they're very similar and the stocks are the same.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2016 at 20:30
LRSMike View Drop Down
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What's your well rounded opinion besides how nice they are. How's the stock with the cheek swell, used to rifles without it?

What calibers are yours in?

How's the trigger on them?

You enjoy the stock recoil pad?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2016 at 21:15
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I have 3 85s, a 6.5x55, a .338 Federal, and a .375 H&H. 
All three have perfect workmanship, high quality fit and finish, great materials and beautiful wood and checkering, and wonderful triggers and accuracy. 
I installed scopes on all three with Talley bases and rings, the solid quick detach 4 screw rings. 
All three have the classic style straight stocks with shadow line cheek piece. With medium height rings, they are perfect for any kind of hold and shooting, but i switched the .338 Federal to high rings because i like than one better that way.  
When i tried low rings i had to contort my neck and shoulder too much. With medium or high rings i can pick a target, close my eyes, shoulder and point the rifle, and when i open my eyes i am right on target. However, the high ring set up was not the best shooting prone.  
I think that they are not expensive rifles considering the quality and value.  I hunted with all three and will do so again.  
The triggers are adjustable with a wrench through the magazine well, the magazine have a smart catch to prevent loss, the safety tab is within easy reach and is quiet if i press slight downward on it, the actions are super smooth and have no bind or slack, magazines feed so smoothly and quietly i sometimes have to look to make sure i am chambering a round, and the actions are strong. The magazine/action can be fed single rounds and the magazine can be topped without extracting the magazine. The action has very good extraction and ejection, if i open the bolt slowly the case stays in the action, if i open the bolt rapidly the brass flies away. Feeding is smooth, it starts as a push feed but in the final push the extractor will engage the groove of the cartridge. After reading about the "added safety" of the controlled round feed Mauser i tried chambering my .375 with the rifle held sideways and upside down and it worked just fine.  
I have fired about 3,000 rounds out of the 3 rifles. After proper cleaning, the 6.5 needs exactly one fouling shot to start grouping, the .375 shoots on the mark clean or dirty, hot or cold, and the .338 needs 4 shots. 
There is not a single thing that i would change about these rifles. However, my 6.5x55 si being pushed hard these days, with super hot loads meant to achieve a flat trajectory at longer range for next year's antelope hunt; i practice quite a bit with this one now. Though i only shoot with a cool barrel, i may end up needing to replace the tube sooner than expected. How easy that will be and how gunsmith friendly these rifles are remains to be determined. The recoil lug is not on the action, it is embedded in the stock and the action-barrel joint has a slot for it. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2016 at 21:24
LRSMike View Drop Down
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Sounds exactly like what I was asking for, and it seems that it'll be my purchase. That was quite the response and I appreciate it very much my friend.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2016 at 08:30
RifleDude View Drop Down
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Originally posted by LRSMike LRSMike wrote:

What's your well rounded opinion besides how nice they are. How's the stock with the cheek swell, used to rifles without it?

What calibers are yours in?

How's the trigger on them?

You enjoy the stock recoil pad?


Anweis's reply mirrors my observations. Sakos are really nice rifles, but like all factory rifles, they aren't perfect, and they're not everyone's cup of tea. I have Sakos from multiple generations, and I like the 85 as well as the older 2-lug actions.

Of the recent generation rifles, I have a M75 wood stocked .25-06 in their standard high cheek piece stock design, a M75 Varmint in .204 Ruger with their laminated varmint style stock and the excellent 2-stage trigger, a M85 in .338 Fed, wood stock with straight comb, classic style stock, and a M85 CarbonLight in 7mm-08 with carbon fiber stock. The 85 CarbonLight happens to be sitting 1 ft from me as I text this reply on my phone in my deer blind, waiting for sunrise.

