Discussion in 'New members, please introduce yourselves here!' started by andyinlz, Nov 25, 2020.
Looking to explore the ties between Sako and late 1950s Weatherbys.
At least some of the Weatherby-Mausers (Weatherby-branded rifles made on FN Mauser actions) were barreled and stocked by Sako. They show up in the Sako shipping records from that period.
Thank you---I just sent a message to Jim asking about what the records show. I will see if I can add you to the message, or copy it here.
Here is the text of the conversation:
I am a brand new member from the USA. What a terrific site!
I have found a Weatherby with what I believe is a Sako Mauser action from 1958. The rifle is a 270 Weatherby Magnum. The balance of the rifle is period-typical Weatherby, with some cosmetic enhancements.
I understand that Mauser had a relationship with Sako for a brief period in the late 1950s, and that the relationship may have reached an unhappy end. I've seen scuttlebutt that even states that only a few hundred actions were made by Sako, and that Weatherby secured and assembled the remaining production. And, yes, I have also seen scuttlebutt regarding a dispute started by Weatherby regarding Sako's use of the forward slanted forearm cap that Weatherby claimed as their own. All worth what I paid for the scuttlebutt ($0)!
In your 2015 announcement about the availability of Sako records, you stated that "At least some of the original Weatherby rifles built on FN Actions were built in the Sako factory!"
While the rifle action is apparently only stamped by Weatherby, the attached photo should indicate to you that this was Sako-built Mauser action with a #4 trigger (due to the trigger safety). The barrel was produced by Timken, and is also stamped by Weatherby.
What might the Sako records show for the rifle?
Is there anywhere I should examine on the rifle for hidden Sako marks? Maybe under the stock?
Thanks for whatever light you can shed on this murky intersection of Weatherby and Sako history.
1. Weatherby rifles made by Sako were barreled by Sako. This is because Sako shipping records record finished rifles or barreled actions by caliber, and an action without a barrel would have no caliber. As best I recall from the handful of these records I've examined, the rifles produced by Sako for Weatherby were complete rifles, not just barreled actions.
2. Later FN Mausers used the Sako #4 trigger, regardless of whether the actions were used by Sako, FN, or some other builder, so the fact that an FN action has a Sako trigger is not indicative that it is necessarily an FN-Sako.
3. If the barrel is "by Timken" then it is definitely not a rifle which came out of the Sako factory.
The records of the Sako-Weatherbys are scattered somewhat randomly among over 7,000 pages of the Sako shipping records which the Club has. The records are not indexed, so finding one of the ledger pages on which any of the Sako-Weatherbys are recorded requires an extensive manual search scrolling through many hundreds of pages to find a single page of Sako-Weatherbys. So it may not be practical for Jim to do the search you ask for.
Weatherby has contracted with a number of different manufacturers for its rifles. As you know, early Weatherbys were on FN actions, some of which were completed by Sako (which was building its own long cartridge rifles on FN actions at the time). There were others on the FN action which were stocked in California (possibly among those were the Timken barrels?) The original Mark V was produced in Germany by Sauer. Its manufacture was later moved to Japan, presumably Howa. After that, they were built in Maine for a while, confusingly by a company named Saco Defense. I'm not sure where the current Mark V is built or by whom.
My understanding through friends in the industry is, Weatherby is now headquartered in Sheridon WY. Mark V barreled actions are produced by ATEK in Minnesota, then stocked at the HQ. Vanguard rifles are still produced by Howa in Japan. I’m not sure if they’re completed in Japan or if they are finished in Wyoming.
Any particular markings that must be present for this to be produced by Sako?
Sheridan. Thank you very much!
Ooops, my bad. Saw the south portion of your state again very recently. Drove to Denver via hwy 80 - Evanston to Cheyenne. 60 mph winds and blowing snow both ways. White knuckle driving at its finest.
60 mph is all. Sounds like a relatively calm day for Cheyenne.
While I've enjoyed the travel log , are there any particular markings that must be present for this to be produced by Sako?
Maybe hidden markings under the stock?
Markings on what appears to be a Sako trigger/safety?
The barrel has a circled "T" (Timken, I believe), on the right side and--all in block letters-- "WEATHERBY 270 MAGNUM" on the left side.
