Scratching a Fireball itch...

Discussion in 'Other firearms built on Sako actions' started by Coleman Cowboy, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    For years I’ve dealt with a chronic problem. The cure, while not IMMEDIATELY available over the counter, is known to specialists and can be formulated readily enough…and yet I never seemed to manage to take the necessary steps to obtain some relief. Until now.

    One thing that getting older has done for me is to distill some of my current choices, especially in the shooting game. With many more shooting years behind me than ahead, I find that I’m interested in checking some remaining boxes that (for one reason or another) had gone unaddressed. One of those projects that had languished just at my periphery for some time was to put together a trim little rifle in .221 Remington Fireball on a Sako L461 / AI action.

    Oh, I could have taken the easy way out by picking up a Remington 700 Classic or a CZ 527 in the .221, but the 700 is far too clunky an action for the dainty Fireball and while the CZ is certainly trim I never could warm to that “backward” safety. No, it would be a Sako or nothing.


    A couple of years ago I picked up a modified L461 in .223. It wore the distinctive checkered bolt shroud of an AI, sported a 26” fluted barrel with the lot bolted into a McMillan fiberglass stock. The rig shot well enough that it took me a few years to finally commit it as the donor for this project.

    I discussed the work with Jon Trammel of Breckenridge, TX and he fitted the action with a 22” Brux barrel. As this is a hunting rifle and not a “bench rig”, I opted to fit it with a “period correct” Redfield Accu-Range 2-7x in Leupold/Sako rings. While I’m in the early stages of load development, it shows a fondness for 40 grain Sierra BlitzKings.

    I should have scratched this itch a long, long time ago!

    Mark

    The new Fireball
    [​IMG]

    L to R: .221, .222, .223
    [​IMG]

    Redfield 2-7X Accu-Range
    [​IMG]

    So far, so good!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020 at 3:22 AM
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  2. caberslash

    caberslash Member

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    Hey Coleman, can't seem to view the pictures.

    Sounds like a great wee shooter!
     
  3. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    That's odd...must be Internet gremlins at work!

    If you'd like, PM me your email address and I'll send pics the "old fashioned" way!

    Mark
     
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  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Ain't them little Fireballs the cat's whiskers!?

    I own a couple of them, both customs that others put together then inexplicably let me take financial advantage of their expenditure of time and money. One is a beautifully done L461 with XX grade walnut while the other is a Mini Mark X in a synthetic stock. The Sako is sophisticated and appealing while the Mini Mark X just plain shoots. I enjoy both of them, and both of them shoot the same load of your choice of a 40 grain Ballistic Tip, Varmageddon, or V-Max into tiny groups. AA1680, AA2200, or H4198 all do great in them.

    A couple of years back a good friend admired the performance of my .221's and wanted his own L461 so chambered. He settled for a CZ which groups well, but now he has found an L461 donor and is ready to make it into his dream rifle. The guy who has done custom work for him before is having a bout with his health and can't take on any work, so if you'd be so kind as to provide Jon Trammel's contact info we might send some business his way.

    Now let me spoil your moment, Mark: If you think the Fireball is a fun gun, just wait until you try its younger brother. The .20 Vartarg is just plain addictive. With 32 grain bullets between 3600 and 3700 fps, undetectable recoil, mild report, and knife-edge accuracy you'll just about pee in your pants if you ever shoot one. So, be on the lookout for another donor L461!
     
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  5. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    Enablers...I'm surrounded by enablers! Get thee behind me, Satan!

    OK, maybe not enablers. Certainly co-dependents. After all, I'm providing you with Jon's info!

    Jon Trammel - Trammel's Gunsmithing, 120 W. Walker St, Breckenridge TX 76424 - (254) 559-3455

    https://www.facebook.com/Trammels-Gunsmithing-156829787736206
     
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  6. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Thanks! Us addicts got to stick together. After all, when your supplier gets taken out by "The Man" you need another source, quick! Going cold turkey might be more than a long-time user could stand.
     
  7. Ian H

    Ian H Member

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    Rookie coming in hot frothy and dumb... when you say donor L461, can you explain what's happening please? Is the L461 action being retained, and that action being modified for the a new caliber with new barrel? And then a stock with its particulars added? Appreciate your patience. Let me also say, Cowboy: I'm jealous.
     
  8. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    Hey Ian! I'm happy to share whatever meager knowledge and experience I possess, so don't get real comfortable as this may not take very long!

    Yes, the L461 action of the "donor" rifle was retained and used for the basis of this project. As the .221 is simply a shortened .222 Remington, the boltface required no modification and the magazine box, follower and rails would serve "as is", so no real "modifications" were necessary to the action. Likewise, the stock would be retained and utilized, with only minor opening of the barrel channel as the replacement barrel would be just a trifle "fatter".

    The bulk of the work was taking the new Brux barrel, chambering it for the .221 Remington and screwing it into the old action and setting headspace (the distance from the boltface to the shoulder in the rifle's chamber. Taking NOTHING away from the skills of Jon Trammel (who well understands that the Devil is ALWAYS in the details), this type of conversion is really the simplest kind: essentially only a swapping of barrels!

    Hope that helps!

