About 9 years ago, I gave my oldest son my Sako A5 rifle in 7mm Remington Magnum. The rifle was custom built and glass bedded in a Fajen laminated stock. The action in the rifle was smooth and rifle got it done when hunting.
Ever since I gave that Sako away, I wanted to acquire another. During the interim I was shooting a Remington 700 and a couple of Howas. I sold my perfectly good Howa in .300 WSM to raise additional funds to purchase a new Sako. This is where the A7 Sako came in. I acquired one new from a local retailer in Billings. It was chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum. It look to be fitted with what was a Bell & Carlson Medalist aluminum bedding block composite stock. That was all right with me, as I had another rifle with the same stock.
I picked up the A7 Sako and took it home. I had to wait to shoot it because of a slow order on come Talley Lightweight Rings for it. Before I picked up the rifle, I had a conversation with a gun expert at the retailer concerning hand loading for the rifle. I told him I would be shooting mostly Nosler Accubonds through the rifle. We discussed the clip in the rifle and we actually put a micrometer on the clip before I purchased it. It was right at SAAMI specs for case length for the caliber. We specifically discussed bullet jump in this rifle and he indicated that a good one (Sako A7) might be loaded to within .040 off the lands. He indicated that the bullet jump might be as high as .080 off the lands. I thought I could live with that. I usually seat my Nosler Accubonds at between .040 and .020 off the lands. I also seat Barnes TTSX at around .070 off the lands in most cases. The Barnes like the bigger jump.
While waiting around for the rings, I thought about removing the weaver aluminum bases that came with the rifle. They look cheap and the Sako manual actually suggested you not use them if you were going to use the rifle a lot. I light went off after reading this. I noted the clip in the rifle was plastic and I knew that from measuring it previously. Not what you would expect in a $ 1,100.00 rifle. The bolt shroud was also plastic. I had hand loaded some cartridges that were the maximum overall length to fit and feed out of the clip that came with the rifle. The cartridge feed was sloppy and it was obvious to me that if you cycled the bolt quickly you could expect some real problems. I was not impressed with this, but thought I could live with it.
I decided to measure the seating depth in this A7 with a Hornady tool. I seated both accubond 165 grain and 180 grain bullets. I put a micrometer on the seated bullets and was surprised with what I found. If you loaded your rounds to the length of the clip in the rifle, they would be .260 off the lands. Are you kidding me? A bullet jump of over 1/4 of an inch. Working up a load would be near impossible, unless you wanted to drop the clip and hand feed a single shell into the rifle.
I called the retailer to discuss the rifle in the morning. They indicated that the Sako people were actually in the parking lot pushing the product for Beretta that weekend. He said he would talk to them and have them call me. I waited all day for a call back. I even had the retailer remind them to call me at least two more times during the day. I didn't receive a call back until 4:30 from a guy named Joe. Because of the late call back, it was too late to do anything about the rifle that day. I guess it was more important to push product than to call someone who had already made the purchase. He didn't have a clue about what I was talking about with my questions about bullet seating.He gave me the telephone number of the rep at Beretta to discuss the problem. I made the call and no one answered. That service reps mailbox was actually full. That is always a red flag for me. I sent the rep an email and got no response. I am so glad I never fired a shot out of this rifle as the decision was made to send it back.
The retailer accepted the return of the rifle. They also did their own measurement of the seating depth with a 165 grain accubond on the rifle and confirmed what I had found. They were both surprised to see how much of a bullet jump that could be expected from that rifle. They also measured the seating depth in a Nosler 48 Patriot, Christensen Arms Classic Steel and a Sako 85 Finnlight all in the same caliber. All of these rifles allowed for considerably more precise bullet seating than this A7.
I have no problem with the retailer. They handled my complaints well and were very accommodating.
You can draw your own conclusions from this review about the A7 Sako Roughtech. It was not what I expected from a rifle costing $ 1,100.00.