A fix for the Sako 75/85 ejection issue

Discussion in 'Sako 75, 85 and A7' started by waimahana, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. waimahana

    waimahana Member

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    How I fixed my Sako 75 ejection issue:
    I resolved this problem in about 1 hour and at no cost.


    In my experience, long actions (30-06, 270, etc) seem more commonly affected whereas short actions (.308, .243) appear to be less affected. My Sako 75 .308 has give many years of service without ever failing to eject cases perfectly.

    In contrast, my Sako 75 .30-06 used to eject the case vertically upwards into the base of the scope and occasionally it would come to rest in the magazine on top of the next round which was really frustrating. I contacted Sako who denied there was a problem (hmmmmm...!!!) then searched the internet for a solution without success. So I decided to do something about it myself.

    I tried .30-06 cases in my Sako 75 .308 rifle and still had the same ejection issues whereas it works perfectly with .308 cases.
    I tried 9.3x62 cases in my Sako 75 .30-06 rifle and only occasionally had ejection issues.
    I tried .308 cases in my Sako 75 .30-06 rifle and had no ejection issues, so I knew it must be something to do with the cartridge.

    The rim thickness of a .308 case is 1.37mm
    The rim thickness of a 9.3x62 case is 1.30mm
    The rim thickness of a .30-06 case is 1.2mm

    There seems to be a relationship between the rim thickness and ejection issues i.e. thinner rims lead to ejection issues. If you seat a case in the bolt face you will see there is more slop for cases with a thinner rim. Seems Sako has gone for the 'one extractor size fits all' approach - presumably to save costs.

    So..... I needed to reduce the amount of slop that the extractor held the .30-06 case so the extractor would have a tighter grip on the case (at least as tight as it holds a .308 case). My options were: 1) either build up the under-side lip of the extractor; 2) seat the extractor deeper in the bolt somehow, or, 3) compress the extractor to reduce its overall length. Options 1 and 2 seemed very difficult, so I chose option 3.

    I removed the extractor from the bolt face of my .30-06 and with all the skill of a high-precision swiss watch maker.....I beat it with a hammer! Actually, I placed the extractor vertically with the flat near the round bit on the sharp right-angle edge of an anvil and used a hammer to very carefully slightly compress the extractor so when fitted back into the bolt, the extractor had a tight grip on the cartridge case.

    If you do this make sure to closely monitor the amount you compress the extractor with a good set of calipers and repeatedly try the extractor in the bolt. If you overdo it the cartridge will not align straight with the chamber, and.....you will need to buy a new extractor - not cheap. Also make sure the hammer impacts the extractor square on - not on an angle. Hammering may create a very small burr on the top of the claw and you may need to gently file a small amount of the inner edge of the extractor claw so the case slides easily into the bolt face.

    Actually this is a really easy process and can be done by anyone with basic handyman abilities (i.e. anyone who can use a hammer). The extractor does not look any different compared to an unaltered extractor - it's just compressed a by a couple of hundred microns.

    My .30-06 now extracts and ejects cases perfectly EVERY time. Cases eject horizontally rather than vertically and NEVER hit the scope anymore.


    Essential tools for this task are: a hammer, a vice or anvil with a sharp right angle edge, a set of calipers, and a bandaid for when you hit your thumb.
    Caveat: this worked very well for my rifle but may not work for everyone - attempt it at your own risk. Good luck.

    I wonder if the variability between rifles comes from the process they use to put the rifles together:
    If the bolt extractor hole and channel is milled into the bolt head and THEN the barrelled action is correctly head-spaced by milling material out of the bolt face. This would account for the variability in how well the extractor holds the cartridge case, and the variability between rifles.
    i.e. good design with incorrect implementation. The issue is allegedly more prevalent with sako 85 rifles, possibly since Beretta's acquisition. In my experience the first thing you do after taking over a rival company is look at way to cut costs and improve profitability.

