How good are the Sako finnbear rifles?


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ROW
February 22, 2012, 12:53 PM
How good are Sako finnbear L61r rifles? The pawn shop has one for sale consignment the asking price is $1395 It is a 7MM Mag. It appears to be in very good shape.

How does this rifle compare in quality as compared to the Winchester model 70 or the Remington model 700?

I have found on the web that the Fennbear LR61R was made in 1972/1973. So the price seems to be high.

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tundraotto
February 22, 2012, 02:06 PM
thats not very high $ - they are highly sought after and considered some of the best bolt actions ever made.

Geno
February 22, 2012, 02:10 PM
I had a Finnbear in .270 Win. It was one of the most accurate rifles I have ever owned. The laminated stock cracked in the opening that receives the bolt handle. That wasn't good. Then, one day just before deer season, a primer gave way. The escaping gasses burned a deep pit in the bolt-face around the primer. That was my limit. I returned it to where I had bought it. They put the purchase price toward a Mark V Deluxe .257 Wea Mag.

I have blown primers before in other brands of firearms, and I never have witnessed the bolt face getting deformed like that. The handload was a simple 60 grains of H4831, a Federal 210 benchrest primer, Federal premium brass form-fired, timed, and a Nosler Ballistic Tip 130 grain projectile. Most likely the culprit was the primer being defective. That matters little to me, because I expect that "rifle-grade-steel" hold up. My Weatherby rifles ad Remington rifles have endured blown primers with zero ill-effect. Go with the Mark V, Vanguard, M700 or M70 over a Sako.

Others' experiences may be different from mine, but I will never (have not since) purchased another Sako.

JMHO,

Geno

USSR
February 22, 2012, 02:15 PM
Actually, the Sako Finnbear first came out in 1961. I had a low serial # one in .30-06 that was made in the mid-60's. Hated it! It was not particularly accurate and I didn't like the way the bolt worked at all (stiff). Sold it and now have a Winchester Model 70 made in 1980. Ah, Yes! Oh, and $1395 is WAY too high!

Don

sage5907
February 22, 2012, 02:39 PM
I had a Sako that was made about the same time. It was the shorter action L461 Vixen. It was the worst damn rifle I've ever owned, accuracy was terrible. I wouldn't recommend a Sako to anyone. Buy a Model 70 Winchester. Better stock, better trigger, better extractor, smoother feeding, better floorplate assembly, more accurate and tons of parts on market. BW

browningguy
February 22, 2012, 02:48 PM
I have an early Sako L61 mannlicher stocked 30-06 and love it. Very accurate (for a full stocked rifle) and everything fits just right. I can't recall ever seeing a Remchester as well made.

SlamFire1
February 22, 2012, 03:42 PM
had a Finnbear in .270 Win. It was one of the most accurate rifles I have ever owned. The laminated stock cracked in the opening that receives the bolt handle. That was unfortunate.
That wasn't good. Then, one day just before deer season, a primer gave way. The escaping gasses burned a deep pit in the bolt-face around the primer. That was my limit. I returned it to where I had bought it. They put the purchase price toward a Mark V Deluxe .257 Wea Mag..

I have seen lots of bolt face pitting and have examples on a SS Win M70 where my loads were just too hot. It is not a fault of the steel as a hot gas escape will eat material off any surface. I will bet some of the guys who work on turbine engines can tell you what hot gases do to the surface of exotic materials.

The basic problem you had, at least from this description, was that you had a lot load, you had leaking primers or a pierced primer, and you experienced bolt face etch.

I have a late 70’s or early 80’s SAKO L61 in 30-06. The Finns really know their rifles and built a very smooth, slick action. I like the flat forend as it is easy to orientate the rifle, there are all sorts of little things that showed me that the Finns understand shooting. The action is bedded properly and the barrel is exceptional, for a hunting rifle. Shoots very well.

I won a State Silhouette match shooting mine, but that is more of a comment on how bad the other shooters were at offhand.

