P72 in .22 Hornet

Discussion in 'Sako Rimfires and Small Action Rifles' started by icebear, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Likes Received:
    467
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Arizona
    I just won an auction for a P72 in .22 Hornet. I'm excited about it and can't wait for it to arrive. Pics on Gunbroker look really good. It's mounted with an old 3x Weaver on what appears to be a Sako factory rail mount. That will have to go - a cool scope but my aging eyes want more power with a small bore rifle . I'll have to root around the magic box of old scopes - I think there are a couple of Leupold and Burris 2-7x and 3-9x compacts in there.


    I used to have a 78 in .22 magnum years ago, but I sold it to finance something else. This is the first small-action Sako I've owned in 20 years or so. Hopefully it will shoot like it looks.

    I was surprised at how little I had to pay for it. I kept waiting for my bid to be crushed by some deep-pocket Sako collector (as has happened several times with Mannlicher-stocked Sakos), but I got it for $815 plus shipping. P72's in .22 LR routinely go for that or more, and I'd think a rare caliber like .22 Hornet would add a big premium - but the market has spoken. As far as I know, the P72, like the M78, was made in .22LR, .22WMR, and .22 Hornet. If anybody knows of any other calibers, please sound off.

    Here's a photo from the Gunbroker listing. I'll post more when I get it, hopefully early next week.
    pix782290419.jpg
     
    ricksengines likes this.

  2. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

    Messages:
    7,013
    Likes Received:
    1,008
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Texas
    Probably the fact that the sights had been removed and it showed just a bit of wear in the photos kept it from going higher. Disregarding the cosmetics it certainly has the potential to be a good shooter. Some on the forum have had poor luck with accuracy in the P-series in .22 Hornet, but the one I own shoots better than the typical Hornets from various American manufacturers. It won't match my Brno ZKW, but then, few Hornets will.
     
  3. deersako

    deersako Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    214
    Country Flag:
    Australia
    State/Region:
    AU New South Wales
    Keen to see some more pics icebear.
    The rails you see are 11mm, screwed on and part of the factory package.
    I’m interested to see what trigger it has in it also, looking at the shape of the safety, it might well be the single stage trigger as opposed to the two stage job.
     
    susanna likes this.
  4. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Likes Received:
    467
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Arizona
    I'm not sure if it ever had sights or not. The photos don't show the top of the barrel, so it's unclear. I'll find out next week. Do you know if the P72 had Williams sights like the M78 and other Sakos of that period? If so, it wouldn't be a great problem to replace them. A ladder rear sight would be another matter. I have seen P72 and/or M78 Sako rimfires that were not drilled and tapped for sights, but most of them were.

    As far as the cosmetics go, it has certainly seen some use but I'd call it used but not abused. Wood looks good, plain but with an attractive grain and with few marks. I'll be very interested to see how it shoots, and how it compares to my CZ 527 in .22 Hornet. I'll definitely take the CZ along when I go to sight in the P72.
     
  5. susanna

    susanna Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    31
    Country Flag:
    Australia
    State/Region:
    AU New South Wales
    icebear.
    have never seen any p72/75 or m78 sako that doesnt have the 3/8" factory dove tails fitted. would you by chance have a photo ? would love to see a smooth top.
    my m78 junior 22lr hb has an aussie hillver 1pce mount fitted, unfortunately has been redrilled & tapped to suit.
     
  6. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Likes Received:
    467
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Arizona
    I don't have any photos but I have seen rimfire Sakos for sale with the factory dovetails removed and either left that way or replaced with Weaver mounts. You see them once in a while on Gunbroker - I don't bid if it doesn't have the original rail in place. Weaver makes, or used to make, a base that fits the original holes on a P72 or M78.
     
    susanna likes this.
  7. FLT

    FLT Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    21
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Florida
    I bought two of the 22 hornets in 70s I remove the rails and put weaver bases on both of them . If memory serves me well , the rail was two separate pieces the front one was pretty short and the rear was a good bit longer.
     
  8. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

    Messages:
    7,013
    Likes Received:
    1,008
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Texas
    So far as I know all of the P-series (as well as the M78) had Williams front and rear sights -- but it is possible that some made for the European market had a Sako ladder sight.

    I've always wondered why Sako switched from using the "P" prefix (for the Finnish word for rimfire) to the "M" prefix for the 78.

    There was a P-75, but I've never seen it in any caliber other than .22 Hornet and have no idea why it was designated separately. Maybe it has to do with the three somewhat different triggers found on this series -- which is a lot of different triggers for such a relatively limited number of rifles.

    I'm disappointed that Sako never saw fit to offer its P94 action chambered for some of the small centerfires. The relatively robust P94 would seem a natural for these cartridges.
     
    susanna likes this.
  9. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Likes Received:
    467
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Arizona
    I received the rifle yesterday and I'm quite pleased. Condition is as described by the seller. There's some wear to the bluing around the muzzle and much of the bluing is gone from the bottom of the magazine, probably from sweaty hands carrying it in the field. Bore is shiny and the crown is fine Trigger pull feels kind of squishy and there's noticeable creep, so I'm going to have to take it apart and see what's up. I suspect it's dirty and gummy and the sear engagement and tension spring are both out of adjustment. Bolt operation was stiff but I dumped in some CLP and it's a lot better. Everything was dry, probably hasn't been fired in 20 years. Sights have been removed and the holes filled with filler screws. I'm not at all concerned about that; The hole spacing for the Williams rear sight is 9/16" and I found a sight with that hole spacing in my junk box. For now I'm just going to leave it without sights and shoot it with a scope.

