During my visit to the Eley ammunition facility and the Bisley National Range in England, I had the opportunity to fire Eley's remarkable TenEx .22 LR ammunition and new .17 Mach2 ammunition through a variety of premium rimfire rifle models from several different manufacturers. However, in only one of those rifles was I able to shoot both .22 LR ammo and .17M2 ammo in the same gun using the same magazine.
It was a preproduction prototype of the revolutionary new four-caliber Sako Quad rifle, which can instantly be converted by the user to fire all current commercial rimfire cartridges--.22 LR, .17M2, .22 WMR, or .17 HMR--by switching the barrel. You simply insert the hex-wrench barrel changing tool into the locking bolt; unscrew, rotate, and remove the barrel; insert a new one; and lock it down (barrels are color-coded with small rings around their breech end). Because the hammer-forged barrels are completely free-floated, the only attachment point in play is the single locking bolt. The receiver bedding is not affected by the barrel switch at all.
The Quad's external magazine configuration is the same for all four calibers: the magazine for .22 LR or .17M2 has an internal spacer; the magazine for .22 WMR or .17 HMR does not. The same magazine can thus be used for either the .17 M2/.22 LR or the .17 HMR/.22 WMR. The ejection port is sculpted to allow clean function with either the shorter .22 LR and .17M2 loads or the longer .22 WMR and .17 HMR loads.
In all features, the Quad is a premium rifle with every quality you'd expect from the Sako line. The bolt-action design has two locking lugs, a 50-degree bolt lift angle, a 1.60-inch bolt throw, and 0.20-inch firing pin travel for a very quick locktime. The trigger is the same single-stage trigger as on other Sako rifles and is user-adjustable from two to four pounds. The sliding safety catch located on the right rear of the receiver locks the trigger and the bolt, and there is a visible cocking indicator at the rear base of the bolt.
The stock is made of glass-fiber-reinforced copolymer polypropylene and has a buttplate system that allows the length of pull to be adjusted by spacers. The straight stock features an ambidextrous palmswell and sling swivels. The SAKO Quad comes without open sights but has an 11mm integral dovetail on the receiver for scope mounting using any standard Sako mount system.
This last feature concerned me a bit when I began shooting the Quad and swapping barrels back and forth between Eley's TenEx .22 LR and .17M2 ammo. With the scope mounted on the receiver and the barrels coming off and going on with only a single attachment point, I figured I'd have to rezero each load every time I switched barrels. However, Sako's machining and parts fit for the Quad barrels are so precise and close-toleranced that each barrel would come back to essentially the same point of aim with the same load every time. With Eley's TenEx and Mach2 ammunition both, the Quad shot nothing but one-hole groups at 50 meters every time.
The Sako Quad is a switch-barrel rifle that allows the firing of .17 Mach 2, 17 HMR, .22 LR, and .22 WMR cartridges from the same gun.
The Sako Quad with a full set of four barrels lists for $1739, and the price for the rifle with one barrel is $948. For more information, contact Sako, Dept. ST, 17601 Beretta Dr., Accokeek, MD 20607; 800-797-2205; www.beretta.com.
[Editor's note: A full-fledged gun review and shooting report of the new Sako Quad by Scott E. Mayer will be featured in an upcoming issue.