Sako Model L579 in 243 Win – HISTORIC OWNER (Read)
Prior Owner: Lt. Colonel Frank Hurlbut (Google!)
Used Condition
FFL is required
Current Bid
No Bids
BuyNow! Price Was
Starting Bid
No Reserve!
0 Bids Bid History
Time Left 15 min rule
Item has Ended
8/1/2017 10:22 PM
Item 670684268
Location Houston, TX 77065
See Item Description
No international shipments
Payment Personal Check, Visa / MasterCard, USPS Money Order, Money Order, Certified Check, See Item Description
Checkout Yes
Sales Tax
Seller does not collect sales tax
Inspection/ Return Policy

The seller of this item assumes all responsibility for this listing. You must contact the seller to resolve any questions or concerns before placing a bid. Payment must be made using U.S. dollars ($) unless otherwise stated in the listing. Firearms may only be shipped to a licensed dealer (FFL Holder). Some listed items may not be legal in every state. Complete your purchase within the law.

Please read the Item Characteristics for important listing details.

Sako Model L579 Deluxe in 243 Win – HISTORIC OWNER. Original Owner was Lt. Colonel Frank Hurlbut (Google Him!!) He purchased this rifle in 1961 in Germany!!!!

Layaway 25% down and 15% per month until paid in full. If Buyer is in good standing during the layaway period, Seller will refund half of all payments made at any time if Buyer changes mind. Or suggest layaway terms to better suit your needs.

Special Note. This is the first of many auctions for now-deceased Retired Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hurlbut, an American World War II Fighter Pilot and Ace. This auction is for his Sako Model L579 Deluxe rifle in .243 Winchester caliber, which has never been fired according to Frank, and is like new in box. Other auctions, which will come later, will be for his Remington Model 1100 12-gauge shotgun (also never fired, LNIB), his Colt Detective Special revolver in .38 Special caliber, his High Standard Derringer Model DM-101 in 22 Win Mag caliber, his Ruger Model 10/22 Carbine in 22 LR, and, most importantly, his Colt Model 1911 A1 Service Pistol in 45 ACP caliber which accompanied him on all his fighter missions and protected his family well into his Golden Years until nearing 90 years old. Now back to this auction for his beautiful Sako hunting rifle…..

Sako L-579 Deluxe, .243 Winchester, A Distinguished Rifle Owned By a Distinguished Man For Almost 50 Years. Originally written by Mike Jackson, February 2, 2010. Edited/updated slightly on September 14, 2016. The original factory inspection certificate for this rifle indicates: “Sako L-579 Deluxe, .243 Caliber, Serial Number 17159,” and other information about the rifle. It shows 21 April 1961 as the date of factory inspection. The inspection certificate is initialed by the Finnish inspector.

In July 1961 the rifle was purchased new by Frank D. Hurlbut, a World War II P-38 fighter pilot who retired from the Air Force at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel In 1964. The original purchase invoice was initiated on 10 July 1961 and it indicates dispatch of the firearm by parcel post on 18 July 1961. The Owner’s shipping address at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is shown in the invoice. Another original purchase document indicates Frank Hurlbut paid US$127.95 by check dated 31 July 1961. The Serial Number indicated is 17159.

The rifle was new-in-box when received, but the original box was not retained. The owner kept the rifle in a hard metal protective case for over 48 years from mid 1961 until December 2009 when it was sold. A Kaiserslautern Rod & Gun Club work ticket indicates that on 24 October 1962 Hurlbut purchased a Nickel Supra scope, one of the finest scopes available at the time. A similar ticket dated 27 May 1963 indicates a scope mount was added to the rifle while still in Germany. At that time Frank Hurlbut had the scope installed on this rifle. There is also surviving original paperwork related the shipping of the rifle out of Germany to the USA. This document, dated 04 June 1963, describes the rifle and indicates the Serial Number 17159.

Mike Jackson, a gun collector in Houston, purchased the rifle in December 2009 and the scope in January 2010. Happily the rifle and its companion scope of almost 50 years are now reunited. The original owner has reaffirmed in writing that he owned and had possession of the rifle the entire time from mid 1961 when purchased new until December 2009 when sold. This was a period of over 48 years. Before his death, Lieutenant Colonel Hurlbut reaffirmed in writing that the rifle has never been fired, stating that he never took it to the field for hunting nor to the range for shooting. He adds that the scope was bore sighted when installed in 1963, but it was never zeroed in at any shooting range.

