On a budget: Sako trg or AI AE

SquarePizza

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 9, 2012
454
110
41
NY
I have always had a thing for the AI AE thumbhole rifles. I see the police sniper MK1s that mile high lists on GB and I think very seriously about them. I,m not excited about 5rnd mags, but whatever... I single load my rem700 during PRS after the internal mag runs dry, so doing that for the AI isn't the end of the world.

However, this last one mile high listed is going higher than I thought it would and honestly it is flirting with used sako TRG prices. So if you had a budget of around $2k (plus or minus a few hundred) would you prefer the sako of the AI AE?

Sako is lighter and offers 10 rnd mags, but its not the AI that I always thought I would like.
 

Supersubes

Heathen
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Supporter+
  • Sep 6, 2006
    7,325
    7,492
    Eastern Sierra
    You'd really be happy with either, but if you want an AI just surf the for sale section here and snag a mk2 or 3.
     

    NY700

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    May 23, 2009
    894
    266
    Dallas
    I love TRGs and it is the one rifle I regret selling. But I think the real appeal of the AI is easy barrel swaps
     

    yej0001

    Sergeant
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 5, 2011
    1,139
    279
    Northern CA
    I have had TRG22/TRG42 and they are nice rifles with terrific ergonomics (to me), but the way its buttstock is connected to the rifle is a weak link unless you get the pricy folding model, or buy a KRG stock for it.

    I have had two AE's and both are great rifles. They are built so solid that you would never worry about breakdown. I am still owning one. The disadvantage of the AE to TRG is the extra weight but that's the nature of the beast, inherent to its design.

    Accuracy is comparable (both are very accurate).
     

    Baron85

    Sergeant
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
    Mar 18, 2012
    982
    506
    37
    Sounds like you want the AI, so that’s the one to get. When I started shooting long range I was jonesing for an AI but finally got to try one and hated the ergos. Tried a trg and fell in love. Still have that rifle and will probably be one of the few rifles I will never sell.

    Ergos are completely different on both of those so try to check each out if possible. Both will be very accurate and excellent function. And as far as the mags go for the AI, just get a 10 round mag????
     

    SquarePizza

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 9, 2012
    454
    110
    41
    NY
    Sako ergos are closer to my current rifles, so I'm sure I will like them.

    As far as the 5rnd AI mag statement, I'm pretty much limited to the mk1 due to budget, which had their own single stack mags.

    I'm thinking of buying whatever one crosses my path first, because I'm sure there is a market to resell whatever I get.
     

    JFR

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jun 26, 2019
    143
    59
    Equal performance... So. Lighter weight.🍻
     

    Kwe1982

    Captain
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 16, 2013
    958
    329
    Wisconsin
    That one on gun broker is going for over 2300, at the moment, for a beat up police trade in, fuckin inflation, lol.
     

    SquarePizza

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 9, 2012
    454
    110
    41
    NY
    LOL, I'm the dumbass bidding that brought it over $2300. My wife gets pissed at me for being cheap and listening to me bitch that I keep losing these police trade in MK1s by a hundred bucks.

    This one looks like it has a replaced AI stamped barrel so I figured, wtf... I will throw my max bid on this one and see if it sticks.

    Sure I could snag one of the barrelless AT's in the FS threads, but then with tools and a new barrel I'm still over $4k in. I've got an infant at home, so for the next few years, cheap is the name of my game.
     

    Kwe1982

    Captain
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 16, 2013
    958
    329
    Wisconsin
    Ha, I was joking. But I had it up to 2100.
    I got an extra scope that needs an old AI AE, now I gotta wait a bit longer.

    I was eyeing up that AI AT on here too.
     
    Last edited:

    Bradu

    Full Member
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 24, 2011
    3,482
    1,673
    IL
    Tough decision between the two. I have a trg22 folder and two mk 3's, I would probably choose the sako if I had to choose one.
     

    Aaros143

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    May 16, 2013
    590
    288
    Austin, TX
    Honestly between an AE and a TRG 22 I'd go TRG. Aftermarket parts and mags for the TRG are more plentiful. I love AI's, have an AW and AX. But I never considered an AE a real competitor in the serious rifle game.
     

    enichols

    Private
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Nov 18, 2010
    307
    212
    Southern CA
    I'd go TRG between the two. I prefer the ergos and trigger on a stock TRG vs stock AE. And with the upgrades (chassis, forends and stocks) available for the TRG via Vision/Design and KRG, there is room for customization should you want to go that route.
     

    jbuck88

    Full Member
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Oct 25, 2010
    1,826
    1,660
    40
    Port Angeles, WA
    I sold my trg to buy my ax308 when I got it. When it was all said and done I wasn't convinced that it was worth the price difference. Now I have used the switch barrel capability of the AX and started to see the benefits. I can't imagine the trg not stacking up to the AE.
     

