Discussion in 'General Sako Discussions' started by topgear, Jan 22, 2016.
Please post a photo!
Recent addition to my Sako family. A Sako Enfield in .243, Serial No 1665.
Multigroove 12 land bore, mis-stamped printing.
It came with a Tasco 4x scope and very high mounts.
I bought it from a large property inland of Gladstone Qld; the seller didn't know the history, other than he bought it off an old bloke there. I know very little about Enfields, but I've been told the original rifle was from the Canadian Long Branch factory with some Savage parts to finish it off - a good 'Bitsa'!
It has a few differences to the SE's already posted, most obvious is the stock. whilst it doesn't looks exactly the same as the 60's advertisements, it feels very 'Sako' to hold, esp the fore end.
Looks better without the scope.
Very late serial number
Blind magazine - probably an aftermarket kit.
Battle sight at rear flips up and the rear base has been milled to give good vision through to the front sight. I haven't shot it with the open sights yet, hoping to later this week. A few shots in windy conditions off a shaky picnic table (using a scope) gave about 2" groups. I expect that will shrink to 1" with better conditions and ammunition etc.
It doesn't have a rear ladder or tangent sight, and there are no marks on the barrel to show a rear sight was ever fitted. The patina on the old barrel blueing makes me think it's still wearing the original factory blued finish.
And a different barrel ring
And I wonder how the front sight compares to other SE's, as my gunsmith says this is a Remington front sight.
I was gifted part of a large collection of magazines from an old bloke who has retired from shooting. My share was about 20 large boxes, I have a lot of Australian magazines from mid 1960’s onwards and a few from the late 1950’s. I’m missing the early 1960’s – so shall try and track them down via one of the other recipients.
July 1965 is my first magazine in the mid 60’s and it has the ad for the Sako Enfield’s, but I have a feeling is that it was the early days of the ad, as it has a ‘typo’ in it (the standard model SE price is wrong). These ads were typeset and cast in lead. Once a plate was made, it was used as much as possible, so 'once they got it right' it would been used for a while. The next ad and the many following ads are the same. July 1965 was also the first of the monthly editions of Sporting Shooter and I thank the current editor for his permission to reproduce from these magazines.
I’ve included some other ads of interest to see how the SE’s were placed in the market place and how they compared to new rifles. And ad’s with Sako’s in them of course, sorry but you’ll have to zoom in to read them. A new Sako was an expensive purchase in 1960’s BUT cheaper than today (using the RBA inflation calculator)
Australia was awash in cheap ex mil rifles in the late 1960’s thanks to 2 WW’s and the Korean War. Plus the Australian Army was changing over to new rifles for the Vietnam War, so most of the old rifles were sold onto the civilian market and many were converted to other calibres. I think some States had requirements that they had to be converted from military calibres to civilian calibres (I’m not sure when that was dropped). When you look at the price of new imported rifles, the converted rifles would have been attractive for everyday use.
Australia went to decimal currency in Feb 1966, the conversion rate was 1 Pound = 2 dollars, 20 shillings = 1 pound (therefore 1 shilling = 10cents), 12 pence = 1 shilling, (but for ease of conversion, treat them as cents ie 9 pence = 9 cents)
July 1965 is the only magazine with an ad which mentions L46’s and L57’s, so this period must be at the very end of sales of those rifles.
October 1965 and the ad was corrected; standard model now 19 pounds. The ad was not in every magazine in this period, but about 75% of them, and often in the cheaper back pages, so they were watching their pounds/dollars.
Final ad in April 1968, plus the currency has changed along the way. No more ads from International Firearms Co for the remainder of the 1960’s. They either folded or advertised elsewhere. But they took roughly 3 years to sell the estimated 678 SE rifles; not a particularly good sales effort.
Using the Australian Reserve Bank’s inflation calculator, the L579 .243 sporter 1967 below would cost $1860 today (just allowing for inflation.). A new Sako 85 series, blued Hunter sporter in .243 retails for $2800- $2900 today.
Here’s one that has popped up for sale today:
Very cool posts there piper. That sounds like a treasure trove of reading that should keep you busy for a while!
Thanks Marcus, have found a nice ad for L46's from the mid 1950's - will post in a new thread in a few days.
Continuing on from my post above, I went to the range today and shot some groups, using up part boxes of left-over factory .243 ammunition. The groups weren’t much better than last time, even though weather conditions were great and I was using the concrete benches plus good rests etc. The scope never seemed to be happy.
Eventually I took the scope & rings off to try it with the battle sights and WOW! Super impressed. Bloody scope and/or rings must be crap….
My first group just to see if I could hit paper put 3 shots into 0.75 MOA @ 100m. My 2nd group put 4 shots into 1.125 MOA @ 100m. I could hardly see the target to aim at (60 yr old eyes) so I elated; with a better target I’d expect slightly better results. This was using cheap Federal 80gn SP ammo, and no front sight hood – which would help centre the front sight, so I was just guessing alignment as I went along.
