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Old September 15, 2012, 05:48 PM   #1
Hamm0ckjames
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Sako A3

Howdy All,

I just brought home a Sako A 3 from the NRA Whittington Center (The local gun shop) and I'm wondering if any of you folks are familiar with the Sako 7mm Remington Magnum? It's in very good condition, I'd say 90 to 95% near new. Rifling is bright and sharp, magazine condition is near new. No marring or wear. The iron sights were removed and plug screws installed. The screw slots are even lined up. Barrel length is 24". The origonal wood stock however does show a little stippling in places from what looks like water damage, perhaps.

I paid $625.00 for the rifle with a nice leather sling. Oh, the blueing is almost perfect by the way. I'm planning on mounting a decent 3x9x40, but I'm not sure which brand would best compliment this rifle. I haven't shot it yet as I just brought it home today and I have to order a set of rings for it as well.

Is the A 3 the model number or name of this rifle? Or is there another? There isn't any other marking on the rifle other than the serial number. the barrel is stamped Sako 7mm Rem mag and also says made in Finnland. I would sure appreciate any input from you folks on ths rifle. I plan on using it for Elk and target shooting out to 500 yards or so. Also what ammo would be recommended for this rifle?

Thanks for your input,,,,
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Old September 15, 2012, 05:52 PM   #2
warbirdlover
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The top of the line Sako is the model 85. The A3 has most all of the features except for a couple lower cost parts that don't mean jack. The A3 was Sako's main rifle for the US but it appears they're now pushing the model 85 more.

You did good!

And the 7mm Rem Mag is a super, flat shooting cartridge.

http://www.berettausa.com/shop-by-de...ter/guns/sako/

As you can see the model 85 is much more expensive then the model A7 and it looks like they've now only got one version of the A7.
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Old September 15, 2012, 06:07 PM   #3
Hamm0ckjames
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Thanks WarBird,

The sub-grade parts you reffered to, are they upgradable? Is this something worth being concerned about? Thanks for your input,,,,
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Old September 15, 2012, 10:12 PM   #4
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Sounds to me like you bought a very nice rifle at a great price. The A-III refers to the action type. It's one designation Sako used to indicate a rifle with a long action. It superseded the L61R action and was followed by the A-IV and A-V actions. The model name is Finnbear. I like the older Sakos such as yours and in fact prefer them to the newer 75 and 85. But that's me. I don't shoot the 7mm so I will defer to someone else for ammo recommendations. A Deluxe model of your rifle was made but at that price I would doubt yours is one. And depending on model, an older Sako can fetch a higher price than a new on. As stated earlier, you did good. Enjoy. When you buy another Sako, try an L579 Forester in .243
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Old September 15, 2012, 10:17 PM   #5
Slamfire
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The Finnbear was introduced around 1961 and the A3 is the same basic rifle, but there are action differences. Frank De Haas has chapter 26 on the later, upgraded SAKO models in his revised edition of "Bolt Action Rifles". I think I read somewhere that the barrels were hammer forged.

This action was the SAKO action for a very long time. I have an A3 in 30-06, it is a very accurate rifle and a very smooth rifle. I do not consider it inferior to anything, it is a very well built and well thought out hunting rifle.
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Old September 15, 2012, 10:40 PM   #6
warbirdlover
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Quote:
Thanks WarBird,

The sub-grade parts you reffered to, are they upgradable? Is this something worth being concerned about? Thanks for your input,,,,
Pardon my senility. I was thinking of the new A7 which has a plastic trigger guard I believe but is otherwise similar to the latest model 85.

The A3 is the older (and much cooler IMHO) version as was stated by others. I'd love to have one of the Finnbears in .300 Win Mag!! The A3 would have been the top of the line model. I think (and my head hurts) that it was very similar to the Finnbear except they put a bolt shroud on it.
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Old September 16, 2012, 06:06 AM   #7
phil mcwilliam
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Sounds like you purchased an old Sako Finnbear. I own 4 Sako rifles, the first one purchased over 25 years ago. All my Sako rifles are accurate & if your 7mm is in good condition it will be a good shooter. A mate of mine has a 30-06 Finnbear that was made in the late 1970's that still groups well with Winchester supreme factory ammunition. The only way to tell what ammunition your rifle prefers is to try numerous brands.
Id put a Leupold 3-9x40 vx2, or for a little more a Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40.
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Old September 16, 2012, 09:04 AM   #8
Hamm0ckjames
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Howdy All,

Thanks to all for the replies and information. You've helped me locate an aproxamite manufacturing date of this rifle, I appreciate it.
Apparently it is a L61R Finnbear made between 06/03/78 and 25/09/81 as per the Sako web page. But I've also learned that Sako wasn't too keen on serial numbers being sequential or well documented.