He states in a letter to the new owner, “This rifle was to me like all of my firearms in my collection. I never fired any of my firearms other than the required target practice with my government supplied Air Force 45 caliber service pistol, the same one I had carried with me on all my P-38 missions.” He went on to add, “The Sako rifle has some handling marks from 48 years of ownership including periodic inspection, oiling, etc., but I think you will agree the blemishes are very slight and the rifle is in very near ‘pristine’ condition.”

Born in 1922 in Park City, Utah, Frank Hurlbut grew up in Salt Lake City. His father owned a pharmacy in Park City but lost it during the Great Depression. Hurlbut was to become one of the Army Air Corps “Flying Sergeants,” a group of eligible enlisted men selected for flight training due to the demand for pilots in the early days of World War II. Flying P-38 Lightnings with the 82nd Fighter Group, Hurlbut became an ace ten days before his 21st birthday and finished the war as the third highest-ranking ace in the North African Theatre of Operations. Frank Hurlbut began his military career in 1940, at the age of seventeen when he joined the Utah National Guard. After the unit was federalized, Hurlbut requested transfer to the Army Air Corps and flight training. This was granted, and Hurlbut won his wings as an Army Air Corps “Flying Sergeant” in August 1942. He received approximately 70 hours flying time in the P-39 Airacobra at Tallahassee Florida, then was sent to England on the Queen Mary.

In December of 1942, he was promoted to the rank of Flight Officer and sent to North Africa. There he joined sixty-six other replacement fighter pilots, calling themselves the “Sad Sacks,” as they waited for assignment to a fighter group. Because he had time in the tricycle landing-geared P-39 Airacobra, Hurlbut found himself transitioning into the P-38 Lightning. After twenty-eight hours of instruction, he was deemed combat ready and was assigned to the 96th Fighter Squadron, 82nd Fighter Group. Flying a P-38, which he named “Hell’s Angel,” Hurlbut gained his first victory in April 1943, when his flight intercepted a group of German Ju 52 transports over the Mediterranean. Hurlbut shot one down and damaged another, but his P-38 was hit by 20mm cannon fire from the Ju 52s and was forced to return to his base with an engine shot out.

Hurlbut became an ace during the invasion of Sicily on July 10, 1943. During a twenty minute running duel off the coast, Hurlbut managed to shoot down two German Fw 190 fighters while turning in a Lufbery circle, plus a third Fw 190 flying close to the water, headed for the invasion beaches near Palermo. He then returned to his temporary base in Tripoli. After fifty missions, 210 combat hours, and a bout with malaria, Hurlbut was returned to the United States for recuperation and reassignment. Although he wanted to return for another tour, reoccurring attacks of malaria made that impossible. He finished the war as an instructor in P-38s and P-61 Black Widow night fighters. (You should Google him and read more about his fascinating war adventures and record of achievement and heroism.)

Frank Hurlbut stayed in the Air Force after the war, held a variety of different positions, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after twenty-four years of service. His official victory list included four Fw 190s, three Me 109s, one Italian Reggiane Re 2001, and one Ju 52. Among his decorations are the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with seventeen Oak Leaf Clusters, and two Presidential Unit Citations. After the war Hurlbut served several assignments in the Air Force. One assignment was Chief of Reconnaissance in the NATO program to protect Western Europe and England from the Russians. His forces consisted of French, German, British, and American military aircraft. Hurlbut reported to a Five-Star French General in this role, in the battle command headquarters of Europe.

During another military assignment in the Philippines, Hurlbut earned his college degree at age thirty-five going to night school. His degree was in Political Science, and after earning his degree he taught the subject to new cadets at the University of California at Berkley over a three year period. After leaving Germany in 1963 with his Sako rifle and numerous other firearms in his collection, Hurlbut had one more military assignment before retiring in 1964. He was assigned in Sumter, South Carolina as Assistant Director of the Command and Control Division. His unit was on High Alert at all times. Hurlbut’s role was to brief U.S. Air Force Generals on the deployment, condition, and readiness of tactical aircraft located throughout the world.

