April 01, 2021
By Petersen's Hunting Staff
Sako, a manufacturer of firearms founded 100 years ago this April, is a special case in Finnish industrial history. Their factory was originally established as part of the Civil Guard to meet its needs for gun repair. The workshop became an independent financial unit on April 1, 1921, so Sako has determined that date to be its moment of establishment. In addition to repair work, Sako also began to manufacture firearms around this time.
As a Finnish company of rare quality, Sako also ensured the successful entry of its rifles into the large American gun market back in the 1950s. Still today, Sako is Europe’s largest supplier of rifles to North America and exports its products globally to over 50 countries.
In 1952, the U.S. was already Sako’s largest export country and, in 1953, sales even exceeded those from the Finnish market. Success for Finnish consumer products in the American market was then – and continues to be – quite an exceptional achievement, and it was also a decisive step forward in the development of the company.
The Sako 75 range of products unveiled in 1996 became the turning point for the company. The success of Sako’s first firearm to be designed as new from the very beginning turned the company’s fortunes around and also helped the company in its next step: It had long been evident that the resources of a company this size and the interest of its then owners, Nokia and Valmet, would not allow it to grow to its global potential. Many assumed the company would have to merge with a larger player in the firearms industry. At the end of the millennium, the Italian Beretta Group expressed an interest in Sako and acquired all the company’s shares. Under Beretta’s ownership, Sako has enjoyed 21 years of growth and development.
Among the many fine rifles made and sold by Sako, the Tikka T3 has been one of the most popular and well-received, hitting the one-millionth unit sold mark in 2020. Rarely has there been a bolt-action rifle that has sold as many as this anywhere in the world. The same year, the company also launched the revamped Sako S20 hybrid rifle. The launch of this technically developed firearm coincided nicely with Sako’s all-time production record, which was more than 113,000 rifles in 2020.
As Sako moves into its second century of business, they will be continuing to develop world-class hunting, military and target rifles, as well as cartridges for hunting and target shooting. If you’re looking for a rifle or cartridge that is uncompromising in its precision and reliability — look no further than to the 100 years of experience behind the Sako brand. For further information on the exciting history of this brand, visit their YouTube page.
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.