    Hence what I believe should be done is adjustment of the extractor to each rifle. This could be achieved by my method (crude but effective - see above), or better still, having a range of extractor sizes and fitting the correct size extractor to each bolt AFTER it is head-spaced.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  2. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Thanks for the detailed description.

    .308 and .30-06 case heads are speced the same, but certainly vary among manufacturers. If the problem is case rims that are too thin do you believe that you could achieve the same results if you found and used cases from a different manufacturer or lot with thicker rims?
     
  3. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    There was a thread here some years back, with pics, on this ejection problem. In that post the OP identified the problem the same, loose fit of the extractor on the rim. IIRC, his fix was to weld extra metal on the inside lip of the extractor, then machine to fit. His method required welding & machining skills. Yours is a much simpler approach & will allow nearly anyone to give it a try, so thanks for sharing!!!! Beretta denies there is a problem & recommends using "Opti-Lock" mounts. I am of the belief that this is why you can't get "Opti-Locks" that allow a low scope position. So, I guess, in a way Beretta does offer a "fix". Welcome!!
     
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  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    To go along with that "fix" Beretta should offer a slab of wood to glue on top of the stock comb so that you can actually see through the scope.
     
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  5. waimahana

    waimahana Member

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    Hi Stonecreek,
    I don't think .308 and .30-06 cases do have the same rim specifications. My understanding is that case dimensions are formalised by C.I.P and/or SAAMI. Rifle and cartridge manufacturers produce their goods to comply with C.I.P / SAAMI dimensions - Perhaps someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

    Here are a few of the more common rim thicknesses using C.I.P data (mostly available on Wikipedia).
    .223 - 1.14mm
    .222 rem - 1.14mm
    30-06 - 1.24mm
    270 - 1.24mm
    7mm RM - 1.27mm
    300 WM - 1.27mm
    338 WM - 1.27mm
    9.3x62 - 1.30mm
    375H&H - 1.30mm
    7mm SAUM - 1.30mm
    7-08 - 1.37mm
    308 - 1.37mm
    300 WSM - 1.37mm
    6.5x55 - 1.50mm
    7.62x39 - 1.50mm

    I read somewhere the 7.62x51 (.308) cases were designed with thicker rims for more reliable extraction from rapid fire military rifles.

    When the cartridge is loosely held by the extractor, then the greater the radial distance between the extractor and the ejector the more likely this is to be an issue i.e. I would expect cartridges like 300WM, 7mmRM, 338WM are more likely to have issues. Having said this, I suspect the greatest effect is the manner in which rifles are manufactured, particularly if material is milled from the bolt face to head-space barrelled actions AFTER the extractor hole and slot have been machined.

    It would be helpful if a member of this site who had first-hand knowledge (ex-Sako factory employee) who can clarrify this??
     
  6. waimahana

    waimahana Member

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    I have an email from a Sako agent advising they are well aware of the problem and have been working on their own fix. Many countries, have regulations / laws regarding the sale of goods that are not fit for purpose. Given the documented extent and frequency of this problem, I'm surprised no one has sought legal redress. Seems like a Christmas gift for a class action lawyer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  7. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Waimahama: You made me curious, so I broke out my calipers and measured a variety of case rims of the nominal .470" rimless head size.

    Among three different makes of .30-06 and three different makes of .308 (including some Lake City military brass) I found that all of it ran between 1.25 and 1.30mm in thickness. The military .308 brass did tend toward the thicker end of the scale, perhaps averaging .03mm thicker than the commercial brass. Two brands of .243 brass and .270 brass also went about 1.27mm. I did find some ancient .300 Savage brass to run around 1.15mm, but some recent .22-250 brass (which is a derivative of the .300 and .250 Savage) was similar in rim thickness to the .308 and .30-06 brass.

    It is certainly possible, however, that whatever .30-06 brass you have has rims that are thinner, thus causing the problem. However, it seems that brass manufacturers basically have a single dimension to which they form all brass on the .470" case head (which itself is often listed as anywhere between .468" and .474" diameter), regardless of the idiosyncrasies in CIP case drawings.

