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:

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
$12.95
Keystone Sporting Arms Crickett Chipmunk Bolt Action Rifle Stationary Mount Base
Keystone Sporting Arms Crickett Chipmunk Bolt Action Rifle Stationary Mount Base
$19.99
Weaver 5 Side Mount Base 08405 for Browning Bolt Action Ships N 24hrs
Weaver 5 Side Mount Base 08405 for Browning Bolt Action Ships N 24hrs
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Marlin 707146 2 Piece Base 900 Series Rimfire Bolt Action Rifle Blued Finish
Marlin 707146 2 Piece Base 900 Series Rimfire Bolt Action Rifle Blued Finish
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Patent No REDFIELD JR 75 steel base for old WINCHESTER Bolt Action 22s
Patent No REDFIELD JR 75 steel base for old WINCHESTER Bolt Action 22s
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Redfield JR BBR Browning Bolt Action Rifle Scope Mount Base 511290
Redfield JR BBR Browning Bolt Action Rifle Scope Mount Base 511290
$14.99
WARNE M902936M 2 PIECE BASE SAVAGE BOLT ACTION WEAVER STYLE MATTE BLACK FINISH
WARNE M902936M 2 PIECE BASE SAVAGE BOLT ACTION WEAVER STYLE MATTE BLACK FINISH
$39.39
KWIK SITE SCOPE MOUNT BOLT ACTION
KWIK SITE SCOPE MOUNT BOLT ACTION
$10.00
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
Scope Mount Ironsighter Model 702 Browning A Bolt Bolt Action
Scope Mount Ironsighter Model 702 Browning A Bolt Bolt Action
$10.00
BKL 3 8 or 11mm Dovetail to Weaver Adapter 4 Long For Bolt Action Guns Matte Bla
BKL 3 8 or 11mm Dovetail to Weaver Adapter 4 Long For Bolt Action Guns Matte Bla
$42.95
Redfield Base Mount For Browning Bolt Action Rifle JR BBR Catalog 511290
Redfield Base Mount For Browning Bolt Action Rifle JR BBR Catalog 511290
$10.95
M lok Handguard 12 Inch Precision Engineered Weapons Bolt Action
M lok Handguard 12 Inch Precision Engineered Weapons Bolt Action
$25.60
rare REDFIELD JR 43 steel base for old WINCHESTER 43 Bolt Action Centerfire
rare REDFIELD JR 43 steel base for old WINCHESTER 43 Bolt Action Centerfire
$47.50
Ironsighter Lightweight High See Thru Scope Mount Remington 7 Bolt Action 707H
Ironsighter Lightweight High See Thru Scope Mount Remington 7 Bolt Action 707H
$24.99
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
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
Vintage Marble Arms Game Getter Scope Mount Mossberg 800 810 Bolt Action Rifles
Vintage Marble Arms Game Getter Scope Mount Mossberg 800 810 Bolt Action Rifles
$76.50
BROWNING SU BBLA scope base Miruko made Model BBR Bolt Action Long Action
BROWNING SU BBLA scope base Miruko made Model BBR Bolt Action Long Action
$17.99
Mosin Nagant M44 Bolt Action Cleaning Kit and M44 Scope Mountlong
Mosin Nagant M44 Bolt Action Cleaning Kit and M44 Scope Mountlong
$15.95
Winchester 1 Swivel  Hardware Model 99741 For Bolt Action Rifles
Winchester 1 Swivel Hardware Model 99741 For Bolt Action Rifles
$2.00
New Winchester 1 Swivel  Hardware Model 99741 For Bolt Action Rifles
New Winchester 1 Swivel Hardware Model 99741 For Bolt Action Rifles
$12.97
REDFIELD JR ABLA FOR BROWNING A BOLT ACTION RIFLE LA 1 PIECE SCOPE BASE NIB
REDFIELD JR ABLA FOR BROWNING A BOLT ACTION RIFLE LA 1 PIECE SCOPE BASE NIB
$14.00
KS MAS Kwik Site Large See Thru Ring For Mauser Bolt Action HR 300
KS MAS Kwik Site Large See Thru Ring For Mauser Bolt Action HR 300
$23.09
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
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VINTAGE WEAVER SCOPE SIDE MOUNT W 1 RINGS FOR BOLT ACTION
VINTAGE WEAVER SCOPE SIDE MOUNT W 1 RINGS FOR BOLT ACTION
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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
$18.99
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
$18.99


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