Sako Biathlon Rifle - pre 72

Discussion in 'Sako Medium Actions' started by Guest, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. Guest

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    A recent acquisition - apparently a custom build by Sako for a biathlon team in N. Ont in the early 1960s.

    Sako Forester (L 579) - heavy barrel - beaver forestock - and a slot cut for stripper clips in rear bridge - with peep sight. This rifle is like new - pre 1972 Bofors steel marked barrel.

    I've never seen one before so thought I'd post it up here to see if anyone else has....

    Regards.

     

  2. Guest

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    Pics are in the general photo album under "Sako Biathlon"
     
  3. Guest

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    I'm no expert on the Biathalon, but I thought it was shot with a .22 rimfire. If so, what is a centerfire action doing in this contest? Are there different categories of this competition that use high powered rifles?
     
  4. Guest

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    The first Olympic biathlon competitions used big-bore rifles when competition was reserved for the military. Lighter, small-bore, .22-calibre rifles were adopted in the late 1970s and the target distance was reduced to 50 metres, making it easier for civilians to train and compete.
     
  5. Guest

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    The first Olympic Biathlon competitions were held in 1960 in Squaw Valley, California (USA). These were 20km races with four shooting stations with targets set at 250m, 200m, 150m, and 100m. The first three stations were done in prone position - the last in standing. Big bore rifles were used - Winchester Model 70s in 30.06, .308, and .243 being popular among US competitors. Cardboard targets were used, and two minute penalties were assessed for misses.
     
  6. Guest

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    Thanks for the information. I had no idea anything other than .22 rimfires were used.
     
  7. Guest

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    Just added another few photos in the photo section.....

    Rob
     
  8. dnkahn

    dnkahn Member

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    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]Gentlemen:[/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    I know this is an old thread, but I'm a new member, having just recently found and joined this forum, so I don't mind chiming in. About 15 years ago, I was able to purchase a like-new SAKO rifle chambered to 243 Winchester. I was told it is a standard model Biathlon rifle, available from the factory fitted as my rifle is. Of the early 1970s era, it mounts Redfield "Olympic" globe front sight with rear micrometer click-adjustable one. The barrel profile is factory standard "bull" configuration, the front sight on a band near the muzzle. The stock is factory standard "varmint" pattern, with a flat-bottomed, beavertail forend, and the checkering and finish are standard for the era. There are standard sling swivel studs toward the end of the forend (usual factory location) and toe of the butt (ditto).
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]I corresponded with Mims Reed (then a respected authority on SAKO guns, and a collector of note) about the gun: he told me that (at the time) the rifle was a factory cataloged item, not uncommonly made and sold in Northern Europe and Scandinavia, where biathlon flourished then, as well as the northern U.S. and Canada, for the same geographic reasons. It was a simple and straightforward add-on modification of the standard gun, and in his opinion, of no particular collector's interest, though he offered me the U.S. retail price at the time, later confirmed by the SAKO factory, if I wanted to sell it. Being interested in biathlon, including its history and artefacts, I declined. He gave me his contact's address at the factory, which I used to confirm Mr. Reed's analysis.[/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]Bottom line: I construe this model to be an interesting variation, but not particularly rare. My gun's condition is of note, because most such items were bought as using guns. Biathlon is a cold weather sport, often conducted in falling snow, and subject to falls and wetting. Even with respectful good care, the finish is likely to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. [/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]I have a well-read book by Arthur E. Stegen, who was a respected competitor and captain/coach of the U.S. Biathlon Team at one time, published by NRA, copyright date 1979, titled Biathlon, that offers a very nice discussion of the sport in the centerfire era, prior to 1980. (I happen to like that time as representing more direct practicality, but never mind. Today's game is still pretty cool.) Anyway, there are in it a number of photos showing biathletes carrying exactly such a rifle as we're talking about.[/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]Cheers,[/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]David [/FONT]
     
  9. hayseed51

    hayseed51 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting David - thanks for weighing in.

    While your rifle may not be ultra rare or anything, It is certainly not common at all either. Sounds like a gem, and as you say likely very few in such nice condition.

    You do realize that you're now obligated to post some good pics in out photo section don't you?

    Thanks, look forward to the pics. Dick
     
  10. dnkahn

    dnkahn Member

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    Dick et al.
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]Thanks for noticing my post. If I've been of any help, I'm pleased. I'm glad to get some photographs up, but my needing a bit of technological help (in the form of a digital camera) means it'll take me a bit of time to do it. In the interim, I found this item, which may be of tangential interest to folks who have discovered the intrigue of biathlon, perhaps especially the now-old centerfire version of the pre-1980 era (running back centuries): http://www.examiner.com/x-33722-Oklahoma-City-Firearms-Examiner~y2010m1d31-Soviet-Vostok-65x54R-Olympic-Biathlon-rifle Do prepare yourself: this is a Northern European rifle, but it's a gussied-up Mosin Nagant.[/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]This rifle was used by internationalists from the USSR, and surely shot against men with such rifles as mine. MNs have been in Finland and used by Finns for decades. The gun is interesting in itself, and it's evocative of the time and place and zeitgeist that spawned SAKO's rifle, too. This datum gives a comparitor and a perspective. (And, to be fair, the Finnish guns are vastly better made, finished and styled, though no one would say Mosin Nagants can't be used well and function well.)[/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]Anyway, FYI FWIW. [/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]Cheers,[/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]David[/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif]Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas . . . Semper Sub Ratione[/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=serif, sans-serif][/FONT]
     
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Sako-addicted

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    David,
    Very interesting link. I sent it to my son-in-law, who is a Mosin Nagant collector. Thanks for sharing your information on the forum.
    S-A
     
  12. algonquin

    algonquin Active Member

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    Very interesting thread! Both my wife and I are great fans of present day biathlon but I never know how fascinating the original version was, absolutely incredible. Are there any practitioners of the original biathlon left on our planet?
    Still impressed and amazed...
    FM
     

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