Bolt Action

Are bolt-action rifles inherently more accurate?

I have read many things about accuracy and most (although NOT all) seem to favor bolt-actions. Is this a true picture?

Can semi-autos or even full autos have high-grade accuracy? What about lever actions?

What about so-called "sniper rifles" like the Soviet Dragunov and U.S. M-14 -- aren't they semi-autos? What about the new Barrett .50's -- some of them are semi-auto, and considered very accurate.

Is this common opinion just a prejudice?

When you close the action on a bolt rifle, you are really clamping the bolt to the receiver very tightly.... as the bolt lugs lock onto their lands.

This creates a 'rock-solid' chamber in which your cartridge fires.

If you know about gun physics, you understand that the more rock solid the components are mated together, the less movement there is and the more accuracy can be potentially attained.

Now, in many autoloaders the bolt really isn't locked rock-solid like that, due to the fact that it has to fly open by iteself and eject the spent round and load a new one. This creates a "sloppier" chamber that has some inherent movement.

The challenge in designing an accurate auto or semi-auto is to create a bolt that locks the chamber momentarily, then releases the lock.

On very simple semi-autos, like an SKS or an AK, there is no rotation of the bolt and it really does not "lock up" tight. The chamber is just held closed by a spring. Hence (combined with a reduced power and less accurate round) less accuracy.

On more sophisticated actions, like say the M1 Garand and it's offspring the M14, etc. the bolt actually rotates and locks to some degree, giving more potential accuracy.

So some autos and semi autos CAN reach the same potential chamber dynamics of a manual bolt action.

These have to be more complex designs naturally and that in itself has drawbacks in manufacturing costs and potential things that can malfunction if not perfectly maintained.

So the AK, as you have probably heard, is more 'reliable' in a "zero-maintenence" scenario, where the action has not been properly cleaned and lubricated and may be full of dirt, but the design does not produce an accurate result.

I've kept this simple....perhaps oversimplified....to demonstrate the point. There are a lot of other factors that affect accuracy, but the action of the bolt and how tight it locks is one of the basics.

Find Bolt Action On eBay Below:

