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New Holy Grail?

Discussion in 'Sako Medium Actions' started by stonecreek, Feb 13, 2022.

  1. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary SCC Board Member

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    In searching the inspection records for a Factory Records request I came across what may very well be a new "Holy Grail" for Sako enthusiasts.

    Sako Model L57 serial number 1519 was inspected as an action-only 6 February 1958. In a later note in the margin it was shown as inspected as a finished rifle over seven years later on 17 December 1965. But more interestingly, it is noted as a .257 with heavy barrel!

    I'll nominate this as the new "Holy Grail" for Sako guys.

     

  2. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    Interesting find Stone. I've often wondered what the deal was with the article in the 1983 Finnmark about the first fifty L-57's being 257 Roberts. I didn't know if they meant serial number 1 - 50 or if they meant the first 50 produced which may not have been serial numbers 1 - 50. What do you think? I've attached the page showing the article. You might note, it is full of mistakes. I think a lot of their mistakes are premature due to the club being so new, and information still pouring in.
    L57 257 Roberts.jpg
     
  3. gunner620

    gunner620 Well-Known Member

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    D2 another good example of how Sako waisted no parts and allowed us to try and figure them out. I thank you for posting this Finnmark.
     
  4. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    These mysteries just add more pleasure in messing with Sakos. For example, when I letter one of my Sakos, I study the inspection and shipping documents looking for interesting info such as what I found on this inspection document for one of my Deluxes. Mine is serial no. 3556 inspected Jan. 9, 1963. This document show my rifle and all but one of the other 50 or so rifles on this document to have been inspected in 1962 or 63. Meaning these rifles are probably all Bofors marked and should not have an importer etched under the barrel due to how old they are. Now for the odd ball, look closely at serial number 3557. It shows to have been completed and inspected on August 28, 1973. Think about that, is it marked Bofors or not? Would it have been stamped with a serial number back in 63? Or is 73 a typo? When was it actually produced? I can think of all kind of possibilities. Plus, does that "colt" written by the caliber mean its a Sako Colt. I think it would be nice if I could locate this rifle and add it to my collection. 264 Deluxe.jpg
     
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  5. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary SCC Board Member

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    D2: Yes, I've seen the old SCA reference to L57's in .257. It was a mistake in the interpretation of the records.

    L57 serial number 1 is listed as a .257. It appears to have been a prototype since it was inspected in January of 1957 and no other L57's were inspected until the summer of that year when they went into full production.

    Serial numbers 2 & 3 are blank.

    After that, the remainder of the serial numbers on the first page of records (25) and the rest until you get to #45 on the second page are marked simply with a check mark. Number 45 is marked as a .244 Deluxe made in 1959 (as we know, Sako sn's skipped around irrationally). Then the simple check marks continue until #51 which is marked .308. The check mark was Sako's shorthand for .243 since that was the overwhelming caliber in which the L57's were produced. Only if the caliber were other than .243 did they mark that caliber on the inspection line.

    A check mark was also used for the many, many L57's which were inspected as actions-only, but instead of having the code for their stock/sights like the finished rifles, they simply said "lukkol" ("lock") on the identification line.

    Of the 10,000 or so L57's produced, it looks like upwards of half of them might have gone to companies like Colt, NAACO, Wards, and custom builders as actions-only, leaving about half of them as finished Sako rifles. Some day when I get time I'll see just how many of the L57's were shipped as finished rifles. What we do know is that .244's are rare among L57's and .308's are anything but plentiful.

    As to the 1973 Colt among the much earlier rifles, I have no doubt that the entry is correct. We've found plenty of these decade-wide differences in consecutive serial numbers. The "why" is the mystery. It's almost like they had a child drawing serial numbers out of a hat.
     
  6. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    My 22-250 std. I picked up in December is marked Bofors with no grip cap. serial 73684. Still fairly new to this site and Sakos. Has any thought been given to building a photo gallery based on model and serial number?
     
  7. CVCOBRA1

    CVCOBRA1 Well-Known Member

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    So my L57 HB in 243 is fairly common and my L57 HB in 244 is not? Kind of was my thinking. They are both four digit serial numbers around 5000.
     
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  8. misako50

    misako50 Sako-addicted

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    The L57 anything is getting scarce.
     
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  9. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary SCC Board Member

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    It was easy for the guys at the old SCA to make mistakes in interpreting the Sako records since they were working with microfiche copies and not the digitized version that SCC paid $2,500 to have produced. If you've ever worked with a microfiche reader you know how challenging it can be.

    The SCA guys thought that the first .22-250's were produced in 1968. However, the shipping records show the first production that went into inventory was in April of 1967 and by May of 1967 enough had been produced to ship 234 rifles to Firearms International, which represents the earliest Sako Foresters in that caliber, although Sako had been producing L579 .22-250 barreled actions for Browning for several years. Sako really cranked up production and shipped another 108 Forester .22-250's to F.I. in June of '67.
     
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