Sako’s Quad Hunter Pro feels like a traditional big-game rifle
I’ve had a lifelong affinity for rimfire rifles. To this day, they remain my favourite chamberings. My reasoning begins with the high cost of centrefire ammunition, as rimfires remain considerably less expensive to shoot. They also offer an ideal way to hone your shooting skills, and they’re pleasantly fun to hunt and shoot with. And with the right ammunition, some are exceedingly accurate—here I’m talking about half-inch, 100-yard groups of not just three shots or five shots, but 10. That’s simply outstanding performance.
Worldwide, more rimfire ammo is sold than all other chamberings. The lion’s share of sales belongs to the most popular rimfire, the .22 LR, but for those who seek a bit more down-range punch, the various .17 chamberings fill that niche very nicely. I have either owned or tested every commercially made .17 chambering.
In 2020, one of my tests included Tikka’s first rimfire, the T1x MTR, the company cousin of the bolt-action Sako Quad Hunter Pro. The Tikka shot well, so I wondered how the pricier Quad would stack up against it in an accuracy shoot-out. While such a comparison was a contributing factor in my decision to test the Quad, my interest in the rifle’s centrefire-like design and interchangeable barrels closed the deal.
The swap-barrel concept behind the Quad, which is chambered in .17 HMR, .17 Mach, .22 LR, and the .22 WMR., is intriguing. It allows the shooter to choose from among four different interchangeable barrels, colour-coded with their matching magazines to ensure the correct pairing. The change-up takes but a few seconds. You simply loosen the barrel with the provided tool, then tilt it upwards while pulling it out of the action; simply reverse the process to put another barrel in place. I’m not aware of any other commercial firearms manufacturer that offers this combination of interchangeable rimfire barrels.
Just as conceptually important is the design of the rifle, which is built to look and feel like a traditional Sako hunting rifle—the ideal solution for hunters wanting to maintain or improve their shooting skills with a rimfire that looks and feels like their big-game rifle. This is primarily due to the Quad Hunter Pro’s full-sized high-grade walnut stock, which resembles the renowned Sako 75. It’s finished in an oiled brown, and its laser-cut checkering offers a fine balance between Old- and New-World styling.
Mechanically, the Quad sports a cold-hammer-forged, free-floated barrel with iron sights, and a single-stage adjustable trigger (two to four pounds). It also has a single extractor claw, with ejection provided by a spring clip in the left inner-bolt raceway. Both the barrel and receiver are steel matte blued, while the two-position safety locks the bolt shut when in the safe position. On top of it all, the rifle is guaranteed to shoot one-inch groups at 100 yards.
My test model Quad Hunter Pro in .17 HMR fit and balanced so much like a centrefire you could easily conclude it was indeed a centrefire, if you weren’t aware of its chambering. Another salient contributor to this assumption was the combined weight of the rifle and scope; at seven pounds 12 ounces, it was on par with many present-day scoped centrefires.
Initially, I was concerned about the potential for scope-sight image interference from the large, hooded front iron sight. After a few rounds, this issue evaporated, as nary a sight picture showed any interference. One other initial concern was the stickiness of the bolt when compared to Sako’s ultra-smooth centrefire rifles. After applying a bit of Breakthrough Battle Born HP Pro lubricant and some studious manipulation of the bolt, that issue also disappeared.
Meanwhile, the fit was superb and, while the stock lacked figure, it still held its own with its fine finish and checkering. And the trigger, with its no-creep or over-travel, worked as expected for a Sako, breaking consistently at three pounds eight ounces.
My test model came equipped with a Burris Signature HD 3-15×44 scope; I liked the push-pull locking turrets and, while this was not a $2,000 scope, the parallax adjustability and lenses provided very crisp images at both 50 and 100 yards (for more on the scope, see below).
On the range, I duplicated my previous Tikka test with five-shot 50-yard and three-shot 100-yard groups. I varied it slightly with the Quad, however, by selecting the two most accurate 50-yard performers and the highest-velocity ammo as the third component tested at 100 yards.
My original intention was to compare the load-to-load accuracy of the two rifles. Unfortunately, the load-specific accuracy varied sufficiently enough between the two rifles that I dropped that approach and instead tallied the total group size average at 50 and 100 yards. Both offered outstanding accuracy. But the Quad, with a 50-yard average of 0.426 and a 100-yard average of 0.461, bettered the Tikka’s 50-yard average of 0.457 and 100-yard average of 0.477 by a slight margin.
One other result that favoured the Quad was that seven out of the eight 50-yard groups bettered 0.500, while only six out of 10 bettered that mark with the Tikka. Also notable was the 0.212 100-yard, three-shot group delivered by the Quad with CCI ammo. That’s nothing short of outstanding accuracy.
In the end, the difference in performance between the two rifles was so slight that choosing between them would come down to a matter of personal preference. If you’re looking for an accurate rimfire that wears a centrefire platform, however, the Sako Quad Hunter Pro is your answer—especially since it offers the option of interchangeability among four different rimfire barrels.
With its side parallax adjustability from 25 yards to infinity, the Burris Signature HD 3-15×44 scope makes an ideal rimfire match. This adjustability affords the rimfire hunter or shooter precise point-of-aim and imaging from as close as 25 yards, right out to maximum rimfire range.
The scope is built on a one-inch tube that is nitrogen filled for waterproof, fogproof and shockproof performance. The premium glass is multi-coated for crisp, bright images, and the versatile 5x zoom provides a large field of view for close ranges and improved target acquisition at longer distances.
The scope also includes precise machining, zero-click stop on all target turrets, and push/pull locking turrets with locking caps to prevent accidental movement or loss of zero. Additionally, the zero reset means you never have to worry about being lost on the dials. This scope comes with a choice of two reticles, either a Burris Plex, as with my test scope, or a Ballistic E3 reticle. It also comes with the Burris Forever Warranty.