North Dakota Mystery Rifle

Discussion in 'Sako Mausers, Hi-Powers and Magnum Mausers' started by paulsonconstruction, Jul 9, 2021.

  1. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

    Messages:
    3,743
    Likes Received:
    782
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Iowa
    I'm sure most of our members were aware of & had interest in the recent estate auction in North Dakota with dozens of nice Sako rifles. A few of you may remember a rather ordinary looking Sako Hi-Power with some unusual stampings that the auction house presented as a "possible" prototype with no caliber stamping. They did say it was chambered in 30-06, but whether they did a chamber casting to confirm is unknown. I was recently able to take some detailed close up pictures of this rifle & would be very interested in what you fellas think about it.
    IMG_0319 sakohp full view right.jpg IMG_0320 sakohp full view left.jpg
    It's in pretty good shape for a 70 year old rifle. The metal to wood fit is as good as I have ever seen. I had to bump up on the barrel to get the barreled action out of the stock & actually had to tap on the mag well with a brass hammer to get the bottom metal out. Inletting is perfection! The bore is like a mirror!


    The barrel has the Finnish Lionhead proof stamp, but the face is looking downward at about a 45 degree angle. Next to it is the stylize NV, which is the Sako factory inspectors stamp that I'm sure you all recognize.
    There is a 3 stamped on the side of the front action bridge & another 3 ,in a different font, stamped on the side of the action just to the rear of the front bridge.
    IMG_0321 sakohp proof_insp stamp.jpg IMG_0323 sakohp "3" stamp.jpg

    On top of the barrel, were we normally see SAKO & the caliber stamp on the later rifles, there is stamped Oy Sako Ab & Riihimaki Finland.
    IMG_0322 sakohp bbl stamp.jpg

    On the bottom of the action are some stampings that I attribute to FN as inspector & factory identification stampings applied in Belgium.
    IMG_0332 sakohp bottom stamps.jpg
    These are the only stampings. Sako is not stamped on the side of the barrel, nor is there a serial number in the 100,000's or a caliber stamping like you would see on other Sako Hi-Powers.

    The front sight is just like other front sights I have seen on Sakos & is identical to one on a L46 I have, but the checkering pattern is a little different. The indentation in the hood groove match a Sako hood protrusions & a Sako hood fits perfectly. The dovetailed insert is an exact match to my other Sakos.
    IMG_0324 sakohp ft. sight.jpg

    The buttplate is self explanatory.
    IMG_0329 sakohp buttplate.jpg

    The grip cap is an exact match to my L46 Varmint.
    IMG_0330 sakohp grip cap.jpg

    The full wrap around checkering on the forearm is "almost" a match to a L46 I have.
    IMG_0326 sakohp fore check.jpg

    The grip checkering is "close" to what I have on other Sakos.
    IMG_0327 sakohp grip check side.jpg IMG_0328 sakohp grip check top.jpg

    The cheekpiece is kind of a cross between the pancake style of the early L46 & the Monte Claro of the later ones.
    IMG_0331 sakohp butt checkpiece.jpg

    The sling swivels are a dead ringer for ones I have on other Sakos.
    IMG_0325 sakohp sling swivel.jpg

    I think there is enough evidence to be fairly certain that the barreled action was built at the Sako factory, but the lack of stampings that a "normal" Hi-Power would have leaves it open to speculation as to why it was built, if it was ever marketed through normal channels, & how in the heck did it end up in North Dakota!!
    Although the provenance on the stock is not as strong (as we all know buttplates, grip caps, & sling swivels are interchangeable) I feel, after having had this rifle in my hands, that the stock is factory built as well.

    I have a "theory" about this gun, but would very much like to get more input from the club & see if any of you can find a match for some of the features, especially for the stock, with any of the Sakos in your safes.

    I doubt this rifle will ever have much collector interest or monetary value above what I gave for it, but I think it's one of the more interesting Sakos I have run across and I think it's a pretty cool gun. If it remains a mystery, so be it. Thanks in advance for any insight!
     

    Attached Files:

    icebear, Unclekax and tripledeuce like this.

  2. bigcountry4me

    bigcountry4me Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    821
    Likes Received:
    328
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Oregon
    Although there’s probably no way to confirm, I’d say your rifle could be a prototype, or a one off for an employee, or someone who had a high degree of influence. As you’ve stated it is very well executed with regard to fit and finish and the stamps lend to the period. I find the number 3 very curious.

    I also find it interesting that there’s no rear sight as was typical for the period. Obviously, without (rear) dovetails, the only way to utilize the front sight is with a receiver sight of some sort, or a set of factory irons. Is there evidence of a prior sight being removed? I suppose (pure speculation) the front sight was installed in case a receiver or iron sights were ever wanted as a backup. I can see the front bridge is drilled and tapped, how about the rear?

