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Why are bolt action rifles more efficient than semi-auto's???

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  • Why are bolt action rifles more efficient than semi-auto's???

    Why are bolt action rifles more efficient than semi-auto's???

  • #2
    I would not say efficient, I would say stronger. The bolt is usually stronger in the locking lug area as well as the extractor and ejector function. Tolerances of brass shell to chamber can be much closer and that yields a potential for a more accurate rifle.
    A semi-auto can be tuned to give some good accuracy but because of the increased tolerances required for operation it usually will not beat the accuracy of a bolt action. Brass for semi auto should be what is called small base full length sized for reloading. That is so it feeds through the cycle without binding. Brass for a rifle may only be neck sized to function properly. That has the potential for a more accurate shot.
    So, what is the advantage of the semi? I would say ease of operation and quick follow up shot.

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    • #3
      Mr.Roberts,
      Please Define more "Efficient" in What Way???

      Per:jimbo Gave you a very good Answer,As a Guess to your Question. I do Believe.

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      • #4
        A couple more bolt advantages.

        As the case and bullet seperate, the bolt holds the case firmly in place while the semiautomatic allows the case to move.

        When the gun fires, the bullet must "jump" from the case mouth to the barrel. This "leap" sets up a vibration in the barrel that affects accuracy.
        The semiautomatic, by necessity, requires more "slack" to operate. That translates to more vibration. The bolt gun ammo can be loaded so the bullet lightly contacts the lands in the barrel. Less vibration, better accuracy.

        .....and what jimbo said.

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        • #5
          Some say they are more accurate because of fewer moving parts. But honestly, there are very few shots that you can make with a bolt action that you can't make with an AR.

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          • #6
            Automatic actions steal energy from the detonated cartridge to cycle the action. Some of them do it rather inconsistently and have given these actions a reputation for being inaccurate (not really inefficient). Many autos throughout history have also used relatively inaccurate barrels. It is certainly possible for modern autoloaders to be quite accurate though.

            Autoloaders typically have a weaker lug system compared to bolt action rifles too. As a result, shooting "hot" loads may excessively wear their action with repeated use.

            Bolt action rifles are capable of loading neck-sized cartridges that have been fire formed to exact chamber dimensions for your rifle. This helps accuracy a bit if you take advantage of it. Trying to do this with autoloaders could make it difficult to load from the magazine.

            I am a stickler for accuracy and spend a lot of time tuning loads to my rifles and customizing my rifles for accuracy. My stock AR15, averaging .25 MOA groups is often the most accurate rifle on my range. I only have one bolt rifle that shoots as well and only one that shoots better (premium custom barrel, custom cartridge and expensive scope). I feel comfortable shooting prairie dogs out to 500 yards with my AR and that is pretty good.

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            • #7
              Any rifle that keeps the cartridge stationary during ignition and discharge will be more accurate.
              BUT! There are many, many different factors that affect any given firearm's accuracy, regardless of action.

              The (supposedly!) most accurate "rifle" is a muzzle loader. The projectile is engraved by the rifling when loaded, eliminating that "leap" from case mouth to barrel.

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              • #8
                Bolt actions are more efficient (read reliable) because they are not dependent on uniformity and performance of the ammunition to function as repeaters.

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                • #9
                  Thanks Guys. I guess efficient was the wrong word to use, but I got the answers I was looking for. I am thinking about buying a new rifle, and with so many choices I like to do my homework.

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                  • #10
                    Meche, many autoloaders are highly accurate. If you get a premium heavy barrel with a well cut chamber on an AR15 it will shoot more accurately than most custom bolt rifles; especially if you use an Accurizer wedge to keep the upper well seated on the lower from shot to shot. A few auto loaders (for example the Remington model 51 auto loading pistol that our military actually preferred over the Colt 1911 before WWI) hold the cartridge in the chamber and make no move to reload until the bullet leaves the barrel. The quality of the barrel and the alignment of its chamber to the bore account for about 90% of the accuracy whether that barrel is on a bolt rifle or an auto loader. Although shooting hot loads can wear on an action, I shoot 50g VMaxs at 3450 fps from the 24" barrel on my Bushmaster just fine. You won't get much more velocity out of that .223 bullet even in the best of bolt rifles.

                    If you are shooting bench rest competition or are concerned with 1000 yard accuracy, use a bolt rifle. You can't touch an AR for long range varmints nor for deadliness on running varmints with any bolt rifle because of the instantaneous follow up shot with very light recoil.

                    Please note that some of the most inaccurate rifles available are bolt rifles so if you want good accuracy, look for a good barrel.

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                    • #11
                      Thank you DakotaMan. Right now I shoot a Model 70 Winchester 22-250 for open, long range. In the brush, I shoot a 760 Gamemaster 30-06 pump. I'm looking for something in between, so I have been looking at the AR in maybe a 243 or 308. What do Y'all think???

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                      • #12
                        Mathewes Creed or PSE DNA??? I shoot a Merlin Tempest solo cam. It still shoots great, but time for an upgrade. I want a new bow and can't decide. I Have been looking at the Bowtech Experience and the Hoyte Spyder Turbo also. 60-65 lb...

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