Which TRG for me? Oh, the conundrum.

I wish it was specifically for me – but here is my first caveat – they don’t do a left-handed version, so the likelihood of me ever owning a Sako TRG is low. Sadly. I have owned a TAC A1, and you can get those in a left-handed version, so, I guess, maybe one day.

The Sako TRG Range has an undoubtedly military heritage – these are actual ‘sniper’ rifles in the sense that, well, snipers use them.

In 1989 Sako Ltd. (Riihimäki, Finland) introduced the TRG-21 precision rifle as a sniper rifle model chambered in .308 Winchester. With the introduction of the TRG bolt-action, Sako moved away from the modified two-lug Mauser bolt-actions, favoured during the past, to an action with a symmetrical three-lug bolt of 19 mm (0.75 in) diameter, displaying a locking surface of 75 mm2 (0.116 in2). The evolution of this design continues to the present and can be found in Sako’s hunting rifle offerings, the Sako 75 and the Sako 85. A more hunting oriented variation of the TRG was later introduced as the TRG-S M995, which uses the same receiver (short action) and bolt (different bolt handle) as the TRG-21 with the exception that the receiver is open at the top rather than possessing a cartridge ejection port on the right side as found with the TRG-21. Subsequently, a second sniper rifle with a 20 mm (0.79 in) longer scaled up magnum action emerged as the TRG-41 in order to take advantage of the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge. Similarly, a hunting variant of this model, again using the same bolt (different bolt handle) and with the receiver open at the top was introduced as the TRG-S M995 Mag in magnum calibres up to .338 Lapua Magnum.[7]

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sako_TRG

While not ‘premium’ in the sense of hand engraving or fine walnut stocks, for many – the TRG range is the pinnacle of Sako rifle building technology.

I recently got asked a question (as I do) and though, instead of typing this all into a text message for just one person to read, I might as well put it down into an article that a few of you might enjoy.

A lot of this is, as is the case with this entire site, my personal opinion, so take it with a grain of salt, and I am sure some of the M10 owners I know will chime in with some additional information on the social media side of things – anything useful, I will add in here. Anyhow – the question was –

Thoughts on the 1-11 twist on TRGs in 300wm? Why do Sako do this?

A guy.

Now, what he is referring too, is the perceived ‘slow’ twist on a rifle chambered in a .30 calibre. The .308 and .300 WIN both have a 1:11″ twist on it, which, if you read online, by today’s standards, is a ‘slow’ twist. However, we have to remember – these are not ‘new’ guns – and have been around for a long time. Additionally, the faster twist rates, or at least, requirements for them, have come about as people try to send heavier and heavier projectiles down the barrels – something that is a newer trend as we have strived to reach out further and further.

I think some of it comes down to the philosophy of use as well though. Comparing American and European ways of doing things. In a similar way you don’t see a lot of the newer cartridge options flowing through the Tikka and Sako ranges (like 6.5 PRC, 28 Nosler and so on) – the American Cartridge designs will likely take a while to become adopted by the European companies.

In addition, there seems to be a long-held trend to run lighter and faster in Europe – thought this is never going to be a hard and fast rule.

If we look at the Sako Ammo options available (match options likely be used in the TRG) we see that the TRG Precision Target Series Range is available in a 175 Grain projectile for both the .308 and .300 cartridges. Remembering, the American Sniper staple has been a 175 grain Sierra Matchking for a long time.

Being that the TRG project started as a military-inspired project, it makes sense that they were matching existing norms and matching the intended use – human targets and distance. ELR target shooting or even Long Range target shooting and the demand for heavier projectiles likely never entered into consideration of the design parameters.

The question that followed though, was, for long-range target shooting, what would be my pick then?

Well, I guess I have to frame that even more – what is long-range? As I find too many folks are building their rig around the once every now and then range, rather than where it would primarily be used. Anyhow – will get into that soon. First of all – a quick overview of the firearms.

TRG 22/42

The elder statesmen, so to speak – the TRG has been modified and updated over the years and is available in 6.5 Creedmoor, 260 Rem, 308 WIN, 300 WIN and 338 Lapua. Magazine capacity is the other main difference between them all – obviously – less into the bigger cartridge options.

TRG 22/42 A1

Take the TRG, put it into the M10 chassis, without the switch barrel system and a few of the more military-specific/inspired fixings, and you have the A1 edition. It’s the facelift model of the TRG. And one that I personally really like.

TRG M10

The Sako TRG M10 Sniper Weapon System was unveiled by Sako in October 2011.[28] It was designed as a user configurable multi calibre modular system and does not share its receiver and other technical features with the Sako TRG line. It can switch between .308 Winchester/7.62×51mm NATO, .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum chamberings by changing the bolts, magazines, forends and barrels, to adapt to various requirements in the field. When it was first introduced, it was marketed for “military and law enforcement only”.[29][28][30]

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sako_TRG

The big boy. Swap barrel system that allows switching out the barrel from .308 to .338 in the field, with no external tools. I know a few guys who are also adapting the system to allow other cartridges for 6.5 SLR through a .338 Edge… beasts of firearms. No doubt about it. There is actually a military ‘kit’ as well as the civilian version – though my understanding is that the gun itself is the same.

So. The big question. Which one?

Well… the actual question is more, what for?

A ‘long-range target rifle’ is a little bit of a big statement. I find people don’t define their usage case enough – so they end up with something that is still likely awesome, but maybe not quite the perfect fit. For example – you could say you were after a ‘1k’ gun – well – is that – generally shooting around 500-700 meters, but the odd 1k shot, or, is that, unlikely to shoot less than 1k and want to stretch out to 1 mile, 2k if possible? Two different rigs.

I mean, the ‘easy’ answer is the M10, with both .308 and .338 barrels. I know a couple of guys with that setup – and they just swap out to whatever the main section of the competition is going to be. Two M10’s with .308 barrels came first and second at the recent Tarata comp – two good shooters, who know their rigs well, but… well – there you go. Long term, add in some ‘custom’ barrels for it, and you are set – something like a 6 Creedmoor maybe? Or – go mad – get a .375 Cheytac on it.

But, lets for argument sake, that the M10 isn’t an option, and we are looking at one cartridge choice.

For a start, if I could, I would go for the A1 derivative – I just like the modern styling. The ‘sniper grey’ is a sick looking rifle. Cartridge wise though? I guess I would have to evaluate where it was going to be used most. For what I am mainly doing – practical style field shooting – a smaller cartridge would make sense – I am less worried about terminal ballistics – so don’t care if it isn’t carrying a lot of energy downrange – and the A1 can be had in, shock horror – 6.5 Creedmoor. Sorry – boring, predictable I know – but out of the options – that’s where I would go.

If I was planning on shooting mostly long – that is, 800m plus – I would consider the .300 win – but really, would just likely bite the bullet and step into a .338 – yes – costs all-around increase – but it’s the cartridge that is going to let me stretch the furthest of them all – so everything else, to me, seems just an intermediate.

Now – if hunting of some kind were involved – the decision would be different – long-range – same option – but in that ‘mid’ range – the .300 win suddenly makes more sense. More velocity to carry a .30 cal projectile and ensure decent expansion. A 175 grain projectile with some speed behind it is going to drop anything you aim it at for quite a long way out.

I find people don’t ask enough questions to really clarify what it is they really need – but then, not everyone even knows what questions they need to ask themselves anyhow. Really define what you want to use things for, and the option often becomes apparent.

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