It’s landing 9.25” high and 1.5” to the right of aim. I can fix the windage by drifting the front sight but there’s no elevation adjustment (ultimately, I can reload and adjust the powder for lower speed and lower the elevation; have done it for an 1890’s ex mil, and it’s a lot of stuffing around)
Next target was the 300m gong, which is 400 to 500mm in diameter; my mate did the spotting to walk me onto the gong, 3 shots to work out where to aim (still landing a bit high and to the right), then 6 in a row went ‘ring a ding’. 3 of them would have been a good group with a scope!
[EDIT to add: will try some 90 & 100gn bullets, I would like to have it shooting accurately at 300m; the heavier bullets will drop the trajectory a bit so hopefully it "will be easy" to find the right ammo.]
Then a 2 hr drive home with a damn big smile all the way!!
Good info piper. Both mine have standard sako front sites so I’d say your Remington maybe an add on like the flat bottom magazine.
One question - is your bolt face/head recessed or flat on face? Since I did my first post on this I’ve seen a couple of these that appear to have the original bolt head not the sako recessed one.
I really love it when one of our members takes the time to post pics of old ads. They really provide a great deal of information and are of historical significance to all of our collectors.
Many Thanks for going the extra mile to dig them out a post the pics.
Me too! But remember to take the information in them with a grain of salt. Often, manufacturers (or their distributors) would run ads prospectively for models which, for one reason or another, were never produced. And sometimes ad copy written by a distributor would get something wrong about a feature. So yes, they are helpful, but not definitive, in sorting out the history of some models -- and they are always entertaining.
Marlin collectors are still looking for their Holy Grail, a Model 62 lever action in .22 Jet. It was advertised but never produced. And Sako collectors are still looking for one of those Deluxe Finnwolfs like shown on the cover of Gun Digest, only a handful of which were ever made and none ever commercially distributed.
Terrific shooting with the irons Piper.
Rather than stuffing around trying to regulate loads to get the irons to shoot to POA I suggest looking at that front sight. If you are shooting high at 100m then the muzzle needs to go lower, and a taller front sight is required. It looks like you can drift that one out so you should be able to replace it with one that has a higher post, or get that one built up with some tig weld then file it back and reblue.
To work out the approx height you could build up that one with some bluetak, thick card and tape or similar and get close to the height you need to order or make. If you order or build up that post go a bit higher than you think you need as you can always file it down a touch, harder to go the other way.
Firstly Topgear, I'd like to say "a big thank you" for starting this thread and contributing the research you've done. Who would ever have thought Sako would refurbish some ex WWII Enfields with some 'junk' barrels they couldn't use or sell. Talk about recycling! And I would never have imagined I'd own one either.
I have a recessed bolt face; I wonder how they'd get the standard bolt face to hold the cartridge and eject it?
Thanks Marcus, having thought about it overnight my plan is to forget using a scope, and optimise it for 300m with the 300yd battle sight. I'll try some heavier bullets; I have some Sako 90gn and Federal 100gn ammunition, I expect gravity will assist. I can change the front sight but I now kind of like this one, and the age/patina it is, plus it's a little circle inside a big circle, so the eye naturally centres it. I guess I'll end up reloading for it anyway, I have a cupboard full of everything I need so it's a bit silly not to use them; I'll fine tune elevation with the powder loads then if required
This gun will only get used for novelty shoots with other Sako tragics (like the Yass get together), so I think it'd be a bit of fun setting up 100/200/300m gongs and seeing who can hit them etc. A special prize for anyone who can hit the 500m gong in 3 rounds!
Thanks for the photo. Yeah I’m not sure if someone had changed the bolt head but I’ve seen two now with flat bolt heads. I actually got to handle one and it feed and ejected live rounds. But I wasn’t able to let one off and see what it did.
Still haven’t seen a .308 version yet.
This is an absolutely amazing thread! Mind blowing.
Agree. I wouldn't waste any more time on a Tasco scope. When I was in the business, I got rifles all the time with those things on them. I was always amazed that somebody would put a $50 junk scope on a $500-1000 rifle. I would take them off and put them on my gun show table for $20 apiece, as they actually made the rifle less attractive to a buyer (or to me, if I was keeping the rifle). Those rings don't look like the best either, and there's no reason to mount the scope that high unless theres interference between the eyepiece and the bolt handle. If you change your mind about shooting it with a scope, there are plenty of good quality scopes and rings on the market. And be sure the screws holding the scope mounts onto the receiver are tight. I've seen those work loose.
And that is some impressive shooting with open sights!
Here is my recently acquired Sako Enfield serial no 1210. Have not fired it yet. Would not mind finding the plate that would fit this allowing me to fit a scope if I wanted to. I have a new Howa in 243 unfired so will be interesting when I get to shoot them soon. I own a farm so that will not b e difficult to sort.
Another piece of the Sako Enfield puzzle. I felt I should post this so it doesn't disappear off my radar. I'm about to sell my SE 243 and will 'drop out' of the SE story. However owning the SE has introduced me to Enfield's in general and I have started collecting them (and now have some very nice examples from 1900 to the 1950's).
