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Old 04-21-2008, 11:37 AM
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Sako 85/338 Federal Critical Review

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American Hunter recently ran a review of the Sako 85 Hunter tested in 338 Federal, and noted rather poor accuracy (1.37-3.25 inch groups), but the article suggested it may have been a defective test rifle and not to worry:

"In the field, shooting prone off sandbags and bench tripod rests, the Sako delivered groups between 1.37 and 3 inches (see accuracy table) with three varieties of Federal factory ammunition. This is not on par with Sako’s MOA guarantee. (I expect better from a rifle of this quality; past experiences with Sako rifles make me think this particular rifle was an anomaly.)"

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I recently purchased the Sako 85 in 338 Fed and in early testing have also been unable to get the tight groupings Sako claims to guarantee. I have thus far rationalized it as: (1) getting used to new rifle; (2) new barrel not yet fully broken in; (3) a scope that was mounted too high for my preference (planning on lowering it); and/or (4) trying all 4 bullets currently available without focusing on one bullet consistently. I don't claim to be a marksman, but my Remington 700 in .270 Win. has been a tack driver for me for years with many different bullets so I feel like I know how to shoot straight generally. I am now concerned that this new rifle and/or cartridge may have design problems. Anyone else with relevant experience to report?
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:02 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 10,044
Just out curiousity, what size groups were you getting?

Were you shooting factory ammo or reloads?
Still Learnin' as I go!

NRA Endowment Member
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:17 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Montana
Posts: 150
I have a Tika in .338 Federal, it shoots 1" groups all day long with the Federal 185 gr. Barnes triple shock. I am very happy with the round so far, I have yet to get it out in the field though, I bought it between big game seasons.

My idea of fast food is a Pronghorn Antelope.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:19 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: North Bay Canada
Posts: 1,339
Tikka 338F

My Tikka was not the best gun on the block just out of the box . Either was the 3306 T3 .
Heard the same from shooters from Sako's .
When you fire a few box's off then you notice the gun starts to settle in , and starts to group. THIS is when you will start loading for groups .

The manual also states not to use a bush , just a patch
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:18 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Tennessee
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I had wanted to get a Sako .338F/SS/lam when I found a very good sale price on them. However, I'd already purchased a Ruger Hawkeye .338F SS/Syn before seeing the ad. My Ruger gives me accuracy as good as 3/4" (3 shot groups)@ 100yds with the inexpensive Fusion 200gr load and I have never so much as tried another load. The 200gr Fusion load also gave me excellent performance on the big Kentucky buck I took with it too. I do own a Sako in .270 and feel them excellent rifles, but I'll stick with my Hawkeye, I suppose.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:08 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: North Bay Canada
Posts: 1,339
Try a case of Varget over a 200 gr speer and see what she said . Let her have a shot just to foul the bore before . I have heard that Federal fusion does well too.
My rifle likes a Max load of Varget -with the 200 / 210 loads. It just started to shoot after a few box's. Don't know if I needed to get used to the rifle , or the rifle needed a chance to settle in .

One thing I did do to improve the shooting was to add a limbsaver pad to the gun , since I noticed the recoil was a bit more than expected .

Once the reciol was under control shooting the rifle groups also improved .

Last edited by Harry Snippe; 06-25-2010 at 06:17 PM. Reason: Spl.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:41 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Loomis, WA
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Have any of you 338 Federal owners shot the DPMS Panther in 338 Federal with 18" barrel? I am considering one to round out my safe but would sure like to here a first hand report.
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