Changes in Quality of Sako Actions over Time

Discussion in 'General Sako Discussions' started by South Pender, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. kirkbridgershooters

    kirkbridgershooters Well-Known Member

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    Called whatever is may be, it is a product of unfinished cut checkering to save time in the build of the rifle. CNC machining is also given too much credit. CNC machining has made it more economical to machine steel, but still doesn't improve over hand fitting. Ruger American rifles are CNC machined and I don't think there is anyone here that would agree that a Ruger American is even close to the Sako rifle in quality.

    For example, I am including a picture of a Burgess wrist slide action rifle that was made in the 1890's and you may not even be able to see the fitting of the 2 pieces of the receiver as it was made that way to be able to machine the interior of the action to accept all the pieces as they worked to make this unique rifle function. This is a long time before CNC machining. You can't CNC anything better than this dovetail seen on the side of this receiver.


    Quality isn't always about personal preference, but I do think quality is the residue of careful time taken to build the rifle. Unfinished checkering and plastic followers are a result of time saving, something that wasn't practiced on the earlier Sakos...

    DSCN4130.JPG DSCN4132.JPG DSCN4133.JPG DSCN4135.JPG
     
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  2. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    Although I agree that aesthetics should not be the measure of quality, I do think that aesthetics certainly contribute to the perceived overall quality of a rifle. As Blackjack pointed out in the 2nd post in this thread, as just one example, the fineness of the checkering on the receiver and bolt-sleeve surfaces changed at one point (probably as the result of a cost-saving measure), and that impacted the perceived quality of the actions involved. I think it's hard to justify the unfinished checkering on the forends of some early A-series rifles as an aesthetic issue only (as if one might choose the unfinished "herringbone" checkering over a complete checkering of the surfaces). As kirkbridgershooters notes, I think it's hard to see this checkering form as anything other than a cost-saving measure.
     
  3. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    The "herringbone" checkering of some of the A-series was an aesthetic experiment, not a cost saving move. There was no saving in it as by that time they had gone to machine checkering -- it was only an attempt to offer something different. Some liked it and some did not. Personally, I'm pretty agnostic on it. But since Sako quickly abandoned it I have to assume the feedback was not positive.

    However, if you want to see some really BAD checkering, once in great while you will run across a Sako from the early 1960's which has atrocious checkering. They were all checkered by hand back then and some craftsmen (or women) were better than others. Sometimes a very poor job (perhaps from a new hire) would slip by the inspectors and make it onto a finished rifle. I haven't seen many of these, but when you do see one it is clearly apparent.
     
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  4. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    The amount of extra work & time to "finish" the checkering with the power tools at the factory in experienced hands would take all of 5 minutes or so. Hardly a "cost saving" measure. Like Stonecreek has mentioned, not all the earlier Sakos were as perfect as some think they were. I've redone several early Sako stocks with checkering flaws & overruns into the border that weren't what I would consider even close to "quality". The "A" series was a big step up from the Model 72 with regard to quality, so trying to blame any particular Sako model or era for when quality went down is a moving target. They were mass produced factory rifles. Some were nicer than others & flaws occurred throughout their production. Many of the early ones had horrible wood & bad recoil pads. Trying to portray the earlier Sakos as the Holy Grail of rifles & anything not to your liking as junk & not worthy of being own or used is a matter of opinion and nothing more.
     
  5. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    There is no better way to see the vast difference of the hand checkering on your early Sako's than to line them up in good light where the side of the stock is perpendicular to your line of sight, and WOW, the size of the diamonds from one rifle to the next vary a lot between rifles. Close inspection leads me to believe the visible size difference is due to the depth the checkering is cut.
     
  6. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Or how much the diamonds are worn down.
     
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  7. kirkbridgershooters

    kirkbridgershooters Well-Known Member

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    It is easy to see there is emotional attachment to different eras of Sakos, but nowhere was the word “junk” used. This is what I said and stand by it, if your feelers have been bruised, sorry. I do however, draw the line at plastic, stainless and 85’s and newer guns. CNC is not the improvement some feel it is...

     
  8. L61R

    L61R SCC President Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    So you´re saying I´m fat?;):D

    To tell the truth, I´ve stopped wondering years ago :p as it is an occupational hazard when being a chef.
    And you should never ever trust a thin chef!

