Rifles have been around for centuries. From the earliest days of gunpowder, to our modern day shooting competitions and hunting expeditions, rifles have proven their usefulness time and again. Rifles come in many shapes and sizes, but there is one type that stands out above the rest: bolt action rifles.
Bolt action rifles are often considered to be some of the best long-range weapons available today, which makes them a favorite among hunters looking for a challenge! Check out our articles linked above to read about specific models, uses, and to find out more about these fascinating guns – how they work, what ammunition they use, their history – so you can choose a great bolt action rifle for your next hunt.
Should I Buy A Bolt Action Rifle?
Every serious hunter will have at leas a few bolt action rifles in their safe. If you are like me, it is a lot more than just a few! While I do like my lever guns, and have more than a few semi-auto’s as well. My tried and true bolt action rifles are my go to for most of my serious hunting.
If you are planning to do much hunting then you should definitely get a bolt action rifle. Not only are bolt action rifles accurate and easy to use, they are also a fairly cost reasonable cost. While many hunters like to buy premium models of rifles (myself included) there are many great lower cost bolt action rifles that shoot just as good or better than some of the premium rifles from years past.
Why Are Bolt Action Rifles So Popular?
The bolt action rifle is the most popular type of hunting rifles in North America. Bolt-action firearms are generally more accurate than other designs because they have fewer moving parts and tighter tolerances than some other rifle designs. They do typically have a lower rate of fire which can help excited shooters to compose themselves between shots meaning that each round has less chance to be inaccurate.
Today there many different models available for all types of hunters but you should always make sure your firearm fits you and your hunting style well. Remember, Comfort Matters & Accuracy Is King!
Bolt action rifles are one of the most consistently reliable, safe, and accurate rifle types you can buy.
How Does A Bolt Action Rifle Work?
The bolt in a bolt action rifle is a cylindrical piece of metal with protruding lugs on the front or back of it which locks the bolt into place before firing. It is the main moving piece that controls both the feeding and extraction of the cartridges by means of being cycled in and out of the breech with a small handle attached to the side of the bolt.
From the open position, and either catches and feeds a cartridge from the magazine or pushes a single hand fed round into the chamber. Once pushed fully forward, the bolt handle is pushed down which rotates the locking lugs attached to the bolt and locks the whole assembly into place.
At the same time, the firing pin is pulled back against the firing spring and locks into place ready to be released by a pull of the trigger. There are various different versions of safety switches that impede the trigger release and some safety switch positions also stop the bolt from being cycled.
After the rifle is fired, the bolt handle is lifted which unlocks the lugs and releases the bolt to then be slid backwards. The bolt will have some type of ejector claw built into it which will retain hold of the spend brass, pull it out of the chamber to be ejected once fully opened.
From this position the whole cycle can be repeated again. From this position, many rifles will have a lever or switch that can be depressed to allow the bolt to slide back and out of the action for cleaning or safe storage.
Are Bolt Action Rifles Obsolete?
Far from it. In fact, bolt action rifles are still the most popular style of hunting rifle sold today. Semi auto rifles are great for some uses but they cannot match the accuracy and reliability of bolt action rifles.
Many people still like the nostalgia and feeling of a nice lever action rifle, but again, the bolt action rifle pulls ahead in the accuracy department. Some lever action rifles can also run into clearance issues and case ejection issues with certain scopes.
There are even pump action centerfire rifles that seemed to gain a bit of popularity in the 70’s and 80’s but have fallen out of popularity in recent years, again, mainly because of the inherent accuracy and reliability of bolt action rifles.
All that to say, the definitely, no, bolt action rifles are far from obsolete and will be sure to maintain popularity with hunters and long range shooters far into the future.
How To Choose The Best Bolt Action Rifle?
It’s important to know the pros and cons of a specific bolt action rifle and cartridge before buying one. The following is what you need to consider;
The best way to determine the type of rifle you need is to clearly define what you want to do with it. And what you want it to be able to do for you.
Ask yourself, What do I want it mainly used for-for long range shooting competitions versus just out plinking around your property vs doing some serious back country high mountain hunting.
The answer is going to be different for everyone based upon their needs and desires, but the questions that each person needs to answer for themselves are very similar. Once you know the answers to these questions then you can read up on our articles above to help you find the perfect bolt action rifle for your next hunt!