Sako L61R Ring Windage Problem

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Sako parts' started by Grem_260, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. Grem_260

    Grem_260 Member

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    Recently I purchased a Sako L61R in .30-06. What a gorgeous rifle! To scope it I purchased a new Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40 scope, and solid Sako rings (Sako Optilock Blue 75/85 1" Low Ringmounts S1701900). When I first mounted the scope, I mounted the forward ring all the way to the rear adjacent to the ejection port, as seen here:

    [​IMG]

    When I went to group the rifle, the POI was feet to the left at 25m. I dialed the scope POI right as far as it would go, and still didn't pattern on paper. At this time, I began to research this issue (mostly via threads on this forum), and found that I could shift the POI to the right by moving the forward ring to the center of the front mount. I patterned the rifle again, and now was at least on paper, but still to the right. A second range trip with my scope mounting tools packed along produced this configuration, which is where it is right now:

    [​IMG]


    The scope bases are now as far apart as they can physically be on the scope. At 25yd, the rifle is still patterning 2" to the left of the bullseye. More importantly, the gun does not hit paper at 100yd even in this configuration, and even when I aimed past the far right of the target stand. As far as I can tell, one of three geometric conditions may exist:

    The scope is more or less parallel with the barrel, but offset to one side (unlikely).

    The scope is cocked in windage across the barrel.

    The scope is cocked in windage away from the barrel.

    Another option is that the scope is defective and needs to be returned.

    Hopefully, when I post this, the problem will be obvious to some users of this forum and I will just need to re-mount the scope and go. Any ideas?
     

  2. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    I have a nasty suspicion that this particular style of ring is not compatible with older Sakos. There have been previous complaints posted on the forum of one-piece Optilock rings not lining up on L and A series rifles. The packaging and online catalog information from Sako and Beretta list these rings for the 75 and 85 models and do not mention the older guns. This is in contrast to the Optilock bases, which are listed for specific 75/85 variations and L-series actions. I don't know what the difference could be; I don't own a 75 or 85 and I've never worked with the unitary Optilock rings. It's widely believed that all Sako dovetails are the same, but in fact there are variations. Full-coverage bases for the L-series guns, such as those from Redfield and Conetrol, come in different versions for the L461/L579 actions and the L61R.

    Here's a test you can try to get some information on the problem. On the back of the front ring, draw a vertical line from the lowest point of the scope to the base. Then draw a line down the precise center of the dovetail base. Use something like a white or yellow carpenter's pencil that will make a visible line but will not mar the surface. Then slide the ring forward and back on the dovetail and see if the center line of the scope lines up at any point with the center line of the dovetail. The rear base should be centered because of the alignment stud, but you can check that by finding the center of the scope and determining if that is in the center of the dovetail when the clamp screw is snug.

    I hope this helps you figure out what is wrong. I personally use only original, old-style Sako rings on L-series rifles, except for the occasional set of Conetrols on a custom. The Redfield-type mounts work, but the rings may require lapping. And several of our members swear by the one-piece Leupold rings, which share the same general design as the one-piece Optilocks but do fit the older guns.
     
  3. Grem_260

    Grem_260 Member

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    Thank you for the advice. If it's a problem with the rings, I can live with that. Buy a new set of rings, zero, and go. Maybe some nice chap here would even buy the rings I have off me, heh.

    Just to make sure that if/when I do buy another set of rings, could you direct me more precisely to some you know will work with the L61R? Do you have a Leupold catalog number or something like that? The old-style Sako rings are not made any more? Or they're a different model number than what I have?
     
  4. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    The old-style Sako rings have not been made for many years. They are usually available, in excellent condition, from SakoSource, a sponsor of this forum. Who knows, he might even take your rings in on trade. The old rings aren't cheap, but they work, are fully windage adjustable, and have a certain cachet of authenticity about them. You can also find them on eBay and Gunbroker, with varying prices, conditions, and degree of honesty in the descriptions.

    Someone else will have to jump in on the specifics of Leupold rings for Sako. I don't like or use them, so I'm not the one to ask. Hopefully Paulson or Stonecreek, both of whom do use Leupold rings, will add their expertise.

    And by the way, that is one gorgeous rifle. I've never seen borderless checkering like that on an L61R - the checkering on most has borders, all too frequently too wide, too deep, and sloppily executed. Could that rifle have been refinished and recheckered?
     
  5. CVCOBRA1

    CVCOBRA1 Well-Known Member

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  6. Grem_260

    Grem_260 Member

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    What's his U/N here, if you don't mind? I can't seem to tag "SakoSource".

    As long as the Sakos are semi-reasonable in price, I'll probably take that route, if necessary.

    I've seen no evidence that it was refinished (proofs and markings all look normal to the other Sakos I've seen - no "bubba marks"), but if the smith was good enough I probably wouldn't be able to tell. If memory serves, I dated it to 1973, and put some extra effort into getting a pre-Garcia gun, so it is a "nicer" grade than some of the other L61Rs. Little extra patience and a bigger budget, because I want to hand this down to my son when he's old enough to say 'cat' properly, at least. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
  7. Grem_260

    Grem_260 Member

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  8. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    sakosource.com
    Or you can click on the ad at the upper right of this page. It rotates between Sako Source and Classic Arms Journal.
    That may explain the checkering. The top surfaces of the dovetails appear to be smooth, not checkered. There were some guns made in that time frame that were a bit different, a model 72 or 74, I forget exactly, but it was a little different from the usual production and I distinctly remember that the dovetails lacked checkering.
     
