January 30th, 2008

SAKO launches new A7 Hunting Rifle with Bells and Whistles Web Site

Beretta, which now owns both SAKO and Tikka, has just introduced the new SAKO A7, based on the SAKO 75, but designed to sell at a lower price point. It retains many of the better features of the SAKO 75, including adjustable trigger (2.2 lb. minimum pull), three-lug bolt with 70° throw, and ergonomic stock. The A7 offers a new 3-round detachable magazine, with an improved latching mechanism drawn from the SAKO 85.

To learn more about the A7, visit www.SakoA7.net, a whiz-bang Flash-enabled website with photos and specs. Caution–the site has obnoxious sound effects and navigation like a video game, but we guess Beretta’s marketing gurus decided “bells and whistles” would sell more rifles.

Sako A7 rifle

Unlike most SAKOs, the A7 lacks a dovetail on the top of the receiver that would allow you to mount rings directly to the action without the need for a separate scope rail. In deference to American shooters, who seem to prefer separate mounting rails, The A7 ships with Weaver-style scope mounting blocks front and rear. In our view, the dovetail is actually a cleaner, lower-profile, and more rigid set-up for a hunting rifle, but this is one more example of building a product the consumer thinks he wants, whether it makes sense or not.

Notably, Beretta is marketing the new SAKO A7 with an accuracy guarantee — One MOA for five shots. While that’s not spectacular, few other major gun companies (Cooper being the notable exception) provide accuracy guarantees for their hunting rifles. SAKO claims that “Each rifle must place five shots within one inch at 100 yards or it doesn’t ship.” Sako A7 gun weight (without scope) averages 6.5 pounds, while length of pull is 14 inches. Calibers and twist rates are shown below. Unfortunately, no fast-twist 6mm barrels are offered with the .243 Win chambering.

Sako A7 rifle

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January 30th, 2008

Throwing Powder Charges–Helpful Tips

Harrells Powder MeasureIn the wintertime, it’s common to encounter problems with static electricity when throwing your powder charges. The static can cause powder kernels to cling to the surface of reloading components, and can cause powder clumping. Clumped or sticky powder may make your measure bind or grab in the middle of the cycle, which can throw off your charge weight. Here are a couple simple ways you can minimize the effects of static electricity and improve the consistency of your powder measuring.

Alligator grounding clipsGround Your Powder Measure — If you’re throwing powder charges in the fall or winter and have problems with bridging or sticking powder, use a ground wire. Bullet-smith Victor Johnson (Johnson Precision Bullets) tells us: “I have a 25-foot piece of real small wire with alligator clips on each end. It’s that long so I can run it down the hall to a water pipe. Use the wire tie from a bread bag to hold it in a small roll to put in the range box. When using it at the range use a 6″ nail from the co-op or Lowe’s / Home Depot and just push it into the ground.”

Use Bounce Dryer Sheets — A quick pass with the thin cloths used in dryers will eliminate “static cling” on your plastic reloading parts like powder throwers, powder funnels, and reloading press guides. Thanks to Doc76251 for this tip.

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