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Changes in Quality of Sako Actions over Time

Discussion in 'General Sako Discussions' started by South Pender, Oct 10, 2017.

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  1. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    I've wondered what the consensus is (if there is one) regarding the change in quality of the various Sako actions developed over the years. Here I'm referring to the L46 and L57 to the 3-digit L-series, and to the A-, "91", 75, and 85 actions. It seems to me that there is something of a preference on this forum for the L- and A-series actions, but are they really of higher quality than the actions that followed them? By "quality" I mean (a) certainty of function, (b) smoothness of operation, and, in particular, (c) fit and finish.

    I'm not thinking here of preferences based on things like 2- vs. 3-lug actions. (I happen to like 3-lug actions, but don't know whether the 75-series Sakos would be considered of higher quality, as defined above, than the actions that preceded and succeeded them.)

    So was there a drop-off in quality in going from the L- to the A-series actions to the "91s"? Or from from the "91s" to the 75s, etc.?


    With my P94S rimfire project underway, I'm considering a similar centerfire Sako custom project, and your views on this would be helpful.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017

  2. blackjack

    blackjack Well-Known Member

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    Hello South Pender,

    I remember talking to Stonecreek some years ago about declining quality of modern Sako rifles. Just as a starters, take a look at the quality of the chequering on the dovetails of L46, L57, L461, L579, & L61 - very fine and well engineered. Now look at the A series, 91, 75, & 85 - a lot coarser, and not so well exacuted! Now lets look at the bolt handle design on the 91, 75, & 85 - straight with no gracious cerve and a smaller bolt knob. Remember all the bad publicity regarding Sako 75, & 85 stainless steel barrels splitting in the field! lucky there were no serious injuries. I'm sure there are a lot more negatives and I rest my case.

    Blackjack
     
  3. cl_leg

    cl_leg Well-Known Member

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    In 1985 the started using cnc??

    Chris
     
  4. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    That's helpful information. Good grief, barrels splitting? Never heard about that. And this was due to poor quality barrels, or was there more involved?
     
  5. gowyo

    gowyo Sako Junkie

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    One could surmise pre-Beretta or post-Beretta, eh? Wot?
     
  6. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    I think people make too much out of this supposed decline in quality of the action. I think every Sako action is an excellent action, from the re-worked Mosins to the modern 85s. I myself prefer and collect rifles with short and medium actions from the 50's and 60's but I can still admire many of the current lightweight 85s (I really do like my Black Bear). A bigger problem for me was the increase in weight and bulk of the overall rifles that occurred sometime between 1970 and 1980, when 6.5 lb. fullstock carbines became 7.5 lb. fullstock carbines, and that was just the ones with the Forester medium length actions. The long action versions, Finnbear, AIII, etc. no matter how well their actions were made or checkered, from their introduction always handled and carried like logs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  7. gowyo

    gowyo Sako Junkie

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    I would posit that it's not just Sako but most gun manufacturers seem to have cheapened and automated the manufacturing of their products since the turn of the century. Even though I own a 591 classic, in my opinion it started with the x91 actions and adoption uniform bolt diameter as a cost cutting step. Not to mention the recoil management system.
     
  8. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    That's an interesting observation and one, I think, that applies more widely, as gowyo notes. It's a trend that we've seen in Anschutz rimfire rifles as well. The earlier 54-action sporters, like the 1420s and 1422s, were substantially lighter than the later 54-action sporters in the 1700 series.
     
  9. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    The above is so true and so obvious that I thought it went without saying.

    A few more points:

    - In Sakos defense, their rifles have kept far more quality control than most. I collect vintage Brno .22 rifles from time to time (they are relatively common in Canada) and the decline in quality of the metal fit and finish, is obvious from the model 1, model 5, etc. of the 40's and 50's to the model 2E of the 80's and then the CZ 452 and now the CZ 455 (both of the latter used plastic parts...although I note that the quality of the wood, mostly Turkish walnut, has held steady or actually improved)

    - Milsurp collectors generally make a big fuss about "all-matching numbers" rifles, meaning that many of the small parts have all or part of the serial number stamped on them. All this really means is that the factory machinery of the time was not capable of making truly interchangeable parts and therefore hand-fitting was necessary. Modern CNC machined rifle parts don't need to be hand fitted, because they already fit.

    However, if you prefer hand-fitted parts, then recognize that the best sporting rifles ever made are now being produced, particularly in the USA, by small custom makers. But you have to pay a lot (a lot) for this. Hand-fitting back at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries was done by highly skilled workers on near starvation wages, particularly in England. Skilled labor used to be cheap and now it isn't.(...and why should it be?) There is no way modern high volume gun factories can afford to pay custom rifle making salaries.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017 at 6:29 PM
  10. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    Good points, robinpeck. However, could it perhaps be argued that the modern CNC machined components provide better fit and a better finished product than possible with a reliance on hand shaping and fitting which can be adversely affected by human error?
     
  11. gowyo

    gowyo Sako Junkie

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    I'm that guy...that points at elephants...
     
  12. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    Yes, probably, but only with good quality control. Unfortunately, some of the high volume gun manufacturers don't seem to have this.
     
  13. topgear

    topgear Sako-addicted

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    To me that’s what’s its all about. Pick up a black grip cap Sako from the 1960s and it just feels like a custom rifle someone has put the effort into making finesse where as the later ones feel like a club. I think in terms of quality it’s all there just the finesse Isn’t.
     
  14. blackjack

    blackjack Well-Known Member

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    Hey Top Gear,

    My L461 .222 Rem. HB Vixen { April 1978 } has all the atributes of any 1960's Sako Rifles! Even though mine is a HB It does not feel like a club!

    Blackjack
     

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