This innovative rifle can be reconfigured quickly to meet the needs of hunters and precision shooters alike. Bruce Potts is impressed.
We have all seen guns with interchangeable barrels, two-piece stocks, adjustable parts and so on, but Sako has taxed its little grey cells and come up with a truly game-changing rifle.
Described by Sako as ‘the first true hybrid rifle’, the Sako S20 Hunter combines excellent accuracy straight from the box — less than 1in at 10 yards (minute of angle) — with strong and durable construction and operation for real-world hunting environments. But best of all is the innovative, quick-detachable stock and instant exchange of parts to reconfigure the rifle from a Hunter version (thumbhole) to a Precision (target shooting) version.
With just two screws loosened, the rear stock slides off and the S20 can be stored or transported in a small package but, most importantly, with the scope still attached so there is absolutely no loss of zero.
Combine this with a new integral scope mount and excellent choice of one-piece mounts, detachable magazine, Cerakote Tungsten weather-beating finish, fluted barrel, M-Lok attachment points for slings and bipods, and an adjustable rear stock for length, cheek height and recoil pad angle — and top it off with Sako’s unparalleled build quality — and you have all you truly need from a centrefire rifle.
Need to know
- Manufacturer Sako
- Model S20 Hunter
- Type Bolt action
- Overall length 39.85in
- Barrel length 20in, 5/8th 24 UNEF muzzle thread
- Length of pull 14.25in (adjustable)
- Weight 3.26kg (rifle only)
- Finish Cerakote Tungsten
- Calibre .308 Win
- Stock Black synthetic, thumbhole, quick-detachable take-down facility and exchangeable options
- Magazine Detachable, five shot (10 optional)
- Scope mounts Integral Picatinny rail and Sako one-piece scope mount and changeable scope rings available
- Trigger Single stage, adjustable
- Price RRP £1,955 Hunter (Precision £2,185)
- Importer GMK, 01489 579999
The Sako S20 Hunter in depth
The calibres available for the S20 are .243, .270, .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor (Magnum to follow), so all species in Britain are catered for. I tested a .308 Win version with a 20in fluted barrel, 18mm in diameter, which allows great handling and overall length without compromising ballistics. A 24in, fluted or non-fluted, barrel is also available.
I had the Hunter thumbhole, but a Precision version with a greater range-style stock and a fore-end can be fitted as an optional extra. This is easily done with the S20’s primary asset being a stock that can be removed quickly by loosening two screws that join the stock to the fore-end via a top and bottom screw and wedge system. An Allen key and tool holder are provided, and with a few turns the rear stock slides off. The fore-end is loosened from the aluminium bedding block via three Allen screws and the quick-detachable sling swivel stud. This allows compact storage with no loss of zero.
The S20 has an aluminium chassis at its core that provides a sturdy frame for the rifle. The action fits to this frame via three screws for perfect bedding and has a superb integral Picatinny scope mount, so no screws to work loose.
The bolt is manufactured from stainless steel and the bolt handle is interchangeable, with the locking lug surfaces being large to maintain safety. Bolt operation is precise and smooth.
The match-grade barrel is cold hammer forged for longevity, concentricity and out-of-the-box accuracy. The 20in barrel has a 5/8-24 muzzle thread for a sound moderator, and its weight is reduced by six barrel flutes. It is finished, like the action, with a tough Cerakote Tungsten coating.
The thumbhole stock gives an excellent grip. With a click of a button the elevating cheekpiece achieves correct scope-to-eye alignment, and the fully adjustable length-of-pull butt pad tilts and angles to your body shape.
The fore-end has M-Lok fitments for bipods and also has quick-detachable sling attachments and integral soft leather-like surfaces for extra grip.
A staggered-column, five-shot, polymer magazine is fitted (10-shot available; three- or seven-shot for Magnum calibres) that has space in front of the bullet tip to avoid damage and allow reloaders to seat bullets longer. The release lever is on the magazine itself and drops out easily but has a slight rattle in its housing.
The trigger can be ordered as a single or two stage, with an adjustment from 2lb to 4lb and a trigger-blade that can be repositioned for correct pressure release. A typical Sako lever safety, and additional push button to allow the bolt to open with the safety on to unload, works silently.
Off the bench, the S20 lived up to its minute of angle claims. Best accuracy went to the Winchester 150-gr with 2,689fps/2,409ft/lb with three-shot groups at 100 yards of 0.75in. The fastest were the 123-gr Sako Gameheads at 2,944fps/2,368ft/lb and groupings of less than an inch.
The Hornady 150-gr SST loads gave 2,898fps with 2,798ft/lb energy and 0.95in groupings, while the Browning BXC 168-gr loads shot 2,524fps/2,377ft/lb and grouped bang on 1in.
I fitted a Zeiss Duralyt scope and Stalon sound moderator that only increased the overall length to 44.85in.
With the crops well grown and the cover dense, stealthy stalking was a must. The compact nature of the S20 was appreciated, as were the synthetic stock and Cerakote finish that meant the wet foliage and damp soil weren’t a problem. I used a Buttolo call to encourage a response from any roebucks hiding in the crop as I hid in some convenient bracken. Sure enough, after a few attempts a head popped up from the barley, as well as that of a doe who was not keen on another ‘doe’ coming after her chap.
The buck stood his ground, however, so a slow stalk along the tractor track in the crop allowed a neck shot only, but the Sako 123-gr ammunition at 110 yards dropped him instantly. It took 20 minutes for the doe to move off though.
Incredible. A truly pivotal rifle that is priced correctly, is intrinsically accurate straight from the box, handles totally naturally, is reliable and fully adjustable. I have ordered one.
- Star Rating 4.95 out of 5
- Accuracy 19/20
- Handling 19/20
- Trigger 19/20
- Stock 19/20
- Value 20/20
- Total 96/100
Incredible. A truly pivotal rifle that is priced correctly, is intrinsically accurate straight from the box, handles totally naturally, is reliable and fully adjustable.