    Another theory: Although I don't doubt the ejection problem you were having and that your extractor peening solved the problem, could it have been the shape of the case head rather than the thickness of the rims that caused the problem? Some manufacturers leave a longer taper than others between the extraction groove and the case body, or perhaps a deeper groove. The shape of case heads, regardless of the official specs, do vary significantly.

    Anyway, altering the dimensions of the ejector as you did seems to have solved the problem, regardless of the cause of the problem. Thanks for passing that on since many others have experienced the same issue.
     
  8. waimahana

    waimahana Member

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  9. waimahana

    waimahana Member

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    Hi Stonecreek,
    Your welcome. I posted my 'ejection fix' in the hope it would benefit others as I know how frustrating it is to spend a few thousand dollars on a piece of kit that does not function as intended and have Sako refuse to accept responsibility.

    I reload and use Lapua and Norma brass exclusively, possibly a hangover from shooting 300 - 1000yd FTR class. I have used other brands such as Remington, Winchester, and PMC but found they were less uniform. There are definitely cases out there that lack uniformity, and while they may fit OK in sporting rifle chambers, there is a possibility they may not fit so well in target rifle chambers. Military cases generally have a different spec, and often, a smaller internal capacity related to thicker walls.

    I imagine all manufacturers comply with C.I.P /SAAMI specs, the alternative is loss of market or even legal action if something goes badly wrong. I guess quality control varies between manufacturers.
     
  10. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    I happen to have some brand new Sako cases in .30-06, .270, and .243, so I dug those out to measure them. Lo and behold, the European-made '06 and .270 have rims of only about 1.12mm. The .243's have rims of 1.27mm. ALL of the cases have a substantially larger gap between the rim and the case body than do their American-made counterparts, some of which is from the smaller rim and some of which is from a deeper groove or longer bevel. This difference is visible with just the naked eye, and also is tactile in that the caliper blade will reach further into the rim groove.

    It seems that American manufacturers largely disregard the case drawings for the specific cartridge and make all of the heads essentially the same. European manufacturers do seem to make them slightly different. However, rifle manufacturers apparently always use the same bolt face for everything from .22-250 to 9.3x62 if it is on a .470" rimless head.
     
  11. waimahana

    waimahana Member

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    Hi Stonecreek,
    Your findings are interesting. European manufacturers are governed by C.I.P, and compliance is compulsory. American manufacturers may voluntarily belong to SAAMI and compliance is .....you guessed it...voluntary.
    However, you raise an important issue: those using my suggested fix for the extraction issue may want to bear in mind that there are variances in rim thicknesses between manufacturers (particularly American), so, don't overdo compression of the extractor. Remember, you can always compress the extractor more at a later date.......it is more difficult to uncompress the extractor. If you have overdone the compression you can always file a small amount off the upper part of the round bit, those who have removed the extractor will know what I mean.
     
  12. P04R

    P04R Well-Known Member

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    It's worth noting how CIP and SAAMI differ when it comes to dimensional specs. CIP gives only maximum cartridge dimensions and minimum chamber dimensions. Very few dimensions are given with any tolerances. Everything else is up to the different manufacturer to figure out by them selves. SAAMI gives nominal dimensions and tolerances for everything, which I think is the better way to do things.

    So in theory CIP cartridge rim can be as thin as anyone can make it, just don't exceed the max value given by CIP. Pretty crazy. Naturally manufacturers use good judgement most of the time and don't make paper thin rims, as they would break off. Many other equally crazy situations arise from the way CIP gives the dimensions.

    When making your extractor shorter there is the danger of not being able to extract unfired cartridges, so don't overdo it.
     
  13. waimahana

    waimahana Member

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    I'm still wondering if the extraction issue is a function of milling the bolt face to achieve correct head-spacing of the barrelled action AFTER the hole and slot for the extractor has been drilled/milled. If Beretta introduced this method after they took over in year 2000, this might explain why some of the later model Sako 75's also have the extraction issue. The model 85 came out in 2006.