They are pricey, functionally you can get a cheaper rifle that shoots the same caliber, but if you like it, go for it.

surjimmy
February 22, 2012, 04:17 PM
I like the Sako, right now I have a Ithaca LSA55. What I have found out is the Tikka T3 has a better action then any of the Sakos's I have ever handled, and for only $500.

jehu
February 23, 2012, 09:48 AM
Saying that a Winchester M70 is equal to a Sako in fit and finish is a joke. The Win. M70 is a good rifle and generally accurate, But the 4 Sako's I have are much better made rifles and are extremlly accurate with much smoother actions.

R H Clark
February 23, 2012, 11:09 AM
The price is about $400-$600 too high unless it is a Deluxe in excellent condition with nicely figured wood.

I like the Sako rifles,and especially the older actions.They are very well made,usually very accurate and a bit heavy by todays standards.

The tapered dove tail mounting rail is an excellent system.It does however limit your mounting options as there are far fewer mounts designed for it and the good ones are very expensive.

GooseGestapo
February 25, 2012, 10:17 AM
re:blown primer and bolt face damage.
It was 1. A hot load. I use 58.0gr of H4831 as a reference load. Ditto 54.0gr of IMR4350 or H414.
2. Over-worked case. Once the primer pocket loosens up, it's just a matter of time before a primer lets go. Could also add in a long and or sharp firing pin.
re: bolt face damage.... Look at a large cross-section of military mausers. You'll be suprised at how many have significant bolt pitting from "leaking" primers..... Especially if used in "combat" conditions.....(ie: very dirty, and shoot while extreamly hot.... making cartridge pressures rise even higher yet..).

All the Sako's I've had the pleasure to shoot/handle have been superior grade firearms...But like Weatherby's, some had stocks that took a while to warm up to.

Techsan
February 25, 2012, 06:39 PM
First time I've seen someone say a Model 70 outshines a Sako. Guess there's a first time for everything.

The older Sako models are considered by many, myself included, to be one of the best production rifles ever made.

USSR
February 25, 2012, 06:54 PM
First time I've seen someone say a Model 70 outshines a Sako. Guess there's a first time for everything.

So, you think every rifle coming off a Finnish production line is perfect?:rolleyes: I put a gauge in it's muzzle, and it measured .310".:eek: My Model 70 made in 1980 when Winchester was still making Winchesters and not U.S.R.A or FN, is clearly superior to the Sako Finnbear I had. YMMV.

Don

Kachok
February 25, 2012, 07:13 PM
The Winchester 70 is great, I love the smooth mauser action, but the Sako is stellar. While the Model 70 is an American legend the Sako is THE international legend.
I will never need more accuracy then what Winchester brings to the table, but I still want the Sako.

Techsan
February 25, 2012, 08:11 PM
So, you think every rifle coming off a Finnish production line is perfect? I put a gauge in it's muzzle, and it measured .310". My Model 70 made in 1980 when Winchester was still making Winchesters and not U.S.R.A or FN, is clearly superior to the Sako Finnbear I had. YMMV.

Didn't say Sako has never put a lemon on the market. Just said, in regard to the gentlemen who posted immediately after your post, that it was the first time I'd seen someone say the Model 70 outshines a Sako.

HKGuns
February 25, 2012, 08:40 PM
Sako will be better than Winchester 95% of the time. I agree, depending on the model, it may be a bit too much. However, I would probably pay that for a deluxe model.

http://hkguns.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v17/p168398017-5.jpg

USSR
February 25, 2012, 08:50 PM
HKGuns,

You need to get Original Sako rings on that rifle.:)

Don

HKGuns
February 25, 2012, 10:24 PM
Funny you say that....I actually looked at buying some, but these are so solid I really don't want to mess with something that is working.

SilentStalker
February 25, 2012, 10:32 PM
I cannot say about the rifle in question specifically but I can say that the Sako's I do have are some of the finest rifles I have ever put my hands on. They are built very well and are like tanks. IMO, you cannot really do better.

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