Sako (Suojeluskuntain Ase- ja Konepaja Oy) is rifle and ammunition manufacturer located in Riihimäki, Finland. It was founded in 1921, after the rifle repair workshop, opened in former Helsinki brewery, became independent of the civil guard. The workshop grew into a weapons factory, which produced hunting rifles as well as cartridges and moved its headquarters from Helsinki to Riihimäki. The first civilian rifle bearing the name Sako, was the L42, prototyped in 1942 and commercially manufactured a few years later.
After the World War II, domestic hunting culture thrived and Sako invested in development of hunting rifles. Due to this investment, domestic sales increased along with export to the USA and the rest of the world. In the 1980s, Sako merged with another firearm manufacturer, Tikkakoski and gained a valuable rifle line called Tikka. The production of military and law enforcement weapons started when Finnish defence forces ordered assault rifles and cartridges from Sako.
The company has changed multiple owners since 1921, but has ultimately been sold to Italian Beretta Holding in 2000. In 2006, Sako celebrated its 85th anniversary by launching a new hunting rifle family, Sako 85. In 2020, Sako introduced S20, the first truly hybrid rifle, designed for both; hunters and tactical shooters. Another novelty presented by Sako in 2020 was a brand new, lead-free Sako Powerhead bullet.
The rifle Sako 85 was unveiled in 2006, when the Sako company celebrated its 85th anniversary. This rifle succeeds the former Sako 75 rifle, which was introduced 10 years prior, on their 75th anniversary. According to Sako, the rifle is available in over 1000 different configurations. The rifle stock is made either of walnut, laminate, plastic or carbon fiber and comes in different shapes depending on the intended form of usage. The rifle receiver also comes in multiple lengths, depending on the cartridge group: XS, S, SM, M, L and XL. One of the advantages of various receiver lengths is also improved rigidity of the receiver.
Twist rates in the barrel are carefully chosen for each calibre to optimize accuracy along with bullet performance and there are even multiple options of barrel twist rate for certain calibres. The rifle has a unique cone shaped dovetail on the top, adjusted for Optilock mounting system, also developed by Sako. The dovetail has a ratio of 1:17 (3.37°), with the wide part in the front and the narrow part in the back. The company took care of the safety with special two-way safety locks, which lock both the trigger and the bolt handle.
Sako 85 XL is chambered for:
and is comes in variants:
One thing worth pointing out when it comes to rifle mounts is that Sako has been using the same tapered dovetail mounting system for a few decades already. This means that some Sako rifles have the same mounting surface on the receiver, despite being decades apart considering their production date. With this, Sako achieved mounting system consistency, so mounts made for today’s “Sako 85” series of rifles will fit the receivers of older Sako rifles. Rifle mounts manufacturers mainly use only present day Sako rifles (Sako 85) to designate which mount fits which receiver length. Then it’s up to the user to do the research, whether the mount will fit their rifle if they don’t have the newest rifle model.
For fixed mounts on this rifle, we recommend Optilock Sako Extended mounting bases.We can insert rings onto these bases, but we must be careful, because Sako Optilock rings are available only for 1inch (25.4mm), 30mm and 34mm diameter scope tubes. One special feature of the Optilock rings are the polymer inserts (except the 34mm ring, which does not include inserts), which prevent scratches on the scope. If we want to install scopes with rails or scopes with tube diameters other than these of Optilock rings, we need to reach for rings of other companies like Recknagel, EAW or Osuma, and they fit Optilock bases as well.
Read more about this on our blog:
The only Dentler rails available for Sako 85 rifles are Dentler BASIS, which allow only Dentler mounts to be installed on them. It is one of the most reliable and accurate quick release mounts for Sako 85 on the market. Unfortunately, Dentler BASIS bases don't support adjustments on the bases, meaning they are not as revolutionary as the Dentler BASIS VARIO.
Explanation of Dentler mounts can be seen on our Roundtable video:
If you would prefer pivot mounts, we would recommend purchasing MAKlassic two piece design mount, because they are the lowest of all pivot mounts. Pivot mounts are usually not among the lowest, but with Sako rifles, they are usually even higher than on an average rifle because of their special tapered dovetail mounting system.
All of the Picatinny rails for Sako 85 XL are made similarly, all of them made from multiple parts. This allows them to fit on multiple lengths, not only L, which reduces production costs for manufacturers.
Read more about this on our blog:
*It is worth noting, that two-piece mounts, like Sako Optilock mounts can be fitted on several different receiver lengths, while one-piece mounts can only be fitted on specific length.
If you have this rifle or any other rifle at home, we would really appreciate it if you could send us some photos of the rifle receiver (mounting surface of the rifle when there are no mounts installed), because it would help us expand our rifle mounts database. If you send us a photo of rifle receiver which we don’t already have, that would be of great value to us and we will definitely reward you for your help.
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