Finnwolf VL63 .308 from South Africa

Discussion in 'Sako Finnwolf VL63 lever actions' started by Jakes, Jul 14, 2021.

  1. Jakes

    Jakes Member

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    Hi Guys

    I'm new to the forum and am amazed at all the information here.

    I have a VL63 .308 SN 37xx that I bought at a hardware shop in a small town here in RSA. I don't have any history on the rifle other than that it belonged to a friend of the hardware shop owner who sold it to someone. It was taken into the safe but the new owner never applied for the license so after a few years they could not get hold of him and I was lucky enough to buy it. The problem here is that it sometimes takes more than a year to get the license for a firearm so it really is a pain.

    20210714_171155 (2).jpg

    When I eventually collected it I bought some factory ammo (150, 168 and 180gr) and went of to the range to see what it liked and wanted to start reloading and get going to hunt. In this my 1st problem emerged in that the scope was an old Bushnell banner 3-9x and it seemed as if had taken a few hits so was not sure if it was still OK. Secondly the rifle had a really nasty kick and was not enjoyable to shoot even compared to my .303 with full stock and brass recoil pad. So for a a year or so it stayed in the safe whilst I tried to figure out what to do next.

    20210714_180325 (2).jpg

    The FW was really a bit neglected and had a type of varnish on so to start I took to some fine sanding paper to clean it and get some of the scratches out of the stock. I replaced the scope with an extra one I had and tried again to get a load that works. The recoil was still something I didn't enjoy so I took the decision that might get me kicked out of the forum and I fitted a silencer. Suddenly it became a joy to shoot so much so that even my kids had no problem to shoot with it.

    20210714_171318 (2).jpg

    So some of the problems have been sorted the only one I still have is that I can not get a bullet/ load that groups well enough to go hunting with. I have tried a few different manufacturers, different weights (150,165, 174, 180) different loads and COL but thus far no luck.


    Hopefully someone here can point me in the right direction of where to start looking for a solution and any feedback is greatly appreciated.

    Cheers
     
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  2. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Have you checked the fit of the barrel in the stock? The gun was most likely built with wood-to-metal contact and slight upward pressure, but if the stock has warped over the years, you could have some side pressure on the barrel, which would hurt accuracy. Another thing to check is copper accumulation in the barrel. It sounds like the gun hasn't been fired much, but if there's a lot of copper in the barrel that can also have a bad effect on accuracy. I assume that the action screws are tight and the crown has been checked, since a gunsmith has threaded the barrel for the silencer.

    A cautionary note: avoid getting into the mechanism if at all possible. The Finnwolf mechanism is very complex, and notoriously difficult to put back together once it is taken apart. Few gunsmiths want anything to do with it. Also, if you are handloading, the Finnwolf doesn't like maximum loads. There have been a number of reports of hot loaded cartridges sticking in the chamber.
     
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  3. sakojim

    sakojim Well-Known Member

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    Jakes. Welcome aboard. I will submit the following as from my experience. The .308 has a small case due to its military origin. It is difficult to get near .30 06 performance without compressed loads which are not good. The heavier bullets sometimes effect free bore also. Usually the best burn rate consistency is obtained at 85% to 90% of case capacity. Most load data in the heavier weight bullets show a high percentage of compressed loads. Compressed loads do some times produce inconsistencies and poor groups. I have always had good results from 150 grain bullets hand loaded to reach the best performance. It is my opinion that the silencer may also effect the grouping. Try it with lighter bullets and without the silencer to see if there is a different result. My suggestion would be hand load 150 grain boat tail, start slightly below loading manual stated amount of powder and work up with small powder increases until the group is satisfactory to you. A slow process but worth the extra effort. The .308 is a very good caliber and I have harvested tons of deer and bear in my younger days with a Savage 99F in that caliber. Retired it many years ago in favor of a 7mm Rem Sako which I replaced later with a Sako in 7mm STW , my favorite all around caliber. Other folks may have better suggestions. Sakojim.
     
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  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Poor grouping can be very frustrating. Did its grouping change after the installation of the suppressor? Actually, suppressors typically "calm" a gun down and group better, but not always.

    Icebear had some good suggestions. The easiest way to even out group distortions caused by uneven barrel bedding is to place some kind of bushing in the barrel channel a couple of inches to the rear of the fore end to create an even up-pressure on the barrel. Several thicknesses of black plastic tape will work. Give this a try and see what happens.
     
