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Sakos Presented to Apollo Astronauts

Discussion in 'Factory Records Services' started by stonecreek, Jul 25, 2016.

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  1. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary SCC Board Member

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    The Sako Factory Records contain some amazing information, and we've promised to share that as we happen across interesting items. Here is one that I've just stumbled across:

    For those of you who are lucky enough to own or have seen a copy of the Sako fiftieth anniversary book "Sako 1921-1971", you may have seen the photo on page 35 of three Apollo Astronauts, Charles Conrad, Richard Gordon, and Alan Bean being presented with Sako rifles in 1970. There is no mention of what the specific rifles are or in what caliber, but in the photo you can see the contrasting fore end wood, so it is clear that they are Deluxe models.

    Image.jpg

    With a great deal of trial and error, we were finally able to locate the actual rifles in the shipping ledger. The shipping ledger is arranged by caliber, not by serial number, so locating any particular rifle there is challenging. However, we did know that the presentation was made in 1970 and that the rifles were Deluxe models, so that helped narrow the search somewhat. We expected to find the rifles listed as being shipped to either the U.S. Embassy or the Finnish Consulate (as it seems some other presentation rifles to American dignitaries may have been shipped.) However, right there on page 3843 (of 7663 pages) we found three L61R Deluxe rifles in caliber 7mm Remington Magnum listed as going to "Apollo-Astronantit"! The date was 27 March 1970. That historic ledger page is reproduced here (click to open):

     

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    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
    Garrett and topgear like this.

  2. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary SCC Board Member

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    Additional information: Charles Conrad died in 2009, however, the latest information I have indicates that both Richard Gordon and Alan Bean are still living. It would be hugely interesting to know if they still own the Sako rifles presented to them in 1970. I wouldn't want to invade their privacy, but if anyone should happen to have a contact for any of them the Sako Collectors Club would be pleased to present them with a Letter of Authentication for their rifles.
     
  3. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    Now that is some way-cool sleuthing.

    It would be wonderful if Richard and/or Alan were able to be presented with the he letters, and even better if they could recount some hunting stories!

    Marcus
     
  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary SCC Board Member

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    I have no idea if any of the astronauts were/are hunters, but it would be very interesting to know the fate of their presentation Sakos. Incidentally, the highest serial number of the three isn't in our records (which stop at 48,000), but the other two are. One was inspected 10 June 1969. The other was inspected 2 March 1970, apparently just days prior to the presentation. We don't know the exact date of the presentation, but it was presumably sometime between March 2 and when the rifles were booked for shipping, which was March 27.
     
  5. topgear

    topgear Sako-addicted

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    Great post stonecreek. Always interesting to read about Sako's owed/used by famous characters. Certainly some interesting people on that list in the scan. I also wonder what happened to all of Lee Marvin's sakos for instance?

    The other side of the coin is sakos that are famous just from their rarity as one offs. I wonder where these guys are now?
    image.jpeg
    Or the one and only Sako shotgun?
    image.jpeg
     
  6. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary SCC Board Member

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    True. But I suspect we have a much better chance of finding out what happened to LBJ's Sako than we do Nikita Khrushchev's! Much less Tito or Nasser. I wonder if Queen Elizabeth let Prince Phillip bring his home to Buckingham Palace?

    BTW: If I recall correctly, the Sako shotgun prototypes were built by a Danish company. Those special Safaris are interesting.
     
  7. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary SCC Board Member

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    NEWS FLASH: I have been able to contact astronaut Alan Bean, who was extremely kind to respond to me very promptly. He said:

    I sold that rifle some years ago, maybe 35, and I do not know to whom.

    Dick Gordon and Pete’s widow may still have theirs?


    Alan

    I sent Astronaut Bean a scan of the photo of the presentation along with a scan of the shipping record for the three Astronaut rifles. Although we didn't locate the actual rifle, we do know that it is out there somewhere and maybe a lucky SCC club member will chance onto it one day.

    A special "thank you" to Alan Bean for being so kind as to satisfy our curiosities!
     
  8. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary SCC Board Member

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    I was unable to make contact with Astronaut Richard Gordon a year or so ago when I was researching this subject. Sadly, Mr. Gordon died on November 6th at the age of 88. His obituary notes that he has five surviving children, so perhaps one of them either has his presentation Sako or knows of its disposition.
     

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