A Pair of Sako Carbines - One Rare, One Not

Discussion in 'Sako Mannlichers and Carbines' started by icebear, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    Here are my two Sako Mannlicher-style carbines, one small and rare, one large and not so rare. I'm still looking for an L461 carbine in .222 or .222 Magnum and an L579 carbine in .308. I used to have a .308 but a friend wanted it and I was short of money at the time, so it went away. The guy who bought it is an aficionado of fine rifles, so at least it found a good home. The other Sako carbine that would be cool to have would be a Battue, but that model is very hard to find outside Europe. It was mostly designed for the French market, and I'm not sure whether they even make it any more.

    I'll also post photos of my rifle-length full-stock Sakos in the next few days.

    First is an L469 in .222 Magnum. I lucked into it many years ago at a gun show in Richmond, Virginia. The cost was a bit of a stretch but I had the money and wow, am I glad I decided to buy it! I don't think I've ever seen another detachable-mag .222 Magnum carbine. It is extremely accurate with the right ammo. It shot groups the size of a nickel with Sako factory ammo. Unfortunately, there's no more Sako .222 Mag ammo to be found (I still have a few precious rounds). It didn't get the same results with Remington ammo and none of my handloads ever shot as well as the Sako factory stuff. I haven't shot it in years, but I'm planning to try it out with some of the new Nosler 50 grain loads. These shoot very well in my Sako .222 Mag sporter, also an L469 with a detachable magazine. The scope on the carbine is a Leupold 4-12x, which is a good match for the caliber, in period Sako high rings.


    I'm curious as to whether Sako ever made a full-length .222 Magnum rifle with a Mannlicher-style stock. I've never seen or heard of one, but with Sako almost anything is possible. If I ever see such a thing for sale at a semi-reasonable price, it will join the collection. One of these days I'd also like to pick up a heavy-barrel L469 in .222 Magnum. At least I know that one exists. I have an L46 heavy barrel in .222 and an L461 heavy barrel in .222 Magnum, but there's an empty spot in the gun rack for a heavy-barrel "Riihimäki model" with a detachable magazine in .222 Magnum.

    The second carbine is one of the more common versions, an AIII in .30-06. It's also very accurate, producing consistent groups well under an inch at 100 yards. It's not much fun to shoot with full-power factory ammo, as muzzle blast and flash are startling. You can kill your deer and barbecue it with one shot. To make the shooting experience more pleasant, I worked up a handload especially for the gun. Using 3031, a fast-burning powder, minimizes flash and muzzle blast as it doesn't expel a lot of unburned powder from the muzzle the way a round designed for a long-barreled rifle would. I loaded it down to an energy rating comparable to a middling .308, which is still more than enough for deer and black bear. The lighter load with a 150-grain bullet is also easy on the shoulder. This load gives consistent 100-yard groups of 3/4 inch or better. The scope on this rifle is a Leupold 1-3/4-6x in what I seem to remember are Warne rings. The rings are quite unusual; not only are they vertically split, but they have indexing tabs that place them at the front of the rear ring and the back of the front ring. This makes an ideal setup for the Leupold, which has a very short tube. I wanted a short, handy scope to go with the short, handy rifle.

    First, a few pictures of the .222 Magnum.

    L469-222 Mag 1.JPG L469-222 Mag 2.JPG L469-222 Mag 3.JPG L469-222 Mag 4.JPG

    And here is the .30-06

    AIII Carbine 30-06 1.JPG AIII Carbine 30-06 2.JPG AIII Carbine 30-06 3.JPG
     
    sraaw and ricksengines like this.

  2. deersako

    deersako Well-Known Member

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    A fine pair Icebear, thanks for sharing.
     
  3. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Excellent. Thanks for sharing the pics of them. Both are great.

    rick
     
  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Good point. I typically prefer powders on the slower end of the spectrum for a given cartridge, largely because the fuller case typically yields more consistent velocities and the slower powders also provide optimal velocities. But in the case of a short-barreled rifle (which is going to give up some velocity, anyway), a faster-burning powder can noticeably reduce muzzle blast and flash.

    As you point out, the deer won't find much difference in its demise whether shot with a ".308" or a ".30-06", or even a "300 Savage". And since a Mannlicher is designed as a quick-and-close rifle, it typically isn't the rifle you'd pick for long-range sniping to begin with.
     
  5. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    Stonecreek

    Thanks for your comments. I agree with all of the above. One of the great advantages of handloading is that you can tailor a load to a particular firearm. I have a similar "one-gun" load for a .30-06 Winchester 1895 carbine. In that case, the main objective was reducing the recoil of a featherweight .30-06 with a steel buttplate.

    The "quick and close" factor that you mention was also what led me to put a relatively low-powered scope on the Sako. It's kind of ironic that the bigger guns generally need the smaller scopes and vice versa. It leads to some issues in mounting. I wouldn't have been able to mount that particular scope on the carbine if I hadn't found the Warne QD rings that are placed very close together.

    One scope that I really like for .222 carbines is the Burris Mini. I don't think they make it any more, but it was available in 3-9x, 4-12x, and 6x fixed. I have the 4-12x on a custom .222 Sako and it looks perfect with the smaller rifle, while giving the higher power you want for a varmint cartridge. The only disadvantage is reduced low-light performance due to the smaller objective. But then, if you're doing long-range varmint shooting in iffy light, you're probably not using a short, lightweight rifle. I've got a heavy-barrel L46 with a 6-20x Leupold on it for that chore.
     

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