Browning/Sako High Power

Discussion in 'Other firearms built on Sako actions' started by Guest, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Guest

    Guest Banned

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    I saw a Browning High Power rifle today that was made by Sako. It was nice, as are most Browning and Sako products. It made me wonder, though, "Is it a Browning or is it a Sako or is it neither?" By that I question I am mainly thinking of collectors and enthusiasts. Would a Browning collector turn up his nose because it was not made in Belgium? Do Sako collectors have any interest in these guns either?

    By the way, this was a .243 and it had the thinnest barrel I think I have ever seen.

    Any thoughts?

     

  2. 19wasp

    19wasp Active Member

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    The Browning "high powers" were the rifles with the FN Mauser action. The rifles chambered in the smaller calibers were made with a special run of Sako actions and referred to as "Safari grade" or other higher grade rifles. The 243 would fall into this category and came with a heavy barred or a "pencil barrel", which is apparently what you saw. They are highly desired by collectors and shooters alike but attention must be paid to the chance of "salt wood" and that is a whole topic in itself. Salt wood guns are identified by chemical tests and serial numbers. This affects value alot.
     
  3. Guest

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    What 19wasp said.

    I believe that the Brownings on a Sako round-top action had all the metal from Sako (including barrels), but I've never been able to confirm this. The stocks were fitted by FN in Liege, Belgium. The first year or two of production of this rifle used a small ring Mauser for .243 and .308, and those are exceedingly sought after. Subsequently, Browning used the a Sako L579 with a bright bolt handle and round top for .22-250 (actually chambered before it was introduced as a factory round), .243, .284 (scarce), and .308. They used a similar L461 for .222 and .222 Magnum. The .22-250, 243, .222, and .222 Magnum were all available in heavy barrel as well as the "pencil barrel" sporter. Grades in the sporter were Safari, Medallion, and Olympian. A few higher grade HB models may have been produced.

    Browning also made a brief run of .257 Roberts, but I believe they were on the Mauser action.
     
  4. farrell

    farrell Member

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    I have 4 of these fine rifles 2 in 308 and 2 in 243 these are the early fn actions I would like to know what time span these rifles were mfc
     
  5. Jeffy1

    Jeffy1 Member

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    Mauser actions on these were produced 1959 to 1962, generally. Sako actions after that period. The Mauser actions are considered more collectible, that is, they fetch a better price. Check with Matt eastmans book on Browning rifles
     
  6. farrell

    farrell Member

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    Tnx for your replay to my question, 3 of the 4 rifles serial numbers have no letter in them but 1 of the 243 is a 3L does this mean that it is a 63 mfc gun. tnx for the Eastman book ill be looking for it.
     
  7. farrell

    farrell Member

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    The serial numbers on the other 3 all have a L preceding the serial number.
     
  8. Jeffy1

    Jeffy1 Member

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    Those are 1963 guns. I have eastmans book. I'll check when I get home tonight and get back to you. Sounds like I may have given you some inaccurate information. But I know I'm close.
     
  9. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    Browning was manufacturing their FN mauser action rifles in 1959, but no rifles were completed in 1959. Per the attached scan of Browning's ledger, to record the manufacture date of their Safari rifle (this rifle was not called a Safari until May 1961 when the high grade Medallion and Olympian were introduced forcing Browning to "name" their plain Jane rifle...Safari), the earliest manufacture date of completion is January 21, 1960. During the first 2 years (1960 and 1961) of production, the serial number was preceded with an "L". Therefore your 3 rifles, with just an "L" preceding the serial number, were manufactured in 1960 or 1961. Beginning early 1962, Browning stamped a year code in front of the "L" to document the year of manufacture. For example, a rifle with 2Lxxx was made in 1962. Therefore, your rifle with a serial number of 3L xxx was made in 1963.

    I noticed that your post I quoted here states 3 of the 4 rifles have no letter in them. However, I believe you mis-typed here because your next post states the 3 rifles all have a "L" preceding the serial number.

    Browning Rifle Build Dates.jpg
     
  10. farrell

    farrell Member

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    What I ment about the letters that the letter was not in the serial number but it was in fact preceding the serial number and you are correct I did not make that clear.I have 8 of these fine rifles inclueding 30-06 serial number L705 that poor gun has been drug over at about 20 states that I have hunted. Many tnx for the info and chat, will be looking for the book on browning rifles. Farrell
     
  11. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    I'm learning from this discussion. I was under the impression that Browning used the small ring FN for its .308's and .243's for only the first year of production, but from the comments it must have been a bit longer than that.

