Tikka/Ithaca LSA-55 Project - Phase One

Discussion in 'Valmet and Tikka' started by icebear, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    A while back I acquired an Ithaca LSA-55 (Tikka M55) Deluxe in .222 Remington. It's in nice overall condition, but some previous owner cut the stock down for a very small person. LOP was only about 12", which is uncomfortably short for me, an average-size American male. Also, I have never been a fan of skip-line checkering or high-gloss polyurethane finishes, and since the cut-down stock destroyed any collector value, I see this as an opportunity to redo the stock to my own taste.

    I'm doing this in two phases. Phase One, which I have just completed, was to add spacers and a pad to the stock to bring it back to a reasonable length of pull. I had a Pachmayr Old English pad sitting around that I had botched on a previous job, but it still had enough meat left on it to fit the Tikka. I added some spacers from Brownells and sanded it to fit. The shaping of the pad is less than perfect but I plan to do the final finishing on the pad in Phase Two. The LOP is now 13-1/4", a much more reasonable size for me. I could have gone a bit longer but I felt that I was at the outer edge of where a longer pad would start to look silly. As it is, there's an awful lot of black there and I might remove one of the spacers in Phase 2 and live with a 13" LOP.

    Phase Two, to be undertaken "when I have time," will consist of completely refinishing the stock, redoing the flat-top checkering to a conventional pointed style, cutting in grooves to get rid of the skip lines, and improving the blend of the pad. I will probably stain the wood, as I prefer darker wood. I'm thinking that Pilkington's golden brown would be a good choice as it will blend with the wood rather than overriding the yellowish color, as would be the case with, say, a Model 70 style reddish stain.

    The borders on the checkering pose a problem. As you can see on a couple of the photos, the borders are very wide, especially on the right side of the grip. I prefer borderless checkering, but I don't want to sand off all the old checkering and start over. I'm afraid anything I try to improve the borders will only make things worse. Any suggestions?

    The rifle shoots very well. I was getting three-shot groups in the half-inch range at 100 yards with Lapua ammo the couple of times I shot it. I've replaced the 2.5-8x Leupold that I installed when I bought the gun with the 12x Burris shown in the photos. The scope looks a bit incongruous on a sporter-style rifle, but it's an excellent scope and my aging eyes need all the help they can get. The extra length is actually an asset for mounting; a shorter scope, say a Leupold with a 40mm objective, wouldn't work with the original Tikka rings (I've tried it).

    So here are the photos. First as received with the short stock, then as it is now with the stock spacers and 12x scope.


    Tikka 222-3.JPG Tikka 222 Before-1.JPG Tikka 222 Before-2.JPG 222 Phase One-1.JPG 222 Phase One-2.JPG 222 Phase One-3.JPG 222 Phase One-4.JPG
     
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  2. no-regard

    no-regard Member

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    Looking good. I have a number of older deluxe Tikkas and always wondered how to go about re-finishing the stock, the concern being the white liners and rosewood caps.

    Do you plan to take those off and re-attach somehow?
     
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  3. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    No, I'll just tape them off when I do the staining. The actual stripping and refinishing will be done to the end caps as well. Those things are glued in place and could not be removed without destroying the white spacers. The only worry is that the chemical stripper might damage the spacers. I might tape them for the stripping phase and just strip them with sandpaper when I remove the tape.
     
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  4. Charles Witt

    Charles Witt Active Member

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    First rifle I ever bought was an LSA 65 standard chambered in 30-06. I went to a pawn shop and could not decide between a post 64 model 70 and the Ithaca rifle that the shop owner said was a better rifle. I went home to think about it and came back the next day and the model 70 was gone, so I bought the Ithaca. That started 25 years of interest in Finnish rifles and lead me to Sako. Here's a pic of my LSA 55/65 rack. The standard gun on top is that 30-06, known in my house just as "the Ithaca". I've shot more deer with it then any other gun I own and I will never part with it. One of my sons has made me promise that that one is going to him. Hopefully, he's got a good 40 years to wait. :) IMG_20200802_222544.jpg
     
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  5. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    Nice display of Deluxes. Are they all Ithaca imports or are any of them marked M55/M65? What are the calibers?

    The second gun from the top, just below the standard grade .30-06, is interesting in that it has sights. I'm not sure I've ever seen a Tikka M55/65 Deluxe with sights. Is it a factory deluxe, or a stock swap? And I like the wood on the one below that. Lots of contrast.
     
  6. Charles Witt

    Charles Witt Active Member

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    All Ithaca imports. I'm not the original owner of any of them, so I'm not sure if the Deluxe with sights is factory. Perhaps they made some this way (by special order?). It is a .243 and has a jeweled bolt (which is well done, but definitely not factory).
    From top to bottom the calibers are 30-06, 243, 22-250, 270, and 30-06 again. The 30-06 on the bottom is the only one that is not drilled and tapped.
     
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  7. no-regard

    no-regard Member

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    Nice collection @Charles Witt , similar to mine I'll try and get a post together.

    I have an M65 .270 and 2x M65 .30-06 all with open sights, they are definitely from the factory that way.
     
  8. no-regard

    no-regard Member

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    I look forward to seeing this done, please take us along! All of mine are in excellent condition thankfully, but someday you never know.
     

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