Short Actions What makes the L461 action special?

Discussion in 'Sako Short Actions' started by Humble308, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Humble308

    Humble308 Member

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    Hello All,

    New to the forum and fairly new to Sakos. My gunsmithing instructor used to build his safari rifles on Sako actions but that's about all I know about them. I live in Germany at the moment and have been looking for a .222 to add to the safe. I happened across a Sako L461 on egun.de and thought it was a fine looking rifle. The more research I've done has revealed that the 461's are desirable actions. What is special about the 461 action in comparison to say a CZ527? It looks pretty similar to a Mauser action I'm also considering an Anschutz 1771 G and I'm curious how the actions might compare with one another. The annie is about twice the price, but is brand new of course...regardless, the testaments on this forum and other places, praise the L461. Also seems like a dandy gunsmith action for other projects. Can anyone fill me in these older actions, particularly in comparison with other modern actions/rifles available today? All the best.


    Semper Fi,
    Derek G
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020

  2. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    In my opinion this is an excellent question. There are probably millions of answers but let me just focus on just some of the things that make the L461 receiver special to me.

    Sako quality has to be number one. You just can't beat it.

    The receiver lends itself to many different caliber configurations that use the small rimless case used in the 222 and 223 rounds.

    It makes an ideal receiver for building everything from 12 caliber and up.

    Yes since it isn't made any longer parts are hard to get but many parts including entire bolt assemblies will interchange between receivers. Tolerances are so close that you can switch bolts between rifles without the need to headspace the rifle.

    The size of the receiver makes for a really slick little rifle. That is one reason that the L461 was used by O'Brien and H&R to build their fine little rifles.

    Finally for strength, durability and style the L461 just can't be beat. Others like Remington, Winchester and Ruger have all tried build a receiver that can match the L461 but none have been able to produce a receiver that can compete with the L461.

    rick
     
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  3. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    There is no question that Anschuzt, for example, builds a high quality rifle. There is also no question that the much less robust locking mechanism of the Anschuzt isn't nearly as strong as the Sako L461 (or its virtual twin, the A-I). Perhaps that is not an issue with the .222, but the Sako will easily withstand the pressures of the military loads for 5.56 Nato -- which are simply .223 rounds loaded to higher pressures, as well as higher-pressure wildcats based on the .222 head size.

    There are only a handful of genuine .222-sized actions ever made:

    The very good Kimber Model 84 would be much more expensive than a more readily available Sako. But I own both and can tell you that the Sako is the better action, anyway. Besides, the Kimber 84 (not to be confused with the currently-produced and much larger 84-M and 8400) is scarce and hasn't been made for nearly three decades.

    The Mini Mark X is very similar to the L461 in size and design, but is much less refined and well-machined. It's still a good action (I own one and have owned a couple more), but isn't nearly as smooth, slick, and flawless as the Sako.

    The CZ 527 is fundamentally a good action with several drawbacks that range from aesthetic to serious. The worst is its backward-operating safety (forward-safe and rearward-fire). This is at best confusing and at worst hazardous. Then there is its single-stack protruding magazine which holds fewer rounds than the Sako and snags on things like sandbags or brush. Its bolt has an extra thick root which forces the scope to mount considerably higher than optimal for proper eye alignment. If CZ would do a simple fix of these shortcomings it would go a long way toward making their very accurate rifle much more attractive to the market.

    Within the last couple of years Howa, a Japanese manufacturer capable of make excellent firearms, has introduced an action approximately the size of the L461. Unfortunately, it has a rather funky magazine molded into its synthetic stock. Lots of people are working on customizations of this little action to better adapt it to the configuration of a classic sporter with steel bottom metal and a wood stock. If Howa ever produces a "sporter"-style of this action it will certainly get a lot of attention from small caliber shooters.

    Maybe I've overlooked an action somewhere, but that's about it for genuine .222-sized actions.

    "Short" actions by Winchester, Remington, Savage, Ruger, etc., on which they chamber .222-based cartridges are actually "medium" actions which are large enough to house a .308, .284, .358, or .284-based wildcats. They are mostly a bit larger and heavier than Sako's medium, the L579. Why would you want to use an action that large for a .17 Fireball?
     
  4. Humble308

    Humble308 Member

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    Thanks so much for the input guys. Rick, I think there is alot to be said for a rifle that was purposely designed with a certain cartridge size in mind. This has been the conundrum ever since I started my love affair with the .22 Hornet many years ago. It was damn near impossible to find an action suitable for that round. I started with a H&R Handi and finally found a Savage 340 that shot pretty well despite the wonky scope mounting situation. For a cartridge that refuses to die, you'd think there'd be more suitable rifles out there.

    Stonecreek, you make some great points about the L461. I have to admit to have lusted after a Kimber 84 for many years and even dabbled with the idea of a Cooper (which holds alot of Kimber DNA). The Remington XP-100 was always on my short list after seeing the creation of one of my gunsmithing instructors who yanked the factory pistol barrel off and replaced it with half octagon 22" barrel in .221 Fireball and laid into a gorgeous Claro walnut stock. CZ had done a run of .221 FBs for awhile, but I always seemed to just miss out on them. The backwards safety never really bothered me, the accuracy and overall quality seemed to always trump that weirdness. I've seen the Howa before, but isn't it just god awful ugly with that bottom metal sticking out?!

    I've emailed the seller of the L461 and can hopefully come up with it. After looking at the stripped actions I concur with you gentleman that it just has much more meat than the Anschutz. The Anschutz is also peculiar in that the barrel is pressed and soldered, which I find a bit odd for a center fire. Either way, I'm looking forward to adding a triple duece to the collection. Life is too short to shoot boring cartridges.
     
