The intro-L57 New Member

Discussion in 'New members, please introduce yourselves here!' started by Ken Reid, Jul 3, 2020.

  1. Ken Reid

    Ken Reid Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    My name is Ken, and I have hunted with the same L57 243 since I was 12, my dad built it for my Grandfather and shortly after my Grandfather decided he did not want to hunt anymore he gave it to me. When I say he built it, my father owned and operated Cougar Gun Works originally out of Santa Cruz California established in 1957. Best I can tell, he turned the barrel, and added a Walnut Stock. The action has the original stamping, and the bolt is custom and hand serialized. It's never been drilled and has a Belvar 3-8 power scope sitting on the original Sako mount pads.

    I am 57 now, every scuff and nick is mine, and I have lost count of the miles the two of us have walked together. I have a few nice mounts on the wall, nothing record book but nice memories just the same. I lost my dad a few years ago, and was fortunate in his last year to spend a lot of time with him. The last piece he was working on was another L57, he had a beautiful Birdseye Maple pre cut stock to get ready for it and was having trouble with seating the barrel so he could do the final inlay work. This is where we found he had onset Dementia and things got put aside, while time took it's due payment. That was 5 years ago, since that time I have been wanting to finish it. So to shorten the story up quite a bit. 3 Gunsmiths later I have decided to just restock my original, This will be a new endeavor for me. I have a good woodworking background and I have some pretty good memories of watching my dad work the inlet process and the finish process but it will be a challenge. I have his tools and the stock bench so I think I have a good shot of dressing her up ok.


    When I started typing this intro I was intending to ask, if anyone has parts for the L57, I would still love to build the last one he was working on, but I need a bolt assembly, seems they are hard to find. I will need to re-barrel it also since that was the original problem and gunsmith number one made sure we could never use that barrel again. I have a good smith around the corner who is helping now, and I am not particular on time anymore. This will be a something to do when I can thing.

    Hope this finds you all well, as I go through all of my dad's parts and boxes I am constantly reminded of the times we hunted together and the quality of my Sako. 45 years of 1 inch high and one inch left at 100...never adjusted a thing from where he set it originally. I know this because I asked him once, after I took it apart and put it back together and went out and shot it once. He smiled and said Yep...
     

  2. marlin92

    marlin92 Well-Known Member

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    Ken welcome aboard - hope you are able to complete your father's project. Here are some L57 parts for sale
    https://www.gunpartscorp.com/gun-manufacturer/sako/bolt-action-rifles-2/l57
    A L579 bolt could work but you would also need to swap the trigger because of the safety. But the L579 bolt may be somewhat easier to locate.
    Keep an eye out on EBAY , GUN PARTS CORP etc

    good luck
     
    FLT likes this.
  3. Ken Reid

    Ken Reid Member

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    Thank you, Marlin Today I started the pre-fit, and this stock had been labeled L579 by my dad,, and it has a pre inlet for the Safety which caused me to question if I wanted to use my L57 or keep trying to build the other. I have spent some time in the past looking but not for the L579 might be a better build in the end,, have a great day. The photo is my last deer, from Wyoming, if it attaches correctly,,

    Have a great day
     

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  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Great to hear about your dad and his gunsmithing -- and that you have a rifle he made for your grandfather.

    The L57 used a unique barrel thread -- both a different size and different shaped threads than more standard barrels. Many gunsmiths are unaware of this and try to screw a barrel with the wrong threads into an L57. I'm not a gunsmith and have no idea how to set up to cut barrel threads, but if you're going to rebarrel an L57 be sure to get a drawing with the proper dimensions and shape of the threads before letting an uninitiated gunsmith try to barrel it.
     
  5. Ken Reid

    Ken Reid Member

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    Threads....and poor gunsmithing.

    That actually was the first problem, and sad to say, the 1st gunsmith I trusted with it, kept it a year, during the time my fathers health was failing, after he passed the gunsmith said he had finally completed it, and gave it back no charge...I was very pleased as originally it would only thread 1/2 way. This again is where I knew something was wrong with my dad, we had it in the barrel vise and I was adding some pressure and felt the cross thread starting,, my dad argued with me and when I refused to apply more pressure and backed it off he saw the threads and knew I was right.,

    Any way the gunsmith gave me back the barrel and action and everything else was in a box,, The bolt had been broken down and I could not reset the firing pin. So another year of moving across the country and I found another smith and asked for help to reassemble the pin... He found the front of the bolt, at the extractor pin spring had damage and said he might be able to fix it,, leave it etc... and year and a half I went and asked for it back,, again no charge as he did nothing..

    Thankfully he was not able to fix it, because then I found a guy around the corner, running his gun shop and raising his family, like my family started out and him and I started going through the issues...I was about to buy a bolt assembly I found on line and decided before I did I wanted him to break down the barrel and action and check. Through all my research I learned of the thread issues between years and models and decided I did not want to invest in a bolt if there were still thread issues. Sure enough, once he cracked the initial locking point, it wiggles on the threads and at 85% fully threaded point it fell off. Damn thing was a danger to anyone who might have actually tried to shoot it.

    I have learned so much with each step, I think I had a L579 barrel on an L57 action with a bolt base from an L57 and the firing pin coupler is from something else... My dad was an encyclopedia of knowledge until the dementia of course. We would be at a 400 table show and you could see dealers on the other point him out to a customer, 1/2 hour later that customer would come strolling up and hold out a spring, or a lever, or almost anything and my dad would already know what it was from and if he had one, or could make one.

    At this point, All I really have is a beautiful Birdseye Maple L579 stock ready for some steel and some parts, and of course my original 57 243..The stock looks compatible for my rifle so aside from the small trigger safety slot I think it would still be a nice project.

    Thanks for the thread advice,, wished I would have joined a few years earlier, might have saved me some grief..
     
  6. Rogan Kinnear

    Rogan Kinnear Well-Known Member

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    All the best Ken, cheers for sharing part of your story. I'd love to see pictures of the process or the product if you have time or desire!
     

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