    A very unique rifle without a doubt, glad you ended up with it.
     
    paulsonconstruction likes this.
  3. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

    Messages:
    7,911
    Likes Received:
    1,874
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Texas
    Interesting rifle! Identifying its provenance gets into the area of rank speculation, but I agree with Paulson that everything about it looks as if it came from the Sako factory.

    It has the early LH wing safety, so it is certainly from before 1958(?) or thereabouts.

    The barrel contour isn't at all like the typical Sako-Mausers -- but it is very, very similar to the early L46's with the sharp step down just in front of the action face. Also, the typical Sako-Mausers had the Sako identification and serial number stamped lengthwise with the barrel rather than radially -- but the radial stamping is also comports with the L46's being produced when this rifle was probably produced.

    All of the commercially released Sako-Mausers were numbered in the 100,000's on the LH side of the barrel and not on the action. The single digit SN on this one appears on both the barrel and the action.

    I've got to think that this rifle was most likely a one-off made to the specifications of an employee or someone who otherwise specially ordered it with the slight Monte Carlo and lighter contour barrel. While it could be a prototype, the early Sako-Mausers had a straight stock and the later ones a full monte carlo. I can think of no other example of a factory Sako stock with the "semi-monte carlo" exhibited by this one, which causes me to believe that the stock dimensions were specified for an individual.

    But remember, this opinion and $2 will buy you a cup of coffee many places.
     
    paulsonconstruction likes this.
  4. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

    Messages:
    3,743
    Likes Received:
    782
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Iowa
    Bigcountry4me: The rear bridge is D&T'd for a scope base & on the right side as well for a receiver sight. Doesn't appear to have ever had a rear barrel mounted sight. I think I'll put a XS System rear ghost ring sight on it. It will mount in the scope base holes so no alteration required.
     
  5. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

    Messages:
    3,743
    Likes Received:
    782
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Iowa
    Stonecreek: Interesting take on the stock being made for an individual customer or employee. But that still leaves me wondering, why no caliber stamping? Wouldn't a special order gun be stamped with a caliber & SN? BTW, both "3's" are on the action.
     
  6. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie Formerly known as bloorooster

    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    319
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US West Virginia
    Amazing rifle PC
    I noticed the similarity of the barrel contour to the L46’s, as well as several other Sakoesque attributes. Even the circumferential barrel stamping seems to make sense to be factory. I’m baffled that there is no caliber or chambering stamp. To me that would have been a mandatory rule of thumb.
    Prototype or one off special, either way, it’s super unique. Very cool find.

    Hippie
     
  7. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

    Messages:
    7,911
    Likes Received:
    1,874
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Texas
    Paulson: Have you checked to see if the caliber might be stamped on the rear face of the barrel? And is the action a "C" ring or an "H" ring? I'm not well-educated on the FN Mausers, but I think the "C" ring is the earlier of the two.
     
  8. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

    Messages:
    3,743
    Likes Received:
    782
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Iowa
    Nothing stamped on the rear barrel face. I'm not sure on the C or H thing either. I am taking it to a friend who bought a Hi-Power at the same auction with the Sako #4 trigger, so we know it is a later one & see if I can tell any other differences in the actions. I'm also going to do a chamber cast to confirm what it is.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2021
  9. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

    Messages:
    3,743
    Likes Received:
    782
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Iowa
    I was baffled by the lack of interest during the auction & thought maybe I was the fool. Hardly any bidding on it & when the hammer dropped at $600 I didn't know quite how to feel. When I got it in hand I now think even with the 10% premium & the FFL/shipping fees @ $745 it was well worth it.
     
  10. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie Formerly known as bloorooster

    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    319
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US West Virginia
    Heck yeah! You didn’t get hurt none on that!
    I looked at the auction earlier on..I saw so many Sako’s I didn’t have, I freaked out and stayed away until it was over. Then when it was over I kicked myself hard for not going after a couple of them as they went for less than I figured! Oh well, you win some…

    Hippie
     
  11. deersako

    deersako Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    938
    Likes Received:
    303
    Country Flag:
    Australia
    State/Region:
    AU New South Wales
    That was a great buy, and one, amongst a few others that had my attention.

    We know that Sako did a lot of ‘prototype’ stuff back in the day. Whether or not yours came came direct from the factory that way, while intriguing, would be of little concern.

    Very cool rifle.
     
    paulsonconstruction likes this.
  12. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

    Messages:
    3,743
    Likes Received:
    782
    Country Flag:
    USA
    State/Region:
    US Iowa
    I compared the Sako Hi-Power my friend got with the Sako #4 trigger to mine and other than the rear bolt safety mine has the actions are identical. I'm not sure how that dates or places mine or whether & how Sako used the "C" & "H" variations in it's production. If someone has more knowledge or has insight in this matter, please chime in!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021

Share This Page