View Full Version : H&R (SAKO) Ultra Varmints
21st December 2008, 02:40
Does any one have any info on the H&R; Ultra varmints made in the late 60's and early seventies by SAKO. I am primarily interested in the number of rifles made in 17Rem,17/223, and 223 short action.
Any info would be appreciated. I currently have one in17/223 and it shoots great.
Many thanks for any help.
21st December 2008, 05:05
They were called the "Ultrawildcat" and were made in the calibers you list plus .222. Sorry, no idea how many were made. They all had 20" barrels and came in two grades -- the only difference being the stock. Some were made with round, tapped receivers and others had the regular Sako scope dovetails.
They were very, very close to the little guns made by O'brien Rifle Company on the Sako action called "Javelina". I have seen information indicating that H&R; bought out the O'brien inventory and sold O'brien's rifle as their own. Can't say if this is accurate information.
People who are aware of them are voracious buyers. I've never been able to purchase one for what I felt was an attractive price.
21st December 2008, 18:52
I have owned three of them over the years. I still have one which I rebarreled into 17 Mach IV. Theres little difference between the sako vixen except for the stock. The stocks were sort of minature "Weatherbys" in style. The later models had a round receiver instead of the sako dovetails. In short-I love em.
13th February 2010, 02:49
I have a H&R Sako .17 Rem. with the original box. I bought it new about 1985 and it has been shot maybe 200 - 300 rounds. Standard grade (not the basketweave model). Shows very little use. Has Sako dovetail mount part of action. $1150 plus shipping. E-mail me at email@example.com
13th February 2010, 09:29
Sorry for the late post. I just saw the thread.
As Stonecreek said, H&R bought the O'Brien Rifle Co. in the summer of 1968. They produced the Model 317 and 317P from 1968 through 1976, with the last two year's actions being round tops.
Sorry, but I don't have any information as to the number of rifles produced.
Here's a pic of a 317P(presentation) in 17-223.
Hope this helps.
13th February 2010, 17:04
Hey guys, Kevin has got to be the world's leading expert on these little Sakos. I've corresponded with him before and he has some interesting information on O'brien and H&R Sakos -- as well as owning several beautiful little guns.
Last spring I was finally able to latch onto one of the H&R's in a .223 at an affordable price. Not wishing to expose its fine little stock to the hazards of the field, I found a "beater" stock for it which I cut down and reshaped so that my seven year-old grandson could use it for his first deer gun. He rewarded me with two one-shot kills on two very nice whitetail bucks!
13th February 2010, 17:16
Dang Kevin, that's a real sweetie - thanks for posting. Do you think it's possible that the O'Brien stock of actions lasted H&R until they ordered the roundtops? Also curious if you know whose barrels were used on either?
Sakonut - Wish my fortune had been a little better and I'd be talking to you about your rifle. What you should probably do is start your own thread in the For Sale section. I'm afraid the way it is, once it drops off the recent posts it'll become pretty hard for a potential buyer to find.
13th February 2010, 17:31
That is indeed a nice little setup
13th February 2010, 17:46
That's a real sweetheart, there. Thanks for posting the pictures.
14th February 2010, 10:53
The purchase of the O'Brien Rifle Co.(I have the contract somewhere) included all the remaining barrelled actions and stocks. Maybe a dozen or two. So, H&R probably got their actions from Firearms International, to start with.I don't know who made the barrels.....rumor has it that they were Douglas. Who made 17 caliber barrels in 1968?...I gotta wonder? In 1975 and 1976(the round-top action years), Sako provided the entire barrelled action(17Rem, 223, and 222) to H&R for the Model 317.
All of O'Brien's barrels came from P.O. Ackley or Atkinson & Marquart(A&M). They also did the barreling. Vern O'Brien stocked the field grade rifles, while Nils Hultgren, who also stocked many Winslow rifles, stocked the Hultgren grade rifles.
I'll post a pic of O'Brien's one, and only, advertisement in Handloader magazine....and of a 17 Javelina Hultgren grade.
Friend Of The 17
The 17 Javelina
14th February 2010, 15:46
Yes, Dick, I intend to do that. In fact, I am selling most all my Sako collection. Am putting things together now and will post soon. Gene
14th February 2010, 17:21
Good deal Gene - Best luck
Kevin thanks for the interesting post and pics. Both the O'Briens and H&Rs seem so dainty even when compared to a Vixen. Curious if they used a LOP of around 13 1/2"? Muzzle about 1/2"? For some reason it tickles me to see they continued to use the Weatherby slant on the forend tip. Given the time period, it amazes me that Sako didn't tell Weatherby to pound sand... Dunno, maybe that story isn't even true...