    Does anyone else have a late model 75 that has extraction issues? If you do, please let me know.
     
  14. d500lnn

    d500lnn Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you and stone about scope mounting height. I use extra lows(which they don’t offer anymore) on 3 of my 5 finnlights and then lows on the 2 Finnlight and one AIII Classic. I’ve not had ejection issues from any of them. But according to the OP the short cases don’t have the vertical ejection issue and FL’s are 243, 260, 7-08, 6.5x55 and 300 wsm. The AIII is a 30-06 that I’ve shot no more than 20 times....

    I think this was a great post from the OP. Thanks for sharing, I doubt I’ll ever buy another Sako...at least for now and if I do, it won’t be a long action anyhow....
     
  15. waimahana

    waimahana Member

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    I've owned 13 sako rifles over the years. Until I had the ejection issue with my Sako .30-06, I was a 'dyed in the wool' sako fan. Having tried to deal with Beretta on this issue, the only sako rifle I would consider buying is a secondhand pre-model 75 rifle. I would certainly never give any more cash to Beretta.

    A rifle that I believe is worth consideration is the Schultz and Larsen Victory model - check this link:
    http://www.greatdanerifles.com/technical.html
     
  16. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    Waimahana, this is a late reply to your post of last December, but I'm interested in your mention of the Schultz & Larsen rifle. Can you expand a little on your impressions of this rifle (the Victory model)? I've owned a number or S&L rifles in the past (M65s and M68s)--those with the four rear locking lugs. They were really nice rifles in most respects, although the rear lockup presented problems for me as I handloaded for them, and case stretching is a problem endemic in any rear locking action. The actions were also a little heavier than strictly necessary.

    The new S&L rifles look very interesting. They have actions with three front locking lugs.

    If you've had one in hand, what did you particularly like about it? Any flaws that you saw?
     
  17. waimahana

    waimahana Member

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    Hi South Pender,
    I have a M97-DL in 6.5-284 which is the model prior to the Victory, but is almost identical, although, I have heard the Victory has some minor improvements. My rifle has the 65cm barrel which is 17mm at the muzzle.

    I rate these rifles as the best value for money high-quality rifles currently available. The build quality is very good and the tolerances are the tightest I have seen. The wood is good quality walnut. I easily got 8 to 9mm 3 shot groups at 200m with hand loads using Hornady 143gr ELD-X projectiles (groups measured center to center). I did get copper fouling after 12 shots and a consequent loss of accuracy which was annoying, however, to the barrels credit it cleaned surprisingly easily with a bronze brush and Kroil. The ELD-X bullets do seem to copper foul more than others. When deer hunting, one or two, shots is all you need.....as long as you do your bit.

    Recoil is a real negative for accurate shooting. Heavy rifles/barrels aid acccuracy, but are just impractical to carry in the field. As a long-range hunting rifle the S&L in 6.5-284 with the 65cm barrel is a good combination of accuracy, easily manageable recoil, and not too heavy to carry in the field. The 6.5mm 143gr ELD-X projectiles have a high ballistic coefficient and are developing a solid reputation for accuracy and long range performance on deer-size game (plus they are reasonably priced).

    The magazine is straight stack and only holds 3 rounds, but for my purpose this is OK, although I would prefer 4 or 5. You can't top load the magazine which is a negative and the detachable magazine must be removed to load. The trigger is very good and one of the crispest I have used - easily as good as a quality after-market trigger. Rounds / shells extract and eject very well without fail, unlike the Sako 75 and 85's which can be hit or miss.

    Barrels are very easily swapped and providing you tighten the allen screws correctly, removing the barrel and then reinstalling seems to result in less than 1 MOA change in accuracy. Replaceable barrels are a plus when using a 6.5-284 which have an accurate hunting life of <2000 rounds (probably 1000 rounds if your are competition shooting out to 1000yds).

    There is at least one youtube review of the S&L Victory.
     
  18. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, waimahana. That's very helpful. These new S&Ls sound like terrific rifles.
     

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