Last day to place an order for Christmas is Wednesday, December 12th. Please keep in mind that due to the holiday season the shipping carriers (UPS, USPS, FEDEX) may experience a delay in delivery.

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Due to routine plant maintenance from 12/22/2018 - 1/2/2019, please allow an extra week in addition to our typical 7-10 business days for delivery during this time.

SAKO Rifles: Demand Perfection

SAKO company history

The SAKO Story


SAKO, Ltd., or Suojeluskuntain Ase- ja Konepaja Oy ("Civil Guard Gun and Machining Works”), is a Finnish firearms company that can trace its roots all the way back to post-WWI Europe. The company’s name hails from a voluntary Finnish militia, called the “Civil Guard” or “White Guard”, that successfully crushed socialist opposition during the Finnish Civil War of 1918. SAKO first opened its doors in 1919, shortly after Finland declared its independence from Russia, under the name Civil Guard Supreme Staff Gun Works. Their first shop was a converted Helsinki brewery, where gunsmiths refurbished captured Russian weapons for use in the Finnish Army.

In between wars, the company gained financial independence from the Finnish Civil Guard, relocated its headquarters to Riihimäki, assumed the name SAKO, and began exporting pistol cartridges to Sweden. The company continued manufacturing submachine gun cartridges for the Finnish Defense Forces through World War II. Since then, SAKO leaders have made several business moves, including the acquisition of Tikka Firearms in 1983 and a merger with the Beretta Holding Group (SAKO’s present-day parent company) in 2000.


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Popular SAKO Rifles

Although SAKO has been in the firearms business for a century, nearly all the company’s popular weapons were produced after WWII. SAKO is primarily known for manufacturing quality lines of centerfire sporting rifles, although the company also has a reputation for making good rimfire weapons, excellent rifle cartridges, and outstanding scope mounts.

SAKO L461 Vixen

L461 Vixen

The L461 “Vixen”, first manufactured in 1946, is a centerfire, bolt-action sporting rifle that’s tremendously popular among grouse and small game hunters. It was a production firearm based upon the earlier L46, which itself was developed around the SAKO prototype L42 (“L” denoting the Finnish word, luodikko that translates to “rifle”). The prototype weapon was originally chambered in a modified 9x19mm Parabellum rifle cartridge (the 7x33mm SAKO), but the most popular versions of the L461 shot .222 “Triple Deuce” Remington. Despite SAKO stopping production in 1973, collectors still actively seek this rifle all over the world.

SAKO L579 Forester

L579 Forester

In the mid-1950s, SAKO recognized the demand for a longer action rifle that would be more suitable for taking down larger game than the L461 Vixen. The result was the L579 “Forester”, a medium action rifle chambered from .22-250 to 7mm-08 Remington. Like the Vixen, the Forester is no longer in production, but still a very popular rifle among a variety of shooters. Depending on their condition, used models can be found online for anywhere between $850-$1500.

SAKO L61R Finnbear

L61R Finnbear

The L61R “Finnbear” is heartier than the Forester and was designed with even larger game hunters in mind. Produced from 1962 to 1973, the Finnbear marked SAKO’s entry into the long action and big bore market of sporting rifles. This shoulder cannon was chambered in even larger calibers than its predecessors, including .338 Mag., .375 H&H Mag., and the Europe’s heavy-hitting 9.3x62mm Mauser. Many of today’s hunters regard the Finnbear as a workhorse of a hunting rifle, with a solid reputation for excellent accuracy and dependability. A used L61R can usually fetch around $1000, provided it’s in decent condition.

SAKO M85 Series

M85 Series

SAKO’s most recent series of rifles fall under the M85 series of bolt-action, centerfire sporting guns and are built with modern shooters in mind. They offer 24 different packages, most of which are still in production and available new off the shelf. Features and price tags vary, depending on individual taste, and most M85s are available in a variety of calibers. One popular model is the 85 “Classic”, which is a traditional sporting rifle in every sense of the word. Highlights include an oil-finished walnut stock (with a rosewood fore-end), an extended recoil lug, an integral tapered scope mount rail, and a free-floating barrel.

Upgrading Your SAKO Stocks

SAKO has built itself a great reputation for being one of Europe’s premier rifle and ammunition manufacturers for a good reason: they make quality products. One way to make an awesome SAKO rifle even better is the addition of a Boyds hardwood gunstock. As always, we offer a wide variety of stylish and dependable products for nearly any firearm application.

One gunstock that’s constantly jumping off our shelves is the Pro Varmint Centerfire SAKO L579 Forester Short Action Factory Barrel Channel; a great choice for Forester owners looking to improve the accuracy and feel of a seminal firearm. Another popular option is the Classic SAKO L61R Finnbear Magnum Long Action Factory Barrel Channel, available in a Nutmeg Laminate finish. Be sure to check out the Design Gallery to view our variety of colors, shapes, finishes and special etching options. 


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