  9. Grem_260

    Grem_260 Member

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    Thank you very much!


    The dovetails are checkered. Let me get a photo.
     
  10. Grem_260

    Grem_260 Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  11. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    OK, I see. Maybe someone who is more familiar with rare variations will be able to explain that checkering.
     
  12. kevinlg

    kevinlg Well-Known Member

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    Grem.....

    Have you confirmed that the scope reticle was mechanically centered, within it's adjustment range........before mounting in rings?

    Just a thought.
     
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  13. Grem_260

    Grem_260 Member

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    Not sure precisely what you mean.
     
  14. Grem_260

    Grem_260 Member

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    I recently located a set of vintage rings that I believe will work. I'll let you guys know how it works out!
     
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  15. kevinlg

    kevinlg Well-Known Member

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    Grem.....

    Sorry for the very slow/late response.

    Mechanically centering a scope reticle can be done by counting the windage clicks/detents/inches from one extreme to the other(left-to-right). Move the reticle, from one extreme, one-half of the total count.......and you'll be in the center of it's adjustment. Do the same for the elevation turret.

    Another old -school method is to turn the scope(after removal from rifle), while the main tube is sitting in wood V-blocks. Aim the reticle at target about 50 yards away........rotate the scope tube while viewing the reticle "wobble" on the target. Adjust the turrets to eliminate all wobble..........and you're there!

    Hope this helps.
     
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  16. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie Formerly known as bloorooster

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    The rings shown here look similar to Leupolds design. The clamping screw only works on the right side. The Sako dovetail with its forward open angle (wider towards the front) don’t really like this application. The rings base on the left side is static so the further forward it is mounted , the further left of center it will be. So, if you have the front ring as forward as you can and the rear ring as rearward as you can. That will pitch the scope at a unwanted angle with the bore axis. Sako vintage ring mounts will eliminate this problem. Using “one sided” rings , one should mount the rings as close to the middle of the dovetail front to back as you can.. make sense?

    hope this helps

    just don’t mount them “ass jack backwards”!

    hippie
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
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  17. Grem_260

    Grem_260 Member

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    The rings that are currently on the rifle (first images in this thread) are Sako brand rings, but based on what others have said, those rings - although they physically fit the 61s etc - only actually work with the 85 series. Based on the construction of the vintage rings, I am confident I can get them to work. But, ultimately we'll see.

    The reason the rings are positioned as they are is due to my efforts in adjusting windage. The original position was this:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Grem_260

    Grem_260 Member

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    Oh, I am confident I can get a good one on my own, but out of curiosity does anyone have a boresighter recommendation? In gunsmithing school they recommended Bushnell but I never actually bought one.
     
  19. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie Formerly known as bloorooster

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    image.jpg Hillbilly bore sighter!
    This is what I use, it’s real simple
    Measure roughly the distance between the center of the scope tube and center of the bore. It’s usually around 1 1/2” or so. Piece of paper, sharpie, straight edge is all you need. I use an envelope. Establish a vertical line 5-6” long, draw two horizontal lines with the measured distance minus 1/8” between them. I use two colors but that’s just me. It will simplify things as I explain.
    Be sure gun is clear and safe

    Set up your gun vise/sandbags or whatever, remove the bolt and set the rifle in it. Tape the drawing to an adjacent wall 10-12 feet or more away. Use the bottom (red) dot to center by eye thru the bore, tweaking the rifle how ever much is needed to get it as close to center as possible. Turn the scope down to its lowest power and if it’s AO adjustable go ahead and back it down to its lowest setting as well. Making sure the bore is centered and with out moving the rifle have a look thru the scope at the top cross (black vertical/red horizontal). Where the scopes reticle shows in difference to the top cross is how much you need to adjust. Be sure the gun is not canted and that the scope itself is not canted. Dial it in , checking as you go that the bore remains centered on the lower dot ( I made the dot large enough to see at distance) It takes a few minutes but it is very effective and dirt cheap. It works well enough to be on paper and I’ve actually had a couple guns that were almost dead on when I started printing groups. Try it out if you like, or purchase something more modern or functional. I looked at bore sight kits and decided I like this way better.

    It will also come in handy for adjusting the Sako Vintage ring mounts for windage. I recommend centering the scope like previously detailed, then mounting it in position just snug enough to keep it in place. Adjust the windage base screws until you get the cross hairs to match (vertically). Do that, snug it all up tight, and you should be golden!

    Good Luck

    The cheap Old Hippie
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2021
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  20. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    A boresighting device is superfluous with a bolt action rifle. It is much more accurate to simply remove the bolt, set the rifle up on sandbags, and align the scope with the bore with the bore centered on a target about 50 yards away. You use the bore much as you would an aperture sight.

    It is rare that the first shot at a 50 yard target is off more than 2 to 3 inches with this method, whereas you may be lucky to hit the paper using an optical boresighter.

    Of course, most levers and autos can't be boresighted in this way since you can't look down the bore. But instead of spending money on an optical boresighter for, say, a Finnwolf, I just set up a cardboard box at 25 yards and see where the shot lands then adjust as needed.
     
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