The gun pictured is Beretta's newest rifle, the Sako A7 ST. The A7 retains many of the venerable traits of the Sako 75 Hunter and has added a few new characterists of it's own. To quote Beretta it "joins Sako's legendary Finnish tradition of accuracy and reliability with today's American hunter in mind". Hyperbole??? Maybe. But I found it to be one amazing shooting gun. Despite it's noticeably light weight, the feel is one of obvious quality. Very solid in hand and at the bench, with a smooth silky bolt action. Maybe I'm used to older, more utilitarian guns, but this was a revelation. What a blast (no pun intended) to shoot! Sako brags that it has "better out of the box accuracy and reliability than any other rifle brand on the market". Boasting "match-grade performance with a price never seen before on a match-grade hunting rifle". Makes me think I actually know something concerning hunting guns? Truth be told, even with my limited experience, I could tell this is one hell of a rifle. Priced exceptionally well, Sako probably has a winner. Time, durabilty and reliabilty will decide.
The first set-up was an A7 chambered in a .243 Win mag. The second A7 is a .300 WSM (Winchester short mag). Both guns sport Trijicon 3-9x40 scopes. Being only bore sighted, we started shooting at 50 meters just to put some holes on the target board. The scopes were phenomenal. I was told by a couple of serious gun guys up at Windham (Rob and Michael) to be sure and get excellent optics. It really makes a difference, especially now that my eyes aren't as sharp as they used to be. The Trijicons are particularly good at light amplification (more on this later).
The guns sighted in quickly. The .243 took about 8 or 9 rounds before it was dead center. It was bore sighted by the gun shop. Should I brag or was it just dumb luck, but the .300 that Jake and Kellen mounted was almost spot on with the first shot. We put three sets of eyes on the bore and the scope at about 100 yds. and tweaked it up. It shot an inch high and an inch left. Slight scope adjustment got it centered on the next shot. So when the 30 minute interval arrived and the line was declared safe, we moved the target out to 100 yards. As soon as the line went hot, we were back to firing. Amazingly both guns were grouping around the bullseye right from the get go. These babies shoot real flat, at least at shorter distances. I let the scopes stay where they were as it was getting late and we needed to head home. One more session at the range and they'll be perfect.
Trijicon also makes a Mil-Dot crosshair available with either a green or amber center dot.
I really liked the "openess" in the field of view. Concentrating on that single point of reference with my primary vision allowed my peripheral vision to kick in, even though looking through a scope. I'm betting that if I have a distance shot on walking or moving game, I'll pick up any branches or brush that might interfere with a hit as the animal moves along. This is on the .300 WSM, my long gun.
Trijicon scopes are "dual illuminated". They capture ambient light using fiber optics for general illumination. The centering dots and post mounted triangle tips are made from Tritium. Tritium is a self-illuminous, radioactive isotope that stays "lit" even in dark conditions. This is a battery-free system (never a power outage at the wrong time) with an aiming point that you can see in any kind of light. It's pretty cool technology.
Trijicon optics are used by the Navy Seals, Green Berets, the US Marine and Army Corps, as well as numerous state law enforcement agencies and swat teams including NYS Tactical Officers Association. Pretty good criteria concerning Triji's quality and reliabilty. Check 'em out if you're in the market for a rifle scope.