Recently I spoke with an older gun dealer in SE Queensland, who I’ll call ‘LE’ for internet anonymity (anyone who wants his details, please PM me), but he runs a gun shop specialising in Lee Enfield’s and ex-militaria, he’s a world renowned expert on Lee Enfield’s, has co-authored books and videos with Ian Skennerton who is the supreme Lee Enfield expert and author.
LE was a young lad in the 1960’s working in a gunshop in Kingaroy. His boss tendered for a shipment of guns and spare parts that had been held for too long in a freight company’s Customs' bond store (the freight had come in from Papua New Guinea and was being held in the bond store pending payment of Government Duties and Taxes). The freight company eventually realised that parts were being stolen and were owed long overdue money for storage. I will call the thieving bastard ‘TB’ to avoid defamation; he was an employee of the freight company. So eventually the freight company put the goods up for sale via tender to recoup their losses and be rid of it.
From LE “The shipment had come in from PNG, possibly under the name of Vickers, and had been put into the bond store at the freight company. It contained a number of large wooden crates with a big SAKO emblem and writing on the sides.”
The total size of the shipment (including the SAKO boxes) sounds like a large semi-trailer load. There were large boxes with hundreds of new barrels for Enfield No 1 Mk 3, No 4, No 5 rifles, hundreds of Martini Cadet 310 barrels, but in 16TPI, not the usual 14 TPI, and plenty of other firearms and misc. gun spare parts. Where they came from would be another interesting tale. As a side tale, a retired soldier attached to a Stores Depot has told me that he moved many truckloads of crated 303 Lee Enfield’s when they were being prepared for sale to the public as ‘surplus’.
LE’s boss won the tender for 1000 pounds, which must have been steal even in those days (more on this later).
TB also worked part-time within the gun industry, and was often seen at the weekend gun shows with a stall. For a long time no one could work out where he was getting all the bits to sell at those gun shows. Not a bad profit margin when you’re stealing parts out of the bond store! He targeted the SAKO’s (excuse that pun), as they had the bolts and magazines set up for converting 303’s to 243’s/308’s etc, which was a popular conversion at the time. He often sold them as a ‘kit’. So out of 678 rifles which left the factory, a lot were were cannibalised, which might account for why Sako Enfield 308’s are so scarce.
When LE and his boss got the shipment back to Kingaroy they assembled a lot of the Sako parts together to make complete rifles (he only remembers 243’s, no 308’s), LE said they put together at least 12 SAKO rifles from the bits TB had left behind. They didn’t have enough bolt heads, so they had a gunsmith, Tommy Williams, convert 303 bolt heads to take the 243 case (LE thinks the finished product was flat faced, not recessed like my Sako bolt face), and convert magazines for rifles that were missing the 243/308 magazines.
The Sako factory magazine conversion had the follower removed, and used just the magazine spring, with a screw at the bottom rear of the magazine. LE’s boss supplied Tommy Williams with a large number of rectangular metal magazines (LE thinks they were Tikka metal magazines) and Tommy grafted them into the No 4 .303 magazine box – no visible screw required.
LE and his boss sold a lot of the Sako Enfield’s at their Kingaroy gunshop, so I would expect quite a few to be lurking in SE Queensland. My own example came from a cattle station about 5 hours’ drive from Kingaroy; not far in Australia.
LE said that there boxes full of the original rifle bits returned by the SAKO factory, which itself were a gold mine, as No 4 Enfield’s weren’t officially issued to Australian Troops (or if they were in some theatres of war, it was in very small numbers), and No 4 bits commanded top prices at gun shows etc.
He said that in one box were the remains from a No 4 Trials rifle, that would be worth many thousands of dollars today if it were a complete rifle. Even the components put into the SAKO ENFIELD rifle would worth big dollars. So someone somewhere is hopefully walking around with a butchered old Enfield No4 Trials rifle worth a lot of $$. (Hopefully it didn’t go to the smelters in ’96).
Australia was awash in No 1 Mk3 Enfield’s, we had many thousands of them lying around the place but No 4’s were scare and worth good money, so where did the 678 No 4’s come from to send to the Sako factory. Did they go from PNG to Finland? It’s possible No 4’s were being held in PNG surplus War Stores, or from somewhere else in the Pacific Theatre (NZ troops were issued with them) or did they come from some other part of the British Empire? Another mystery.
LE said the Sako factory threaded over the top of the original Sako barrel thread to put on the Enfield thread.
LE said he still had some Sako Enfield top wood pieces somewhere, to fit over the rear sights. He also thinks he has some photos somewhere of the shipment and/or the Sako crates, he’s going to see if he can find them for me.
What happened to TB? Well he was furious after LE’s boss won the tender, he’d tendered also and thought he had it all stitched up for a lesser price, but he lost out. He ended up owning a gun shop in Queensland, and is still operating it, so I rang him.
I didn’t mention the above shenanigans, and I asked some questions about Sako Enfield’s, but he said didn’t know much about them and had no answers to my questions.
There are some gaps in the story and any errors are mine, not LE's. One gap I see is that I don't think the Kingaroy gun shop bought all the Sako Enfield's that came into the country (they may have purchased all that were held in that shipment but I see a question mark over the numbers), were there other shipments? If so, by whom, and which shops sold them?
Separate names with a comma.