"Pre-Garcia" L61R .25-06?

Discussion in 'Sako Long/Magnum Actions' started by stonecreek, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    The question of whether there were any .25-06's imported prior to Garcia becoming the U.S. importer has been kicked around here on the forum for a long time.

    Of course, "pre-Garcia" isn't a very meaningful concept in that the last of the "Firearms International Sakos" and first of the "Garcia Sakos" were identical. The L61R's made prior to sometime in 1972 had three-lug bolts. Many of the L61R's which followed had two lug bolts but the receiver had a bolt cut for the third lug even though there was no third lug present on the bolt. Also, both Firearms International and Garcia (through its import subsidiary Impecco) were simultaneously importing Sakos for a period of months in 1971 during the transition of the distributorship from one to the other.

    But, if the question is "was there ever a .25-06 imported by Firearms International", then I've discovered that the answer is YES. One. And only one. Serial Number 62825, caliber .25-06, standard grade, was booked for shipping to "F.I.C.", which Sako sometimes used as an abbreviation for "Firearms International Corporation", on 7 May 1971 and was the only item in that shipping lot. And, it is the only .25-06 which the records show going to F.I. So, if finding a "pre-Garcia" .25-06 is your Holy Grail, then you now not only know that such exists, but you also have its serial number!

    Just a week later, on 14 May 1971, a batch of 90 L61R .25-06's was booked for shipping to Impecco (Garcia). After May, the floodgates opened, with Sako shipping 1118 standard grade and 255 Deluxe .25-06's in the year 1971, nearly all of them to Impecco/Garcia, with a handful going to European distributors. My guess is that all of these had three lug bolts, but they are not "pre-Garcias".


    Here's the page from the shipping ledger:
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Thanks for the insight. Just another example of the meaningless of "pre-Garcia", as I'm sure the "one" 25-06 shipped to FI was identical to the 90 shipped a week later & the 1300+ shipped to Garcia throughout the rest of 1971. Yet that "one" 25-06 is somehow magically "pre-Garcia". Saw a post the other day that referred to some feature or model designation being from the "Stoegar" era. Whatever that means. Unfortunately, I just don't think the false link between U.S. importers & certain changes or transitions Sako implemented in their production can ever be eliminated, no matter what evidence is revealed otherwise. Thankfully the factory records reveal the truth, if anybody cares to take note.
     
  3. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    I guess the "handful of 25-06's that went to European distributors" in 1971 could mean that a GI may have brought one home without the import stamp. I've not seen one, but I have heard of 25-06's without an import stamp. Personally, I wouldn't consider "one" 25-06 imported by FI as a Holy Grail unless the barrel were stamped bofors which I'm almost certain didn't happen. The fact that Sako was using bofors steel for the barrels until about 1974 didn't mean much to me because they had stopped stamping bofors on the barrel around the end of 1968 (which is also about the same time the stocks and barrels got fat).

    Thanks for the info and shipping ledger !
     
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  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    That's true. But since it would have been in 1971 or after, such a rifle would clearly not be a Firearms International import since the 1968 GCA would have required FI to put an import stamp on it.

    The single FI-imported .25-06, wherever it is, would have an import stamp. I'm not sure its status as an "only" makes it valuable, but it certainly makes it interesting to those of us who are Sako minutia nerds.

    As an example, I have one of the very first batch of ten L61R's shipped from the factory. That fact plus 10 cents in 1961 would get you a cup of coffee. Now you'll have to put $2 with it, unless you're at Starbucks in which case you'll need to break a $20.
     
  5. Rocky

    Rocky Well-Known Member

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    I have a non import stamped, three lug, 25-06 Deluxe with a serial number in the 74, thousand range.

    What year would you guess it was made?
     
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  6. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Beings the 25-06 wasn't chambered until 1971 & Sako ended the first L61R serial numbering sequence at 90954 in late 1973, before starting a new serial number sequence with 500001, it was probably made during that time frame. So, 1972 would be as good a guess as any, but I don't know when Sako ran out of three lug bolts. Have you taken the action out of the stock to see if an import stamp could be on the side of the action or on the underside of the barrel beneath the stock?
     
  7. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    The standard grades in 1971 were almost all in the 60,000's, while the Deluxes (which were made later in the year) were mostly in the 40 and 50,000's. The way Sako skipped around, there's no telling when a 74XXX was made, except to say some year after 1971.

    The 74,000's are well past where we have inspection records, but we have shipping records up until about 1978. Since Sako started identifying the shipping pages with "standard", "deluxe" etc. in 1968, it is a little mind-bending, but usually isn't too terribly time consuming, to find something like a Deluxe .25-06 in the 1970's in the shipping records. (The Deluxe .25-06 makes for a somewhat larger needle in a bit smaller -- 1972 and up -- haystack). If you'll send me your serial number I'll see if I can locate it to zero in on its date since I'm sure others would be interested to see how this SN fits in with the sequence (or lack thereof).
     
