My 85

Discussion in 'Sako 75, 85 and A7' started by robinpeck, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    I get tired of people I read complaining about the modern Sako 85, comparing it unfavorably to almost any earlier Sako rifle. And I know the difference because I own and shoot a fair number of vintage Sakos from the 50's and 60's, before they got so heavy and bulky after about 1972.

    My lightweight Black Bear 30-06 fits me like a glove. When I throw it up to my shoulder the sights (or the the scope) are instantly aligned. Starting at the front: The adjustment of the front sight is fast and easy. It took me about four shots to zero the Talley peep. The fluting of the barrel is both useful: lightening weight, assisting cooling, and also good looking. I like barrel band sling swivels. They lower the rifle on the shoulder to avoid snagging on bushes. The Black Bear also takes another Q-D sling swivel in the conventional stock forend position, just in case you prefer that or want to shoot using a tight "hasty sling". I have sling swivel bases in both locations. I use Talley bases, peep sight and rings, a good workable combination that allows me to easily switch from open sights to scopes. I first tried an original Sako peep and original semi-Q-D Sako rings, but found that I prefer the Talleys. I have two Swarovski scopes set up for this rifle, plus the peep. I have had zero ejection problems with either scope, and other one is a big 3-12X. Incredibly smooth bolt with very positive ejection and short throw bolt handle. The trigger is great, breaking around 3lb. just like the proverbial icicle. The safety is silent and locks the bolt handle down. A detachable magazine that can be ignored and fed from the top provides the best of both worlds. I have a spare for backup. The stock isn't Circassian walnut and of course I wish it was but like I said, it fits me perfectly and aligns the sights instantly, so that trumps walnut for now. The overall matte black finish on the rifle is both useful and good-looking. However, I also stripped the blue off the blot handle (not in these photos). I can't stand blued bolt handles. And with a bit of wear they look terrible. I don't know why Sako bothers to do it. Its an extra unnecessary manufacturing step. Maybe polishing would cost too much, but I don't want a polished bolt handle, just a bare steel one...some degree of polish will come over time. This is a great rifle that consistently shoots both discount brand factory ammo and my warm hunting reloads into less than an inch. What is there to complain about? The relatively high price? I think its worth every penny.


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    Last edited: May 27, 2018
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  2. kirkbridgershooters

    kirkbridgershooters Well-Known Member

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    It is good that you like your rifle. I fit into the category that doesn't like much of anything new and that is due to the craftsmanship and aesthetics of the rifle and it's components. Obviously people still like the 85 or they wouldn't sell.

    It isn't just Sako plastic/stainless rifles, I just don't care for the modern trend to make rifles into tools. I prefer wood/blue and hand fit quality that you can only get with the older rifles. Again, it isn't just Sakos, I have pre-war Model 70 rifles, dozens of original Colt, Winchester, Whitney Kennedy, Marlin and other old guns no one has heard of. I collect them for the beauty that each gun has and I find it just pleases me with those older guns. CNC and modern machining does make a fine rifle, but I remain in the classic rifle appreciation fraternity and let whoever likes what they like to their own.

    We are all here because we like Sakos, some just more than others...
     
  3. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    While I fall into the same camp as Kirk, I can have some appreciation for the practicality and design of the more recent Sakos.

    I recently played around a bit with a Sako A-7. Compared to its competition in the "popularly priced" centerfires, it is a much finer rifle. Slick bolt operation, detachable magazine secured in a fail-safe manner, and quite decent trigger pull. If you're looking for something which functions well, is fairly economical, and largely immune from bumps and dings, then the A-7 is a good candidate. It will never compare to the L61R, but then it's not supposed to.
     
  4. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    I think the difference in "hand fit quality" between current production and older Sakos is grossly exaggerated...It is a fact that a lot of old world hand fitting was done simply because machining technology was too imprecise to make truly interchangeable parts...The Model 85 Black Bear is very nicely fitted indeed (speaking only of the metal work of course)...and I am not just speaking through my hat...I own, appreciate, shoot and hunt with numerous vintage Sako, Brno, Oberndorf Mauser sporters, Mannlicher-Schoenauers, and other mostly pre-war European sporters. (I will also take the new Black Bear over most Sako production from the heavy/bulky decades: the 1970's and 80's.)
     
  5. gowyo

    gowyo Sako Junkie

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    I'm also part of the maligned Pre-mx91 gun aficionados. Several reasons- I like the oil finished stocks (granted the Bavarian carbine model 85 trips my trigger a little.) But the greatest draws for me are the three action sizes with respective bolt diameter step down; the price differential between a brand new gun and a well cared for gun from the seventies or eighties (obvious benny); pre-Beretta buy out (ok, might be a little snobbish); and finally, I agree newer guns just don't have that quality or attention to finish detail or pride of craftsmanship. whatever you want to call it. Too much automation.
     
