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Military & Law Enforcement

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

  • Alex

    I am totally impressed by this Finns' creation!

  • Snug

    How much would the entire system weigh dry ;also with an appropriate amount of ammunition? It seems to be necessary to have a three or four man team to run it and keep it fed .Why not build an MG-42 for .338 Lapua? It had quick bbl.change and was automatic to boot,and versatile as well.

    • ron mcghee

      the action is not lng enough and the recoil would destroy the gun in very short order to adapt the action to .338 would be to cost prohivitive and it would be so large you may as well adapt the m2 to do the same job at least it could handle the recoil with no problem im from louisville ky i have seen to many short barreled m2s at knob kreek it would be a much easier adaptation but as they say you can have anything you want as long as your willing to pay for it and as long as its in black… have fun at the range boys

      • hunter

        no

  • 7SFCW4

    1. Nice picture, hold the weapon by the magazine, guarantee a failure to feed.
    2. Why not an American colution? .338 Remington Ultra Mag? Oops, not trendy enough…

    • Mickey

      There is a sloped grip with a stop to keep your hand from sliding backward, located just forward of the magazine. You can clearly see it in the first picture of the slideshow, just aft of the folded bipod on the forend rail section. If you look again you will see that the individual shooting the tan rifle in the first picture and the one shooting the black one in the last picture of the article are both holding the rifle by this grip, and not the magazine.
      As for .338 Lapua, it's already being fielded, and I guess we can borrow some from the Canadians or Brits if we run out, but you are right, there are plenty of fine domestic cartridges out there.

    • Skratt

      The current TRG (and a lot of other systems) feeds with pressure applied to the magazine, so this one probably will too. And I really don't see any advantages in the increased powder capacity of the RUM over the Lapua Magnum since the LM is capable of pushing up to 300 grain projectiles with sufficient speed, trendy or not.

    • ldanes

      Is Remington going to support the 338 RUM? Ammo and cases are getting hard to find.

  • saturn2462002

    The largest caliber Rifle I have ever shot is a 30-06. How does the recoil from the 338 compare to that?

    • Schcotty

      Probably like the -06 in quadruplicate and then some. I'm not anxious to find out. This Sako rifle system looks hefty, but not obese. My guess is combat weight around 18+lbs for the .338. The 27" barreled TRG-42 in .338 Lapua is 11 3/4 lbs, bare. That much mass would help to damp some of the recoil energy.

    • Texas_shooter

      My .300mag was bad. I had a gel pack recoil pad built into my shooting jacket. I would go through several hundred handloads every weekend. It was tough to find a scope that had the eye relief to keep it off of the bridge of my nose.

  • Alan Limbaugh

    I guess we will never be able to make a semiauto rifle that manages to please the brass enough to replace the bolt action as a spiper rifle. I wish we average waged americans could afford to even shoot weapons like this, most of us can barely afford the ammunition to keep and maintain our personal firearm collections. Fine rifle, Hope santa is reading this, I would love to see that in my stocking!

  • Mickey

    This looks great. I love Sako, and have two of their guns, but I would also like to see a militarized version of the new Thompson Center Dimension Mag entered in a bid for this SOCOM contract. With the sporting version already available with interchangeable bolts, mags and barrels to configure it in .223/.308/.30-06/.300 Win, it could be made into a domestic alternative. Smith & Wesson (T/C's parent company) can certainly muster the resources to make an interesting product out of it.

  • Texas_shooter

    This is stupid, like I'm going carry three heavy, long barrels and three types of ammo with me just so I can switch between 308, 300mag and 338. I can take the 300mag and do anything the 308 can do. I can take the 338 and do anything the other two can do. If they are the same rifle, why not carry the 338, one type of ammo and be done with it.

    I have, personally, placed ten consecutive shots in a 14 inch circle at over 1/2 mile. That was with a 300mag. I would like to try that shot with the heaver bullet of a 338.

    • devil dog

      Interesting point Texas shooter – but you wont carry 3 different calibers with you on a mission ( I am active duty Marine) The nice thing about changeable barrels is the fact that we can configure to a mission requirement (long range or anti-material/338 – urban/308 or 300.) we also shoot a lot, so I may practice with 308 to get trigger time then sight in/deploy with 300 or 338. If I run out of 338 or 300 ammo I can always pull MG ammo in a worse case scenario. Barrel gets damaged in combat or training on deployment? No big deal – screw a replacement on, zero and go. Yes a 338 is versitile, but at an increase in recoil, muzzle bast if not supressed (especially inside a building) and there was usually a whole lot more 308 match sitting around than 338 when I deployed.
      Hope this helps?

  • Frank Kirkland

    I will say making anything universal, will end in some negative issue, it all goes back to the cresent wrench or further back called monkey wrinch, most univeral things don't do anything near as good as one pourpose tool.

    also most universal tools will hurt the user in many cases, learned that lesson over and over in life, don't beleave me watch and see, and remember I told you so.

    • Foo Bar

      I didn't quite catch your point. This is a sniper rifle, not a "universal anything" but a rifle for very specific task.

  • Dennis

    In the first picture what is that thing at the end off barrel?

    • Pete

      Sound moderator. Or a "Silencer" as Holywood likes to call them.
      Takes the teeth out of the blast and recoil – very commonly used in Europe.

      • Mickey

        Humorously enough, because of the terminology used in the 1934 National Firearms Act, pretty much everyone in the USA who legally owns one has had to call it a "Silencer" on their paperwork. If a stamp was issued, then you had to call it either a "silencer" or a "muffler", as those are the only legally recognized terms for the device.

  • Robert

    The thing on the end of the barrel is a muzzle brake to reduce recoil. It does not reduce sound in fact it intensifies it to those near the weapon.

    • Dave (Da Az Gator)

      I think he is probably talking about the supressor on the top photo which supresses some sound and some recoil as opposed to the flash suppresor on the bottom picture which reduces flash and muzzle rise to some degree. I have the TRG42 in 338 Lapua which has the muzzle brake and it greatly reduces recoil (down to about 7.62X51 (308 winchester) level) but as Robert said, it greaatly increases the sound on the firing line and I couldn't even imagine shooting it inside a room with the brake installed.

  • gary

    I was anxiously awaiting Remington's MSR. Now, I will be anxiously awaiting this rifle instead. Seems like a much better execution of the concept.

  • Chris

    Noting far too many shooting pictures with no hearing protection.

  • Rich

    Isn't modern firearm technology frickin' awesome. I like the concept and look forward to seeing many bad guys get air conditioning put in….if you get my drift. Thumbs up to the men and women of the greatest fighting force in the world. God Bless America.

  • hunter

    that 338 is bad ass i shot a priaie dog at 1000 yds my famliy could not blive it.

  • David w

    I would say SAKO's on to a winner here. Multi-cal weapons seem to be the in thing at the moment, and i like the idea of buying only one on gun for hunting/target shooting. Yes the weapon is designed for the military application of shooting people at great distances, but no reason why that would not work just as well on a good red stag up in the wicklow mountains! Suits the .300 win mag down to a t.
    Hopefully this piece of kit doesnt break the bank if its released to civvy street.

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