  8. Rocky

    Rocky Well-Known Member

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    Serial number is 74429.

    I take that it's a transitional one because the bolt has the fine checkering and the receiver has the large checkering.

    upload_2018-7-10_10-19-8.jpeg
     
  9. Rocky

    Rocky Well-Known Member

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    Paulson, no I haven't taken the stock off to see if it is import stamped somewhere under the wood.
     
  10. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    That number shows to have been booked for shipping 5 July 1973 to Impecco (Garcia), so it should have had an import stamp.

    There are two possible explanations: First, as Paulson's query implies, the stamp could be underneath the for end (I've heard of this but haven't seen it myself.)

    The second possibility is that Impecco also imported to Canada before Stoeger Canada took over. The rifle might have gone first to Canada, where it would not necessarily have had an import stamp, then have been brought to the U.S. by an individual.

    Let us know if you discover a stamp on it.
     
  11. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Another example of the randomness of Sako serial numbers. 74,xxx in July of 73 & the sequence ending, just shy of 3 months later, in Sept. of the same year at 90,xxx. I've seen the import mark "Garcia Corp. Washington D.C." on the right side of the action below the stock line before. Take a peek & let us know!!
     
  12. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    That's where the actions-only were marked. I've seen full stock Mannlichers marked on the upper RH side of the barrel. I haven't yet run across the marking that many people have described as the underside of the barrel beneath the wood on a half-stock rifle, but as many mentions as I've heard such import markings must exist.
     
  13. winchrman

    winchrman Member

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    Intersting info ... mine fits in at 619xx Garcia marked and three lug bolt -exceptional wood
     
  14. deergoose

    deergoose Sako-addicted

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    I've got one of these.....mine is in the 56,000 serial # range. 3-lug, Garcia marked, and it's the only deluxe .25/06 that I have now. I've owned several deluxe .25's over the years, but sold them all in place of this one. I believe the last one I got rid of brought over $1800 on GB, and I was tickled with that.

    Would like to know more about the 1968 GCA requirements....I've got a bunch of these rifles built in the late '60s and early '70s that are NOT import marked. I find it hard to believe that they are all GI bring-backs or came in through Canada. I do have a few Firearms Int'l marked rifles, but I think I can count them all on one hand.

    Very interesting thread here....so thanks to the members for that !!!
    DeerGoose
     
  15. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    I think that the 1968 GCA provisions went into effect on October 1 of that year (the beginning of the new fiscal year), but I am not certain. Sometimes the implementation of a new statute is delayed in order to give some lead time for those who are affected to meet the provisions. The import stamping provision might have been delayed awaiting the adoption of rules by BATF or for some other reason. I'm not sure where to go to find out the answers, but you raise an interesting question.
     
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  16. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    LBJ signed the GCA of 1968 on Oct. 22, 1968, so that would be it's official "effective" date. I don't know if all the regs pertaining to the act were written by that date or if it was immediately implemented then or not. Usually an act of congress takes some time for the bureaucrats to establish rules, regs, enforcement procedures, compliance requirements, etc. So the exact date the import stamp was actually "required" to appear may have been lost to history. It is probably safe to assume that rifles imported in 1969 or later had the import stamp. I can assure you that NO gun imported to the US in 1970 or later was missing that stamp. Do you have documentation on the production dates for the rifles in question? Have you removed the stocks to see if the import stamp could be hidden? Is it possible the mark was removed by a previous owner? Let us know if you find anything!!
     
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  17. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    All of the information we're short on could be found in the Federal Register. I assume that it is indexed and available somewhere, but I wouldn't know where to look. The current Federal Register is online, but whether Registers from more than fifty years ago are online and accessible is another question.

    I do recall that initially the agency rules on the 1968 GCA prohibited the shipment of ammunition and components like brass and bullets to other than FFL's. Can't remember how long that rule lasted, but it was eventually repealed as I believe it went beyond what the statute provided for. Those ammunition/component provisions, along with their (supposedly inadvertent) importation of feathers from endangered bird species for fishing flies, was part of the undoing of Herter's, which went out of business in the 1970's.
     
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  18. deergoose

    deergoose Sako-addicted

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    Yes, for some. NIBs with the hangtags, and possibly 1 or 2 via the Factory Records Service; Yes, I take every rifle apart for an inspection and cleaning, including Mannlichers and NIB Sakos that I have; I don't think so, I have enough of these things and fooled with them long enough to detect if they've been messed with or not.

    I'm gonna try to dig up an import mark anomaly, and will let all know if I do!! this is good stuff right here.

    Great questions and info! thanks,
    DeerGoose
     

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