    Other than that, you we´re spot on!:)

    Jim
     
  9. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Take 'er easy, Kirk! Just a little friendly banter about an interesting subject. I don't get emotionally attached to rifles. I save that for the pretty girls I meet! My feelers aren't even close to being bruised & no apologies necessary on your part. Though you didn't use the word "junk", you did use the word "Ruger" and therein lies my confusion!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  10. kirkbridgershooters

    kirkbridgershooters Well-Known Member

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    I apologize, I did use the word Ruger and I agree it is junk. But even a RAR is not in the same ball park as the least of any Sako, and I would say a 78 is getting close...
     
  11. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    Couldn't agree more about stainless, although its corrosion resistance is in its favor. But I guess I'm slipping into aesthetic preferences here as opposed to strict quality. I couldn't abide a stainless 85 with a plywood stock, but the look that puts me off the most is the blued chrome-moly action mated to a stainless barrel.

    Having said all that, I recently purchased a complete stainless rifle (a Dakota Varminter)--and quickly had it cerakoted (action, barrel, bottom metal) to a soft matte black finish. It has a nice Claro walnut stock, and, all things considered, it looks pretty good now. I've discovered that a lot can be achieved with cerakote in the hands of someone who really understands how to apply it. At its best, it doesn't pass for a nice rust blue job, but it's not too hard to take....;)
     
  12. Webphut

    Webphut Well-Known Member

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    You know, I never paid much attention to this Sako design only because I was all into the rear cones on the A series, but thank you for the photo. My eyes are open. The detail in the edges being smoothed out and nicely rounded is unbelievable! There is like zero dulling on the bluing.
     
  13. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Here's a problem that most people won't come across with the A-series and their shrouded bolts:

    I shoot left-handed and have always preferred a right-handed bolt rifle. This means that when shooting offhand I hold the rifle by the pistol grip in my left hand when working the bolt. The problem is that the A-series cocking indicator, which is a piece of metal with sharp corners, protrudes out from under the bolt in position which is just right to jam into the web of the left hand of a left-handed shooter. OUCH!

    I've considered milling the cocking indicator off, but since I only have a couple of A-series rifles and don't shoot them that often (and may eventually trade them for some other Sako), I've simply lived with the problem and am careful not to work the bolt quickly and vigorously on an A-series Sako.
     
  14. waterwolf

    waterwolf Well-Known Member

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    I always liked this pattern.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  15. alpine hunter

    alpine hunter Well-Known Member

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    I guess I am a bit more tolerant of old and new Sako rifles. Mine include such divergent rifles as a 1947 L46 and an A7 Roughtech Pro 300WSM.
    Some are original and some have been substantially altered (like a restocked, Finwolf that has been rebarrelled to 260Rem and then cerakoted).
    They are all interesting, quality rifles for varying reasons.
    The early L46 is not what I would call refined as it’s quite obvious from all the model variations and it’s machining/file marks that Sako was still working it out. It is still a quality collectible and usable rifle because it is an example of an important snapshot in Sako history.
    My 308 VLS 85 with 20 inch barrel that is muzzle threaded is also a quality rifle but that is due to its accuracy and functionality as a professional pest animal controllers tool, not as a collectible.
    My A7 Roughtech is also not a collectible but it’s an awesome rifle to hunt with in the mountains of New Zealand or pursuing Sambar deer in Aus. It’s quality is far superior to the Remington 700 that it replaced (which had a chamber cut incorrectly that prevented reloading cases).
    The Mod 85 Kodiak 375Mag is a mix of both. It’s a quality hunting rifle but I can also see it becoming a collectible in years to come. My plan is to use it for hunting water buffalo (one day!).

    My point is that quality and an individuals preferences are not the same thing.
     
  16. kirkbridgershooters

    kirkbridgershooters Well-Known Member

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    This is one example that I use to show the old quality and machining standards that are no longer practiced. When you look at the fit and finish of the L57 and Riihimaki bolt, you can see more machining and quality of that machining in just the bolt. Some of the later stuff doesn't have that much work in the whole rifle...

    DSCN4145.JPG DSCN4146.JPG
     
  17. Webphut

    Webphut Well-Known Member

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    I worked with non ferrous and ferrous metals since I was a teenager. I was born into the metal trades and started stick welding at age 7. Today at age 43, I get gag reflex from the smell of any sort of fumes/smells coming off of metal. Thats my resume...lol.

    Ok, so stainless steel has its purpose and place. I live in Houston so I need the rust resistance. But that is the only reason I had a SS Kreiger put on my rifle and soon to be plural as I watch the rust bloom on the remaining rifles. I chose Kreiger only because they are the only ones that turned the barrels on a lathe and not draw them over a mandrel.