peep sight version REDFIELD JR 800 base for MOSSBERG model 800 Bolt Action
peep sight version REDFIELD JR 800 base for MOSSBERG model 800 Bolt Action
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REDFIELD JR 75 steel base for old WINCHESTER Bolt Action 22s w Rear Peep Sight
REDFIELD JR 75 steel base for old WINCHESTER Bolt Action 22s w Rear Peep Sight
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REDFIELD JR BBR scope base for Miruko made Model BBR Bolt Action Long Action
REDFIELD JR BBR scope base for Miruko made Model BBR Bolt Action Long Action
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Ironsighter Lightweight High See Thru Scope Mount Remington 7 Bolt Action 707H
Ironsighter Lightweight High See Thru Scope Mount Remington 7 Bolt Action 707H
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Redfield JR BBR Scope Mount Base 511290 Browning Bolt Action
Redfield JR BBR Scope Mount Base 511290 Browning Bolt Action
$19.95
Kwik Site See Thru Mounts Model KS A Bolt Browning A Bolt Action
Kwik Site See Thru Mounts Model KS A Bolt Browning A Bolt Action
$9.75
Redfield JR BBR Browning Bolt Action Rifle Scope Mount Base 511290 NEW OLD STOC
Redfield JR BBR Browning Bolt Action Rifle Scope Mount Base 511290 NEW OLD STOC
$19.99
Burris Supreme Scope Mount Base 410214 For Browning Bolt Action Rifle
Burris Supreme Scope Mount Base 410214 For Browning Bolt Action Rifle
$20.00
15 Inch 308 308 762 Black Aluminum Keymod Free Float Handguard Bolt Action
15 Inch 308 308 762 Black Aluminum Keymod Free Float Handguard Bolt Action
$79.95
KS 110 Kwik Site See Thru Mounts For Savage Bolt Action model 110
KS 110 Kwik Site See Thru Mounts For Savage Bolt Action model 110
$9.95
Kwik Site See Thru Mounts Model KS A Bolt Browning A Bolt Action
Kwik Site See Thru Mounts Model KS A Bolt Browning A Bolt Action
$7.99
UTG 700 BOLT ACTION RIFLE SCOPE MOUNT STEEL
UTG 700 BOLT ACTION RIFLE SCOPE MOUNT STEEL
$19.99
Chipmunk 22 Single Shot Bolt Action Rifle Base w screws
Chipmunk 22 Single Shot Bolt Action Rifle Base w screws
$15.50
Burris Supreme Scope Mount Base Browning Bolt Action SU BBA 410214
Burris Supreme Scope Mount Base Browning Bolt Action SU BBA 410214
$10.00
Buehler Rifle Scope Mount Base 2 Piece Fits Browning Bolt Action BBR
Buehler Rifle Scope Mount Base 2 Piece Fits Browning Bolt Action BBR
$7.50
Kwik Site See Thru Mounts Model KS A Bolt Browning A Bolt Action
Kwik Site See Thru Mounts Model KS A Bolt Browning A Bolt Action
$10.00
Mosin Nagant M44 Bolt Action Cleaning Kit and M44 Scope Mountlong
Mosin Nagant M44 Bolt Action Cleaning Kit and M44 Scope Mountlong
$15.95
25 sets Kwik Site Base Set for Browning bolt action KSB BBR
25 sets Kwik Site Base Set for Browning bolt action KSB BBR
$10.00
KS MAS Kwik Site Large See Thru Scope Ring For Mauser Bolt Action H
KS MAS Kwik Site Large See Thru Scope Ring For Mauser Bolt Action H
$27.31
KWIK SITE Rings 1 See Thru For Remington Sportsman 78 Bolt Action KS 78
KWIK SITE Rings 1 See Thru For Remington Sportsman 78 Bolt Action KS 78
$18.00
New Winchester 1 Swivel  Hardware Model 99741 For Bolt Action Rifles
New Winchester 1 Swivel Hardware Model 99741 For Bolt Action Rifles
$12.97
peep sight version REDFIELD JR 788 SA for 44 Mag REMINGTON 788 bolt action
peep sight version REDFIELD JR 788 SA for 44 Mag REMINGTON 788 bolt action
$27.50
REDFIELD JR 788LA for REMINGTON 788 bolt action 22 250 223 and 30 30
REDFIELD JR 788LA for REMINGTON 788 bolt action 22 250 223 and 30 30
$22.50
REDFIELD SDT base set w PEEP SIGHT for SAKO bolt action Finnbear Forester
REDFIELD SDT base set w PEEP SIGHT for SAKO bolt action Finnbear Forester
$47.50
LaRue Tactical LT113 L 20 MOA Picatinny Rail for Long bolt action
LaRue Tactical LT113 L 20 MOA Picatinny Rail for Long bolt action
$50.00
Holden Ironsighter Model 702 Browning A Bolt Action Rifle See Thru Scope Mount
Holden Ironsighter Model 702 Browning A Bolt Action Rifle See Thru Scope Mount
$17.95
BROWNING SU BBSA scope base Burris made Model BBR Bolt Action Short Action
BROWNING SU BBSA scope base Burris made Model BBR Bolt Action Short Action
$24.95
KWIK SITE Rings  Bases 1 See Thru For Browning Bolt Action Black P N KS BBR
KWIK SITE Rings Bases 1 See Thru For Browning Bolt Action Black P N KS BBR
$13.29
VINTAGE WEAVER SCOPE SIDE MOUNT W 1 RINGS FOR BOLT ACTION
VINTAGE WEAVER SCOPE SIDE MOUNT W 1 RINGS FOR BOLT ACTION
$95.00
KWIK SITE RingsBases 1 See Thru For Remington Sportsman 78 Bolt Action KS 78
KWIK SITE RingsBases 1 See Thru For Remington Sportsman 78 Bolt Action KS 78
$13.29
KWIK SITE Rings  Bases 1 See Thru For SW Bolt Action Small Ring Black KS SW
KWIK SITE Rings Bases 1 See Thru For SW Bolt Action Small Ring Black KS SW
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BA Bolt Action Scope Mount 1 Tube Diameter Type 3 Mil Spec Hard Coat Anodized M
BA Bolt Action Scope Mount 1 Tube Diameter Type 3 Mil Spec Hard Coat Anodized M
$211.39


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