Finnwolf VL63 Finnwolf Variations

Discussion in 'Sako Finnwolf VL63 lever actions' started by Paul B., Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Paul B.

    Paul B. Well-Known Member

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    Hi All,

    I've been trying to acquire an "early" Finnwolf for some time now. My first 2 Wolves were Garcia-era, 1 in 243 and the other in 308. Both have the flush 3 shot magazines and somewhat "chunky" barrels and stocks and neither have a cheekpiece (I guess these are "ambidextrous" stocks?). I was then able to pick up a slightly older Wolf in 308 with a slimmer barrel profile and a more slender stock. This rifle has the 4 shot "coffin" magazine as well as 3 point checkering. I was fortunate enough for Santa to bring me a 4th Wolf for Christmas. This rifle, also in 308, seems identical to my 3rd however, it's barrel has the Bofors Steel mark and the checkering is of the 2 point/double border variety. I guess my question is, were there any even earlier variations of Finnwolfs that had pistol grip caps, other features, etc.? Perhaps an even slimmer stock?

    Thank you!
    - Paul B.

     

  2. northernlights

    northernlights Well-Known Member

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    Ah, I remember when I had 2 .308 and 2 .243 minty condition Finnwolfs. All had 4 rd coffin mags; all had very high gloss blue; one was Bofors marked with 2 point double line grip checkering (bottom rifle), 3 of the 4 Finnwolfs had a white line buttpad spacer, and none had grip caps. I still have the Bofors .308 and a .243. Beautiful rifles from Sako’s golden era.
    F47DE330-22D4-41C6-B11B-CAF26AC65EE9.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  3. deergoose

    deergoose Sako-addicted

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    When you find one with the ambidextrous stock and black plastic grip cap, you've got it !!! I've never seen one of these things, and if there is one or two of them out there it will probably be a 3-digit serial # or less.

    if anyone has one, I know we'd all like to see it !!
    DeerGoose
     
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  4. Paul B.

    Paul B. Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. So, the super early models were equipped with plastic grip caps. Would love to see a picture of one should any member be able to share!
     
  5. marlin92

    marlin92 Well-Known Member

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    Here are some pictures
     

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  6. Paul B.

    Paul B. Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic. Thank you!
     
  7. piper235b

    piper235b Well-Known Member

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    Wow marlin92 that is stunning, and a 2 digit number!

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Cheers
    Piper
     
  8. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Here's my contribution to rare Finnwolfs. It is a factory stock with a left-handed cheekpiece. I've never seen LH cheekpieces (for right handed guns) cataloged or advertised by Sako or any of its distributors, but they definitely made them. I have three -- one on an L46 (birch), one on an L61R, and this one on the Finnwolf. This configuration of Finnwolf would almost have to be one of the scarcest.

    But wait -- there's more (as the TV sales pitch for the Vegamatic would say)! This rifle came from an auction of the estate of the former Governor of Maryland, Marvin Mandel. As you can see, his name (possibly a signature facsimile) is engraved on the magazine bottom. The rifle was unfired when I got it, so it was probably a gift to him which he never shot.

    On top of that, Marvin Mandel has an interesting history. He was the speaker of the Maryland House when Spiro Agnew, the governor of Maryland, vacated the office to become Nixon's vice president. At that time, Maryland had no Lt. Governor, so the speaker became governor. There was some kind of scandal about horse racing tracks, permits, and payola in which Mandel became embroiled and was convicted of a federal crime. He was sent to prison in Florida. However, Maryland had no provision for removing him from office, so it was only the fact that he was absent from the state that allowed his successor to act as governor. But a short time before Mandel's term was up his conviction was reversed, so he returned to Maryland and served out the last few days of his term as governor.

    As you can guess, the combination of LH cheekpiece, pristine condition, and provenance makes this one of my collection which falls into the "cold, dead hands" category.:)

    DSC00458 (1280x280).jpg
    DSC00460 (1024x480).jpg
     
  9. Paul B.

    Paul B. Well-Known Member

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    Very cool Stone!
     
  10. SSR MK1

    SSR MK1 Member

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    There is also Sako Finnwolf deluxe.
     

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  11. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Yes, the number is said to be 10 but no one knows for certain. You wouldn't happen to have a photo of the sterling silver grip cap on that one, would you?
     
  12. marlin92

    marlin92 Well-Known Member

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    As Stone said - always a mystery if the Deluxe Finnwoof truly existed - now we know at least one does BEAUTIFUL thanks
    for the picture.
     
  13. SSR MK1

    SSR MK1 Member

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    Yes i have. 20171023_221543.jpg
     
  14. Bowne1

    Bowne1 Well-Known Member

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    Great story Stone.
     
  15. marlin92

    marlin92 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe a presentation gun for maybe an employee based on the inscription ?
     
  16. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    We discussed this rifle a couple of years ago when SSR bought it. https://sakocollectors.com/forum/threads/sako-finnwolf-deluxe-308.12716/#post-66847 and he was able to tell us who the person was for whom it was made/presented.

    We also discussed what is apparently also a presentation rifle I own here: https://sakocollectors.com/forum/th...e-factory-presentation-model.9376/#post-46456 I still don't have a clue as to whose signature appears on the floorplate, much less how it made it to the U.S. without ever having been fired.

    Finnwolfs with serial numbers 2, 12, and 47 are identified in the inspection records as being Deluxe and all are from 1963-64. Number 12 is a .243 and the other two are .308. There may be more later on, but my eyes wear out after squinting at the tiny handwriting on a few dozen pages and I haven't come across more yet.

    Incidentally, there were two Number 1's: The original in 1959 was a .308. The other Number 1 was from 1970 and was in .375 -- yes, the fabled "magnum" Finnwolf which never went into production.
     
  17. Paul B.

    Paul B. Well-Known Member

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    A magnum Finnwolf....now there's something I never thought I'd hear!
     
  18. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Click on the link to see the first page of the inspection records for the VL63. Note that many of the early serial numbers were never used. The only thing I'll say "never" about when it comes to Sakos is that I'll NEVER figure out why they used their serial numbers the way they did.
     

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  19. SSR MK1

    SSR MK1 Member

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    This was Sakos sales directors rifle as discussed earlier and SN is also one of those Finnwolfs identified as Finnwolf Deluxe. 3 first one Sako Finnwolf Deluxe have Bofors barrels. 20171023_184056.jpg
     
  20. deersako

    deersako Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing the pics and story SSR MK1.
     

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