A hard-used L461 HB .223

Discussion in 'Sako Short Actions' started by Branxhunter, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    As a change from the many photos of beautiful Sakos on this site I thought I would post some photos of a rifle from the other end of the spectrum - if you find it distressing looking at an abused Sako don't look any further!

    I am pleased to say this is not my rifle - it is owned by my brother's father-in-law. It has a stainless barrel chambered in .223 with the name "John Holmes" on it - I believe he is a gunsmith in New South Wales here in Australia.

    I suspect this has been a pro roo shooters rifle in the past. I am only guessing but the wear pattern on the buttplate looks like it has been standing upright in some sort of holder in a vehicle and vibrations have slowly abraded the plastic. A look up the bore shows no rifling for approx. 2 inches ahead of the chamber.


    It is a pity as at one stage this would have been a nice rifle. There is a fair bit of wear in the bolt - from battery you can lift the bolt handle up half an inch or more before the blt head starts to rotate. The trigger can be adjusted to be very, very light - a lot lighter than my A1 .222 sporter.

    I tried developing some reloads for it which shot better than I was expecting given the state of the bore. Good enough to get a fox.

    Marcus
     

    Attached Files:


  2. pakula

    pakula Well-Known Member

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    Just run in, rifle has character.
     
  3. misako50

    misako50 Sako-addicted

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    I love it. A rifle that will never be a safe queen and used until it can no longer be utilized or brought back to life. Maybe?-Misako
     
  4. susanna

    susanna Well-Known Member

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    for your interest,the gunsmith john holmes was or maybe still is from tamworth here in nsw.
    susanna
     
  5. topgear

    topgear Sako-addicted

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  6. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff top gear. I am more than happy for the mods to move my post in under that thread - it looks like that is where it truly belongs!

    Marcus
     
  7. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    Let's hope not - I bought it a few days ago. Plan is to rebarrel to .20-222, and modify the stock to better fit me. Given the condition it is a perfect candidate.

    Marcus
     
  8. sako 22 250

    sako 22 250 Well-Known Member

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    Well done Marcus always good to have another Sako in the safe !!
    Please keep us updated on the (re) build
    Cheers Mark
     
  9. barreltwister

    barreltwister Well-Known Member

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    That's not bad. Lots of history there. It's had a working rifle's life.
    Rebarrel and reblue the action and you'll have a good little Sako.

    You mentioned rebarrelling to 20-222.....I have an AI Hunter barrelled in a wildcat 20 caliber on a shortened 222 case. The developer calls it the 20 Extreme.
     
  10. topgear

    topgear Sako-addicted

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    Sounds like a great project Marcus. I reckon that stock would come up great with a re-finish. Will your .20/222 be a straight neck down or will you change the shoulder angle? any idea on the barrel make yet?
     
  11. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    Topgear, the plan is just a straight neck down. A friend has a .20-222 and he uses a RCBS or Redding .222 die with a .20 cal neck sizing bushing in it. I have a couple of .222's and a lot of Rem brass so this seems like a good way to go.

    I'm getting a pattern machined from this stock but it will have some modifications such as a more open pistol grip, higher comb and longer length of pull. I'm 6'4" with long arms, big hands and long fingers so these changes should result in a better fit.

    At this point in time I am undecided on barrel make. I would prefer blued but I am not sure whether any makers still produce blued varmint profile barrels these days. The action will need rebuking, and while I am at it I will get the Tasco bridge mount reblued at the same time.

    Marcus
     
  12. topgear

    topgear Sako-addicted

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    I have a .17/222 that I neck down to .20 and then .17 the same and really like it that you don't need to fool around too much with the brass, but it's on a Krico !

    Not sure if you have seen these http://hatchersriflestocks.com.au/products-19/classic-varmint/sako-l461-ai.html they are a pattern that Geoff Slee originally came up with. I brought one at Geoff's closing down sale and still have it in the shed to be finished off one day. I really like the pattern and reminds me of the early Riihimaki stocks. The photos don't show it but they have a pancake style cheek piece.

    Yeah it's a pity Maddco don't do a CM heavy barrel. Anyway sounds like a great project. We will expect some more photos when it's finished:D
     
  13. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    Well I polished up the action, floor plate & trigger guard, bolt and Hillver bridge mount and sent it away to the gunsmith for rebluing and fitting of a Pac Nor .20 cal barrel.

