A7 bolt concerns

Discussion in 'Sako 75, 85 and A7' started by Elkfan, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. Elkfan

    Elkfan Member

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    Got my first Sako recently - a Roughtech Pro A7 in 30-06. The only other rifles I own are Howas, so that’s all I have to compare it to.

    I haven’t fired the rifle yet. Some issues have come up, but I’m not sure how significant they are.

    The bolt is squeaking when I lift and lower the handle. It’s pretty loud and did not get better with oil on the lugs and other parts of the bolt exterior.

    Bolt lift is surprisingly difficult compared to my Howa rifles. My wife can hardly lift the thing and can’t lift it at all with the rifle shouldered. I don’t know if that’s a problem or just a difference in the two rifles.

    Finally, I put a 150 gr Remington Core Lokt round in the magazine and chambered it. Closing the bolt took extra effort - you move it forward, but when it seems like it’s all the way, it takes extra effort to push it forward enough to close the rifle. I tried with a few rounds from the same box with the same result every time.


    My question is whether these are normal for an A7. Honestly my Howa ran more smoothly out of the box than my new Sako. This makes me think something is wrong, but then again I don’t have a ton of different rifles to compare this one to.

    Any advice? Does this all sound normal?
     

  2. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    Did you get that rifle new or used? It almost sounds like the gun has the wrong bolt in it. Take a look at the underside of your bolt and see if the serial number is electropenciled on there, and if so, does it match the gun. What you are describing doesn't sound right; I own a dozen Sakos and have owned many more and have never had an issue with hard bolt closing. Another thing to try is to brush out the lug recesses in the front ring. There could be some crud stuck in there that is obstructing the bolt from closing smoothly.
     
  3. Elkfan

    Elkfan Member

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    It was new. I made the mistake of handling the display model quite a bit and the one I actually bought only a little bit. I’ve been wondering if I was crazy and the gun I first handled just wasn’t as easy to operate as I remember.

    I just got home from work and tried a different brand of ammo - the bolt wouldn’t even close on one of the Federal rounds I tried. This gun is going to Beretta.
     
  4. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    There have been multiple QC issues with Sakos ever since Beretta bought them. The first one was barrels EXPLODING!!!! I wouldn't buy any Sako model past the Model 75. Better yet, buy an older L & A series Sako if you want to own a REAL rifle. The A7 is Beretta's attempt to compete in the lower priced rifle arena. The next problem will probably be the magazine spitting out all the shells at once. Fixed several A7's with that issue in the last couple years. Shoulda bought the Tikka, much better rifle. Just my two cents.
     
  5. Elkfan

    Elkfan Member

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    I went back to the gun shop today. I talked to them on the phone about it and they said to bring it by. They ran some snap caps through the rifle and they handled pretty well, although the bolt squeaked (that will go away with time, the guy said). The snap caps are definitely smaller than a 150 grain 30-06, but they weren't about to run a live round through the rifle there in the sporting goods store.

    The rifle had a little bit of trouble, and the person helping me said it was from trying to load from the top instead of through the magazine. I said that the rifle looked designed to enable top loading, but he shook his head.

    He was convinced I was operating the gun wrong, as if there's some rocket science to working a bolt action. So I went home, more convinced than ever that I must be losing my mind or something, and sure enough the bolt is still giving me the same old problems. I was able to get the bolt closed with every round, but it took more force than I'd been willing to exert previously.

    So I don't know what the deal is. Maybe I'm just weak. Maybe I'm losing my mind.

    One thing that bugged me was that when I mentioned sending the gun back to Beretta, he said they probably wouldn't do anything to it if it hadn't been fired. He said these guns are all test fired in the factory, implying that the problem is definitely me and not the gun. Maybe he's right - I don't know what to think at this point.
     
  6. P04R

    P04R Well-Known Member

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    You are not going crazy. Everything you said are well known problems with the A7.

    The bolt is equipped with plunger type ejector, so pushing the bolt forward takes extra effort to compress the ejector spring. In well designed firearm that effort would happen when turning the bolt handle down, but with A7 this is not the case.

    Some resistance is expected when lifting the bolt handle after firing, as this is when the striker is cocked for the next shot. If it feels like something is binding then most likely the cocking cam surface on the bolt body is dry and needs some grease.

