New-to-me L61R in 300 Win Mag

Discussion in 'Sako Long/Magnum Actions' started by shinbone, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. shinbone

    shinbone Active Member

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    To say I am far from a Sako expert is an understatement. But, I have always admired them as being well made rifles, and have only recently been in a position to acquire a few. I spotted this L61R on Gunbroker. It looked to be in good shape at a reasonable price, and so I pulled the trigger. Hopefully folks will indulge me while I over do it with photos of my new toy. My apologies to those with a slower internet connection.

    Though not mentioned in the auction text, "good condition" actually appears to be "unfired." While this is certainly a happy surprise, this puts me in a slight dilemma. I am a shooter and a hunter, not a collector, meaning I want to shoot what I own. Consequently, I tend to avoid unfired vintage guns because one usually pays a premium for such guns, whereas the unfired status doesn't especially appeal to my shooting interests. Not to mention the gun will loose that special value if I shoot it. Now, I will feel like I am devaluing this very nice unfired Sako if I take it to the range or on a hunt. Admittedly, I am lucky to have this "problem."

    As the photos show, there is no "Bofors Steel" mark, and no importer mark visible above the wood. Only minimal deformation to the recoil pad, which still retains some elasticity. Serial number would suggest about mid-1968 manufacture, if it could be relied upon.

    I'd be interested in any feedback/thoughts from the members.


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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
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  2. shinbone

    shinbone Active Member

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    (continued)

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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
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  3. sakojim

    sakojim Well-Known Member

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    Shinbone. You definitely have found a keeper. Wonderful pictures and no need to apologize. These are the type of pictures enjoyed most by Sako lovers. I agree that it has been fired very little if at all. It is an early variation or of European origin with the front sight and may have been a 'carry over' by a G I. Others may have a better estimate than mine. If I had this one, I would definitely keep it in its pristine condition and well oiled in the safe. Others will tell you to enjoy shooting it. To each his own. Enjoy it any way you choose and I hope you pass it on to another Sako lover some time in the future. For a very modest fee you can find more information from the Club search of records. Sakojim.
     
  4. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    I would say go ahead and shoot it at the range, but don't take it on the kind of hunt that beats a rifle to pieces. I wouldn't want to bash it up and down the mountainside on a backcountry elk hunt, but I see no harm or loss of value in shooting a few rounds for fun. You don't know for sure that it's unfired, and unless it's in the box with the hang tag still on it, a collector is going to be skeptical that it's actually unfired. They are all test fired at the factory anyway.

    I have several collectible guns that may or may not have been unfired when I got them, but they've been fired now. One of my favorites is a museum-grade Mauser Broomhandle flatside made in 1900. It's a gas to shoot. Have fun with your Sako.
     
  5. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Nice hunting rifle with minimal collector interest, so I would enjoy it how ever you want. It's value will never make any difference in your lifestyle or in your retirement. So, why not enjoy it for what it was intended? Keeping it in a safe so your heirs can auction it off seems a poor choice to me. One can never assume a date of manufacture from a serial number with Sako. As your serial number falls within the range the club has records for you can request the info by clicking on Factory Records Service in the upper left of this page. Looks like someone did something to the checkering, like trying to recut or clean it out somehow.
     
  6. bigcountry4me

    bigcountry4me Well-Known Member

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    Obviously a very nice find. I’d certainly take very good care of it but I’d shoot it without a doubt. It’s appears to have been very well taken care of but you’re simply not going to devalue it by utilizing it in a thoughtful sense. The rifle was built to hunt , so why not use it.

    The collector value is subjective anyway. You don’t appear to have the box or hang tag. The caliber is a love or hate thing. There are a couple of caliber selections which may rise more over time. You’re also unable prove it’s unfired or that it hasn’t been hunted with.

    Whatever you spent simply won’t be affected much one way or the other by putting it into action, then cleaning it and storing it properly.

    I have several L61R’s in the same condition. I’ve used them all for 30 plus years. Some are worth a little more than I paid, some a little less. The bottom line is you’re not going to come into a windfall of extra cash above your investment by turning it into a safe queen.

    To add: if you do decide to shoot it I recommend starting by checking both action screws for proper tightness with a proper fitting screwdriver. The report could potentially break the stock if the action screws have become loose because of the nature of aged wood perhaps causing some slight shrinkage.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
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  7. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Well, it can't be relied on since Sako did not use serial numbers in anything close to chronological order. If you wish, you can find out when it was produced by using the Club's factory records service (see link at top of this page).

