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Thread: Sako 75 SS Varmint/Seal hunting rifle

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default Sako 75 SS Varmint/Seal hunting rifle

    After searching off and on this past winter I finally found my new seal hunting rifle, it is a Sako Model 75 SS Varmint rifle has a 23 5/8" un-fluted barrel with a brown laminated stock in caliber 223 Rem. Barrel has a 1:8" barrel twist, believe the 1:8 twist will be good for shooting heavier grain bullets. Rifle weights 8 5/8 lbs. Magazine can hold 6 cartridges.
    Rifle didnít come with a set of Optilock mounts or rings so I am gonna have to locate a set. Just yesterday I seen on the Beretta USA website that they can be ordered through that outfit. Later this month I will look for a Leupold VX-III 3.5-10 x 40mm scope for the rifle.

    Anyone own one of these Sako 75 Varmint rifles? What do you think of them, are they as accurate as folks on various shooting/hunting forums say they are? Any and all opinions are welcome. Thanks

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    I've never heard anyone complain about Sako quality.

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    Default Opti locks

    Check out gunbroker.com for the optilocks, I've seen them at real good prices there vs. the Beretta website, (whom I have heard are not easy to deal with for your Sako stuff), just a rumor tho as my Sako 85, .270wsm is Stunningly Accurate and so far problem free at 500 rounds.
    Congrats, I think you are in 'em with that setup
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    Nitroman, a friend of mine from a village on the Kuskokwim just last spring was using a Remington mdl 700 VSSF in 223 rem for seal hunting and he was very pleased with his rifle's accuracy. I almost went with the same rifle but happened to come across this new Sako 75 Varmint SS.
    kodiakrain, just this afternoon I found a set of Sako Optilock mounts and rings on GunBroker, settled for the low mounted rings. Once my rifle arrives I will mount my older Leupold VX-III 2.5-8 x 36mm on the rifle until I can afford to buy a 3.5-10 x 40mm.
    Hopefully I will have this rifle setup, sighted in and ready to go before first week of May. Wife says we need to get a few seals this spring so she can render the fat into seal oil. Gotta have that seal oil ya know.

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    My new 223 made it in this past week, now waiting for the Optilock bases and rings to arrive. The Sako 75 action on this rifle is petite and is real smooth. Detachable magazine holds 6 cartridges. Now I am considering buying a bipod so I can do some shooting from the beach in the prone position. My youngest daughter just bought 4 boxes of ammo for the rifle, said she wants to do some seal hunting when she comes home from college. Now I am wondering if that is a sign, does it mean that I may have to buy another 223 in the near future.

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    I'll wager that SAKO will be very accurate. I had the TIKKA T3 Lite stainless/synthetic in .223 REM with same twist bbl.

    Mine really grouped well as in .25" - .75" no matter what I fed it.

    Drove 3-5 round tackdrivers clippin' that .25" @ 100 yards using Winchester 'varmint' bulk pack HP, UltraMax NBT, and Hornady Varmint Express VMAX...

    It liked 40-55 grains from these factory loadings. I thought bbl w/ twist would like heavier 62 + gr -- but never found a heavier bullet to better the lighter ones for accuracy.

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    Brian, groups as small as a seal's eye, now that does sound accurate. My daughter bought 55 grain ammo for my 223, should be heavy enough for seal. Had her checking on heavier grain bullets but she wasn't able to find any in the store she went to up in Fbks. What brand and power of scope did you have mounted on your Tikka T3 Lite rifle. Heard the Tikka is a smooth operating rifle, never owned one before but I did find one for my nephew this was probably 10 yrs or so ago, it was a stainless model in 243 win.

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    Sounds like a nice rifle, I really like Sako rifles. I have a TRG custom in 30-06 Ackley Imp and it is smooth. Jerry a friend of mine has a Sako with the 75 action and it is nice. Very accurate rifles.
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    I built a live varmint gun on the same action, I barreled it with a light varmint barrel I had them flute and chambered it for a .22-6mmRemington wild cat. This barrel is a 1-10 twist and shoots the 80 grainers real well.. I had McMillan pt the general purpose stock on it and it has killed a OT OF SEALS, The scope I put on this action is a 6-25 power variable Zeiss. I had to order bases that fit this action out of Canada from Near manufacturing, I'm glad I did as the ring I bought did not fit with this scope and big barrel dia. I blew over 400.00 bucks and still had no fit. These mounts fit the dovetails real well and my cost in these 40mm scope went way down. I can say this about the Sako with a good barrel, it shoots with my BR rifles 2 10 ths five shot groups are about the average.

