Sako Finnfire 2 in .17 HMR
The “retro” Finnfire 2 blends its older namesake with the newer Quad system to good effect, says Bruce Potts.
Sako Finnfire 2 in .17 HMR
Overall Rating: 87%
Pros: The stability of the action and barrel platform is where the Finnfire 2 excels and, as such accuracy is very good indeed
Price as reviewed: £880
Cons: Only wood at present and Sporter trim
The Finnfire 2, as the name suggests, is a reincarnation of the famed Sako Finnfire rimfire from the 1990s. The Sako Quad, with its removable barrel system, replaced it, but many people felt there was nothing wrong with the older Finnfire model. Sako has made a retro Finnfire, but with some different features that blend both the older Finnfire and newer Quad system.
The fixed barrel and new all-metal bolt handle and re-profiled walnut stock, which mimic the Sako’s centrefire rifles, give a touch of class and refinement, placing the Finnfire 2 at the higher end of the rimfire market at £880.
It is available only in one model at present — blued steel with walnut stock — but can be bought in either .22 long rifle (LR) or .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (HMR), which I had on test.
Action/bolt and barrel assembly
The action is from the Quad series, so a PO4R model, but with a few modifications to fit the Finnfire genre. The barrel is now fixed to the action and is not removable as on the Quad. This is what newer Finnfire owners wanted in order to ensure a rigid barrel action with no movement, though the older Finnfire’s barrel could be removed via two Allen keys tightening the barrel clamp. However, it is screwed and pinned in place for accuracy. This is achieved due to the match-grade nature of the cold hammer forged barrel, finished in a satin blue.
It is 22in long and has a light Sporter profile, with a one-in-nine rifling twist rate and six grooves. The muzzle is threaded as standard with a ½in UNF thread. I fitted a MAE Xtreme “the plastic recoil pad is a pet hate, but the chequered panels assure a firm hold” sound moderator specific for a .17 HMR cartridge and it was superbly quiet, one of the best I have used. The barrel is free-floating in the stock, again good for consistent accuracy downrange and in all weather.
The action has a metal bolt handle, which feels better than the Quad’s, but it still has the same reliable two-locking lugged bolt that has a shallow angle lift of 50° for speedy cycling and to miss the scope eyepiece in operation.
Trigger and magazine
Sako has good triggers on its full-bore and rimfire rifles — it’s a contributing factor to their accuracy. The Finnfire 2 has an adjustable trigger unit that allows the weight to be adjusted between 2lb and 4lb, so sensible weights for any hunting arm.
It’s a single-stage unit with a slim trigger blade that breaks very cleanly, with no creep at all. The magazine is detachable and a Quad unit, so is straight-line feed. It comes standard as a five-shot capacity, though an optional 10-shot mag is available.
The stock is well profiled in the typical Sporter style, with a cheekpiece and Monte Carlo raised comb. It takes inspiration from its older brother, the Sako 85 centrefire rifle, feels full bodied and handles well. It is made from walnut and has an oiled finish, which I prefer, but on this rifle the walnut quality was plain and lacking grain pattern.
The plastic recoil pad is a pet hate of mine, but the chequered panels to fore-end and pistol grip assure a firm hold.
Perhaps in the future there might be a varmint or thumbhole option? However, twinsling swivel studs are fitted and the fit between the metal action is excellent. This certainly helps towards the accuracy and consistent shot-to-shot performance.
Sako Finnfire on test
Sakos are always very accurate and the Finnfire 2 was no exception. I sometimes find a preference for one load and often, with the .17 HMR round, it’s the heavier 20-gr Game Point CCI loads.
No change here: the CCIs shot tight 0.45in groups at 50 yards and just under the inch at 100 yards, despite quite a gusty 10mph cross-wind during testing. This load spits out the heavier and more controlled expanding Game Point bullet at 2,417fps for 260ft/lb energy. Right behind the CCIs were the Hornady NTX (non-toxic) or lead-free bullet, achieving 2,563fps for 203ft/lb energy from the lighter 15.5-gr bullet. It grouped just over 0.5in at 50 yards and 1.25in at 100 yards.
All the 17-gr bullets other than the CCI TNT, which shot 0.85in 50-yard groups, shot pretty much the same size groups (0.75in), though the Winchesters at 2,574fps and 250ft/lb shot very consistent 0.65in five-shot groups and cycled beautifully. The Winchester is a good all-round load.
The Finnfire 2 is an updated version of Sako’s finest, but with a fixed barrel and Quad-esque features, so a blend between the two.