Upon retiring from the military in 1964, Hurlbut moved to Laguna Beach, Orange County, California. After buying a house overlooking the ocean and being there only about a year, Hurlbut took a job with Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York, working on a government program to develop improved aerial photography technology. His role related to ground reconnaissance. When this program ended he moved to Florida, intending to establish a small airline company providing service from Puerto Rico to outlying Caribbean islands. After inspecting the area and finding a lack of basic maintenance capabilities to support aircraft, he decided against the venture and returned to home base in California.

In California he worked in real estate for over thirty years, sometimes full-time and sometimes part-time. During this period he served in several interesting jobs including pilot of corporate aircraft for a small company, captain of a corporate luxury yacht for the same small company, and Chief Security Officer for McDonald Douglass Aerospace Corporation. For almost ten years of this period he was also a self-employed business consultant assisting a number of companies in various business initiatives. Eventually Hurlbut left Orange County and moved to Palm Springs, California, then he moved to Florida for about five years.

Hurlbut has contributed to many volunteer efforts over his retirement years. He served as the President of the P-38 National Association, where he was the last President to fly a functional P-38. He served as Museum Curator at March Field in Riverside, California. Frank Hurlbut was inducted into the American Combat Airmen Hall of Fame in 2005. n February 2009 he and his wife moved to Bullhead City, Arizona, near Las Vegas, Nevada, where they now live. He is age 87 years old at this writing, in January 2010.

To now own a firearm previously owned by a Great American Hero – Frank Hurlbut – is truly an honor for me. He risked his life to protect the freedoms all Americans enjoy today. We all owe him – and those like him – a huge debt of gratitude. This Sako rifle will be kept on display, intact with its Nickel Supra scope, in its unfired, near-pristine state, for as long as I own it. Hopefully this rifle will always honor the fine art of rifle making (Sako) and a true American hero (Frank Hurlbut).

Included in this auction’s photo section are the following attachments to this write-up: (1) Envelope and Enclosed Note from Hurlbut to Jackson Post Marked 23 December 2009, (2) Original Factory Inspection Certificate, April 1961, (3) Envelope Indicating Original Cost of Rifle, Post Marked 24 July 1961, (4) Rifle Purchase Invoice, 10/18 July 1961, (5) Paperwork Related to Addition of Scope Mount, 27 May 1963, (6) Paperwork Related to Purchase of Nickel Supra Scope, Dated 24 October 1962, (7) Paperwork Related to Shipping Rifle From Germany to USA, June 1963, (8) Rough Draft of this Rifle Display Dossier as edited by Frank D. Hurlbut in January 2010, (9) Envelope and Enclosed Note from Hurlbut to Jackson Post Marked 09 February 2010. (End of February, 2010 write-up.)

Please note the following regarding the Supra scope. Upon taking possession of the rifle with scope it was apparent that the scope optics were blurry. This was diagnosed locally in Houston as being caused by oil which has been placed on the scope for maintenance many years prior, but which had seeped internally onto the glass. I was not comfortable taking apart a complex scope and was unable to find any company or individual domestically to attempt repair. I contacted the original manufacturer in Germany by email and explained the situation. They said replacement parts would be required – it was not as simple as cleaning the glass and reassembling. The total cost of shipping and repairs was prohibitive, and I put off a decision, forgot about it, and have never chartered the repairs.

Shown in the photos is a replacement scope which makes this rifle ready to hunt (scope will need to be centered). The replacement scope is marked: “KOLLMORGEN OPTICAL CORP., NORTHAMPTON, MASS. PAT. PEND., BEAR CUB, MADE IN USA, 2-3/4X, 54251.” Nick Stroebel’s book, the “authority” on old rifle sights and scopes, spells it “KollmorgAn” but the scope reads “KollmorgEn. Stroebel goes on to say, “In 1956 the Kollmorgan Optical Company of Northampton, Massachusetts began marketing scopes under their own name. Previous to that time they had been producing the Bear Cub line of scopes for the M.I. Stith Company. These Kollmorgan branded scopes were available only from 1956 until 1959 when the Redfield Gunsight Company purchased Kollmorgan and began marketing their scopes under the Redfield label.

All the Kollmorgan scopes featured constantly centered reticles, weatherproofed lens systems, and windage and elevation settings that were adjustable to zero.” Stroebel gives the following specs for the 2-3/4X scope (this scope): “(1) Magnification 2.75X, (2) Field of View 42.4 feet at 100 yards, (3) Luminosity 64, (4) Eye Relief 3.25-4.5 inches, (5) Length 10.375 inches, (6) Weight 8.0 ounces, (7) Tube Dia. 1.023 inches (26mm)” Strobe valued the scope at the time of his book writing at $150-$250. The scope is in excellent to as-new condition, like the rifle. The scope’s vision is crystal clear. The reticule is simple cross hairs, crossing horizontal and vertical lines – elegantly simple.