    Stainless is a whole different animal than carbon steel. Once ss cools its grain structure is totally different than carbon steel. After it cools, every time the grain structure of stainless steel moves it get what the trades call work hardened. Now this applies to the application of heat too, not just the physical movement like being bent or straightened. So every time a bullet exits the case, the flame work hardens the chamber end of the barrel. Now the bullet travels through the barrel bore and the barrel bore heats up. Now the barrel gets a little work hardened. Rinse and repeat this over many rounds and what you end up with is a super tough stainless steel which as you put it simply, is brittle. This is the reason I wanted a turned barrel instead of a barrel drawn over a mandrel, because it takes that pressure and stresses the barrel out. Now they have to stress relieve it. They heat it up in a furnace, let it relax, cool it down ever so so so so so slowly to room temperature and now you have a pre work hardened barrel.

    Carbon steel on the other hand is such a beautiful metal to work with and it is so so forgiving. It has a great memory and you really have to be a horrible machinist to work harden carbon steel, but it too can work harden like stainless steel. Prime example...drill a 1/8" hole in that hinge plate bought from home depot because someone broke the head of a screw off when they assembled it, so you take it out to that 3000 rpm bench top drill press and you start drilling away on it. Well what happens is the drill get super hot, the base metal get hot from the friction and the drill, and then the drill does not go any further. you see what the heck is going on only to find the drill bit tip is a dark ball. Ok , you grab another drill, but only now the base metal squeals like a pig and chatters like a wood pecker going to town. viola...you work hardened the hinge. This is a semi shortcutted example with out getting scientific, but it should give you a good idea.

    Now with that all out there finally, whew, and you have a very short condensed glimpse of the manufacturing of a barrel I am sure that rifle companies would not offer SS barrels if they new the barrels were not going to last. So as far as a barrel goes, I am sure there are plenty of them out there that have shot thousands of rounds just fine and they have plenty of life in them. They sure are cool to look at too. I like looking at my new ss barrel on my 7mm remmy.
     
  18. Webphut

    Webphut Well-Known Member

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    Ohh, let me say this just too. If you go the carbon steel barrel route over a ss barrel, a carbon steel barrel is a better barrel if it drawn over a mandrel, structurally speaking. If it is turned, then choose the stainless steel barrel. The two material have totally different finishes when the process are done. Without getting into all the if this and if that, generally Stainless machined surfaces are really smooth and Carbon steel finishes are really smooth when done with mandrel. Now, this is all if seen under a bore scope of x-ray optics, so if you put the two up in the light and look through the barrels with the naked eye, you probably will not notice much difference, but bullets will.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
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  19. gowyo

    gowyo Sako Junkie

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    At one point in my life I owned a 1900- 1902 DWM American Eagle Luger in 30 Luger. It was exquisitely machined and the action and toggle was as smooth as wet glass on wet glass. It shot very well but was of such fine tolerances, I could easily tell how it was not made for the muddy fields of no-man's land. It was also easy to see why they designed the clamshell holster to enclose the entire handgun. I can see the same might be said for the safety mechanism that is built into the bolt on those early Sakos. It could be a reservoir for brass particles and unburnt powder. I wonder if that's why they got away from that. That and exorbitant Machining costs.
     
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  20. alpine hunter

    alpine hunter Well-Known Member

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    Here are some examples of what I was talking about with regard to early L46 rifles. The rifle is hardly "polished" in finish or design.
    Would that ugly step in the barrel contour be seen or considered acceptable on today's Sako rifles? There are machining marks along the entire barrel length and I am not sure if any of the metalwork has been polished at all.
    [​IMG]
    What about the tick marks on the trigger guard? Or even the fact that it's a two piece design where a one piece trigger guard/magazine surround would be the superior design.
    [​IMG]
    A gas vent and stamping in exactly the same location? Not real slick.
    [​IMG]

    Don't get me wrong, I love owning and shooting this rifle (it's been my choice to hunt with more often than not recently) but it's an example of the still developing L46 design during the early civilian days of Sako rifle production. Because of that, the quality isn't quite what we might expect from Sako.

    Leaving the finish and machining out of the equation, the design is very simplistic and a little "agricultural". Compared to a Mod 85 bolt shroud, it's quite obvious that the later rifle has more attention paid to the design.
    Whether you like the design is another thing altogether.
    [​IMG]

    Again, I've got to say that I appreciate them all and I think it's not as simple as saying that the quality has dropped over the years. They aren't plasticky rubbish now but they weren't perfect back then either!
    They are higher than average quality for the times but are still made to use and be practical rifles.


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