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  5. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    I'll agree that the .222 is a wonderful round that makes good shooters out of fair ones and great shooters out of good ones.
     
  6. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Bet you guys didn't know that Vern O'Brien converted three XP-100s into 17 Mach III jobberdoos. I have one of them and have been kicking my self for not buying the other two when they came up for sale.

    rick
     
  7. kevinlg

    kevinlg Well-Known Member

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    Not to worry........

    Vern built more than three 17 Mach III XP-100 handguns.........and at least one Hultgren Grade.
     
  8. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Hi Kevin

    I saw only three advertised in the old Gun news when they auctioned off the H&R R&D department. So how many did he build? Do you have pics of the Hultgren?

    rick
     
  9. gowyo

    gowyo Sako Junkie

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    Rick, we need pictures of your spcialty pistol!
     
  10. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Yep I know. Actually I owe the forum pics of my four PPCs as well. I'm still recovering from knee replacement surgery and a fluke vehicle accident that happened here at the house when one of my Avalanches slipped out of park and I got caught by the passenger door and thrown to the ground like a rag doll. The wife was dragged down the driveway for almost 100 feet. The front wheel ran over her hand and arm but miraculously nothing was broken or fractured. Recovery at my age takes much longer so I'm struggling just to get around. The wife got more banged up than I did so her recovery has been very slow. The new mill is sitting in the shop and I haven't even had time to go out there to clean it up, oil it and give the thing a test spin.

    rick
     
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  11. Chris Anderson

    Chris Anderson Well-Known Member

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    Rick,
    I'm sorry to hear that you and your wife have been banged up. :(
    I hope the recovery is swift and complete.
    Thanks
     
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  12. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Many thanks. I've been trying to get my feet back on the ground ever since I had my right knee replaced and its been an uphill struggle ever since. Why I decided to get the left one replaced was something that needed to be done but as an afterthought I wish I hadn't done the deed.

    Old age sucks.

    rick
     
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  13. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    Rick you need to buy a couple new Sakos to cheer yourself up !
     
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  14. Chris Anderson

    Chris Anderson Well-Known Member

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    My mother had her knees replaced and it seemed that the difficulty/length of the recovery was completely out of proportion to the lack of complexity of the procedure.

    It took twice as long to get walking as they told her it would. That and the accompanying depression stymied her life for a long time.

    Here's a funny one.

    Old-age-sucks.jpg

    Just keep dreaming of wandering the countryside with one of the new to you Sakos douglastwo prescribes. ;)
     
  15. Humble308

    Humble308 Member

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    I appreciate all the comments guys. I'm still a bit mixed on this particular 461...I don't know enough about them to understand why this particular gun doesn't have any bids at this seemingly great price. The rifle looks very clean to me. I wonder if you guys could take a look at this auction and offer any hidden insights...the auction seems to have alot of views but no bids. I'd prefer one of the heavy barrel models, but who knows when one will pop up and I've got to get after the foxes and crows on my new lease/revier right away. The Euro to USD rate would put this around $660. Here's the link:

    https://egun.de/market/item.php?id=7755347
     
  16. bigcountry4me

    bigcountry4me Well-Known Member

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    If I were you I’d quietly procure that sweet rifle without delay. In the US $660.00 would be a bargain. I realize in Germany there may not the same level of interest for a sporter weight rifle.

    From the four photos, I can see nothing which would raise any red flags. It looks to be in great condition based on what I can see. Good luck.
     
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  17. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Looks like a good deal for 600 euros. Condition looks quite nice, much better than average.

    With regard to the CZ527 comparison, the Sako is a much smoother action, and better finished. (I have both.) The Sako is a push feed, the CZ is a Mauser-type controlled feed. The push feed is easier to work with, especially if you want to single load a round. On the CZ, you have to put the round in the magazine so the bolt can pick it up; on the Sako you can just drop it into the ejection port and close the action. There are fanatics who say that controlled feed is the only way to go and push feeds are less reliable, but if there's any truth in that it's only for a dangerous game rifle.

    The Anschutz action appears to have been designed for rimfires and modified for low-pressure centerfire use. I can't be sure, but that's what it looks like to me. I used to have a Walther .222 single shot target rifle built on the same principle. It was extremely accurate (as in consistent cloverleafs), but not the strongest .222 action by a long shot. Anschutz also built some rifles on Sako L46 actions (not L461), but they are rare.
     
  18. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

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    I`ll second Sean`s opinion. Also I notice an A1 for 1000 Eu is there anything to that gun? Wayne
     
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  19. northernlights

    northernlights Well-Known Member

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    Rick, sounds like you really appreciate the full potential of the L461 receiver.

    I mostly wanted to wish you and your wife a full and speedy recovery though.
     
  20. Humble308

    Humble308 Member

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    Awesome, I appreciate the input gents. I think I'll go ahead and snatch it up provided I don't get any last minute bidders. Icebear, thank you for the comparison between the two actions. I totally agree about the controlled feed nutters, they remind me of the same folks who "need" 30 MOA rails for every rifle so they can shoot 1000 yards in the dense brush of their deer woods. Push feed works for me, especially in a rifle with an internal mag which I don't always feel like filling up at the range. The Anschutz has their newer 6 lug bolt which trumps the older single rear-located lug of their older 1532's, making it at least a little better for centerfires. However, once you remove the stock on the 1771 it reveals some cheaper/stamped mag box and trigger assembly which is too bad for a $1,400 rifle. The more I learn about the Sako almost makes it no contest.
    Wayne I wasn't sure what you meant by "is there anything to that gun". I must have missed the A1 somewhere. The same dealer has a killer L691 in .300 win mag with claw scope mounts for $600 that's very tempting. I must admit my weakness is old used guns.
     

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