Also included with your purchase is the original Nickel Supra scope purchased by Hurlbut in Germany. Maybe you will have more luck than I had in getting this scope repaired (possibly just cleaned?) and back on its “lifetime partner’s” shoulders!!! I will provide you all my emails and replies from Nickel in Germany and a few USA companies I contacted several years ago. A photo of the Nickel Supra scope is provided in this auction. It is truly in pristine condition. One of the photos shows the original receipt for this scope, dated January 10, 1964. It indicates the scope is a “Nickel Supra 4x10 B 3AG Reticle.” Another receipt indicates the scope mount also purchased by Hurlbut.

Stroebel says the following about the Nickel Supra scopes from the context of import to the USA for purchase (remember, Hurlbut bought this scope in Germany). “The Nickel Supra scopes were imported by Mr. Ted Tonkin of Continental Arms Company in New York City starting in 1953. Nickel, who was a n engineer at the Zeiss Jena Plant during World War II, was picked up by a U.S. rescue team when the Russians invaded Germany. The optical engineering design in Supra telescopic sights is basically the same as in Ziess’s, with the addition of Mr. Nickel’s improvements. All Nickel Supra scopes featured weatherproof alloy tubes for weight savings, one-half minute click adjustments, the choice of Crosswire, Post and Crosswire, Post and Crossbar, Tapered Post, or 3-inch Dot reticles. All of these are very high quality, extremely rugged scopes. Nickel Supra scopes were last catalogued in the 1974 Gun Digest. The Supra Vari-Power 4x10 scope was available 1953-1968.”

Stroebel gives the following specs for the 4X10 Supra Vari-Power scope (this scope): “(1) Magnification 4-10X, (2) Field of View 30.0 to 14.0 feet at 100 yards, (3) Luminosity 125-20.5, (4) Eye Relief 3.25-5.0 inches, (5) Length 12.25 inches, (6) Weight 12.5 ounces, (7) Tube Dia. 1.023 inches (26mm).” Stroebel valued the scope at the time of his book writing at $600-$1,000.

Information about the development of this model rifle by Sako. Sako L57/579 Rifles, Early Development. Sako is a relatively new name in the firearms field, especially in America, but it has become highly respected since the introduction of Sako rifles in the United States. The Sako firm was first known as Oy Sako AB, and later changed to Sako, Ltd. The company is located in Riihimaki, Finland. Sako’s earliest entry into the American market was a miniature Mauser-type bolt action repeater known as the Sako L46, introduced late in 1949, imported into the USA by Firearms International Corp. (FIC). The L46 rifle was originally chambered for 22 Hornet and 218 Bee cartridges only, thus the “miniature” designation.

With a little nudging from FIC, Sako made some changes to the L46 action to better satisfy American tastes. Other changes were made from time to time, and additional actions and rifles were introduced to handle a wider variety of cartridges. The end result is the modern Sako action, which has no peer. The Sako action is synonymous with high-quality material and workmanship. The L46 Vixen was the Sako “short” action. Later, in 1957, the L57 Forester would be designed as the “medium” action, to handle the new Winchester .243 and .308 cartridges, which were selling like hotcakes. And still a little later, in 1961, the L61 Finnbear was designed as the “long” action for the longer magnum cartridges. Minor changes in the L46, L57, and L61 over time resulted in new rifles with designations L461, L579, and L61R. All of these early Sako rifles were configured basically 3 ways: Sporter rifle, Mannlicher stock carbine, and heavy barrel Varmint rifle. Deluxe and Super Deluxe upgrades were also available.

In 1955 Winchester and Remington had each introduced new combination varmint/deer cartridges which were to be heralded, praised, and accepted by riflemen the world over. Remington’s new cartridge was the .244, while Winchester called theirs the .243. There was great interest in these cartridges from the beginning, and in 1958 Sako offered a new rifle to handle this genre of cartridge. This was the L57 Forester, the action made just long enough to handle these medium-length (up to 2.80”) cartridges. The L57 receiver and bolt were essentially the same as the L46 action but longer. The L57 also had a different trigger mechanism. Small quantities of the L57 were made commercially from 1957-59.