  6. kirkbridgershooters

    kirkbridgershooters Well-Known Member

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    For discussion and not debate, I still see clearly a higher degree of craftsmanship on the old rifles. For example, here are bolts from a Riihimaki and a L57 from the 1950's and it is quite clear that there is more work done to make either one of these bolts than there is in a complete rifle of modern manufacture. A matte finish is not really finished, it is actually unfinished, but faster to blue it in the rough exterior to save time in rifle production.

    Give me the old guns...

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  7. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    Don't get me wrong...these below are still my favorite Sakos (I just think the 85 gets too often maligned for no good reason. Its hardly a Walmart Savage.)
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    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  8. Mongo44

    Mongo44 Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful one and all!

    Personally, I love anything with a trigger that shouts "BOOM" when pulled! When I look at the rifles I own, most of which were manufactured prior to 1975, I love the patina, the battle scars in the wood that have been oiled over and worn down almost smooth again from so much handling, I love the hand-hewn look and feel, etc.

    Such admiration is generally reserved, however, for the old Winchester 94s and the 1892s that I have. When I look at the Sakos, Model 70s and the Steyr Mann.-Shoens I have and I see the scars, I tend to look away to a prettier part of the gun! But therein lies a dilemma...

    Each rifle has been used plenty. The Sako L46s, 61Rs and the like are the 85s of yesteryear and were not sold to sit in a safe only to collect dust. I imagine that there's a scar on each rifle for every two or three animals taken and a fine story (or perhaps an equally boring one) that goes with each. I know this to be true as I've heard them.

    While I would love to own an 85 in a synthetic stock with a fluted barrel, etc., I am currently at full cap in the "toy boxes." However, I have a few with which I'm considering parting (Interarms Mark X .270 full Manny stock, a 1980 Remingon BDL .222 and a Remington 788 .222), the proceeds from which may go to funding something like an 85 synth. In short, I do know that I'd like to own more Sakos, regardless of it's vintage or model number. Not sure yet what'll happen, though. I still use these old Cadillacs and absolutely love the way they feel, look, and most importantly, how well they shoot.

    In short, if you're rolling with an 85, then be proud! I don't think anyone here is faulting you for that!
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  9. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    Traded off the Black Bear 30-06 for the same rifle in 9.3x62. I expect the same fine qualities in the new rifle just with more punch.

    I once tried a CZ 550 fullstock in 9.3x62 but the rifle itself was disappointing, heavy, bulky and awkward....The Sako 85 Black Bear is anything but that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  10. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    ..and now picked up a .308 as well...I do like the Black Bears.
     
  11. Pamola

    Pamola Member

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    I've had a couple of years with my Black Bear.

    A couple of observations.

    I swapped out the hard as a rock recoil pad for a Limb Saver and the gun is a joy to shoot.
    Bluing on the barrel has a spot that started to rust near the muzzle. I fully treat the exterior with a preservative and still the rust comes back. I basically spend one week a year hunting whitetails in Northern Me. So the gun is subject to some snow, rain and cold temps and I wipe it down at the end of the day. I don't think a gun that costs this much should do that,

    But I love the rifle.
     
  12. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    Traded off the 9.3 and got my 30-06 back. I just didn't like the 9.3. Too big. Canada has only two actual "big game" animals and I don't hunt either Polar Bear or Yukon moose. I have shot plenty of deer (all 3 species), bear, and regular Western moose, plus coyotes, etc. with a 30-06. I know the trajectory and I know I can rely on it to put the game down. Also now that I have quit reloading (after 4 decades) I like being able to buy a variety of 30-06 ammo nearly anywhere.

    I also ditched the variable and have gone back to a straight 4x Swarovski scope that is a bit beat up but has seen a lot of game go down. Its in Talley Q-D mounts mostly because I like the Talley receiver peep sight as a back up. I might consider a Limbsaver pad but Canadian (generally cold weather) hunting clothes usually provide plenty of padding.

    I also have a pair of gently used .308 Black Bears...why I don't know...I never use them... Some day I might give them away to deserving young hunters. I have a grandson.

    The safe is full of classic vintage European fullstock rifles: Mannlicher-Schoenauer, Brno, Sako, Husqvarna, Oberndorf Mauser, etc....much more fun than another savings account...but the Black Bear 30-06 is my frontline hunting rifle.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  13. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    I noticed on my pair of .308 Black Bears that the recoil pads are different, but both are obviously factory. The earlier (much lower serial number) pad is thicker and softer.

    There are a few other very small differences as well.
     

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