First, there is only subtle differences between the M75 and M85. The latter added a "quasi" controlled round feed feature that only captures the case rim on the very last portion of bolt travel, right before the round is nearly chambered. This is due to the fact the magazine rails don't release the case head until then, so the head cannot slide up the bolt face and become captured by the extractor until the very last minute. This might annoy some, but to me it's a non-issue. For all practical purposes, I consider it a push feed action, and since I've never had a single issue with any push feed action before, and the M75 was a push feed...no big deal to me. The 85 has a different recoil lug design than the 75, as anweis noted above. The 75 had a projecting recoil lug; the 85 has a notch that engages a lug attached inside the stock. Not sure why they made this change or what advantage they saw in the 85 lug design since both are investment cast actions, but even though I like the 75 lug better, either approach works. The 85 added a safety latch feature to the magazine to prevent it from being released by accident. This feature requires you to push up on the front before you can depress the release button. Some complain about this being cumbersome, but I have no problem manipulating it with one hand. Finally, the 85 added some cosmetic contouring to the bolt shroud, a more classic, straight butt stock with nice shadow line cheekpiece on the standard wood stocked models, and changes to the checkering border shape.

Fundamentally, the 85 is the same basic 3-lug action design as the 75, with the same scope mount system, same trigger, and same overall form factor. They are dimensionally and geometrically identical in all respects except in the recoil lug area, bolt shroud and the 85 has a relieved bolt face to allow for the CRF feature. Both include a bolt unlock button near the root of the bolt handle that allows you to unload the rifle while safety is engaged.

If you want a wood stocked rifle, be sure to shop around before buying, as wood quality varies widely. I've seen everything from very plain, lumber yard-grade wood with zero character to drop dead gorgeous wood. My 75 .25-06 has somewhere in the middle, but I got really lucky on my 85 .338 Fed, as it has stunning fiddleback figure throughout.

Again, I'm a big fan of the 75/85 series rifles, and Sako rifles in general. So, I'm naturally going to find more things I like than dislike about them than someone else may. It's all pretty subjective.

First, the good:
As anweis said, they feed very smoothly. They may be the smoothest feeding rifles I've ever experienced, in fact. When hunting, I sometimes have to open the bolt to verify I actually chambered a round, in fact. No binding, minimal noise, slick as glass.

The trigger is very nice. It can be easily and safely user-adjusted for pull weight via a set screw on the front of the trigger housing. I've not measured the pull weight on mine to verify, but I estimate you can adjust pull weight down to around 2.5 lbs. The Varmint model has a wonderful set trigger that has around 8 oz trigger when set, and maybe 1.5lb trigger when unset. Both the hunting and Varmint trigger versions have minimal creep and overtravel and break cleanly. You won't be dissatisfied with the trigger.

Sakos in general tend to shoot well once you find loads they like. My .204 Varmint is spooky accurate, capable of ¼ MOA. The .25-06 and 7-08 both group .75 to slightly under 1 MOA with loads they like. I've not been able to hit the 1MOA threshold with the .338 Fed yet, but have gotten close. In fairness, I also haven't done much load development for it either, so the jury is still out on its potential.

I really like the Sako tapered dovetail scope mount system, but many people don't. With integral receiver dovetails, it's a very strong system, and the direction of dovetail taper ensures that the mounts only get tighter under recoil. Though there is a limited selection of mounts available, as long as Talley and the Sako Optilok RINGMOUNTS are available, in happy. As much as I like the ringmount style OptiLoks, my view on the 2-piece style OptiLoks with the separate bases are 180-deg different. I absolutely detest those mounts for several reasons I won't rehash here.

Overall quality and fit and finish is very good to excellent. The carbon fiber stock on the 85 CarbonLight is especially high quality. It may very well be the nicest synthetic stock I've ever seen. Not only is it made of solid hand laid CF, but inletting is so tight, it doesn't have room for bedding.

I really like the stock design, overall lines, and ergos on the 85 wood stocks a bit better than the wood stocks on the 75.

You won't accidentally dump the dbm on the 85 due to the safety latch feature.

The 3-lug action provides a short bolt throw, so you can mount scopes with large diameter eyepieces low without having bolt handle clearance issues.

The fixed ejector allows you to ease cases out gently if you so desire.

I like the button bolt release on the side of the receiver.

Bolt operation is very smooth with no binding.

The bad:
There aren't many scope mounts available for it, and those that are don't allow much flexibility in mount spacing. This hasn't been an issue for me, but may be for others depending on scope main tube length and eye relief.

