Q: I own a Sako L461 in .222 Rem. which I reload for and have done some wonderful shooting with over the years. I wrote to you over 20 years ago to get some load advice which proved to be very accurate in my rifle. I am hooked on the older Sako rifles and recently purchased another Sako L461 in .222 Rem. Mag. I have read a lot about this cartridge and it has always intrigued me. Even though the .223 is basically the same thing, it seems like everybody has one and I want something different. I have purchased 1,000 new Sako .222 Magnum cases and a Simplex neck die and want to get some good loads for it. What can you tell me about the .222 Rem. Mag? Have you used this calibre much? I want to use W-748 powder and WSR primers. Projectiles used will be Speer 52gn HP, Sierra 55gn Super Roo, and Hornady 50gn Z-Max. Also, can you recommend a simple, reliable and accurate chronograph? I intend using this rifle spotlighting and don’t want to knock the timber stock around. Can you recommend a good synthetic stock for the Sako L461 preferably Australian. made?
A: The Sako L461 action is a bit of a close fit for the .222 Rem. Mag., but it seems to work all right. The .222 Rem. Mag. has a slight edge over the .223 and is a fine cartridge in its own right. You were lucky to find 1,000 new cases as they have been hard to get for many years. You say you got a Simplex neck sizing die, but you really need a 7/8×14 3-die set which includes a full-length sizing die. My expereince with the .222 Rem. Mag. dates back to the 1960s when I had a Remingon Model 722 rifle in that calibre. In comparison to the ubiquitous .223, the .222 Rem. Mag. has 20 percent more case capacity and delivers 100-150 fps higher velocity which extends the range by about 75 yards. I’d load 55 and 60gn bullets in your rifle. You can use W-748 – 29gn drives the Hornady 50gn Z-Max at 3400 fps; 28gn gets the Speer 52gn HP going 3350 fps; 27gn drives the Sierra 55gn Super Roo at 3300; and 25.5gn pushes the Hornady 60gn V-Max along at about 3100 fps. These loads shouldn’t be maximum, but as always I suggest you work up from 2 grains below as your rifle will need the bullets seated more deeply than some others. The Chrony chronograph is simple, reliable and affordable. I don’t know of anyone who makes a synthetic stock for the Sako L461, but if you go on the internet and visit boydsgunstocks.com you can probably get a laminated stock for your Sako L461. They list over 100,000 gun stocks. I use my Sako L461 in .223 with the factory stock, why not?