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  5. Bucktote

    Bucktote Well-Known Member

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    hi Jakes,
    I saw your post and maybe this will help.My son & I hunt here in Georgia USA. We have killed many whitetailed deer using 125 Grain Nosler boat tail bullets in our 30/06 Sakos. We use a slow burning powder ( IMR- 4350) It is pleasent to shoot & has been deadly on deer size animals & preditors. Stay @ 3,000 FPS & below ( try several loadings) Best of luck. B/T
     
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  6. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    4350 is too slow for a .308. It's made for larger cases like .30-06 or .300 H&H. To avoid the compressed-load problem mentioned by sakojim, you'll want to go to a faster powder, as faster powders require smaller volumes. Also, a slower powder might not burn completely, which would affect accuracy. IMR 4895 is a staple in this caliber. I looked up one of my old reloads that works pretty well; it uses a 150 grain soft point and 44 grains of 4895. The Speer book gives a range of 41.0-45.0 grains with velocity at max charge of 2775 fps. I get fantastic accuracy with 3031 in a .30-06, at some cost in velocity. 3031 is one of the faster powders for .30 caliber cartridges.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
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  7. GBWS

    GBWS Member

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    Aloha,
    I load for 8 308's every one of them have shot 43-45 gr Varget with 165 gr Sierra GKHP Bullets in one ragged hole. Mainly lapua brass but some Winchester and F210M primers and anywhere between .005-020 off the lands.

    As always these work in our rifles. ALWAYS work up your loads.

    Hope this helps!

    Aloha
     
  8. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie Formerly known as bloorooster

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    I have heard of using a shotgun shell for the same effect, to add upward pressure from the barrel channel. Using snips or scissors, simply cut a section off the shell and trim to fit. Sako built their early rifles with a touch of forward pressure from the barrel channel. Free floating barrels came way later.
    Just a thought

    Old Hippie
     
  9. Bucktote

    Bucktote Well-Known Member

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    Hello friends,
    I would take Icebear's & GBWS advice as to what powder to use in your .308
    Cal. ammo. I load 30/06 & .243 using the IMR 4350 and do not load .308, my grandson & son load 308 & I do not know for sure what they use,
    maybe Varget?. However I do get good results loading my rifles with the IMR 4350, I hope I am not doing wrong by them ?

    B/T
     
  10. Jakes

    Jakes Member

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    Thanks for all the replies and apologies for only responding now.

    thanks for your advice as well Icebear, I used a piece of paper and the only place I could feel a slight bit of resistance is as per the attached photo but the paper still passed this spot and went all the way to the end so could feel no other place where the stock was touching the barrel. I did a proper clean and there weren't that much copper that I could see. Is the action screw the center one on the bottom of the stock or are there others I have to check? I normally stop 1gr away from max loads but have had cartridges sticking to the chamber with hand loads and factory loads, what is the best way to get them out?
    20210719_181508.jpg

    Thanks Sakojim I'll look at the lighter bullets and start loading them. I was fortunate that my BIL surprised me with some new Lapua cases that I'm very grateful for that I will start loading now with the lighter bullets.

    Stonecreek do you perhaps have a photo of this? I couldn't really see a difference on the grouping before or after the silencer that I can remember.

    I'll have a look if I can find the IMR 4895 here, currently I'm using VihtaVuori 540 for my loads as we can't get Somchem here anymore. I see some places stock Hodgdon, Alliant and Norma.

    GBWS what is your COL then and how much did it affect your accuracy or was the distance to the lands more dependent on the different rifles? I will have to see if I can get Varget and give it a try.

    Will keep you updated as I go along
     
  11. Jakes

    Jakes Member

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    Hi Guys

    So I removed the stock and found the following:
    1. 20210803_182259 (2).jpg This side the two bolts is tight.
    2. 20210803_182345 (2).jpg This side the bolt on the top right corner was a little bit loose but not much.
    3. 20210803_184436 (2).jpg On the stock on the inside of the red arrow I can see a small bump and might be where the the paper was catching as on the previous post so will sand it down and see if it makes a difference?
    4. Could not see any evidence that the stock is warped but will give it a proper oil on the inside just for incase.
     
  12. Quintin Heymans

    Quintin Heymans Member

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    Hi JAkes.
    I'm also new to the forum and picked my Finnwolf VL63 308 up today.Would like to get in contact with you for more info!
     

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