This rifle does have a two lug bolt with no bolt shroud per say. It's serial number 537493 "Seems" to put in it the above mentioned mfg date. I don't know if it's a delux model or pre or post Garcia inport. It would be cool to find out, but I'm willing to bet it won't affect the accuracy much though. Ha,,,

I did find a set of "High" 1" Leuplod rings on line for $40.00. So now it's time to find a decent scope,,,,

Any suggestions any one?
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Old September 17, 2012, 10:35 AM   #9
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There are lot's of good scopes out now. I've found the "new" Nikon Prostaff to be pretty darn good for the money (with the BDC reticle).

Vortex Diamondback, Zeiss Conquest, Redfield Revolution are also excellent from reading reviews and comments in this forum and I'm sure I've missed some.

It all comes down to how much you have to spend. Many will say Leupold is good but for me they aren't worth the money they ask. I've compared them to Nikon (exquivalent models) and the Nikon always seem clearer to me. But that's just my opinion. You have to do your own homework.
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Old September 18, 2012, 01:33 PM   #10
Sodbuster
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Hamm0ckjames

Look on the underside of the barrel ahead of the forearm for an "Imported by Stoeger" stamp. I'm guessing this serial number range makes it a post-Garcia, i.e. Stoeger. If imported by Garcia it will be so stamped. Yes, it is an L61R. What Sako did when they shifted serial numbers to the 500,000 range in 1974 is change the stamp from L61R to A-III. Why? Why did Sako do anything? You have already provided the answer.

Quote:
I've also learned that Sako wasn't too keen on serial numbers being sequential or well documented
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Old September 18, 2012, 04:07 PM   #11
603Country
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This is an interesting discussion and I'm glad the subject came up. I have a Sako Lightweight Hunter that I bought somewhere in the early 80's. It was a Stoeger import (per the barrel stamp). I believe that it's an AIII, being a long action 270, and my SN is just over 600,000. I never could figure out when that rifle was made. I trolled the internet and got some info, but nothing that I considered definite. Thanks to ya'll, I'm a bit better informed.

It's a terrific rifle. Wonderful build quality.
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Old September 18, 2012, 06:22 PM   #12
Hamm0ckjames
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Howdy Sodbuster,

I removed the stock ( all one piece) and looked for any other markings. None to be found. So I'm not sure if it's a Garcia pre or post.

And Warbird, I noticed that the Walmart sells a Nikon Prostaff for about $170.00 with the BDC reticle. I think it is a 3x9x40, what do you think about reaching out to 500 to 750 for paper with it? I'm wondering if a 4x16x50 would be to much scope?
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Old September 18, 2012, 10:43 PM   #13
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If you are going out to 500 yds a 12 power would be a good idea (well at least if you are older and eyes not so good anymore). I am fond of Leopold and they make Redfield and you can get one for around $200. Lifetime warranty and good glass, finish not as nice as Leupold but then its a field scope. Also made in the USA which I like.

The various Sakos all have a following. The A3 is considered in some circles better than the L61R. Technically true I gather though they all seem to be solid with the A3 having some improvements over the earlier ones.

I am inclined to the earlier ones, but then my dad bought my Mom one in 62 so there is the nostalgia factor. Good to have people who like them up and down the timeline.

I bought an L61R in 30-06 because I liked it (and we are shooting 1903 of various persuasions so it fits right in). My Finnbear is not as nice condition finish wise (pun) but looks to have barely been shot, just carried around a lot.

they all have very nice actions, great feel and quality guns. One case where I am fine with not in the USA! (well I have two 1903s plus most of my other guns that are USA made are so having a bit of foreigner iron is ok)

Hammer forged is correct but then they do a fine lap finish on therm as well, so its almost a button rifle bore.
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Old September 19, 2012, 07:37 AM   #14
jehu
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You got an excellent rifle at an excellent price, if it's in good condition, so top it with an excellent scope. I have a Sako Grey Wolf 7mmRM topped with a Swarovski 4-16X50 and it's a long range flat shooter with Federal 150gr Ballistic tips. 400-500yrds is no problem and is long range for me but I know the set up is capable to 600-700yrds.
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Old September 19, 2012, 07:56 PM   #15
Hamm0ckjames
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Howdy RC20,
I certainly appreciate all of the great info. And I'm looking forward to shooting this Sako. I've got a set of Sako rings on order and am trying to decide on a scope. I'm thinking I should go with a 4x16x50 so I can try it out for long range target shooting. Agin thank you for the input.
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Old September 19, 2012, 07:58 PM   #16
Hamm0ckjames
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Howdy JEHU,
I agree with you on buying a excellent scope. So I'm doing some homework and lots of looking around. Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.
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Old September 20, 2012, 12:50 PM   #17
RC20
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You are welcome.

4-16 is even better for those ranges, I think 12 power would be minimum.

Enjoy the gun, I like guns, but only a few really grab me. Earlier 1903 have a great feel to the action and the Sakos just feel good period (at least the older ones, never handled the newer ones)

Quote:
Howdy RC20,
I certainly appreciate all of the great info. And I'm looking forward to shooting this Sako. I've got a set of Sako rings on order and am trying to decide on a scope. I'm thinking I should go with a 4x16x50 so I can try it out for long range target shooting. Agin thank you for the input.
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