    He rang late last week to let me know that the locking lugs and the extraction cam on the bolt are so worn that the action should be thrown away. His view was that the previous owner - a pro roo shooter - must have only neck sized hot loads and cause severe wear in the locking lugs and recesses.

    So my plan is to part this rifle out, and look for another donor. I have a nice A1 sporter that has a non-Sako barrel chambered in .222. It also has a sensationally figured factory stock, and I am reluctant to have to get rid of it to build a varmint weight .20 cal.

    I knew that the local gunshop has a rough L461 so I went and had a look:
    image.jpeg

    Worn blueing with surface rust on barrel, floor plate, rings and scope tube, 3-9x Weaver scope, Hillver bridge mount, worn finish on stock, worn non-Sako .222 barrel, wear to extraction cam on bolt, serial no. 12xxxx region, asking price $650.

    I then spied this in the rack:
    image.jpeg
    Excellent bluing including floor plate, Redfield 4-12x40 AO scope, Bofors steel Sako barrel chambered in .222 with crisp rifling, very good stock finish, minor wear to extraction cam on bolt, serial no. 66xxx range, asking price $1195.

    I have a plan, but what say you all?
     
  14. deersako

    deersako Well-Known Member

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    I must of missed this thread Marcus, that rifle has certainly seen some use.
    Probably one of only a few that has actually been worn out by what it was made for !

    I just love spying old Sakos in gunshops and looks like you've found a couple to spike your interest.
    For a project rifle, I'd grab the cheaper one for no other reason but cost.
    I wouldn't be too concerned about re barreling the other, but seems a shame not to make use of it as is considering its condition.
    Hey, you could always buy both !!
    where's that devil smiley.....
     
  15. topgear

    topgear Sako-addicted

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    The bofors rifle will be the pick of the bunch in my opinion. They aren't making any more of them either. But if it's in good original condition it would be a shame to use for a rebarrel.

    Would love to see the action that your gunsmith has said is worn out. If he needs to destroy it get him to cut it longitudely and get some photos as it would be interesting to see.
     
  16. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    I've never heard of a Sako action "wearing out". I suppose it's possible, but I'd take another look at the supposedly worn out action before giving up on it. With the tiny surface area of the .222 head, the thrust on the bolt, even with grossly over-pressure loads, is much less than that of a .308 or magnum head. I just don't think that "hot" loads (at least which didn't freeze the bolt or pierce the primer) could do any real damage to the action.

    It might be possible that if a shooter never cleaned the grit from an action and used it repeatedly over years and years of shooting to literally grind it down as if it were filled with abrasive grit. But still, even if the lugs and recesses had measurable wear, the rebarreling process would erase any excessive headspace caused by that wear. The extraction cam could be refaced easily enough, it would seem.

    Bottom line: Don't toss that action until you've gotten a second opinion. The first coroner may have been too quick to pronounce the patient dead.
     
  17. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    My loose plan at the moment is to buy the Bofors barrelled rifle and leave as a .222, but swap the stock with the one on my A1. The L461 sporter stock could be put away so I would always have the ability to reunite them as an original rifle again. I don't think I could come at rebarreling it due t it's great condition.

    I could then redress my A1 with a varmint .20 cal barrel and stock - I have a couple of options based on the stock from the HB .223.

    Otherwise I have had a good look at the wear on the extraction cam/shoulder thingo on the A1 bolt and taken a photo, and can go back tomorrow and have another look and comparison with the cheaper rifle.

    Or maybe I could just lie on the couch with a wet washer on my forehead.......

    The .223 is on its way home from the gunsmith. Have already had some interest in the floor plate/trigger guard and the bolt shroud.

    Marcus
     
  18. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    Fair point Stonecreek. He reckoned that there was so much wear that the back of the locking lugs had worn on an angle, and that the back of the bolt handle was almost hitting the notch in the action that the bolt drops down into. Will post some photos up when it gets back.

    Marcus
     
  19. topgear

    topgear Sako-addicted

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    I vote for this option as well!
     
  20. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    The action/barrel etc returned from the gunsmith today, so here are some photos.

    The almost zero clearance between the back side of the bolt and the receiver notch:
    image.jpeg

    As the bolt is turned down it just snags the edge of the receiver notch:
    image.jpeg

    The rear of the locking lugs have worn on an angle:
    image.jpeg

    This photo shows the lug on the bolt from the .223 (top) compared to the lug on my A1 .222 bolt:
    image.jpeg
     

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