    I'm not sure what causes the squeaking of the bolt. It can go away with use, but I wouldn't count on it. First I would try to swap the bolt shroud for another one. Other source of squeaks can be the striker spring and the little aluminium guide/bearing at the rear end of the spring.

    The magazine IS designed to accept top loading, however I would recommend you don't do it for the reason of sooner or later the magazine starts spitting the cartridges out the top, just like paulsons mentioned. Just load the magazine from the front for longevity.

    If you don't want to deal with these interesting design features of the A7, I would recommend swapping it out for Tikka T3x. Comes from the same factory after all. And works out of the box!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
  7. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    Agree with PO4R and others from above.

    I bought an A7 about 8 years ago. I was aware of potential issues. It is a standard stainless rifle in .270 WSM. It was used and cheap. I did a bunch of stuff to it to fit my niche, although accessories are scarce.

    At first, I had many of the problems you’ve been experiencing. Maybe to a lesser degree. Mine was better with brass cases but was somewhat/more difficult with nickel brass.

    Consider doing the following; Thoughly clean the chamber. Mine had residue left in the chamber and barrel. Swab the chamber with a larger mop, this will ensure good coverage. Wait, then scrub and dry with a large patch. Then repeat. If your rifle sat on a shelf for who knows how long, the the protective oil most likely has solidified.

    The bolt should be disassembled and all surfaces should be cleaned and lightly oiled. Bolt disassembly is easy, there should be a knob/shroud tool in the box. A quarter turn clockwise will release the shroud. Then everything slides out the back. Pay attention before you pull things apart. It MUST be reassembled in the same manner it came apart in. It’s understandable if you’re not comfortable doing this, but you should learn this task. Maybe you already understand this process?

    The magazines are ( as stated above) a complete afterthought, you can top load them, but you end up spreading the metal lips, then cartridges will not stay within the magazine. I modified the lips, and bought a spare to keep in my pocket while hunting. Actually, this has worked well as changing a magazine is very quick. Having said that it still sucks that the magazines couldn’t have been designed better to begin with.

    I bought a package of dummy rounds and worked them through the action many, many times. After a while things started to smooth out. Other than the magazines, my rifle is an extremely capable long range tool.

    I never experienced case pressure signs or primer issues once I began to shoot. I checked and inspected brass very frequently until I was satisfied. Nickel brass still requires a little more forward push.

    I’m encouraging you to try this stuff first because the customer service from Beretta most likely will be very unsatisfactory. And, it will take forever to get your rifle back. Most likely it will come back stating it meets factory specs.

    I wish you luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
  8. Elkfan

    Elkfan Member

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    Thanks everyone for the help - this advice has been just what I was hoping to get from this forum! I took the bolt apart today. I feel dumb for not having done that before. Turns out there was some grit in there, and after wiping things down the bolt is handling much better. The squeaking is gone, which is a major relief. Overall I'm feeling better about the rifle today.
     
  9. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    Grit inside the bolt on a brand-new rifle sends a message about factory quality control. Not a message I would expect to hear from Sako.
     
  10. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    You shouldn’t feel dumb. Who’d think a new rifle would need this typ of attention before any use. Hopefully the chambering issue will also smooth out. Quality and attention to detail is not what it used to be.

    You can even say this with high dollar semi custom rifles built right here in the USA. Several of my hunting group have almost all experienced poor quality in one way or another, with rifles that cost north of two grand. I won’t bash these companies by name because it’s not my style. Customer service has also been poor addressing their issues.

    Your Sako will hopefully perform well as you move forward. Typically they are very accurate and they have several nice features, It’s not perfect, but try and define perfect these days.

    Take care.
     
  11. Elkfan

    Elkfan Member

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    Are any of these issues present with the Tikka?
     
  12. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    Elkfan,


    Limited experience. My wife has a Tikka T3 Lite in 7MM-08. It is a backup to her Sako 85. It hasn’t been shot much at all. We hunt in the most rugged remote corner of (Hell’s Canyon) Oregon, plus other wildernesses, so a back up rifle for each of us is mandatory. She likes it because it has Sako features, which she’s used to.

    The rifle is accurate with factory ammo and is a solid platform. In my opinion it’s the better of all the similarly priced competitors. No issues regarding function, as of yet. Don’t really except any either.