    MrSwede

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jun 5, 2009
    257
    161
    36
    NJ
    I was in the same situation back in 2013 and went with the TRG.

    Did end up buying an AW last year though, so theres that..
     

    Zuul

    Green Banana Samoan
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
    Jan 18, 2014
    266
    284
    Kona, Hawaii
    Auction is at $2325 for the rifle now, depending on how the drunk bidding goes I’d guess-timate the winning bid is going to be $2600 plus. At that point I’d buy the AI AT with no barrel that’s posted in the PX, pick up a barrel in your preferred flavor and a set of thumb hole skins and be ahead of the game.
     

    SquarePizza

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 9, 2012
    454
    110
    41
    NY
    That's me at 2325, I'm not going higher than my max bid, so if I lose it oh well.

    Honestly I've just realized that an AI might not be the right rifle for me. It looks like the AE and AX mags have a last round hold open. My entire life I have just turned to dropping a fresh round on top of the empty mag and going that way.

    For PRS I only have one good feeding 5 rnd aics mag and once it's empty the other 5 feed from a stock pack with loops. I've never been a fan of aics mags because of this rifle.

    Can anyone tell me if the trg can be single fed like that?
     

    MrSwede

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jun 5, 2009
    257
    161
    36
    NJ
    The TRG can be single fed by throwing a round into the breech. My AW has a last round bolt hold open and I'll have to press the round down into the magazine from within the receiver.
     

    Stoogey

    Private
    Minuteman
    Apr 25, 2021
    55
    81
    New Mexico
    If it were my money.. I would go for the Sako.. It is built from the ground up to be a sub moa (tactical) rifle. Everything about it is massive and overbuilt and solid.

    The AI (in my opinion). Is an accurized 700 (while still excellent).. IMO the SAKO is starting with a better/ action/ bolt/ Trigger/ extractor, etc already.
    You may not have all the add on bells and whistles you have with a 700 platform, but, with the sako you're already there.

    And as Pat has said.. There are a LOT of options out there. Savage, Rem PSS, Steyr SSG. Can all be had for the 750-1500 range (w/o scope) and will get you >1moa out of the box.
     

    SquarePizza

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 9, 2012
    454
    110
    41
    NY
    For me this isn't an accuracy thing. It's a durability thing.

    I have a 6br that shoots .5MOA or smaller. It won't feed from AICS mags worth a damn., to the point where anything feeding from AICS mags makes my skin crawl.

    I have a howa mini, its a .75MOA rifle. Their mags suck, and so does the mag release. The last deer I killed, when I raised the gun I felt the mag drop free and land in the mud.

    And I have a early 1990s 700P which is also still a <1MOA rifle. I love shooting this in PRS, the weight is just right. But it is a 4 rnd internal box that I feed from ammo loops when the box is empty. While this works 100%, all that external looped ammo is exposed to the rain, snow, ice and mud. I don't want to be shoving frozen dirt into my chamber. I haven't shot a muddy PRS match yet, but I know that day will come (ok.. I'm excited for it).

    So what's the point?

    Honestly, it came after some self reflection and feeling helpless. You see I have family in Ukraine and we have been stuck waiting, sometimes for days, for communications from them as they try to move away from the conflict. After thinking what it would be like to be there and trying to play wolverines vs the invading pinkos, this made me realize that I have no precision rifles that I would trust me life to. Sure I could build up my 700 with DBM and a match barrel, but at the end of the day, that open topped receiver stills lets junk inside and I have already frozen the trigger up once this year shooting in the freezing rain.

    So I decided to buy one of the two rifles that are considered more rugged and bomb proof. I have other toys and I will still play with them, but I wanted a new one and based on how I feel about the world, I decided that my next one would focus on durability to the weather conditions instead of peak accuracy.
     

    Kwe1982

    Captain
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 16, 2013
    958
    329
    Wisconsin
    Auction is at $2325 for the rifle now, depending on how the drunk bidding goes I’d guess-timate the winning bid is going to be $2600 plus. At that point I’d buy the AI AT with no barrel that’s posted in the PX, pick up a barrel in your preferred flavor and a set of thumb hole skins and be ahead of the game.

    Sold for 3225.

    Not bad.
     
    • Wow
    Reactions: Firestarter123

    SquarePizza

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 9, 2012
    454
    110
    41
    NY
    Lil, not to me. I was way out before that number.

    I've got a feeler out for a sako, hopefully I get a pm back.
     

    Kwe1982

    Captain
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 16, 2013
    958
    329
    Wisconsin
    Me too, I'd still like one at some point, just not for that price.

