With a strong stock and heavy barrel, Sako’s Roughtech gives top accuracy
The Sako A7 has been with us for a few years — it’s an entry- level rifle in terms of price, and one that does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a well made, practical and affordable rifle, sitting somewhere above most of the Tikka range in terms of price, but a bit below the rest of the Sako range, therefore good value for money. Sako and Tikka are sister companies and are both owned by Beretta.
Initially there was a single model for the A7, covering a limited number of calibres. The recent addition of the Roughtech covers the same popular calibres as the A7 range, with one exception, as it doesn’t have a .22-250 version. The Roughtech’s range starts with the .243, and covers the .270, .308 and .30-06. Larger calibres are on offer, but only if you order them specially. On these special order, larger calibres of the Roughtech, the action is scaled slightly larger to accommodate the longer cartridge length.
The Roughtech is a bigger gun all round, much more in the style of a varmint rifle. The barrel is larger in contour, though not so big as to make the gun excessively heavy. The barrel is also longer at 26in, which should optimise velocity, depending on your calibre. Most Sako rifles are threaded with the common 14-1, but the Roughtech’s heavier barrel profile is threaded at 15-1 or 18-1, depending on which calibre or version you have. The rifle uses Sako’s three-lug bolt to maximise strength and distribute the forces travelling through the action as evenly as possible.
Its secret is in the stock — an aluminium skeleton gives it maximum strength
The bolt’s working is smooth and glides back and forth through the action with ease. The top of the action is screwed for Weaver-style scope- mount bases rather than the usual Sako tapered dovetail. The Weaver system is practical and versatile, and a Picatinny rail can be easily fitted if needed. The safety catch is a push-slide to the right of the bolt. The safety locks the bolt handle when engaged. There is a cocking indicator that extends from the rear of the bolt, and slides back into the bolt once the rifle has been fired.
The magazine is a detachable box rather than the traditional floor-plate type, in tune with today’s preference for a more practical system. The magazine has to be pushed in slightly before the release button can be pushed forward, which is the current Sako system. It takes a little getting used to, but it will certainly prevent accidental release of the magazine when crawling.
The weight of the barrel, though larger in contour, is kept in check by fluting. This also creates a larger surface area, helping it to cool more quickly and thus reducing the associated problems with overheated barrels. The version on test is the stainless steel barrel, but there is also a blued moly steel version, as well as a few different stocks on offer.
The Roughtech in the field
The Roughtech is available in two versions: this one is the Pro, with sling-swivel studs, which Sako suggests is for big- game hunting. Though big-game is not something we have masses of in the UK, it is an ideal deerstalking rifle. With its size and weight, the Roughtech Pro might not be the natural choice for crawling up and down hills. However, if you’ve not got long distances to carry your rifle, the Roughtech really comes in to its own.
There is also a Range version, which has a deeper pistol grip and is designed for prone shooting at longer ranges. The fore-end is also wider for more stability and a second stud is fitted to allow for for a differently positioned bi-pod.
Much of the Roughtech’s secret is in the newly designed stock, which has an aluminium skeleton giving it maximum strength. It also gives the action a very stable platform within the stock, which is how the Roughtech can provide such excellent accuracy. On the outside, the stock has a dappled-grey featuring on top of the black synthetic. This gives the stock a good level of grip and comfort. The stock butt end is finished with a quality black recoil pad that comes with two 5mm spacers to adjust length of pull.
The A7 Roughtech is a very strong, dependable rifle which should give good service even in the most arduous of environments, though it is perhaps a little heavy for mountain stalking.
Marks out of 100:
Build Quality 24/25
Value for money 24/25
Total score 94/100
A very strong, dependable rifle which should give good service even in the most arduous of environments