    You have an excellent and highly desirable hunting rifle. It would be a shame not to use it as such.
     
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  8. Jeffy1

    Jeffy1 Well-Known Member

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    Shoot it.
     
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  9. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    YES! And be sure to use a parallel-ground screwdriver or bit, not a taper-ground one from the hardware store. A taper-ground driver will slip out of the slot and bugger the action screws.
     
  10. shinbone

    shinbone Active Member

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    Lot'sa good points made by everyone. Thanks!

    I've got a set of hollow ground driver bits and a torque wrench. Anyone know the factory torque values for the action screws on an L61R?

    I requested a search of the factory records, and received results in less than 24 hours:

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    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
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  11. deergoose

    deergoose Sako-addicted

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    Makes me wonder where the other 161 rifles are...probably killing big critters. Challenging to find good clean .3oo's from the 1960s in any configuration.

    nice rifle!
    DeerGoose
     
  12. shinbone

    shinbone Active Member

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    I sourced some vintage Sako "medium" ringmounts from our fearless leader, L61R, and finally found the time to mount them along with a Meopta Mepro 4.5-14 x50 scope. The Meopro is an excellent scope with great glass for not too much money. The scope is bore sighted, and this L61R is now ready for a trip to the range.

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    It took some internet searching, but I finally scrounged up a few different factory loads to play with while my reloading room is out of commission during home remodeling.

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    I'll be at the range this Friday, if the weather allows.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
  13. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie Formerly known as bloorooster

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    Awesome Scope, and it appears that you a perfect fit , laying close to the bore!
    You should do well at the range and even better in the field!
    Congrats on a fine rifle! 300 win mag is a fairly flat shooter with energy to spare, way out there!

    the old hippie
     
  14. deergoose

    deergoose Sako-addicted

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    My bet is that the 180gr will shoot the best...Not the ammo itself, but bullet weight..at least this has been my experience with the couple of .300WMs that I shoot. Please give us the range report with the results!

    awesome setup !
    DeerGoose
     
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  15. shinbone

    shinbone Active Member

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    Just got back from the range. I did a short barrel break-in procedure, and then shot one 5-shot group with the 180gr Accubonds before running out of time. The 180gr AB did not print an impressive group, but I want to shoot the other two factory cartridges I have before showing results. In the mean time . . .

    I think I now know why this gun saw little to no use - it fails to eject each and every time. When the bolt is drawn fully back, the cartridge is not kicked out of the action, and, in fact, remains held against the face of the bolt by the extractor claw.

    A close examination of the bolt face as the bolt is cycled back against the bolt stop shows that the ejector blade is not pivoting into the ejector cut in the bolt, and thereby never comes into contact with the base of the cartridge to kick it off the bolt face and out of the action. A couple of photos show the tip of the ejector blade sitting on the outer circumference of the bolt lug with the bolt drawn back.

    The ejector blade fully pivots into position when the bolt is removed from the action. And, the ejector slot in the bolt is clear of any debris. Anyone got any suggestions for a remedy?

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  16. sraaw

    sraaw Well-Known Member

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    Is the ejector spring missing, gummed up, broken or weak?
     
  17. shinbone

    shinbone Active Member

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    The spring is present and appears to work fine.
     
  18. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Looking at the second photo, it appears that the front edge of the ejector slot in the bolt is rough, and might even be peened into the slot, which might just be blocking the ejector blade from pivoting into the slot. I looked at the bolt from one of my guns and the front of that slot was dead smooth and even had a slight bevel to it. I'd suggest cleaning up that area with a stone or a very, very fine file and see if that helps.
     
  19. kevinlg

    kevinlg Well-Known Member

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    One possibility.......and it's happened many times.

    Check that the bolt guide-rod is on the correct (right) side of the bolt, before the bolt is inserted into the receiver raceway.
    If the guide-rod is positioned incorrectly(180 degrees out), it prevents the mechanical ejector from pivoting into the bolt lug slot.

    Hope this helps.

    edit: Yep......pretty sure that's what has happened. A close look at your picture, posted two days ago, shows the guide-rod "missing" from it's normal position when the bolt is closed.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2021
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  20. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Agree. Check it out. It shouldn't be possible to insert the bolt guide on the wrong side, but the little spring and stop that limit the rotation of the bolt guide are frequently missing.
     

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