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Contract Contender: Sako TRG M10 Review

by Tom Beckstrand   |  February 21st, 2012 29
Sako TRG M10_001

The first look at Sako's contender for the SOCOM Precision Sniper Rifle contract.


The Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) program began in 2007 when SOCOM realized that it needed something capable of shooting beyond the capabilities of the M24. Our snipers didn’t have a precision instrument with enough ballistic horsepower to reach ridgeline-to-ridgeline in Afghanistan, so the search began.

One of the strongest contenders for the PSR contract is the Sako TRG M10. I recently got some personal time with two examples at the Clark Country Shooting Range near Las Vegas and was thoroughly impressed.

The PSR solicitation calls for a multiple-caliber rifle that allows the shooter to change between .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum. The TRG M10’s action can be configured for either short or long throws by setting the amount of bolt travel allowed. When shooting .308, for example, the operator can limit the bolt travel to just what’s needed in order to get the shorter cartridge into—and out of—the chamber. This is accomplished by rotating the bolt release lever 180 degrees. If you’ve ever worked with the M24, you’ve probably come away frustrated at the time-consuming movement involved in working such a long action. A quick second shot can be important to a sniper.

Like the TRG-series that went before it, the M10 bolt has three lugs, a mammoth Sako extractor (that’s actually wider than the one on the TRG 42), dual ejectors and a 60-degree bolt throw throw . Each caliber has its own barrel, bolt and magazines, and each component in the caliber sets are marked accordingly. The .338 components feature three tactile rings on the barrel and bolt and three circles on the rubberized pad of the magazine. The .300 Win. Mag. is indicated by two rings on each part, and the .308 is marked by a single ring. Sako decided to go with separate bolts for each caliber, fearing that an interchangeable bolt head could be too fragile.

The magazines for each caliber all have the same external dimensions, but the .308 and .300 Win. Mag. feature an integral block at the rear of the magazine to fit the same funneled magazine well. Magazine capacity for the .308 is currently 11 rounds, .300 Win. Mag. is seven rounds and the .338 Lapua magazine offers eight rounds.

The trigger is user-adjustable between 2.2 and 4.4 pounds. Adjustments can be made in the field by means of a Torx wrench found in the rifle’s onboard tool kit under the fore-end. The shooter is also afforded the opportunity to change the sear adjustment so that the trigger can be set for single- or two-stage use. The rifle I fired had an extremely crisp, four-pound trigger.

Like the TRG series before it, the TRG M10’s barrels are hammer-forged. However, unlike the TRG barrels that were manufactured from chrome-moly steel, the M10 uses stainless steel.

The chassis of the M10 features an adjustable stock that can be tuned for length of pull, cheekrest height and buttpad elevation. The length of pull can be adjusted in 6mm increments, and the cheekrest moves in much finer 3mm increments. Both adjustments are spring-loaded at the press of a button and lock into place. Further, three variants currently exist that are differentiated by the stock configuration. One model features a stock that can be folded to the left, a second model to the right, while the third variant features a fixed stock assembly. At the bottom toe of the stock is a Picatinny rail section that’s home to a removable hand hook that can be reversed and moved to the fore-end’s rail for use as a handstop. The stock’s railed toe can also accommodate a Picatinny-rail-attached monopod.

In another clever approach, the bolt assembly has been designed to serve as the primary tool for disassembly and reassembly of more than 90 percent of the rifle. The tip of the bolt handle carries an integral Torx driver that’s recessed into the ball head. In the field, this would be more often used to allow the shooter a means to remove the handguard screws to access an onboard tool kit hidden within the M10 foregrip. Inside that grip are three additional Torx wrenches that make it easy to work on the entire rifle. However, in a pinch the driver in the bolt handle can do it all—it will just take a little longer.

Changing the barrel is easily accomplished and involves the removal of two Torx screws in the chassis just under the tenon where the barrel and action come together. With the captive rear screw loosened and pulled through, the front screw only has to be loosened to release the extruded aluminum fore-end and barrel nut. The shooter can then use the bolt as a spanner wrench and loosen the barrel nut. With the barrel nut unscrewed, the barrel easily slips away from the receiver.

The barrel extension that joins the barrel to the receiver is more than 2½ inches long (almost an inch longer than a tenon on a normal rifle). This long barrel extension makes for a very positive connection between barrel and receiver.

I shot the TRG M10  in both .308 and .338 Lapua configurations. At 100 yards, five-shot groups measured around the 0.6-inch mark for both IMO’s SIP Editor Eric Poole and me, with the best coming in at 0.4 inch while shooting .338. We were shooting prone off a bipod with no sand sock to support the rear of the rifle, so I’m confident that we could have knocked off another 0 .1 inch had we been a little more thoughtfully prepared.

At 200 yards, I managed sub-MOA groups in both calibers, with the best measuring .7 with .308 Lapua-brand ammunition. Unfortunately, this is far from a complete test of a rifle and trio of calibers that are fully capable of reaching and exceeding 1,000 yards with repetitive sub-MOA accuracy. In a final test of the rifle’s ability to provide speed, function and accuracy, Eric timed a rapid-fire stage on a silhouette target at 200 yards. It took me 10 seconds to fire through one mag change and 14 shots. After retrieval of the target, the 14-shot rapid-fire group measured just 6.92 inches.

The M10 is as well executed a rifle as Sako has ever devised. The many adjustments are all intuitive and manufactured to high quality. The action is strong and smooth, the trigger adjustable and crisp.

The competition for the PSR contract just might be over with this one.

Sako TRG M10_002

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