Sako S20 - Quick Review

ktm450

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Messages
46
This is the time of year when a lot of us are looking at new rifles for next season. This year is particularly difficult as it is a matrix of what ammo/components may be available. I made the decision to go with a rifle in a caliber for which I had components or could source them easily. This led me to a .300 Winchester Magnum. After months of studious research, trying different guns, You Tube reviews, other makes/models I had or could shoot with friends, I determined there are a ton of great rifles out there.

My shooting background: I shoot a lot of different rifle brands. I hunt every "normal" big game species out west and primarily use Tikka's and Brownings as my "main" hunting guns. I generally use "normal" calibers .308, 6.5CM, 7mmRM, .338WM, and only shoot reloads. I shoot out to 1000 on a semi-regular basis (for fun not hunting).

The S20 is the first Sako I have held and knew nothing about it until I walked into the local Sporting Goods store. On a whim, I ended up walking out the door with a Sako S20 Hunter model. To me it is funky looking and its not something I would ever have been interested in until I picked it up. I spent another week or so doing "research". The rifle is so new, there is not much out there and I found the end of the internet even doing translate on a number of european reviews. It is very out of character for me to buy gear that is not throughly tested and the S20 just doesn't have many hands-on reviews. So maybe this will help someone here:

Pros:
  • Modular: adjustable trigger pull #, trigger reach, stock length, different forearm and stock options, and swivel points
  • Adjustable riser
  • Very comfortable as a result
  • Built-in (common) Picatinny Rail
  • Threaded barrel
  • Magazines 3 and 7 rounders
  • Grey cerakote that seems more durable than Brownings
  • 60-Degree Bolt Throw
  • Aluminum Chasis
  • Cushioned (in a different way) recoil pad
  • Very easy to shoot/stable in a number of different positions
Questions/Cons:
  • 1-11 Twist (I only shoot 180's-208's in .300WM, so for me its not a big deal)
  • No experience with a thumbhole stock and curious what it will be like in a full season in "woods" conditions
  • Not an intuitive safety on/off with hand layout
  • Funky Looking (Ugly to some)
  • A bit over 8 pounds (without scope and not a big deal to me. Nobody wants to shoot a 7lb .300WM)
  • The grip area is "plasticky" outside of the textured hand area
  • Mine was $1447.00 OTD
Shooting:
  • The way the rifle lays out it mitigates recoil well
  • "Fit" was great do to all the modular options
  • Trigger is amazing (the adjustable reach + the adjustable weight make for an incredible combo)
  • First time out I loaded up 180's, 200's, and 208's with max loads of H4831 and H1000. Went through about 15 total rounds with ample cooling between strings.
  • Without question, the most accurate out of the box gun I have ever shot. Last group of 208 A-Max and H100 was under a 1/2-inch (it was the only group I tested/evaluated).
I am impressed with the shoot-ability and amazing accuracy of this rifle. I am really excited for more load testing/development; it should be a great shooting rig.
 

pyrotechnic

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2019
Messages
113
Thanks, keep us updated as things go along. I liked the precision version better than the hunter setup when I handled them in the store. This rifle has me very much intrigued. Seems like a TRG but a couple pounds lighter.
 

Desk Jockey

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2015
Messages
3,812
I was intrigued by this one. Haven’t seen one in the wild yet. I am still playing with the idea of a Sako finnlight in my local Gun shop for $1500. sako isnt big on changing up their guns and the current line up is fairly “classic”. Not that that is a bad thing. The S20 seems like a very nice evolution Of their designs. I was hoping the spec weight might be a little lighter. Agree that a super light win mag would suck but I would rather have a slightly lighter gun with weight in the rings and glass.
 
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ktm450

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Messages
46
I went through some quick calculations in the same realm and figured I could swap out the precision grip piece if I wanted. The precision grip/forend set up added more than a pound to the rifle over the hunter model. I went in thinking I would go with a .300WSM in a Finnlight, but components are impossible to find and the Finnlight is the same(ish) as high-end Tikka’s and Brownings.

The integrated scope rails are a nice change. For whatever reason the ergonomics on the hunter model are just fantastic for me. I do think it’s kind of ugly or so ugly it’s attractive, but the way it shoulders mitigates that part for me; the accuracy was icing on the cake. We will see in honest field conditions as Spring Bear is coming up in a couple months.
 

Axlrod

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2017
Messages
370
Location
SW Montana
I like the looks of both, i haven't seen one in the wild yet though. The 11 twist and 24" barrel in 300WM are deal breakers for me, but they should sell very well at that price point.
 

slowelk

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
Messages
696
Location
Western MT
I really like the S20 hunter, and have wanted one since I first picked it up at Scheel's. What's kept me from pulling the trigger is the 0 MOA built in rail, uncertainty about barrel replacement, and the slower twist rates. Beating a dead-horse here, but 11 twist for a big 30 and 9.5 for a 7mag are just behind the times.

I could live with the 0 MOA rail, but I want to be confident about a barrel swap down the line, and I want to shoot a heavy 7mm bullet, and the 9.5 won't do it. I don't need a third 6.5 creed either.
 
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ktm450

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Messages
46
I checked into a couple of these things as well. I actually prefer the 24” barrel as I have some 26”+ and find them a bit long for true woods stuff in my area. It’s strange, but with my semi customs I prefer a 25” as the ideal length. It just seems like my 26”+’s catch more stuff (branches, limbs, deadfall).

My .338WM fills any need for 210+ bullets and was looking for the perfect twist for 180-208. A lot of gunsmiths I talked with recommended 1-11 for .300WM in that range, but I recognize it’s different for everyone. I have had issues in a 7mmRM with twists and stay in the 162 range as a result.

Sako does promote and sell a +MOA rail that attaches and looks pretty slick and is advertised in the accessories section (or was at some point). I am not sure if it’s for US distribution though.
 
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