In this post Rifleshooter.com will install a Sako extractor in a Remington bolt action rifle.
What is a SAKO extractor?
A Sako extractor (above) is the name given to the style of extractor used on Sako rifles. Years ago, gunsmiths started to install them on Remington 700 and Model Seven rifles. While the stock extractor on a Remington 700 works well, aftermarket extractors, like the Sako (and M-16 style), are often used on custom rifles. Unlike the small piece of spring steel used on factory rifles, these aftermarket extractors can be removed as needed for cleaning and maintenance.
So why use an aftermarket extractor on Remington 700?
Aftermarket Remington 700 extractors, like the SAKO and M16 are especially useful when changing the bolt face size. For instance, when opening up a factory bolt from a standard to magnum face will remove the rim that retains the factory extractor. Machining a new retention rim is a difficult task. By installing an aftermarket extractor, the process is far easier.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a factory, Sako and M16 style extractor on a Remington 700?
The factory Remington extractor (above) is one piece spring steel that is retained by a small lip on the front edge of the bolt nose. On older M700s and Magnum rifles, the extractor is riveted in place. Removing the factory extractor from the rifle typically destroys it, replacement if the rivet-less extractor is fairly easy and straight forward. When changing bolt face sizes, machining the new bolt face to accept the factory extractor isn’t easily done. Most importantly, retaining the factory extractor preserves the “three rings of steel” safety feature, completely surrounding the cartridge when it is fired.
Sako extractors are milled into the rifle’s bolt. The cut needed for the Sako part is smaller than the M16 extractor, however, it does compromise the three rings of steel. Installation of the Sako extractor is somewhat easier than the M16. Installation of a Sako extractor on a Remington 700, or Model Seven, does not require the bolt nose recess on the barrel to be enlarged.
M16 extractors (above) are milled into the rifle’s bolt. The cut is larger and more complex than the Sako. The M16 extractor also requires a precisely drilled and reamed pin hole. Set up for this can be difficult. Installation of a M16 extractor on a Remington 700, or Model Seven, requires the bolt nose recess on the barrel to be enlarged. Of the three extractors mentions in this post, M16 extractor installation is the most difficult. To learn more about how M16 style extractors are installed on Remington rifles, see Badger Ordnance M16-Style Extractor Installation on a Remington 700.
For this project I will be machining a Remington Model Seven bolt to accept a Sako extractor (the process for machining a Remington 700 would be identical to the Model Seven). The action I am using came with a .223 Remington bolt face, I will be opening it up to a standard, 308 Winchester sized bolt face.
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Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.
Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.
I ordered the following items from Brownells for this project:
- SAKO extractor installation fixture
- La Bounty bolt fixture
- Hi-Force 44 solder
- No. 4 Comet flux
- Heat Stop, heat control paste
- 3/8″ high-speed steel turning kit
This is the bolt I’ll be machining. It came equipped with a small, 223 Remington bolt face. The ejector and firing pin should be removed prior to machining.
For reference purposes, this is what the extractor kit looks like. It includes an extractor, spring and plunger. There are wide range of aftermarket Sako extractors available, this particular one was purchased from PTG. Since there are so many different sizes, I will not be listing the sizes of the tools, or cut dimensions in this post.
The bolt is secured in a LaBounty bolt fixture in the lathe. A dial indicator is used to dial in the bolt concentric with the lathe. This is tricky. Factory Remington 700 bolts are made out of three pieces, a bolt head, bolt body, and handle. The head is soldered onto the bolt body and may be slightly out of alignment with the body (this is why some gunsmiths will turn and sleeve a factory bolt). Recognizing the way the bolt is constructed, I have found it best to dial in the bold forward of the bolt body, on the bolt head, behind the bolt lugs as shown in the picture above.
The bolt face is machined with a high-speed steel insert boring bar to remove the groove that retains the factory extractor. This will be larger than the finish bolt face diameter.
A bushing will be installed into the bolt. This is the bushing I had made in advance from a scrap piece of barrel steel. I took the time to tin (coat) the surfaces with Hi-Force silver solder. This will make final installation easier.
A view of the bushing test fit into the bolt.
The bushing will be in the path of the ejector. Because of this, I use a small stone in a Foredom rotary tool to make a notch in it. Note: I’ve also made this cut on a milling machine with a 1/4″ end mill and achieved superior results.
The entire bolt and fixture are removed from the lathe for the silver soldering process. I know some guys that will solder on their lathes, but, I think mixing an open flame and oil covered machine is asking for trouble. I secure the fixture in a Multi-vise and pack the bolt lugs in Brownells heat control paste. The bolt lugs are hardened at the factory, exposing them to excessive temperature can potentially weaken this surface, making for an unsafe firearm.
A drill bit is placed in the extractor hole, I do this to ensure everything stays aligned and excess solder doesn’t flow into it. The mating surfaces are coated in No. 4 Comet flux. A hand held MAPP torch is used to apply heat to the front of the bolt nose and the bushing. Once the solder flows the heat is immediately removed. I like to use Brownells Hi-Force 44 solder, it flows at a relatively low temperature, 475F.
The bolt with bushing in place is dialed back in on the lathe.
A boring bar is used to clean up the front edge of the bolt nose and machine the bolt opening to the proper diameter. I have had good results using a high-speed steel insert in a boring bar to perform this operation.
The bolt is secured in a SAKO installation jig. The jig is held in the mill’s vise and the edge and centerline of the bolt are located.
A carbide end mill is used to cut the slot for the extractor. Depending on which brand and model of extractor you use, will determine the dimensions for this cut. Because of the great variety of extractor available, I decided to leave dimensions out of this post.
The through hole for the pin that retains the extractor is spotted…
…and drilled through.
Now is a good time to check everything fits.
The fixture is held vertically in the mill. The plunger spring hole is drilled .450″ deep.
Success. The front view of the finished installation.
This extractor is ready for the range!