Custom FN-Sako .300 H&H

Discussion in 'Sako Mausers, Hi-Powers and Magnum Mausers' started by icebear, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. icebear

    icebear Active Member

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    I haven't posted in a while, but that doesn't mean I've been inactive. Mostly been playing with my assortment of AR-15's and FAL's, which of course are completely off-topic for this board. However, I did just finish refurbishing a rather unusual piece I've had for many years, an FN-Sako custom in .300 H&H Magnum. I don't know when the thing was built, but it's marked .300 Magnum so it was when .300 H&H was the only common .300 Magnum caliber, before the .300 Win Mag, .300 Norma, etc. I have always liked the caliber; the Sako is one of three I own. The other two are a Finnbear and a Winchester Model 70 with a Super Grade stock and a 3x Leupold in a Griffin &Howe side mount. I got the Model 70 from Alan Cors, who was recently president of the NRA for a couple of years.

    Now, the FN-Sako in .300 H&H is a pretty rare bird, so when I had the opportunity to get one many years ago I jumped on it, even though the gun was not exactly in "collectible" condition. A previous owner had put the (fortunately intact) barreled action in a Bishop custom stock. The stock was typical of the 1960's - huge Monte Carlo cheekpiece, clunky looking fore-end, cheesy-looking plastic buttplate and grip cap, and a shiny poly-whatever finish. Gag me with a spoon. The thing was really ugly. But, the barreled action was intact and it still had the original express sights. And, there were some good things too. The stock was glass bedded, and it had a nice Timney trigger that breaks at around two pounds.

    The first order of business was to do something about that hideous stock. I wish I had a before picture; the thing was just bloody awful. It was a terrible offense against what was basically a nice-looking piece of wood. I attacked it with a belt sander, shaping the pseudo-Weatherby buttstock into something similar to a humpback Bavarian shape. I cut a bit off the end and fitted a Pachmayr Old English recoil pad. Normally I won't cut a stock, it ruins the collectibility, but since this wasn't the original stock anyway I figured a pad was appropriate for a magnum caliber. Once I got the buttstock done, it was time for the fore-end. As it came from Bishop, this was a rather ungainly looking affair, kins of hard to describe. Once again I went after it with a belt sander, reshaping it into a much shorter extension in the general style of a safari rifle. The original checkering was laid out in a nice pattern, but sloppily executed. I cleaned it up, finished the lines, and deepened the grooves. For a final touch, I tossed the chintzy plastic grip cap and replaced it with ebony. I stripped the old finish and redid it in tung oil.

    At this point it looked a lot better than it had when I got it, but I still wasn't happy with what I'd done with the fore-end. So I started to reshape it again, and that's when things went off the rails. Something came up and I put the gun in the rack for several years. Finally, last month I got sick of looking at this almost-finished project in my shop rack and finished the job. The result is what you see in the pictures. When I got the rifle, it had what I think is a Talley slide-off scope mount. It might also be an early Warne; if anybody recognizes it, please chime in. I filed a notch in the rear mount so I could see the iron sights. The way that worked out, the notch was still a little high and basically it became the rear sight, if you had to pull the scope and use the open sights. In the meantime I had acquire a set of what appeared to be EAW swing mounts. The bases on these are a little lower than the ones I had on the gun, so it would be a little easier to use the iron sights. In the process of installing them and setting them up I got in a conversation with Mark, the owner of New England Custom Guns, the U.S. distributor for EAW. To my chagrin I discovered that my mounts were Eastern European copies, not the real thing. However, the installation and setup went according to the EAW instruction manual, and they appear to work properly. So far, so good. I have another set of FN mounts and a set of EAW Sako mounts. the other set of FN mounts is also a fake, but the Sako mounts are genuine EAW. The old scope was a Leupold 3.5-10x; I decided that a 2.5-8x was more suitable so that's what I installed this time.

    Enough text, time for pictures! I photographed the custom with my other FN-Sako, an all-original .30-06. The custom is on top; the stock '06 is below it. This gun has its own points of interest, as it has a 2.5-6x B.Nickel-Marburg scope in a very unusual set of 26mm rings. As you can see from the pictures, the windage adjustments are secured with set screws rather than the click stops typical of genuine Sako rings. These are not the notorious Spanish copies, which are of much lower quality and have the top rings hinged to the bottoms. The fit and finish are in the same league with the Sako originals, but they are not Sako marked. I have no idea where they were made or by whom. If anybody recognizes them, please post.

    Custom .300 H&H (top) and original .30-06 FN-Sako (bottom)
    2 Rifles .JPG 2 Forends.JPG

    Custom rifle with 2.5-8x Leupold in bogus EAW mounts
    300 New Scope.JPG


    B.Nickel-Marburg 2.5-6x scope in unknown Sako-style rings. Note set screws to secure windage adjustment on bases.
    06 Scope Left.JPG

    3.5-10x Leupold in Talley (?) mounts.
    300 Old Scope Mounts 1.JPG

    Talley(?) mounts on .300 H$H custom rifle, showing notch in rear base to see iron sights.
    300 Old Scope Mounts 3.JPG

    Buttstocks on custom rifle (top) and original FN-Sako (bottom)
    2 Stocks - Right.JPG 2 Stocks - Left.JPG
     

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