Jack O’Connor’s personal .222 Remington. Based on a Sako L46 barreled action, serial number 51330 was stocked by Lenard Brownell in 1963.
In his Getting The Range column from the January, 1965 issue of Outdoor Life (page 79), O’Connor writes of this rifle: “The most accurate light, really featherweight, varmint rifle I have ever owned is one I had put together some time ago. It is a Sako-barreled action made in Finland. The barrel is the light, not the heavy, one. Stocked by Lenard Brownell of Sheridan, Wyoming, and fitted with a Weaver K-6 scope on Sako mount, the little musket weighs a shade less than 7 1/4 lb. and is a joy to carry back into the canyons where road hunters don’t have the rock chucks spooked. Factory load that agrees with it best is the .222 cartridge turned out by Federal. With that rifle and ammunition, groups run from 1/2 to 1 in., and I think the difference between the 1/2 and 1 in. groups is me. In all, it is an astounding little rifle and top-quality ammunition.” (Photocopy included.)
In The Rifle Book (3rd edition, 1978, page 190), O’Connor penned: “One of the most accurate rifles I have ever owned was an 8 1/4-pound .25/06. Two other very accurate light jobs are my .222, a Sako barreled action stocked by Lenard Brownell, and a .244 custom made for me by Al Biesen on a 7mm Mauser action. Either will put the first three shots out of a cold barrel into about 3//4 inch.” (Photocopy included.)
O’Connor’s Shooting column from the April, 1966 issue of Outdoor Life (page 140) revisits his satisfaction: “I have a handsome little .222 that I carry on long hikes back into the canyons of Idaho and Washington for rock chucks. It is based on a light Finnish Sako barreled action. It was stocked in a fine piece of handsomely figured French walnut by Lenard Brownell and is fitted with a Weaver K-6 scope with Sako rings on the Sako receiver with the the logical male dovetail. The outfit weights a bit less than 7 1/2 lb. It is partial to the Federal factory .222 cartridges and will group them into 3/4 in. or less. With handholds, it does extremely well with Speer 50, 52 and 55-gr. bullets and with the Sierra 50 and 55-gr. bullets. (Photocopy included.)
In the O’Connor biography (Jack O’Connor, The Legendary Life of America’s Greatest Gunwriter, second edition, 2002, Safari Press, page 196) contributing author Eldon “Buck” Buckner references this rifle by serial number. Note that the book indicates 1964 as the year Brownell stocked the rifle, the year later amended by Buckner to 1963. (Photocopy included.)
Finally, O’Connor’s handwritten firearms log indicates this rifle was sold to Fred Huntington in March, 1973. (Photocopy included.) Huntington was the founder of RCBS and owned the rifle until his passing in 1998.
The rifle features a 23-inch factory barrel with the original ramped front sight and remains untapped for a rear sight. The bolt body and extractor have been most properly jeweled. The Weaver K-6 scope was replaced sometime after the sale to Huntington with a Leupold M8 6x scope (Duplex reticle) that has turned full plumb. Brownell’s stock is a work of art. Shaped from a broad-grained English (French) walnut, it wears a borderless multi-point wrap checkering pattern with crossing accents, a scalloped Monte Carlo cheek rest with shadow line, steel grip cap and a color case steel butt with widow’s peak. The stock is fitted with sling swivel studs. A single detachable magazine is included. DIMENSIONS: Weight, including scope, is 8.0 pounds. Length-of-pull is 13.5 inches. CONDITION: The bore is strong and bright. The polished blue finish stands at approximately 97 percent, the color case of the butt plate approximately 90 percent and the magazine approximately 80 percent. Wood finish is approximately 97 percent, with slight indications of thinning. Wood integrity is approximately 95 percent, with a modest distribution of minor field impressions and scratches. Mechanics appear to be in order and the optic is clear.