    It came with the Weaver K3-60C shown in the first photo. That's a nice old period scope but I want something with a lot more magnification for a .22 Hornet. Rummaging around the box of scopes, I came up with one each of Leupold and Burris 3-9x compacts. Tried both, decided the Leupold was better suited to the gun so it stays. One photo shows the rifle with its stablemate, a CZ 527 in .22 Hornet with the same scope, just in a matte finish rather than glossy.

    The rings that came on the gun must be European. The screws are M4 and each ring has been very carefully shimmed with plastic tape. I'm pretty sure the rings are 26mm and the tape made them fit a 1" scope. The mounting screws are knurled knobs slotted for a Redfield-type driver with a curved blade.

    The rear of the trigger guard seems to be awfully deeply recessed into the stock. For those of you who have a P72 or P78, is this typical?

    The stock is a very nice piece of what seems to be oil-finished American black walnut. Nice color and a little bit of grain and figure. Much better than average for a Sako. The wood is dirty from years of being carried in the field, especially on the gripping surfaces like the inside curve of the pistol grip. I rubbed it with some Birchwood Casey stock cleaner and could see an immediate improvement, but I'll need to do more if I want it to look its best. I may do a finish renewal with Watco Rejuvenating Oil.

    Here are some photos - first as received, then with the Leupold installed.

    As Received 2.JPG As Received 3.JPG As Received 4.JPG 2x Hornet.JPG Left Side 1.JPG Stock Left Side 1.JPG
    Bottom 1.JPG
     
  10. cl_leg

    cl_leg Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    55
    Country Flag:
    Canada
    State/Region:
    CA Ontario
    I believe sights were optional and those screws are factory installed.
    From everthing I have read about the 72's vs the 78's is that the 78's have a better trigger. Hope you get it tuned to your liking and it shoots well for you. Neet little gun.

    Chris
     
  11. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Likes Received:
    467
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Arizona
    Well, I found the problem with the squishy trigger pull. Some previous owner had messed with the sear engagement. I knew I'd find something amiss when I pulled the action out of the stock and saw tool marks all over the trigger adjustments. I could see where the sear engagement had been staked at the factory and someone had broken it loose. The adjustment screw turned easily, not a safe situation. Fortunately, the engagement was set at full and not in the other direction. I found a middle point where there was plenty of sear engagement but no noticeable creep, and secured the screw with purple (low strength) Loctite. This formulation is made expressly for situations like this where you have an adjustment that you want to add some friction without locking it permanently. I didn't have to mess with the tension screw, just the sear engagement. Photos below showing before and after. Now the trigger breaks cleanly at 2 pounds 6 ounces, the safety works, and sear engagement appears to be adequate to survive a drop (I don't do a military drop test on collectible Sakos).

    Deersako: It's the single stage trigger.

    I also cleaned up the buggered heads on the action screws and cold blued them and the magazine base plate

    . All that's left is to finish cleaning up the stock and put some extra oil on it, then put it back together and it's ready to test fire.

    Sear engagement as I found it.
    Trigger 1.JPG

    After adjusting
    Trigger3.JPG

    The sear engagement screw is at lower right, recessed at the bottom of the trigger housing. The castle nut above it locks the trigger pull adjustment. You can see tool marks where somebody adjusted it with the wrong tools, but pull weight was OK so I didn't mess with it.
    Trigger 4.JPG
     
    ricksengines and mlesh like this.
  12. deersako

    deersako Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    214
    Country Flag:
    Australia
    State/Region:
    AU New South Wales
    Thanks for the update icebear. Interesting about the trigger as I always believed that all P72’s had the first style two stage triggers, though I haven’t seen a P72 Hornet in the flesh. I wonder if only the 72 Hornet’s got the single stage trigger, with the safety mechanism that also locks the bolt ?

    Incidentally, I just received an L46 Hornet (.17AH) that came with a simply modified P series Hornet magazine that works quite well, not perfect, but functional.
     
  13. deersako

    deersako Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    214
    Country Flag:
    Australia
    State/Region:
    AU New South Wales
    Icebear, would you mind showing us some more pictures of the action when you have it out of the stock next time, including a pic of the underside of the bolt ?
    I’m curious as to how the Hornet action differs to the P72 .22wmr I have here with the two stage trigger.
     
  14. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

    Messages:
    7,013
    Likes Received:
    1,008
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Texas
    I have a very early P72 .22LR (gloss stock and four digit serial number which I actually purchased from the retired president of Garcia Arms.) I have never needed to adjust the trigger since the trigger is excellent as-is, but it is definitely single-stage.
     
