Switch Barrel Sako Quad Rifle
Rifle|Varmint Rifles & Cartridges Spring 2020
Switch Barrel Sako Quad Rifle
Sporting rifles with interchangeable barrels have been with us for a very long time. Several years ago at a gun show, a collector of Winchester lever-action rifles had a Model 94 takedown rifle with barrels in .30-30, .25-35, .32 Special, .32-40 and .38-55 Winchester.
Layne Simpson

.22 LR,

.22 WMR,

.17 Mach 2,

.17 HMR

According to the owner of that rifle, it was built by Winchester in 1917. At that time each additional barrel cost $12 and it came with its own magazine and forearm.

The Sako Quad comes with a barrel chambered for one cartridge, and three others are available. The interchangeable barrels have color-coded bands: (1) green for .22 LR, (2) yellow for .22 WMR, (3) blue for .17 Mach 2 and (4) orange for .17 HMR.

Moving to the present, we have the Quad rifle on a modified version of the Sako Finnfire turn-bolt action. As the name implies, four interchangeable barrels are available with chambering options of .22 Long Rifle, .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR), .17 Mach 2 and .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (HMR). The rifle comes with one of those barrels and other barrels can be added. Beretta (owner of Sako) introduced the new switch barrel rifle during a Wyoming prairie dog shoot in 2008, and that’s when I first shot it.

Five Quad model variations have been available, all with 24-inch, six groove barrels. The Quad Synthetic with a black stock has a standard weight barrel while the Synthetic Heavy Barrel has, you guessed it – a heavier barrel. Replace the synthetic stock of the latter model with European walnut and you have the Quad Varmint. Give that one fancy walnut, adjustable open sights and a single set trigger and you have the Hunter Pro. The Range model is described by Sako as a target rifle, and in addition to a single set trigger it has a laminated wood stock with a height-adjustable cheek rest.

Switching barrels on the Quad is easy, and doing so does not require removing the stock. Retract the bolt, remove the magazine and use the included T-handle hex wrench to loosen a takedown bolt located just forward of the magazine slot in the bottom of the rifle. Pulling the barrel slightly upward and forward detaches it from the receiver. Slip in another barrel, tighten the bolt and it is done. As the takedown bolt is tightened, the flat surface of a spring-loaded riser block is forced hard against a matching flat on the shank of the barrel. A steel retention lug on the inner surface of the receiver ring engages a beveled groove in the barrel shank and holds it firmly in place. There is a precision V-block fit between the retention lug and the barrel.

Step one in barrel removal is to use a supplied T-handle hex wrench to loosen the takedown bolt.

The barrels are hammer forged and they free-float in the stock. In addition to having the standard caliber markings, each is identified by a colored ring encircling its chamber area. After a few barrel switches you will remember that green is for .22 Long Rifle, yellow means .22 WMR, blue is .17 Mach 2 and orange is .17 HMR. Magazines for the four cartridges are also caliber-marked and color coded the same.

The Quad action is 7.5 inches long and from a distance it appears to be a scaled-down version of the Sako Model 85 centerfire action. Closer examination reveals its similarities to be only skin-deep. In addition to being nicely shaped, the top of the precision machined receiver is grooved for scope mounting. Rings are available from both Sako and Burris. Retracting the bolt while pressing on a spring-loaded release removes it from the receiver. A two-position safety lever in the side of the receiver tang blocks trigger travel and locks the bolt from rotation. The fire control unit and magazine housing are bolted to the flat bottom of the receiver.


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Varmint Rifles & Cartridges Spring 2020