Anyway, thanks again for the good post and pics. Dick
15th February 2010, 09:09
I'm not familiar with your Sako/Weatherby story. Maybe you could tell me a bit.
Yes, the rifles were made with a standard(about 13.5 to 13.75") LOP, with a muzzle diameter slightly over 0.5". The H&R 317 was advertised to weigh 5.75 pounds. The O'Briens were slightly lighter, depending on stock wood, due to their trimmer stocks, and 18" barrels on the 17 Mach IV and 17 Javelina. The O'Brien stocks were rough inletted/turned by the old Royal Arms Co. in Calif.
It's interesting to note that even though H&R bought the O'Brien Rifle Co. name and inventory.....they hardly ever used any of that inventory, except for a few presentation rifles. In fact, when H&R closed(early '80's ?), they auctioned off at least a few O'Brien barrelled actions in H&R stocks. They were not exactly " fitted" to one another.
Attached is a pic of an O'Brien 17 Mach IV barrelled action in an uncheckered H&R stock, complete with H&R rifle pad.
15th February 2010, 17:58
Geez Kevin -
You've got me slobberin' all over myself with the pics of those cuties. So is it your thinking that the hybrid you show in the last photo likely came from that close-out auction? Very cool iron in any event. Curious how O'Brien stamped their barreled actions - if it isn't too much trouble might you show a close-up?
The Weatherby story I heard was that they griped about the attachment angle of the forend cap that Sako used on their Deluxes. That it was a signature of their rifles, and I guess felt it amounted to a patent - whether real or imagined... At any rate, the early Sako D's had the same narrow on top, forward slanting attachment cut as your O'Briens and H&Rs. I have a later L46D as well as a later L57D that are so equiped. Maybe Misako or other member more knowledgable than myself might weigh in here on just when it took place. In my befuddled condition I can't be sure, but seems like maybe a few L461s and L579s may have been produced same... At any rate, Sako did reverse the cut at some point, and all Ds made going forward were the opposite wide at the top cap. Maybe the Wby part is all BS, I have no way of knowing. Dick
15th February 2010, 18:37
Dick- I only know that the first year production L579 Deluxes that I own ( 1960 Serial #s prior to 15,000) Had the WBY slant (and Diamond Grip Cap). All others with later numbers I can remember seeing or own are slanted the other way. To me it looks like 1961 was the cut off date.-Misako
15th February 2010, 23:29
Thanks Misako - That's what I thought I remembered. So, likely no L461s or L61 D's would have been made...? Anybody? Dick
17th February 2010, 17:21
Yep....I'm sure about the hybrid rifle. The guy I bought it from, who attended the auction, had five of them.....among other buys. Thinking back....wished I'd bought all of them......alas......
O'Brien's rifles were engraved.......O'Brien Rifle Co. Las Vegas, Nev.
At least a few had an added " 's " on the end of " O'Brien ".
Also, in the mid 70's, Vern built at least a few more rifles "on-the-sly" ........remember that he sold the company in 1968. These rifles are slightly different in stock shapes, and were engraved on the barrel "Ackley-O'Brien" .
The attached barrel engraving pic, of a 17 Magnum barrel, is an oddity......in it's length, at any rate.
17th February 2010, 18:28
Thanks Kevin -
Great stuff. I especially like the pic of the old wagon - can't remember if that's a Hillman or VW...
17th February 2010, 20:37
If memory serves me correctly, the wagon is a vw square back, 60ish.
26th March 2010, 09:48
I am a new member, and I just read your post and thread about the H & R Ultra Wildcat in .17/223
I have one myself (it was my dad's) and it is one of the most beautiful rifles I own (and it is deadly accurate - under low wind conditions!).
I have spent a lot of time trying to find out about this model of rifle. Most of my efforts were unsuccessful, but I did come across a Guns & Ammo magazine cover story (from October 2003) that features this exact model.
The URL to this article is as follows:
What I have been trying to determine (with utter lack of success) is when my rifle was made. The serial number of my rifle is 87224. Can anyone help with this?
In a future post, I will try to upload photos of my rifle.
My best to all,
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