    I do have a trigger that lets off at about 8 ozs, that helps a bunch. All my BR rifles let off at 1 to 2 ozs. But 8 ozs keeps you safe when it gets cold. By the way the 80 grain bllets sure work better n the wind and are great for caribou also.
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    These Sako rifles must be well worth the money folks spend on them. Sounds like custom barreling them also brings them up a notch in accuracy. Gotta check my trigger pull, wanna make sure I know where it is set. Feels light and crisp, way lighter than my custom rifles which were set at 3.0 lbs. I ordered 2 set of rings with my bases, low and med. Figured I might wanna go to a larger objective scope in the future and I read that the optilock rings sit a lil higher than other rings. I was also thinking of getting a set of 30mm rings too, just in case I decided to buy a 30mm scope, my daughter's rifle has a 30mm scope and man it is nice in comparison to the 1" tubes. Seems to let in more light.

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    I have had vary good luck with Lilja barrels but the barrels from Hart have been great. I don't keep many rifles that don't have custom barrels. The custom barrels are more than just a notch above any factory barrel they are miles ahead for accuracy and cleaning. Spend your money on anything that will make it better for you in the long run with that rifle. Heavy barrels are a big help when you are trying to shoot from a bouncing boat or buck the wind when seals are on a sand bar. Never could get vary close to any sand bar when the seals are on the sand, so I end up keeping a lot of range between me and them and shooting from a longer range, seems the seals spook to easy.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    On The T3 Lite Stainless/Synthetic... I used the light-weight Tikka factory rings that came with the rifle and topped 'er off w/ a Weaver Grand Slam 6-20 AO (1/8 adjustments on turrets) with fine target dot inside the cross-hairs. Was a very lightweight and accurate package. Trigger was set to glassy 2 lb break... bolt worked buttery smooth and never had any issues... shooting very well with no custom stuff needed. SAKO/TIKKA barrels are good shooters!

    Coolest Tikkas I use tho' are the m-28 in minty shape (kinda rare to find 'em in this country in this condition) and minty 1968 Finnish National Match M39.

    I sold the .223 Tikka to a guy that needed a tack-driver. My next Tikka will be a mountain gun in 270wsm or more likely 6.5 Swede. I was very satisfied that the .223 I had was everything Tikka claimed it to be.

    I feel you'll have great satisfaction with your new SAKO unmodified - no reason to get all down and fancy custom. I had tagged along on Seal trips as a young kid. I know .223 REM. in any bullet design is a quick pill placed accurately - then the fast recovery work and harvest begins.

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    seeing a lil trend here for optics; 6-20 or 25. My rifle will remain factory for some time, am sure the rifling in the barrel will not get shot out anytime soon since I hunt and not target shoot, except when I sight in my rifles. A couple seals a year for me and my family produce enough seal oil for our needs, meat is good and rich too. Once I get my rifle set up and sighted in then maybe all I will need is 2 cartridges to take care of my seal hunt.

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    Finally got out seal hunting this past week with my family and my new 223 rifle, ended up mounting a Leupold Vari-X II 3-9x40mm on the rifle. Sighted it in while I was out camping on the coast. Ended up using a big ol' sawed off tree stump on the beach as a shooting table and driftwood as my target, small clam shells were my bulleye for my targets. Walked the distance off to 150 paces, and started sighting it in. Double checked the adjustments the next day to fine tune it a lil since the evening before there was some wind blowing. Was choppy out in the bay when the tide was going out and again when it was coming in so I ended up sitting on the beach for most of the day with a tripod I made out of driftwood, hrs and hrs passed, seen a few seals but always too far out. Finally a seal surfaced a lil closer than the rest and I put my crosshairs on his head and fired, ended up shooting low and he was fast to dive under the water. Adjusted the elevation on the scope and waited and watched till late in the afternoon with no more seals coming in close. Ended up moving my camp to another bay that same evening, and as soon as I arrived I seen a few seals out in the bay so it looked promising. Next morning I was up early with my family, had my coffee and we all sat near the water's edge watching for seals, finally one surfaced a long ways out, he would dive and be under a long time then resurface a lil closer to shore, each time a lil closer. Seems like it took at least an hr or so before the seal was close enough for a shot. Finally it was within 200 yds so I laid my rifle on my shooting sticks and took aim, as soon as the seal bobbed up a lil higher out of the water I took my shot. I could hear the smack of the bullet and see through my scope the seal's head go back, my son and I pushed out my skiff from the shore and motored out to where the seal should be, I told my son to look for the blood in the water. As soon as we were close we seen the seal floating, my son took the steering wheel and I took my harpoon and as soon as we were close I aimed my harpoon and harpooned the seal in the neck, tooglehead worked as it was supposed too and stuck perfectly. I gave the line a pull and the togglehead detached from the shaft and I pulled the seal over to the boat and pulled it in. So far the rifle is a good shooter, and the family has their seal blubber to make seal oil. Need one more seal and I think that will be enough for our needs.

