Murphy, I hear you know about Sakos



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  • Murphy, I hear you know about Sakos

    I found a thread saying you had written a book on Sako's.
    I have a Sako FINNBEAR "MADE IN FINLAND" No. 450420 in .338 Win Mag

    This rifle was bought from one of my best friends, the kind of friend you only find once in a life-time.

    Can you point me in the right direction to find the history of this rifle?


  • #2
    Well I know a little.....I've owned a few. The L61R rifle is the first action manufactured by SAKO for the 30-06 length cartridge. In about 1957 the company began chambering the 30-06 in a Mauser action made for them in Belgium (FN). Several chamberings were available in rifles made on that action including the 308 and 358 Norma. I have owned a few FN actioned SAKO's.

    The L61R action began about 1962 at serial number 1. I own serial number 114. This series of numbers continued up to S/N 90954 which was made in 1973.
    In 1970 they made a run of special serial numbers for their 50th anniversary year numbering from 1 to 1001.
    in 1973 they made another run of special numbers from 1 to 537.

    In 1974 they restarted their serial numbering (and changed importers about that time), to run from 500001 to 530537 which ended in 1977. After that other changes in design, importer and numbering changes clutter the field somewhat and make it more complex to trace a particular model.

    The reason for all this numbering is that the serial number 450420 doesn't show up as any L61R actioned rifle in any of the research I've made on these rifles. The 338 WM was first chambered about 1958 by US makers and the true L61R action was modified first about 1978 at about 530538 S/N so it was in between those dates or more specifically if stamped L61 it was made after 1962. (Actually the 61 indicates the year of the design as 1961.) If your serial number is correct it slipped through the records system and was most likely made about 1973. In 1974 the numbers started at 500,001. But I think there is an error in your S/N. If it is 45,420 it would have been made about 1967. Do you see an importers stamp on the gun? Firearms International or Garcia anywhere on the barrel?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


    • #3

      Thanks for the information,

      The serial number is in fact 45042, sorry about that zero at the end in the first post.

      I do not see any stampings that say Firearms International or Garcia.

      Here is a sketch of what is stamped on the barrel. (I was not able to get a good picture)

      I was once told it was Pre-Garcia.

      Click image for larger version

Name:	Sako Barrel Stamps.jpg
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      Thanks again,


      • #4
        Well one little digit does matter 45,042. This was the first run of the original L61 rifles. Number I was 1962.....number 90,954 was 1973. It is likely 1966 or 1967 manufacture and is of the original L61 design.

        The importers stamp will be on the bottom of the barrel just in front of the fore end. Firearms International became the Garcia corporation and I think I remember this as in 1972, (pre Garcia) so it would be Firearms International, Wash, DC. The importers stamp is more like an etching of a slight grey color under the barrel just in front of the fore end tip. Before 1968 some guns were not stamped with importers stamp.....and of course some had no serial number. (pre GCA 1968)

        Your sketch is very good and has what I believe is a wolf..... The SAKO Wolfs head. I've seen lots of these rifles of this era and thee pre Garcia guns marked BOFORS Steel are often sold at a premium. The barrels are very good cold hammer forged as are all SAKO's and excellent shooters. I've owned 341 SAKO rifles since 1972. Have all the serial numbers recorded and info about each one. Not many pics though. Enjoy your rifle.
        Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


        • #5
          That's a great amount of detail Professor. 341 rifles? I wish I could say the same...


          • #6

            Thanks again for the info.


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