SAKO 85 Rifle Review.  

woodland stalker range day Peter Jones in action with the Sako 85 

Sako 85 - Having initially been a fan of the Sako 75, it is perhaps not surprising that I like the Sako 85 so much. A rifle which comes in as many as a dozen different models designed to  accommodate almost every rifle shooters need. Whilst offering a host of different preferences in style and appearance.  

Today the Sako range now encompasses wooden stocked rifles such as the top of the range Sako 85 De-Luxe, along with a variety of Synthetic rifles, including the Sako 85 Stainless Synthetic and Finnlight.

Personally, whilst I appreciate a beautiful looking rifle with wood stock and blueing, for pure functionality and ease of ownership, the Stainless Synthetic & Finnlight take a lot of beating and are my own personal favourites amongst the range. 

Woodland Stalker PJ 555(Above: The Sako 85 Rifle fitted with a Swarovski Z6i Scope)

One of the new features from the older 75, a model which I first started deer stalking with, is what they call the 'Total Control Latch', which secures the magazine. This effectively means the magazine can only be detached when upward pressure is applied to the magazine and the latch is Sako85magsimultaneously engaged. The idea being, that whilst this can be performed relatively simply with one hand it cannot happen unintentionally or accidentally.

(Right: The Sako 85 magazine takes a handy 5 rounds)

The controlled feed which is unique to the Sako 85, has three lugs in the bolt which enhances the engagement to the receiver. This is combined with a two-row staggered magazine which can take 5 rounds. This I think is useful and provided you are close enough to some spares, gives you the confidence to head out into the field with sufficient rounds already in the magazine.

sako85250Indeed whilst out stalking Fallow Deer with clients I have on at least two occasions required 4 rounds from the 5 shot magazine. In this situation with other rifles I would have been fishing around in my pocket for more cartridges.

(Left: Sako 85 in .308 Calibre with Schmidt & Bender Scope and North Star Moderator)

The safety features on the Sako is also excellent and very intuitive. The two way safety operates on a rocker switch, locks both the trigger and the bolt handle, as well as blocking the firing pin. The unique bolt release button in front of the safety catch also allows unloading or removal of a cartridge from the chamber with the safety engaged. This in my view is a super nice feature.

The Sako 85 action is available in calibre specific sizes, matching cartridge length to overall size of action. Not only does this look much nicer but it also means the length of bolt travel directly relates to the specific cartridge length, unlike other rifles such as the Tikka T3 where one size fits all. 

As far as the trigger goes Sako's are always good and the 85 is available as a single-stage as standard, or with a set trigger as an optional extra. The single stage is factory set at 3lb pull weight, though you can adjust the weight from 2-4lb using an Allen key deployed in the magazine well. Something which should be able to accommodate most preferences. 

Sako 85 Review (Sako triggers are always great and are set to break cleanly at 3lbs)

All things considered this is a great rifle, it is a good rugged, robust construction, with plenty of space between the stock and the free floating barrel to inspire confidence that it is truly floating and excellent rigidity in the stock. 

Film Fallow Stalk

(Above: In action with a Sako 85 in one of our popular County Deer Stalking YouTube films. To watch one of our films in which we use the Sako 85, simply follow this link:

With an RRP of around £1800-00 for the more affordable models to £3,500-00 for the high-end 85's, it's not the cheapest rifle on the market, however in terms of price band, it offers some great middle ground, offering a step up from it's sister the Tikka T3, whilst not as wallet busting as say a Blaser R8 or Sauer 404.

If you'd like to try out a Sako 85 with County Deer Stalking then simply contact us on 0203 981 0159 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Alternatively, if you'd like to read a review of Sako's brand new Sako S20, follow this link: sako-s20-rifle-review

For more Rifle Reviews of some of the most popular rifles used for deer hunting then simply click on the following linkrifle-reviews


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