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Why do you like a good bolt-action rifle?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by JimmyS1985, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. JimmyS1985

    JimmyS1985 St.Louis Active Member

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    I use to frown upon bolt-action rifles because they couldn't lay down the lead as good as a semi-automatic, and to a lesser extent, a lever-action.

    This may be sad to say for the older crowd, but it was a computer game, FPS, that got me back into them, called Red-Orchestra 2. It showed me that while a bolt-action couldn't lay down as much firepower, in the right hands it was still a great weapon. I was mainly using a Karbiner 98k in the game as a German soldier on the Eastern Front in WWII, which, due to the game, I would consider purchasing one in real life.

    I really enjoy pulling that bolt back, ejecting a shell and pushing it forward to load another. I've only fired 2 bolt-actions in recent memory, my dad has a Browning .308 that I fired and it tenderized my shoulder after about a dozen rounds. I could fire more rounds, but the next day it makes me regret it. If its that bad on the end of the person firing the rifle, I couldn't imagine being on the receiving end.

    THe other one I fired, and this was more than 2 years ago, was a British Enfield made in 1944. It was nowhere near as pretty, the piece of wood used to make the rifle looked like some ditch wood (probably since it was made for WWII and not to look pretty) compared to the piece of wood used to make the Browning .308. I recall thinking the .303 kicked too hard, but my tolerance for recoil went up after firing the .308 so I should be able to handle a .303 pretty good.

    The accuracy of these rifles is amazing. Knowing that the accuracy would be all but spot on (mainly due to the shooter rather than the rifle) I put a can about 75 yards down, which is a small target, and could either almost hit the can, or hit the can every 1 in 3 shots. The damage the round did to the can was about as bad as the .44 magnum revolver I was shooting, but I knew the .308 round was definitely more powerful.

    If you are looking for a mix of accuracy and power, and the capability of putting a scope on it, which bolt-action rifle would you guys recommend?
     
  2. DEADTIME

    DEADTIME Coeur D alene Active Member

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    Well technically a good bolt action is the most accurate rifle they make, and they tend to be cheaper to make so they cost less on average. I like semi, full and bolt action but for hunting and tack driving at the range it's hard to beat a nice bolty. My current favorite bolty is a 338 Lapua model 700, It was 1600 or so bucks and is easy to carry and will take down any north American game animal at ridiculous range.
     
  3. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Outside Ft Lewis East Gate Active Member

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    I have a strong bias toward a Remington 700 SPS Long Range in 7mm Remington Magnum. Hard hitting, flat shooting round (thought it's an expensive round to plink at cans with) in what I consider to be a da*m fine action. Great gun for under $750. Scope of your choice (mine would be Nikon or Leopould) and you'd have a tack driver.

    I carried a Remmy 700 for a time in Viet Nam, hence my strong bias.

    Deadtime, I saw one of those at the range a couple of weeks ago in an Accuracy International Stock. It looked mean just sitting on the bench, but hitting targets at 800 yards was no big deal to the shooter.
     
  4. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I would argue that many of the falling block style single shots are more accurate then a bolt action. If your just comparing the action.
    That said laying down lead is cool.

    But it only takes one bullet to win. And you have to actually get that one bullet on target. Spraying lead is how the gang that can't shoot straight loose firefights.
     
  5. BSG 75

    BSG 75 Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Since you enjoyed using World War II bolt-action rifles in a video game, might as well get real ones. You can get real World War II Russian Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifles for around $100. Surplus ammo is cheap too.

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    You can get Russian Capture (RC) K98k's for $300-400. Surplus ammo is available.

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    Lee Enfield No. 4 rifles are around $250. There isn't much surplus ammo available but handloading makes it reasonable.

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    Japanese Arisaka rifles are around $250 and up. Ammo is hard to find, but not a problem if you handload.

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    American military bolt-action rifles are more expensive but .30-06 ammo is readily available. I got this M1903 at the Portland Rose City gun show for $300. It had a cut-down stock. I replaced the stock and missing upper band.

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    For the highest accuracy you can get a Swiss K31 or Finnish M39. The Finnish rifle uses the same cheap surplus ammo as other Mosin Nagants.

    I don't like recoil either. I use a Past recoil pad and I can shoot all day with no soreness. PAST Products At MidwayUSA
     
  6. JimmyS1985

    JimmyS1985 St.Louis Active Member

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    I found a French WWII rifle for sale on Craigslist. Owner says it has never been fired, however it was dropped once.
     
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  7. BadMotel

    BadMotel Bellingham Active Member

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    I agree that boltys are a ton of fun to go blastin at the range. In the mini competition I do with my buddies you obviously hit as many targets in a time frame as a semi but at distance shots it's no comparison.

    I would say when looking into buying an older (WWII) era rifle ammo is something you should consider. I love my 8mm Mauser but it's so damn hard to find good surplus ammo and the new boxes are so damned expensive.

    BSG lays it out real good, shows you what you can get for your money AND points out ammo availability.
     
  8. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Fine effort by BSG, but I would have included the Rolex of military bolt-actions: the Swedish Mauser.

    For just plain fun, reliability, accuracy and all else in a bolt gun to be scoped, I (as R.E.E.) prefer a Remington 700. Not because I carried one in the Vietnam war, but because I carried one before I was in the Vietnam war, and have ever since (eight in the stable right now). For a "New Guy" to bolts, I'd recommend something milder than a 7mm Magnum; probably along the lines of a .308, 7-08, or .243 (if pure pleasure is the goal).

    And yet, I stand with Mark W. in his cautionary toward DEADTIME about assigning a title of "the most accurate action they make". I too have a fondness and respect for the falling block actions.
     