The 2-piece OptiLok scope mounts SUCK in my opinion (though ironically I think the 1-piece OptiLok ringmounts are very nice).

I think the recoil lug on the 75 is a better, more straightforward design than the 85's recoil lug, and it makes no sense to me that Sako changed to a more complicated design. Again, both work, but I think the 85's recoil lug is goofy. I'm a believer in the KISS principle.

Because of the 3-lug bolt locking and short bolt throw, cocking effort is higher than a 2-lug bolt action with 90- deg bolt lift. This is due to the steeper cocking cam required to load up the firing pin spring in less bolt rotation.

Due to the placement of the ejector and extractor on the bolt face, the 75 & 85 have a high ejection angle. Some have reported cases hitting the windage cap on their scope during ejection as a result. This is more common on long actions than short actions, and varies with ejection force used, case size of the chambering, size and position of the scope windage cap, and scope mount height. I haven't had any issues with this personally with my setups. The high ejection angle is unavoidable on a 3-lug action without Sako opting to cut through the lugs with the ejector and extractor.

I've noticed that once Sako changed from the higher gloss wood finish on the early M75s to the more satin oil-look finish on the later 75s and 85s, the wood pores don't appear to be completely filled. The wood still seems to be adequately sealed against moisture, so I believe this is just a cosmetic thing, but I have heard people complain about it.

The recoil pad, though clean and well-fitted, is pretty hard, so it's not very effective in managing recoil with harder kicking chamberings. It's also glued to the stock rather than screwed on, so changing it is less straightforward. This isn't an issue for me, since none of my Sakos are in hard-kicking calibers. The .338 Fed is the hardest kicking, but it's not what I'd consider unpleasant. I've shot Sakos in harder recoiling rounds, and although manageable, the recoil pads they use leave a lot to be desired for heavy recoil. Since you say you plan to get a 7-08, this is a total non-issue.

I hope this helps you with your decision.

Edited by RifleDude - November/22/2016 at 08:40
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2016 at 16:31
LRSMike View Drop Down
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Thank you very much Ted as that was a ridiculously good write-up worthy of a cold beer. That hit the nail on the head. And it makes me look forward to actually getting one without too much what if's. I knew Sako was a premier class rifle but I didn't know if the money would be well invested.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2016 at 16:37
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Those two responses were probably worth a few beers each...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2016 at 16:40
LRSMike View Drop Down
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Agreed! I didn't expect those to be so detailed and long, but this is also the only forum where I know I get the best responses/answers.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2016 at 16:51
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Roger that.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2016 at 19:10
anweis View Drop Down
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As far as recoil pads go, i think that they are very good, medium hardness, about like Pachmeyer. Looks like the kind of rubber that will last a long time without deforming by itself.  The recoil on my rifles is not too bad because the stock is straight and i don't get cheek slapped.  

If you like nice wood my suggestion is to spend time on the online auction sites that sell guns and shop around until you find one that looks good. I ended up paying less than $2,000 each for rifles that have practically super deluxe or exhibition grade walnut on them. Almost like paying for the stock and getting the rifle for free. 
The newest stocks are really beautiful, indeed they are not too shiny and appear to have some open pores in the wood. I like them that way and i use wax on them anyway. Checkering  and fit is outstanding, probably the best on any production factory rifle, short of a $5,000 Cooper or Sauer or such. 
The wrist on the stocks is a bit fat, but there is a cast off and you get a nice good grip. I learned to keep my thumb sideways, target style, instead of gripping around. That made me a better shot overnight., 

I may loose my job next year but i already decided that i am keeping the 85s.  

The .338 Federal is quite a number. On the first hunt, i shot (by mistake) through a 6" oak and the bullet kept going and killed my deer. On the second hunt, i shot a 350 lbs pig in the forehead and the bullet went all the way lengthwise and exited above the tail. 
The 6.5 x 55 i am loading 4 grains above the published loads and it's just happy and asking for more. 
On the other hand, if i keep my job, the .375 is going with me to Namibia and i know how to shoot it. 




Edited by anweis - November/22/2016 at 19:15
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