In 1960 Sako discontinued the L57 action, introducing a modified version of it they called the L579. The major change was in the bolt sleeve, because Sako had adapted this action to accept the Sako No. 4 trigger mechanism with its built-in sliding safety. When first introduced, the L579 barreled actions and rifles were made in Winchester .243, and .308 calibers, and also the .244 Remington, another popular varmint/deer cartridge introduced in 1955 and selling well. The .244 caliber was soon dropped. Later on, the L579 Sako became available in 22-250 cartridge, and in the same three styles: Sporter, Mannlicher carbine, and heavy-barreled Varminter. Since the introduction of these three original Sako rifles dating back to the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, the model names have changed, but many of today’s contemporary Sako rifles trace their basic designs back to the L46 Vixen, L57 Forester, and L61 Finnbear.

Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hurlbut’s rifle (this rifle now for sale) is an L579 Forrester Deluxe. The Deluxe distinguished itself by providing upgraded skip-line French checkering, rosewood forearm cap and pistol grip cap, and engraved floor plate. See the many photos provided for Colonel Hurlbut’s beautiful rifle.

(Other Sako rifles in the Mike & Phyllis Jackson Collection include one of the rare original L57s in .243 Winchester and two L61Rs. One of the L61Rs is a Deluxe model with original Sako peep sight, the other is a custom rifle built around the L61R action, providing a custom stock and barrel. Both of the L61Rs are in the popular 7 mm Remington Magnum cartridge. If you are interested, contact Mike Jackson at or call 346-666-4372. Any deal we make will be consummated through a coordinated BUY NOW auction…..they more than deserve their commissions!!!)

Additional Notes: Item is used due to over half a century of infrequent handling, but is documented by both owners, Frank Hurlbut and yours truly, Mike Jackson, as Never Fired. The cosmetic condition of rifle and Nickel Supra scope is near as-new – see the photographs. Check out the beautiful skip-line checkering! The Seller is not totally satisfied with many of the most recent photos taken, which seem to accentuate and distort oil smudges, lint/dust, styrofoam flecks, photographic glare, etc. Rest assured that these are not defects in the rifle or scopes.

Included are the rifle, 2 scopes, and a tastefully matching Boyt sling, but no original factory boxes or paperwork as originally provided by the manufacturer. (The Model L579 Owner’s Manual is available in PDF format online at the Sako website.) All items shown in the photos other than rifle, scopes, and sling are for display only and not included in the purchase. Mechanically this rifle’s action and the scopes function perfectly (except the stated cloudiness in the Nickel Supra scope). Numerous photographs are included to show the metal and wood handling/use marks, which are almost non-existent in the metal and very minor in the wood.

More Additional Notes: Included with the rifle is an expensive protective “Guide Series Three Forks” leather case for protection during shipping and during rifle use. The fine leather is that soft, supple leather that “talks to you” when you pick it up by the handle. It’s a fine gun case for a fine rifle, for sure!!! They go together very well!! See added photos.

Additional $75.00 Shipping is to pay for fully insured (insurance is a big part of the cost) FedEx shipping to all states except California, Alaska, and Hawaii. In those states add $45. Shipping will be fully insured, and packaged securely to protect your investment. More photos to you by email upon request. Good luck bidding! Please call me, Mike Jackson, phone 713-501-3633 cell “24/7,” if you have any questions.

This is a very fine, highest quality Sako rifle having very little wear and no hunting or target shooting use since being purchased originally by Frank Hurlbut in July, 1961, in Germany. You will treasure this masterpiece rifle forever. Display it in your gunroom along with the original purchase documentation shown in photos, all of which will be provided to you. What a discussion piece it will be at home with your friends and visitors. Get your bids in early and often!! Be sure to Google Frank Hurlbut. See the many photos provided, some of Frank Hurlbut and his wife, and myself and my wife with Frank and Connie. Also see the photo of the painting “Lightening Over the Bay of Naples” by Jack Fellows, ASAA, autographed by Hurlbut. Also see the email from his Widow informing of his death. And more, see the letter he wrote to me, the current Owner, about his beloved rifle at the time of sale. So much to see. Enjoy!!!!!

Seller provided no "Additional Terms of Sale"
.243 Win.
Barrel Length
22 inch
Mfg Part Number
14.00 Pounds