    I'll keep my eye out in the PX,

    I missed out on that AI AT earlier this week too.
     

    kthomas

    Sergeant
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
    Jun 17, 2009
    5,059
    6,333
    34
    Tucson, AZ
    That's me at 2325, I'm not going higher than my max bid, so if I lose it oh well.

    Honestly I've just realized that an AI might not be the right rifle for me. It looks like the AE and AX mags have a last round hold open. My entire life I have just turned to dropping a fresh round on top of the empty mag and going that way.

    For PRS I only have one good feeding 5 rnd aics mag and once it's empty the other 5 feed from a stock pack with loops. I've never been a fan of aics mags because of this rifle.

    Can anyone tell me if the trg can be single fed like that?

    You can easily fix that last round hold open if you wanted to, I wouldn't let that be a deal breaker...
     

    Supersubes

    Heathen
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Sep 6, 2006
    7,325
    7,492
    Eastern Sierra
    That's me at 2325, I'm not going higher than my max bid, so if I lose it oh well.

    Honestly I've just realized that an AI might not be the right rifle for me. It looks like the AE and AX mags have a last round hold open. My entire life I have just turned to dropping a fresh round on top of the empty mag and going that way.

    For PRS I only have one good feeding 5 rnd aics mag and once it's empty the other 5 feed from a stock pack with loops. I've never been a fan of aics mags because of this rifle.

    Can anyone tell me if the trg can be single fed like that?
    As kthomas said, the AW mag last round hold open is easily defeated. You can also top off/fill the magazine through the e-port. You wont need any tools to do barrel swaps, except a 5mm allen wrench. A hide vendor, Front Range Precision, is selling brand new Proof AW/AT barrels for $500. So no way your reach $4k on that AT in the PX.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Kwe1982

    Yakface

    Private
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 8, 2012
    91
    15
    46
    Michigan
    I own a AI AE and TRG in 308. No difference in accuracy. TRG has a 10 round mag and expensive accessories. AE is a little heavier, has 5 round mags, and pre fit barrels from any reputable Smith. Honestly, if I had to give up one it would be hard to decide.
     

    Leatherlunger

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
    Feb 17, 2012
    307
    135
    I bought my mk3 from MH a few years ago. It was one of four rifles that were police trade ins. Yhe thing hardly looked like it was ever used. Im not gonna tell you how much i bought it for because it still blows my mind, but a call to mike is well worth it especially if you tell him your price range.
     

    264win

    Sergeant
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Oct 15, 2008
    1,799
    774
    whidbey island wa.
    Like lots of other posters I have owned both the Trg and mk 1-3 AE rifles. All are quality rifles that I want to own again someday.
    The AI is more robust and easier to shoot in match type settings due to its weight and ergos. I would choose it all day for shooting matches and range trips. If I wanted a multi use rifle that would see some hunting trips I would go for the TRG. Btw TRG parts / accessories used to be crazy expensive. Not sure if that’s still the case but if you are on a tight budget it’s worth checking.
     

    SquarePizza

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 9, 2012
    454
    110
    41
    NY
    I snagged a trg off of here, just waiting for it to get here.

    Not gonna lie, me AI lust hasn't died, but no hurry to scratch that itch yet.
     

    Kwe1982

    Captain
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 16, 2013
    958
    329
    Wisconsin
    Those trade ins have been going for stupid money, close to 3k, I got an AI AT for close to that range.
     

    yej0001

    Sergeant
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 5, 2011
    1,139
    279
    Northern CA
    The price for AE is certainly going up. A couple of years back, I listed an Mk1 $1700, and it took about 2 months to sell.
     

    WallaWalla6mmCM

    Private
    Minuteman
    Mar 27, 2022
    3
    2
    WALLA WALLA, Washington
    IMG_1736.jpeg
     

    WallaWalla6mmCM

    Private
    Minuteman
    Mar 27, 2022
    3
    2
    WALLA WALLA, Washington
    That is my SAKO TRG22, originally chambered in 308 with a 22" barrel. That barrel shot fine, but I wanted something new. I had my gunsmith rebarreled the rifle to a 6mm Creedmoor, using Benchmark barrels and APA FB gen1 mb. I've shot other actions including Defiance, Impacts, etc..., and the TRG's action is smoother (IMO). Accuracy unquestionable.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: yej0001

    ACK

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Nov 20, 2004
    372
    159
    So. Ca
    I have an AE MK1 and a TRG22. Factory trigger on the TRG is superb as expected from its competition rifle pedigree. AI in my opinion are more robust. My empirical data shows the AI accuracy to be more consistent than the TRG with reloads.