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    I've got two Sakos Mod 75 Hunters (wood-stocked), one in 300WinMag and the other in 243. Both are fine rifles with excellent accuracy. I use the 300 for elk and moose and use the 243 for everything else up to elk including black bear, mulies and various varmints.

    How did you hunt seal before rifles were around?

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    Default atlatl & harpoon

    I grew up with rifles, my grandfather who taught me to hunt seal told me before rifles seal hunters would use atlatls (spear thrower) and harpoons. These hunting tools were used when hunting from a qayak or umiak (open boat). Most of the time when my grandfather told us about hunting he said most hunters were in qayaks. Harpoons are used today to hunt bearded seal, hunters in some villages require that you must first harpoon the bearded sel before being allowed to shoot it. For spotted seal, ringed seal and other types most hunters I know use rifles. Throughout the years I would occassionally hear of hunters from the old days who were very skilled with the spear throwers and could hit seal from a long distance away, people called those hunters "Nukalpiaq".
    I use my harpoon after I shoot a seal, cause they only float for a short time and I want make sure that I retrieve my seal and not lose it. sometimes even a lil wave action hitting the seal can cause it to sink and even a single touch of the hand. So a harpoon needs to be thrown with a sharp hard thrusting motion to make sure the togglehead sinks deep so that it can do it's job and secure the seal.
    R Walter, I too have two Sako rifles, my other one is a Model 75 SS 300 win mag, nice accurate rifles.

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    It is important to add to your narrative that weather a seal floats or sinks is dependent on the time of year and the temperature of the water. Later summer and the seal can sink as soon as you shoot it. I have lost seals this way and won't shoot any unless they are on a sand bar. Early in the spring is different than late summer. It really has a lot to do with when the ice goes out.

    We won't even get into the difference between ring seals and spotted.
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    Default Art of Seal Hunting

    Thanks Big Al, more good points to add to the "art of seal hunting". Salinity of the water has been part of our more recent discussions out here too, and yes we agree Big Al salinity of ocean water is affected by melting sea ice, freshwater inflow, rain and a range of other factors. Some of our local hunters have also observed that seals seem to have less fat nowadays too. Some believe that that is also affecting how long a seal will float as well.
    All good info on why a seal floats longer or sinks sooner. Could turn into a good research project for some marine scientist who is interested in seals, seal hunters and salinity levels.
    Big Al, herring are showing up in the bays south of us here and spawning. Good time to be out with a accurate 223 and a harpoon. Sounds like you been out hunting at low water before when the seals are on their seal islands in the bay. Good hunting method as well.

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    Here on the Kuskokwim most shots will be 75 yards or less. It makes the shot tricky as you have to account for the line-of-sight and the bullet not being coincident until wherever you have them meet. I know of a few folks who use shotguns. All have told me seal do not have a strong will to live, and give up the ghost easily.

    I have personally witnessed a hunt using the atlatl and it was something to see. Learned a great deal on that hunt.

    Another trick is to watch your intended animal. If they are lazy, you can tell when they are taking a deep breath to dive, then fire.

    Considering the meat and okuk, I think one animal has repaid you the cost of the rifle.

    I bought my wife a Winchester Ultimate Stealth in .223 WSSM. This is the very rare all stainless (even the springs), squishy overmoulded and camo'ed stocked CRF Winny. I have only seen three other than our own. The barrel is so light though I personally have difficulty holding the rifle steady. I also haven't been able to get any bullet to group well except for factory ammo. This is a hot number for sure, at 3800 fps for a 55-grain pill. I have an appointment in a few months for a complete rebuild by Greg Tannel to make this a bug-hole shooter. I am not going to limit this rifle to seal though, as with a good Barnes bullet will take other animals too.

    Nukalpiaq, you should have posted some photos. My mouth is watering thinking of a good stew right now, even if it is breakfast-time.
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    I would really be interested in seeing a hunter hunt seal with an atlatl, especially if the hunter hunted from a qayak like hunters used to do in the old days. Now that would be totally awesome. Ya a heavier barrel seems to work best out in the bay, even from the boat the rifle I used which has a heavier barrel would hold steadier. From shore with shooting sticks it works very well. Ya observing seals before the shot is very important also learn a lot about their behavior. Sometimes they are so curious of us humans and just continue to watch us constantly as we are watching them. One seal does go a long ways, especially when we make seal oil out of their fat, seal oil and blubber contain unsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids and mono unsaturated fatty acids. Good food indeed.
    3800 fps sounds like a hot round, I never really hear very much about the WSSM cartridges for my uses the 223 remington is a good round, ammo is available and very affordable here in the village. Do you happen to know what twist rate is used for the 223 WSSM. Is the cartridge comparable to the 22-250 or 220 swift in velocity and energy? Thanks

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