Sako S20 Rifle Review
- Tuesday, 03 March 2020
SAKO S20 Review - Professional hunter & deer stalker Peter Jones considers the new Sako S20 rifle, due for release this spring.
Above/top: S20 Hunter Model. Above/Bottom: S20 Precision Model
Now, anyone will know from our County Deer Stalking YouTube videos and from our articles, that I am a serious fan of Sako rifles. Indeed, I first learnt to stalk with a Sako 75 many moons ago and have been using a Sako 85 rifle in .308 calibre now for over 10 years as my ‘go-to’ rifle of choice.
What you probably don’t know, is that I am also a huge fan of thumbhole stocks and have been ever since I first picked up an RPA Woodland Stalker whilst doing my DSC1 course at Wadhurst over 15 years ago.
(Sako refer to the S20 as: 'The rifle that is you'. A slogan that is perhaps a little lost in translation).
While for one reason or another, the Woodland Stalker wasn’t for me, it none the less sparked my interest in thumbholes and in particular the Blaser R8 Ultimate and Professional Success, which remain very much in my sights as a potential purchase later this year.
Interestingly however, the reason why I do not have a thumbhole in my collection already, is testament to just how durable my Sako 85 has been over the last decade. Put plainly, I simply haven’t had need to change it. Something that is still true after thousands of rounds fired by both myself and our CDS clients, during deer management courses and countless hours in the field hunting deer, and that is a huge tribute to Sako.
(Above: The Core of the rifle is the aluminium Chassis around which either the Precision Model or Hunter Model fit)
I still however, have an unquenched desire for a good quality thumbhole. I also, as coincidence has it, have an available slot on my Firearms certificate for a 300 Win’ Mag’, which I am simply itching to fill. In fact, as part of my due diligence prior to making a purchase of a thumbhole later this year, I have been recently carrying out a review of the Blaser R8 Ultimate, which we plan to publish in the next couple of weeks.
However, a Sako rifle with a thumbhole stock for an RRP of around £1,955-00. This is undoubtedly worth a closer examination.
Above: Professional Deer Stalker Peter Jones puts the Sako S20 through its paces.
Looking at the SAKO S20 in more detail, the highlight for me is of course, in the Hunter version at least, the thumbhole stock, but for most,, that would be to reduce this exciting new rifle to only one relatively unremarkable element. In truth, the most interesting and remarkable element of the rifle, is that it is a of a modular stock construction and essentially a hybrid between a traditional stock and chassis.
The core of the rifle is the two-piece aluminium, takedown chassis which has the stock, grip and forestock attached to it. The ability to simply and easily detach these main components makes it possible to configure the rifle for either hunting or target shooting and as such, there are two choices of stock which are referred to as the ‘Precision Model’ which weighs around 8.6 – 8.8lbs and the ‘Hunter Model’ which weighs in at a slightly lighter 7.2 – 7.4lbs and is of the thumbhole design which first grabbed my attention.
Both stocks fit around the chassis, which forms the main frame of the rifle and around which all other components are attached. In order to ensure rigidity, it is the chassis that bears the brunt of the recoil and forms the stability of the set-up, which when combined with a match grade, cold hammer forged barrel, is designed in order to ensure consistent accuracy of sub-MOA.
The barrels come threaded for a moderator and the stock is available with ambidextrous sling swivel sockets on the forestock and stock and adjustable cheekpiece. The length of pull of both stocks can also be adjusted via spacers and the material on the grip is made of a polymer that supposedly has the feel of leather – nice!
All good so far, so what about calibres? Well more good news here, there are plenty of options, with both models of the Sako S20 rifle coming in the following calibres: .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield and thankfully the 300 Winchester Magnum!
Incidentally, correct me if I am mistaken Sako, but no 6.5x55 Swedish? Which for many UK and indeed Scandinavian hunters is a shame, nonetheless, I suppose the line must be drawn somewhere.
Other features include the Picatinny rail that is machined directly on to, and is one piece with the steel receiver, a design that is the optimum way of ensuring the integrity of the rifle scope combination. A double-stack, 5 round (3 in Magnum) detachable box magazine, which comes with the rifle, or the option of a larger magazine if required.
(Above: Peter Jones in action with a Sako 85, a rifle that has served him well for over a decade. To read our review of the Sako 85 follow this link: sako-85)
The trigger pull weight is between 2 - 4 lbs, and is adjustable. It is also possible to choose between a single or two-stage trigger, which is pretty unusual and in my view, a nice option in a hunting rifle.
Overall, this is to my reckoning, one of the most interesting rifles to have arrived on the hunting scene in some time and personally I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Will it be a Blaser R8 Professional Success/Ultimate or a Sako S20 in a 300 Win’ Mag’ that finds its way into my cabinet? Well the reality is, that decision will be down to whether I want a 'straight pull' or a 'turn bolt'. At any rate, viewers of our films will have to wait and see. Either way it’s fabulous to have the choice and I applaud Sako for introducing a rifle of this quality. Could the S20 be ‘future-proof’ as Sako claim? Well time will tell. The rifle is due for release in the next few days and will no doubt find its way to a few lucky recipients by the summer.
To read our review of the new Blaser R8 Ultimate simply follow this link: blaser-r8-ultimate
Or alternatively, to read more reviews of other popular hunting rifles used for hunting and deer stalking, then simply follow this link: rifle-reviews
Alternatively, if you're thinking of a new rilfe and are considering which calibre to go for, then follow this link to our hugely popular calibres page: rifle-calibres