    As in the Sako A7, the magazine is just not as good as it should be. A mere afterthought. Cannot be top loaded. The stock is utilitarian but it serves the purpose.

    The really cool thing about Tikka is all the stuff that can be added. I mean nearly everything can be upgraded as budget allows. Sky’s the limit. Bottoms metal,-magazines kits, stocks, chassis’s, trigger, shroud etc,, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  13. Elkfan

    Elkfan Member

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    Thanks! And I have same question as with the Tikka, but with the 75's and 85's. Do they have any similar problems?
     
  14. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    We have three 85’s currently. I’ve had a few others which I traded or sold. One in particular I regret selling to my brother in law because it was a beautiful wood rifle in .300 Win Mag. In the end I let him talk me out of it.

    Every 85 I own or have owned has functioned and shot flawlessly. No issues. Accuracy is superb. They are all steel regarding the barreled action including the magazine. No plastic or polymer parts. I would/will definitely buy again without a second thought. Of course, the cost is significantly higher for an 85, but it’s worth it if it’s in your budget.

    EuroOptic sometimes has Sako 85’s on sale or they have demo rifles at deep discounts once in a while.

    I’ve never owned a 75.

    Curious, is your A7 continuing to be problematic?
     
  15. Elkfan

    Elkfan Member

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    I got the squeaking under control, and the bolt isn't too hard to close (it improved after getting the grit out of the bolt). But the rifle is definitely not what I expected from a Sako. I like the stock, and the fit and finish are great, but my $350 Howa is smoother.

    It's a bummer, because I was absolutely thrilled to be able to own a Sako. I got a good enough deal that I can probably turn around and sell it without much loss - in fact I have a friend who knows about the issues I've been having and is interested in buying if I want to get rid of it.

    I've been looking at used 85's and 75's on different websites - I still really like the idea of owning a rifle that I can be proud of, and I might be willing to spend extra money for the right rifle.
     
  16. Elkfan

    Elkfan Member

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    Oh and this is something I've been trying to learn more about online. Do all plunger type ejectors compress the spring when the bolt is pushed forward in the same way as the A7?
     
  17. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    Yep - it's inherent in the design. How much you feel it depends on the strength of the ejector spring. Older Sakos have a fixed, Mauser type ejector. I don't know about the 75 and 85 as I've never owned one.
     
  18. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    The bolt face on the right is of an 85, the left an A7. You can see the plunger on the A7 and the extractor. The 85 bolt face is designed to allow the cartridge to be picked up from the magazine while case rim is hooked by the extractor. The bolt face is machined in a way which almost controls the round into the chamber, once the extractor has the case rim. Sort of controlled round feeding, but NOT in the traditional sense.
     

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  19. P04R

    P04R Well-Known Member

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    Tikka needs a very slight forward push too but nothing as jarring as the A7. In Tikka most of the ejector spring is compressed when you are turning the bolt handle down. During the first few degrees of bolt handle downward movement the locking lugs of the bolt ride on a camming surface in the receiver helping to chamber the cartridge and compressing the ejector spring rest of the way at the same time.


    Sako 75 and 85 use fixed or "manual" ejector similar in principle to the old Sakos with their mauser style ejectors but executed in different way because of the three lug bolt head. Instead of poking the case head from the side the 75 and 85 poke the case head from below resulting in pretty high angle of ejection. With 308 Win or similar length calibers this is not a problem, but with 30-06 you are starting to run the risk of the case hitting the scope and falling back in to the action.
     
    FinnishFlash83 and Sean Hodges like this.
  20. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    PO4R,

    I wish I would have also included the Tikka bolt face for comparison in my above photo.

    I have read about the 85’s spent cartridge issue but have never experienced it myself- I’ve owned 4 of the 6 action lengths. And, have mounted all sorts of scopes using various ring and mount applications. Maybe I’ve been lucky, although my friends don’t experience problems either.

    Maybe Elkfan should consider holding out for a vintage, proven Sako, I’d feel horrible if he bought an 85, then had ejection issues.

    You seem to have good insight on the product line, plus I see you’re from Finland. Do you have other insights we might want to be aware of?

    Thanks, take care.
     

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