Sako_a7 One of the most interesting new guns we looked at during our annual gun test held in February near the Tennessee home of shooting editor Jim Carmichel was the Sako A7. The family resemblance to its older, and more expensive, siblings in the Sako line is unmistakable. But where the Sako 85s are all metal throughout their receivers, bolts and magazines, the new A7 features plenty of polymer parts. (You can see all the new rifles and shotguns we tested here.)

The goal was to lower costs and create a Sako for the masses and with a list price of $850 (versus the $1,575 MSRP for the Model 85) the company has certainly done that.

The more remarkable accomplishment, however, is the accuracy guarantee that the rifle comes with. All A7s are guaranteed to shoot sub-1-inch, 5-shot groups.

I had a chance to hunt with the rifle, in prototype form, in Kansas last December while the kinks were still being worked out of the platform. My rifle, in .300 WSM, wasn’t shooting that to that standard, but the rifle we got for the gun test, in .243 Win., did with its smallest group measuring .873 inches.

I have taken delivery of another A7, in .308 Win., and am curious to see if it will live up to the performance of the rifle we shot in February.

In any event, this is a remarkably high standard to set for a factory rifle. As anyone who has done a lot of shooting knows, there is a world of difference between rifles that will hold to an inch-sized group for five shots as opposed to the more common three-shot groups one sees touted in various accuracy guarantees—particularly for the more potent big-game calibers.

Do we need that level of accuracy from a big-game rifle? Rarely. But it always feels good to know that your rifle is equal to the task.

—John Snow