Short Actions Sako L46 vs L461

Discussion in 'Sako Short Actions' started by Von_Lehmann, May 3, 2021.

  1. Von_Lehmann

    Von_Lehmann Member

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    Hey guys,

    I am looking to buy a new small game/grouse gun. At first I had my heart set on a CZ in .17hmr but then I thought, well...I am in the land of Sako, may as well do as the Finns do.

    So black grouse and caipercaille are usually taken on the tops of trees around 100m. I would say the most popular rounds for this are the .222, the .223, the .308, and the 6.5. I know those last two sound pretty big, but you use FMJ rounds and the meat loss is far less than you expect. I currently hunt with a Weatherby .308


    But I wanted something a little smaller/lighter/safer for this. I took a look at some second hand sights here and I found quite a few Sako L46 and L461 for sale. From around 400-600 euros. A couple with heavy barrels, all of them with optics included.

    But I really am not sure which one to get and if I should get the L46 or the L461 and is something with a heavy barrel a better purchase or not? SO I was really hoping someone with more knowledge on these rifles could school me and give me some guidance
     

  2. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    You'll find little difference in the accuracy of an L46 vs. an L461. Most will be exceedingly accurate; the exceptions are those with a corroded or shot-out barrel or one which has a problem with a warped stock or something of that nature.

    Operationally, the L461 is a little smoother and it has the internal magazine with a capacity of 6 rounds which most people prefer. The L46 uses a detachable 3-round magazine, which is plenty of shots for most situations -- but detachable magazines are subject to being lost or separated from the gun.

    The stock on the earlier L46 (before Sako switched to a Monte Carlo style cheekpiece) was a bit low for scope use, so your cheek won't bear as firmly against the stock as with the later L46 or an L461. Whether this is important depends on your physical make up and is not a bother to many people.

    The L46 has what many people refer to as a "Model 7o"-style trigger and a bolt safety, while the L461 has an internally adjustable trigger and a trigger safety. The bolt safety blocks the firing pin, so people generally regard it as "safer", but either type can be mis-adjusted to make it unsafe. The L461 trigger safety is quieter, which might be a factor if your quarry is noise sensitive.

    On the whole, I'd buy whichever model you come across which is in the best condition at the most attractive price. All things being equal I'd take the L461, but I own several L46's and enjoy shooting them as much as any.
     
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  3. Von_Lehmann

    Von_Lehmann Member

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    Great advice thank you. The few L46 I have seen all seem to come with several magazines, which is nice. A couple have leupold scopes which is also what drew me to them. I think all of them actually have monte carlo stocks, which is nice. Most are private sales, but perhaps looking specifically for a gun dealer would reduce the risk of getting a shot out one. There is one in .223 for sale, but I had not seriously considered it because the .222 lower power is what I was kind of looking for to begin with. Although part of me is still very much considering the .17hmr. Do you have any thoughts about the heavy barrel models?

    https://www.tori.fi/lappi/Sako_L46_Vixen_ja_Leupold_3_9_Kiikaritahtain_83614325.htm?sa=1

    https://www.tori.fi/kainuu/Sako_L461_222__832__82986992.htm?sa=1

    https://www.tori.fi/lappi/Sako_L46__222rem_varmint_82990746.htm?sa=1

    Thought it might help to show the exact ads I am looking at
     
  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Heavy barrel rifles are designed to hold their zero and accuracy for longer strings of shots such as you might have when hunting colony varmints like prairie dogs or shooting ten-shot groups on paper. They have no significant accuracy advantage over sporter-weight barrels if your hunting requires only about three or four shots in quick succession so that barrel heat doesn't become a factor. For walk-around hunting the heavy barrel models are much less portable, slower, and less handy and are cumbersome to shoot offhand. I would think the sporter models would be much better suited to grouse and capercaelle hunting.
     
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  5. Von_Lehmann

    Von_Lehmann Member

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    thank you for the advice!
     
  6. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    I am personally partial to the L46 as I think they show better workmanship, especially on the stock, than the later models. I also have had better shooting results with the L46 than the L461, but that could just be luck of the draw. Of the three rifles in the ads, I'd consider the first one (L46 sporter with 3-9x Leupold) as the best suited to your needs. At 500 euros it's a good deal. The L461 in the second ad looks like it's been rode hard and put away wet, and the Swift scope is a piece of junk. The rear sight leaf has been removed to accommodate the scope. The heavy barrel L46 is a really nice gun, but as Stonecreek points out, it's kind of heavy to walk around with. I have one like it that will put three rounds into a Finnmark coin at 100m - but I wouldn't want to hump it around the woods all day. You also might want a bit more scope to shoot capercaillie out of trees at 100-150 meters.

    Just my opinion - and free advice is worth what you paid for it!
     
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  7. Von_Lehmann

    Von_Lehmann Member

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    Well, while you are giving out free advice...let me pick your brain a bit! I just messaged the guy about the first sako, he sent me some photos and I was hoping you or someone else could weigh in on them. I may try to talk the price down if he keeps the 5 round magazine..I think having 2x 3 round mags is probably enough but maybe thats a mistake?

    Anyway there is some blueing on the barrel and some pitting on the exposed parts of the barrel. But other than that it looks well cared for, is this something I should be concerned about? I think the stock butt has been planed down a little bit?
     

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  8. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Rifle is in pretty good shape for being 60+ years old. The inside of the barrel is more important than any slight surface rust or minor pitting on the exterior. As you suspected the Monte Claro cheek rise has been removed so it more resembles the older pancake cheek piece of the earlier L46's. That, in conjunction with the very high scope mounts needed to clear the rear barrel sight will make a good cheek weld more difficult, if not impossible. A shorter more compact scope or removing the rear sight base(probably soldered on) & lower mounts would resolve that issue. Not having the complete rear sight is something else to consider. It would probably make an OK hunting rifle, but if you are looking for a Sako in original configuration & unmodified I would look elsewhere. Just my two cents!
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
  9. Von_Lehmann

    Von_Lehmann Member

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    ok thank you!
     
  10. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    I agree with Paulson's comments.
     

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