  9. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Bolt actions equal accuracy and is why every rifle I own is a bolt. Check the equipment lists of who is winning short range and long range matches and everyone is shooting a bolt action. Usually they are made by a custom action builder like BAT and Kelby, but you do see some Reminton 700 actions holding their own.

    Get started shooting bolt actions and chasing a one hole group and hang onto your wallet!
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  10. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    All this is true, and my deviation from it would be not ignoring other action types in my stable. Had I been as exclusive as Otter, I would not have a certain 65 year-old Marlin 336 .30-30 that will run circles around most fat-barreled 700's, or a Shiloh Sharps that I would stack against ANY bolt rifle with iron sights at 1000 yards.

    The devil is in the statements of "absolutes". To correct myself, it is NOT true that "bolt actions equal accuracy". Disproving examples are legion. Just as it is not accurate to say that "bolt actions are the most accurate actions made". The bolt action IS the most successful on the bench circuit. But it is probably the guys who shoot these bolt actions on the bench that will be the first to tell you the action-type in itself is not the reason for the success. Rather, the action type lends itself to adjustment, tuning, manipulating and tweaking which ALLOW it to be successful on the bench.

    Check some old photos of bench competitions in the '50's and early '60's. You might find the reason my old box-stock 336 shoots so well (336 levers were among the respected actions of the benchrest circuit then, fat barrels attached). You will also see no shortage of Winchester High Wall falling blocks. Before it was learned that modern bolts (like 700's) could be easily tuned and tweaked (MUCH easier than a 336 or a High Wall), the now "inherently less accurate" actions were considered equals. Kelbly and others maximized on this "tweakability", above and beyond even a 700 or 40X.
     
  11. BSG 75

    BSG 75 Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I could have included those too, but I had to stop somewhere! ;)

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  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    From a member of the "old crowd" that wore the uniform of this country and carried a Rifle, take it from me, computer games are far different.

    There's a place for all weapons, Bolt Action, Semi Auto, Full Auto, and Crew served Big Guns.

    The most accurate man carried weapon has been the bolt action weapon. Nothing changes in that weapon from the moment that the cartridge is loaded to the time the bullet leaves the bore other than natural barrel vibrations and recoil.

    In a semi or full auto weapon, the moment you pull the trigger stuff happens. The round is being ejected, the next round loaded, and in the case of full auto, fired, regardless of aim. The weapon jumps all over the place. Better on semi but still not as accurate as a good old fashioned bolt action.

    Full Auto is used for suppression of fire from the other guy. Lots of lead flying around makes them keep their heads down. A heavy machine gun on a tripod or vehicle mount might kill a few but man carried, unless close up, it's a matter of chance. With full auto, as well as semi's, someone has to carry all that ammo.

    A Bolt action rifle, in the hands of a marksman in a good position, will more often than not kill more "enemy" with a 20 round box of ammo than the whole squad with several hundred rounds each in their M-4's.

    Computer games are fun but until they figure out a way to have the player experience going without a shower for days on end, being covered with dirt, dust, mud, blood, and fragments of stuff you don't want to know about, as well as the smell of burned flesh, feces, and the like, they'll never be the same.

    Unless you've "seen the Elephant" you won't understand.
     
  13. BillyDa59

    BillyDa59 King County, WA Member

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    Unless you need extreme accuracy or really want a German rifle go with a Mosin Nagant instead. It's a cheap gun and its cheap to shoot. And you won't feel bad about dropping it. It's a lot more clunky feeling than a Mauser but I think it's a great starting point.

    And by the way, I really enjoy bolt action rifles in Red Orchestra II as well. Usually 1 shot is enough to put an enemy in the dirt. It's hard not to like a rifle like that.
     
  14. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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    Obviously, you have not hung out at a LAN party. :laugh:

    But generally, I agree with everything you said.


    elsie
     
  15. husker

    husker portland Active Member

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    My dad started me out with a 700bdl 270 some 30 years ago and I still use it. He said it would be better than an auto because you learn to pick your shot instead of just laying down a bunch of lead and hope for the best. I wanted an auto but learned to love my bolt gun. He was right. I think I learned to become a better shot because of the bolt gun. Were we hunt most times you only get one shot so you learn to make it count.
    If only I would have listened to dad on more things he told me I would have had an easier life. At least he is still there to help me learn my mistakes after 45 years. lol
     
  16. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    There's an old saying. "At 16, you wonder why your old man is so dumb. When you turn 21, it's amazing how much he learned in the last 5 years.";);)

    My grand kids are starting to learn the value of that saying.
     
  17. husker

    husker portland Active Member

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    LOL. You are so right. I should have payed him to live in his house instead of him paying for me to live. Goes for mom too.
     
  18. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    This sounds like my old 10 day cow elk hunts in the Imhaha unit.....
     
  19. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Spitpatch - hope to see you in Ohio at Kelby's for the Supershoot with your lever and falling block! :cool:

    True, not all bolts are accurate. You get a lemon once in a while. But on average they will be more accurate than any other action and the reason is because they are so simple. Easy to get every thing square and a perfect hole within a hole within a hole with a bolt.
     
  20. Misterbill

    Misterbill Yakima County, Washington New Member

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    I can shoot 400+ yard targets with deadly accuracy with my Lee Enfield with rapid follow up shots.

    If I'm shooting at you with my 16" AR, you're pretty much safe after 300.

    What do you want the gun for? For all my needs, my AR suits any need I would have for a practical rifle. For long range, I break out the Rifle #4 Mark I. I have optics on the short-range gun. On the long range gun, I don't need them. -And BTW, my eyesight sucks. I can barely see a silhouette target at 400 yards but I hit it accurately with my Enfield. Your mileage just goes up from there with a good bolt action with solid optics. There's a reason the USMC uses bolt guns as their standard long-range sniper gun. I promise you it's not just nostalgia.