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Thread: Sako S491 - to float or not to float?

  1. #1

    Sako S491 - to float or not to float?

    Does anybody have any experience of floating a barrel which was previously supported at its mid point? My Sako S491 has support pillars in the fore end of the stock which are clearly there for a purpose. I understand that removing them will, of itself, serve no valuable purpose. Indeed, I'm led to believe such work will probably result in slacker groups. Should I accept its current performance to be as good as it can get or would a visit to the gunsmith tighten things up for me?

    My thanks in anticipation of any suggestions you may wish to offer.
    /l\ Y gwir yn erbyn y byd /l\

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Iwrch View Post
    Should I accept its current performance to be as good as it can get or would a visit to the gunsmith tighten things up for me?
    You haven't mentioned how it performs.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by scotsgun View Post
    You haven't mentioned how it performs.

    A very occasional 1" group at 100yds but not really that consistent. More often 2" or greater. I'm pretty sure it isn't me since I can invariably hold my old PH .308 to 1" groups or less at the same distance.
    /l\ Y gwir yn erbyn y byd /l\

  4. #4
    I would clean it well with a good copper solvent, then free float the barrel and possibly consider having the rifle glass bedded.


  5. #5
    I think especially a hunting rifle should be free floated, because the shooting position varies.
    That's why the question "how does she group" is actually not important. A pressure bedded rifle
    should actually group quite well, but when one changes position the point of impact also changes.

    Try a group when pushing hard on a bipod, then try a group off a bag under the mag area and free
    forend. The goal of a good hunting rifle must be to have the same point of impact, today tommorrow....always.


  6. #6
    Perhaps the way in which the rifle is being used would help informed suggestions being made. Although I have two Bi-Pods so far I have only used one once whilst stalking. Some of my rifles cannot use them at all as the front sling loop is on the barrel. It has not stopped them bring the beast to book though.

    My own method in this case would be to take the rifle down inspect everything especially the bedding, carefully clean and de foul the bore then reassemble and test it again. If no improvement was found then consideration to the bedding of the action would be considered. The fore stock bedding would not be changed at this point unless bedding the action did not result in an improvement in the consistent grouping.

  7. #7
    The most consistently accurate rifle I have owned was a Mannlicher 222rem. It was aluminium pillar bedded and had a forend pressure tip. It was sensational for a light sporter, .3-.4" every time with decent loads.

    However, it hated to have a bipod fitted and grouped all over the place once the bipod was on.

    I woould agree with Brit, exhaust every other avenue before you remove the forend points.

    Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you......

  8. #8
    My limited understanding of older Sako was that they work best with slight forend up pressure of 6-8ftlbs. The S491 may have the support pillars for that reason. This may be a view point from the 1960-70s?
    I gleaned this from the sako collectors club on If you do remove the pillars you can't replace them so easily so take care.

  9. #9
    Hi Iwrch,

    I wouldn't remove the supporting pillars in the forend, the rifle was designed that way by Sako. I've heard first hand from a gunsmith who had a client come to him with a problem were he floated the barrel by removing the pillars only to find the group size increased. All the smith did was replace the pillars and give the rifle a good clean then as if by magic group tightend up.

    All I would do is give the rifle a good clean using something like butch's bore shine then try it if your still not happy with the group then play with the ammo. Then if that doesn't work then give it to a gun smith to check the bore and crown.

    Current performance isn't bad at all though.


  10. #10
    I'd float it.
    In the unlikely event that the pressure point was actually needed, it'd take about 2 minutes to put a bit of Devcon or similar there.
    Removing the pressure point will see that a piece of moisture absorbent wood is not able to interfere with the harmonics of your barrel.

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