    As everyone is aware, the Sako action for the Browning Safari was slightly modified from the regular production L579 with a round top (rear bridge lower than front ring) and an unblued bolt handle. The Brownings had their own numbering system and did not show up in the Sako inspection records. However, they are accounted for in the Sako shipping records. Sako began producing barreled actions in .243 for Browning in early March of 1962, but other than a half-dozen samples they didn't start shipping them to Browning until October of 1962. In 1962 Sako made 1490 .243 barreled actions for Browning, shipped 949, and had 541 of them remaining in inventory at the end of the year.

    I owned a small ring Mauser .308 Browning Safari many years ago which I traded to someone in another state, but it never made it there through the mail. It was insured for the maximum that the Post Office offered at that time ($400). They eventually paid for it, but I came out on the short end of that stick.
     
  12. farrell

    farrell Member

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    My main intrest in firearms are swiss lugers but I started to hunt with browning safaris in the early 60 and one thing I found about brownings they have about as much history as my lugers.
     
  13. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    Browning used the small ring FN on the 243 and 308 exclusively (see exception below) from 1960 until the Sako action Brownings were introduced in 1963. Browning then made the 243 and 308 using the Sako and FN actions until they depleted their stockpile of FN actions around 1965 or 66. Please note, I'm assuming Browning started making the Sako action rifles in 1963 because I've not seen or heard of a Browning Sako with a 1962 serial number. I could easily be wrong about this. Another couple oddities you might have heard of, some of the very first Browning Sako L579's had a blued bolt handle, and during early production, Browning made a few FN 243's and 308's on the large ring. I once owned an early FN large ring action 243 with a 24" pencil barrel.

    Another oddity about early (serial numbers below 1000) production of the FN action is that Browning was testing the "water" with a lot of different features. I once owned a 270 pre Safari (serial number 7) that had the normal 22" pencil barrel that did not have the typical gloss blue. The action and barrel was matte blue and the stock was slim and trim with a satin finish. There's quite a few made with these features. A good thing about Browning is that when you" letter" a gun, they often address special features such as these I've mention. That makes you feel a lot better when you purchase a Browning with odd features.
     
  14. farrell

    farrell Member

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    Glad to hear about the early satin finish because they put out some later I have a 270 s# 9L51*** that is nib and I had look it over to make sure it was a factory finish.
     
  15. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    You're probably correct. Sako only made the barreled actions, which were shipped to Browning (FN's plant) where they were stocked. Since Sako didn't ship (or at least book for shipping) any real quantity until October of 1962 then it is reasonable to assume that FN didn't release any completed rifles until sometime in 1963.
     
  16. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    Something that should be mentioned in any discussion of the Browning Safari, with either the Sako or FN action, is "salt wood." For a period of time, Browning was making stocks from a batch of wood that for some reason exuded corrosive salts onto the action. Some Brownings that look fine on the outside are revealed to have heavy rust below the wood line. Any purchaser of a Browning Safari should inspect carefully, and if possible take the action out of the stock, to determine if there is rust below the wood line. There may be a reference somewhere online with serial number ranges for known salt wood guns, but if there is I don't know where. I haven't owned a Browning/Sako in 25 years, so it's not something I keep up with.
     
  17. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    Good point Icebear. It took a few years for Browning collectors and shooters to realize there was a salt wood problem, but when large numbers of Browning collectors begin getting "hurt" with salt wood guns it didn't take long for them to figure out which years of manufacture they need to avoid. They identified the problem started in 1966 and increased until about 1969 and then slacked off and seemed to end around 1971-72. These dates seem to be confirmed by information supplied by Browning about the salt wood problem. Supposedly, gun sales were so good in the early 60's that Browning was running out of wood. Browning then found a supplier in California that had a huge supply of wood. To speed up drying, someone made the decision to completely cover this wood with salt to draw the water out and thus cure the wood. This method proved to be a lot faster than conventional drying methods. Browning stepped up to the plate and repaired the rust damage and replaced the wood whether you were the original owner of the salt gun or not. And they did so many years pass 1972. The rumor is that approximately 320,000 guns were affected. Browning wasn't the only brand that had the problem. Several other manufacturers also had salt problems from the same time frame, so the 320,000 salt guns may not be just Brownings. To this day, collectors spending big bucks for high end Brownings will hardly look at a gun from that era. Ironically though, a few of the Browning models somehow escaped the salt wood problem. The Superposed is one of the guns that is known to have salt wood. However, the Superposed Superlights made between 1967 and 1977 somehow have missed the bullet so far.
     

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