The right side of the receiver has the Weatherby SN (93xx), and the left side of the receiver is stamped--all in block letters--"WEATHERBY SOUTH GATE, CALIF."
I believe that the Weatherby SN dates the rifle to 1958.
Thanks for any insights you may have.
A quick -- but certainly not exhaustive -- search of the Sako shipping records indicates that the Mauser action rifles that Sako produced for Weatherby was a very small number and mostly limited to 1957. A few (ones and twos) were recorded as shipped in 1958, and a couple of stragglers in 1959. All were shipped to Firearms International, Sako's U.S. authorized importer, then presumably forwarded on to Weatherby.
It is possible that Sako stopped recording these in their regular shipping records, but since these records are also the legally required documentation of manufacture and disposal of a firearm we would tend to think that if others were produced that they would be represented in these records. It is also possible that, since it is a manual search to find them that some could have been overlooked, but we believe we found all that exist.
None of the four-digit serial numbers go as high as the 9,000's. All are in the 6,000's, whatever that means as it was probably directed by Weatherby. Having never knowingly seen a Sako-Weatherby I can't say for certain, but Sako did NOT stamp serial numbers on their Mauser actions -- the serial numbers were found only on the barrel, so I expect that Sako-Weatherby's were also only serial marked on the barrel and not the receiver. (Also, the Sako-Mausers which Sako marketed had serial numbers that started with 100,000 and extended into the low one-hundred-teens.)
The link below will take you to the ledger page showing the .270 Wby's produced and shipped in 1957. There were only 17 of them. In 1957 there were also 38 in .30-06; 111 in .300 Wby; and a single rifle in .257 Wby (wouldn't that be a real collector!?)
A Sako trigger would be marked "Made in Finland" -- but remember, having a Sako trigger is NOT a certain indicator that the rifle was made by Sako since FN used Sako triggers on many of their later 98 actions; and Sako-Mausers used FN triggers prior to the introduction of the Sako #4 trigger.
As far as other markings, the Finnish Lion head would appear on the barrel if made by Sako. However, since you have determined that the rifle in question, (#99XX) has a Timken barrel (not actually made by Timken but using the trademarke for Timken steel), then it is obviously NOT one of the Sako-Weatherby's.
Certainly the most information I have ever seen regarding the intersection between Weatherby and Sako.
I will let you know what--if any--details I find when the receiver/barrel comes out of the stock.
Perhaps, if this example is Weatherby-made on a later FN receiver (with the Sako trigger), it will give some credence to the story I've heard that Weatherby purchased receivers in bulk from Sako and assembled the rifles themselves in South Gate, CA.
After all, the building blocks of the post-1957 270s (with Mauser receivers) had to come from somewhere........
I have also asked Weatherby for whatever data they have on the rifle-----and I am waiting for a response.
Thank you very much.
This wouldn't seem plausible. There would be no reason for Sako (in Finland) to serve as middleman between FN (who made the actions in Belgium) and Weatherby (in California). FN sold their actions directly (or through distributors) to a plethora of manufacturers (H&R, Colt, Winslow and others in the U.S.) and many manufacturers in Europe, not to mention hundreds of custom rifle makers across the world. It makes no sense that Weatherby would buy their FN actions from Sako.
What may be the origin of this story is that Firearms International, the U.S. importer and distributor for Sako, was also the importer and distributor for FN. As I mentioned earlier, the few Sako-Weatherby's we can document were shipped to Firearms International who then relayed them to Weatherby.
It makes some sense that instead of buying their FN actions directly from FN, Weatherby instead bought them through Firearms International, thus was not required to go through the expense and red tape early on to get a firearms import license. Quite clearly, Weatherby became a firearms importer eventually, but as a start-up in the 1950's that would have been an expense they could have avoided by simply using an existing importer. Besides, FN may have had an exclusive arrangement with FI giving FI the rights to all FN imports to the U.S., so Weatherby may have had to buy from FI to get FN actions.
I am sorry to report that Weatherby no longer offers certificates of authenticity.
Thank you all for your interesting insights into the Sako relationship with Weatherby.
I have linked this thread into a post I made in the Weatherby Collectors forum.....for the mutual exchange of information.
I hope that this does not violate anyone's rules of engagement.
Separate names with a comma.