Iconic Finland-based gunmaker Sako has been tapped to provide the home team with new precision rifle systems.
The €11 million ($11.7 million) award, quietly announced last month, covers not only rifles but also spare parts and sniper equipment from Sako Ltd. The rifle at the heart of the deal is the modular TRG M10, a bolt-action magazine-fed gun that is capable of caliber swaps on the fly via barrel/bolt/mag changes, swapping between .338 Lapua Magnum (8.6x70mm in Finnish parlance), 7.62 NATO, and .300 Win Mag. All the tools needed to swap between calibers are stored in compartments in the bolt knob and forend.
Based in Riihimäki, about 60 miles inland from Helsinki, Sako is owned by Beretta and recently celebrated the brand's 100th anniversary. The company has a long connection to Finland's sharpshooters. Samo Haya, widely regarded as "the world's deadliest sniper," used a Sako-made Mosin M/28 during the country's 1939-40 Winter War with the Soviet Union. The country currently uses some 400 older Sako bolt-action TRG-42 rifles in .338 LM, type classified as the TKIV 2000 in Finnish use.
The new TRG M10 will join yet another of Sako's rifle systems, the recently debuted M23, in revamping Finland's precision rifle arsenal. Based on the AR-10/SR-25-style design, the Sako-made M23 is an autoloader in 7.62 NATO. It will be fielded in two formats: the Kivääri 23 (KIV 23) – a designated marksman rifle for use in infantry squads – and the Tarkkuuskivääri 23 (TKIV 23), a dedicated sniper rifle, with the differences largely being in the optics.
Together, the new Sakos will replace the Finnish Army's aging Cold War-era Dragunov marksman rifles and the newer TKIV 85 bolt-action sniper rifle, the latter a much-upgraded Mosin action. Both legacy platforms are chambered in 7.62x54R.
Banner image: Finnish troops in winter camouflage, with Valmet Rk 62 rifles in 7.62x39. Valmet and Tikkakoski (Tikka) have been part of Sako since the 1980s. (Photo: Finnish Defense Force)