Recovering from a proper man cold I thought I would type down a little something on my current project. Warning: Lots of text in one post. Located in central Sweden, I have been spending some time fox hunting lately, at the tail end of the hunting season. Using my trusty 6,5x55 (a cartridge with the performance of the Creedmoor or .260 - but launched in 1894 ) I find that more often than not I blow huge holes in foxes. Call me a softie, but I don't like destroying animals, predators or not. I find it disrespectful. I want to be able to harvest at least the fur from a predator. During this late season fox hunts I also like to hunt the Mountain hare and the European hare when the opportunity arises, as they often cross paths with the fox which is my primary target. With varmint bullets, headshots are a necessity to preserve the meat. So what do I want for this particular type of hunting? A rifle that must tick these boxes: Compact, light and short for carrying and maneuvering in cramped stands Magazine fed, preferably without a detachable mag Well suppressed, not only because I prefer it but also because this hunting takes place at night in proximity to where people live Very good accuracy Ability to switch optics between something with extremely good light transmission for night time hunting (thinking used Germanic 7x56 or 8x56 here - S&B, Kahles, Swarovski or Zeiss) and a competent FFP MIL/MIL sight for longish ranges during daylight stalking (most likely some "American" brand here - i.e. Japanese made - to keep costs down, like the Nightforce SHV F1) Good ammunition availability - I don't want to have to order brass from halfway around the world or spend lots of time fireforming or swaging brass just to be able to practice or hunt The ability to hunt roe deer with lead free bullets (Barnes TTSX, etc) Really small and light actions are not that easy to find. I want a proper mini action, not a "halfway there" like the Remington Seven which is a small .308 pattern action. There are some nice options in the current Howa Mini, older Kricos, but the Sakos are the nicest of the bunch. The S491 and 75 of the "I" size are fantastic but quite rare (which leads to them being expensive). They also have the fat bolt of the .308 size actions which makes them a lot clunkier than the neat L461/A1 action. The .222 Remington was extremely popular in Scandinavia during the 70s and 80s mostly because of the "roe deer explosion" when the numbers of these small deer skyrocketed. However, lately their numbers have declined to sane levels in most parts while the boar has become extremely common in southern and mid Sweden. The .222 is not legal for boar, so now you can have .222's for next to nothing (I got my first L461 for around $150 US) as most hunters do not want to have to pass up the opportunity to take a boar if one presents itself. I am not one of them. I have owned a Sako L461 with the Vixen stock before, and while I like the cute little action I had some issues with it - mostly performance (it didn't shoot well), and to me the stock was absolutely terrible to shoot with. So the stock must be replaced with something better - something like the Sako varmint stock. A potential issue with L461 actions is the old spring steel (unsure of the terminology here) extractor, which if it fails is pretty much impossible to replace at less than astronomical cost. Later L461 and all (?) A1 models have the newer type claw extractor which is very functional and, in case of failure, easy to replace. So an A1 it is. I found one online for sale and bought it after seeing one image. It's in working condition and that's good enough. What about the stock then? Turns out Canadian company Wildcat Composites builds lightweight stocks modeled after the L461 Varmint (and other Sakos, in case you're looking to upgrade). And they are even affordable (at least considering the cost of a McMillan)! All around good guy Stuart has built my stock according to my needs (including leaving a pocket for bedding a Versapod spigot in the fore end) and it is on it's way across the Atlantic as I type this. What about cartridge? The .222 is nice but doesn't really appeal to me mostly because I want to be able to run deer legal copper bullets in it. Sure, a new barrel with a faster twist could possible solve this, but I have already done the .222 thing and want to try something different. So I settled on the .223 Remington Ackley Improved in 1-9 twist to be able to run 40 or 50 grains V-Max bullets as well as the occasional long TTSX bullet for the roe deer. Pop in affordable factory FMJs in .223 Rem on the range and after practice I have AI cases I can load with hunting bullets. The barrel will be a stainless Krieger, around 20" in total lenth, and most likely in #4 Heavy Sporter contour, but my gun smith will do some calculations for me that may or may not sway me towards a lighter or heavier profile. Muzzle threaded for a Svemko suppressor (very good suppression, very light, also quite expensive but I have hearing loss already so I prefer to pay for quality suppression). So, that was a lot of text. Sorry for that. And perhaps this is the wrong forum for this as it might be sacrilege to collectors, but I hope you would agree that putting a Sako A1 to use must have its merits.