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X-Bolt superior to Sako 85 Hunter

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Horsemany, Oct 14, 2009.

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  1. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    This comparison between my Sako 85 Hunter in 270wsm and Browning X-Bolt Medallion 270 Win. may ruffle some feathers but here goes. After looking at X-Bolt's for the last year or so I finally picked up a Medallion in 270 Win last week. I've really liked the way they these X bolts feel. They're light and small and point like a small shotgun. IMO these are the characteristics that can be improved from the guns of the 40's and 50's. The X-bolt is small in the wrist and forearm making it feel even lighter than it really is. The Sako is large in the wrist(larger than any other rifle I own) making it feel bulkier than it is. The Sako has kind of a perch belly feel when carried under the magazine which may be from the WSM chambering.

    The X bolt uses scope bases with 4 screws per hole. THe Sako uses a proprietary tapered dovetail that is difficult to find good mounts for. I paid $170 for Sako's Optilock bases and rings and when putting on a different scope 2 weeks ago noticed the nylon insert was broke in half. I'm not the first guy that's happened to. Beretta was out of replacements and told me to pack the pieces back in the ring and use it that way. No estimation when inserts will be in stock either. NOT happy with that for $170.

    The magazine system is easier, simpler, lighter on the X-bolt using a polymer magazine with the latch being on the front of every magazine. The Sako magazine is excellent construction but not as easy to find in the hole in the dark with gloves on. I prefer the Browning magazines. The belly of the X Bolt is rounded with the flush magazine inserted. THe Sako is squared off flat and doesn't carry as comfortably for me.

    The trigger is actually a draw. They are both excellent triggers that adjust down to an appropriate weight for hunting purposes.

    I slightly prefer the tang safety with bolt unlock button of the Browning to the Sako design. The Sako is a slightly smoother bolt but the X-Bolt hasn't been broken it yet. THe bolt lift on the Sako is very stiff compared to the X-Bolt.

    The fit and finish is a personal preference. The oil finish of the Sako was poorly executed. It doesnt fill the pores and turned a rag brown from stain the first couple times I wiped it off. The Sako stock looks kind of cheap for how much they cost. The checkering on the Browning is sharper, deeper, and not as not as machined cut looking. The Browning is factory bedded. THe Sako is not and lacks a true recoil lug. The use a very small lug mated to a steel plate screwed into the stock with 2 wood screws.

    Now for the big one...accuracy. The Sako comes from the factory with a 5 shot 1" guarantee. That's about what mine will do with various high quality bullets such as Sierra Matchkings/Gamekings/Nosler ballistic tip and handloads with Norma brass. The X-Bolt shoots a little better. Almost half the groups shot in my first range session were little cloverleafs with a number of shots touching @100yds. Sako uses excellent quality hammer forgings and Browning uses a pull button rifling method. Both copper foul about the same and I notice no difference in smoothness when patching the bores.

    Bottom line. The Sako barreled action is a work of art. The machining is as good as it gets. Every little screw head and pin in the trigger housing is highly polished. It's a very well made gun. But the design, shape, weight and function of the Browning are superior for what I want in a big game rifle. The X-Bolt is lighter, smaller, shoots better than the Sako. I could say that about my Tikka T3 too. It will outshoot the Sako and is more comfortable to carry in the field. I don't think I'll be buying more Sakos.

    I also can't help but mention how much Sako's have risen in price the last few years. The Sako 75's of a few years ago used to be had for $900's. A weak U.S. dollar is not your friend if you like European rifles. The Sako's are now running in the $1350-$1500 range. The Hunter model has been discontinued and the new 85 Classic is selling for $1900. X-Bolt's are in the $650-$850 range and I think they're a better gun in many ways.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
  2. bpl

    bpl Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Thanks for the review! Sounds very favorable for the new X-bolt.
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