    Mark
     
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  9. Ian H

    Ian H Member

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    That helps a great deal. Im returning to the idea of hunting after 30 years, and am going through a relearning. You said something else about the CZ safety and I'd love your opinion. So the dream is one (dont laugh) rifle, as Im really likely to only see whitetail, black bears, and perhaps moose. In preparation for that rifle... a Bavarian or maybe hunter, I was thinking of getting a similar feeling rifle by weight, in a much more practice friendly caliber. I was thinking CZ 457, however, you mentioned CZ having a backward safety. Would you think the CZ not a good younger brother to a model 85 for this reason?
     
  10. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    I have two rimfire CZ's, a 452 in .22LR and a 455 Mannlicher-style carbine in .22 Magnum. The backward safety doesn't bother me much, especially with a .22. You hardly use the safety on the range anyway, so it's unlikely to mess with your mind in a way that would cause you to get confused when hunting. And a CZ is dead accurate and half the cost of a rimfire Sako.
     
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  11. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    Ian,

    Icebear makes a very valid point about the function of ANY safety while on the range. In point of fact, the last two rimfires I was shooting on my range were my '70s vintage Anschutz 1418 and a friend's almost-new CZ 452...BOTH with backward safeties! Plus, I found (again, as Icebear mentioned) that the CZs shoot well above their price point!

    My Anschutz was my "trainer" rifle for DECADES when I wasn't shooting all my "forward-to-fire" toys and I never had an issue. Bet you won't either!

    I've just grown old and grumpy and don't want to have any more "backwards" safeties than necessary. It's personal preference only.

    Mark
     
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  12. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    I own just one rifle with the backward operating safety (forward for "safe", rearward for "fire"). It's a Brno ZKW 465 .22 Hornet. If it weren't so incredibly accurate I'd get rid of it. I NEVER use the safety -- if a cartridge is chambered I open the bolt if not ready to shoot. I also NEVER allow anyone else to shoot it other than when I am closely supervising them.

    CZ "inherited" the backward safety from Brno, but has recently modified some of their rifles to use a properly conventional safety. I suspect that all of the CZ products will soon have "forward" safeties.
     
  13. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    I'm of the opinion that that would be a good business decision on the part of CZ.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020 at 9:08 PM
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  14. Ian H

    Ian H Member

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    As it turns out... was browsing my local shop on line... and here's a snip from the details for the 457 lux in 22 lr

    "..... If CZ were to pick one thing that their previous rimfire platforms were lacking, it was an American-style push-to-fire safety something Hunter’s Education instructors and 4-H shooting coaches have begged them to incorporate for years. Though that was the most obvious change, they also took the opportunity to tweak a load of small things at the same time. In addition to the receiver-mounted, push-to-fire safety, they chopped almost a inch of length from the action and slab-sided it to reduce its footprint and weight.

    The stamped bottom metal of the 455 is gone, swapped for a classy two-piece interlocking system. To make scope fitment easier, CZ ditched the 90° bolt rotation in favour of 60°, allowing for larger ocular bell diameters with lower ring heights. To top it all off, the 457 now features a trigger adjustable for weight, creep and over-travel. With the exact same swap-able barrel system as the 455 and the same reliable polymer magazine system, the 457 is without a doubt the best rimfire platform CZ has ever fielded."
     
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  15. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Thanks for posting that. Looks like the 457 has some genuine advantages over the previous models. A replacement is available (?) for the ugly trigger guard on the 455 and 452, from an outfit called Diverse Innovative Products (DIP). Two drawbacks - it's expensive at $135, and every time I've checked the website every version, or almost every version, has been out of stock. Maybe they have a box of blanks and finish each one to order; I've never called them to see what the deal is.
     
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  16. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    It appears that good things do indeed come to those who wait! Thanks Ian!
     
  17. Ian H

    Ian H Member

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    Its no Bavarian, but I do like the checkering design, and the swoop of the stock. Is this considered a Monte Carlo stock?

    I should add, part of the thinking with both will be to start again w open sights.
     

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  18. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    No, that's a Bavarian hogback. A Monte Carlo has a cheekpiece raised above the line of the stock, as is the case with most Sako rifles made after about 1960. Photo shows an AV.

    Rifle 5.JPG .
    It's unfortunate that CZ has decided not to market a full-stock carbine version of the new 457. Maybe in the future. Here's a 455 full-stock with a Bavarian style stock. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of the other side, but there is no cheekpiece. The Bavarian style stock can be made with or without a cheekpiece. When there is a cheekpiece, it frequently comes to a point at the lower rear instead of the rounded shape of a classic or Monte Carlo stock. Current Sako Bavarian models, both rifle and carbine, have such a cheekpiece and you can see it on the Sako website.
    CZ455-1a.jpg

    And finally, here's a cross between a Bavarian hogback and an American classic style. I created this one by taking a belt sander to a hideous Bishop custom Monte Carlo stock from the 1960's. The hogback is less pronounced than on most European guns. I could have sanded it all the way down to a classic shape, but I decided I liked the hybrid Euro look.
    300 Stock - Left.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020 at 11:50 PM
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  19. Ian H

    Ian H Member

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    Thanks for takin the time to break that down icebear. Much appreciated. I like the hybrid you created. (and the dark checkering on the AV)
     

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