  15. deersako

    deersako Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    214
    Country Flag:
    Australia
    State/Region:
    AU New South Wales
    Interesting Stonecreek, I was just looking at my .22wmr, hence my reply to icebear.
    6 digit serial number with two stage trigger,
    it’s ok, but not great.
    I have a couple of spare P series single stage triggers here that I could swap out, but would have to modify the blade on the safety mechanism that locks the bolt closed when engaged. I’m reluctant to do this.
     
  16. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Likes Received:
    467
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Arizona
    You're in luck; I haven't quite finished with the stock so it's still apart. Here are your photos. Note the single locking lug on the collar at about 90 degrees to the bolt handle. I am not sure if the bolt handle acts as a locking lug in normal use, but it certainly would serve as a safety lug. The fourth photo shows the groove in the receiver tube for the locking lug.
    Action 1.JPG Action 2.JPG Action 3.JPG Action 4.JPG Bolt.JPG
     
  17. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

    Messages:
    3,016
    Likes Received:
    396
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Iowa
    That single little lug on the bolt handle collar is what "locks" up the modified rimfire action & determines headspace on your P72. The bolt handle is a safety lug only. This is the weak point of all the Sako rimfire actioned Hornets. All three I had, one NIB, had very sloppy headspace & as that little lug wears with use the headspace gets worse. The other issue you will face is the very erratic rim thickness on Hornet brass from maker to maker & lot to lot. The rim thickness variation along with the "loose" headspace make it very difficult to get good or consistent accuracy. You can peen the lug on the bottom near the rear edge and tighten headspace a few thousandths, but it will wear away in about 500 rounds & you will be back to where you started. Sorting brass by rim thickness will help with your handloads, but these little rifles just aren't going to be tackdrivers. 2" groups at 100 yards would be near the top of accuracy expectations. However, for it's intended use & range limitations that may serve you well. If you get better than that you have a real gem & should count your blessings. The Hornet doesn't have a reputation of being an inherently accurate cartridge to start with but I have heard of some of these rifles shooting well, so maybe you will be lucky. The CZ & Brno centerfire actions are what I use for Hornet based wildcats & accuracy is not a problem. Good luck & give us a range report!!
     
  18. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Likes Received:
    467
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Arizona
    Thanks for the very useful information. I don't think I have a Hornet headspace gauge so that will remain unknown for the moment. I have Hornady and PPU ammo to try. The Hornady has been promising in my CZ; the PPU somewhat less so but not awful. The first thing is to get the scope zeroed (I lasered it but haven't had it to the range yet to get a final zero. This is a bad time of year for shooting, and we are on track for one of the worst summers on record. Last night's overnight low was 80; it was 90 by 8:00 and 100 by 11. We normally get a summer monsoon starting the first week in July, but this year we have hardly had any summer rain at all. The county range is only open Saturday and Sunday because of the coronavirus, and you want to be there when it opens at 7 (35-45 minute drive). And, the range tends to be windy, although it's usually calm first thing in the morning. So, I have a huge backlog of sighting-in and test firing, including the Hornet, my AV in 7x64, and a .222 Tikka/Ithaca.

    I've noticed that several European .22 Hornet rifles are made on what seem to be pretty weak rimfire actions. The Anschutz looks to be even less strong than the Sako P series. I've seen rimfire actions where the bolt handle actually was the locking lug, but I don't recall if anybody tried to use one of those for a Hornet. The wildest one I've seen was a single shot Walther target rifle, built on a single-lug rimfire action and chambered for .222 Remington. That was sort of scary looking, but it was possibly the most accurate rifle I've owned. It consistently shot 3/8" groups or better at 100 yards.

    I'll post results when I get the P72 to the range. Weekend weather forecast is not promising - hot and windy. We'll see what happens.
     
  19. deersako

    deersako Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    214
    Country Flag:
    Australia
    State/Region:
    AU New South Wales
    Nothing like a little luck occasionally, thanks, the pics showed exactly what I was interested in.
    While mine is a .22wmr, I’ll share an action pic and a pic of two other ‘P’ series triggers, one being the same as on your rifle, and the other that I’ve determined is from the biathlon version. They both function well on my rifle, though to use with the safety, I would have to cut the blade off that locks the bolt when engaged. The action and bolt don’t have the milled slot to accomodate it.

    This rifle is about 5000 earlier than yours.

    0A5FC3F4-3776-45BE-B119-728A00011EF2.jpeg

    9AB5E280-13B9-48A0-BD06-D9F730907F70.jpeg
     
    ricksengines and icebear like this.
  20. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

    Messages:
    3,016
    Likes Received:
    396
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Iowa
    Icebear, you can just use some metal shims to check headspace. Find a piece of Hornet brass with the correct rim thickness, then place a .004" shim between the bolt face & the case head. If you can close the bolt your headspace is fat. If you can close the bolt, add shims until you can't. That will tell you how far off your headspace is. Hornet rim thickness can vary .004", so that might be the reason the rifles tend to have "loose" headspace.
     
    ricksengines and icebear like this.

Share This Page

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Okay More information