PDA

View Full Version : Are bolt actions the most reliable type?


bfskinnerpunk
August 2, 2012, 06:55 AM
I tend to favor the glock and the AK for their reliability.

But wanting to take a look at less menacing action types (and not knowing a heck of a lot about firearms), what is the concensus on bolt actions and reliability?

Being that they are operated manually, I would think that they are the most reliable.

Otherwise, I'm considering an mini-14 type action. Those are well known to be very reliable (right?) and don't suffer the stereotype of "assault" weopons.

Again, I like reliablity.... not assault or the tacticool look.
(obviously, glocks are quite ugly... but they tolerate neglect)

silvrjeepr
August 2, 2012, 07:18 AM
There are reliable and unreliable designs in every action ever made. It's easier to pick the action of your choice, and find a reliable model.

Crow Hunter
August 2, 2012, 07:37 AM
What is your definition of "reliability" and what conditions are you planning on using it in?

Any manual action has one less item that could have an effect, but it still has all the other issues than a semi-auto would with an increased operator effect that can be influenced by environmental/situational conditions.

Also, many bolt action guns are designed as hunting rifles and may or may not last for as many firing cycles as a weapon designed for military use. Of course military bolt action rifles are the exception to this, but you aren't going to find any new production ones.

As an example compare an AR-15 with a 30 rd magazine and a bolt action with a 5rd magazine fired from prone.

Even if the AR-15 has a failure that can be corrected by SPORTS every 5 rounds, you will still be able to put more rounds on target faster than a bolt action. The firing rate is faster, there is no movement needed until the remedial action and the Bolt action will need to be reloaded every 5 rounds, even with stripper clips, it isn't as fast as SPORTS. If you have to single load, it is MUCH slower. So an AR-15 rifle with a problem will still put more rounds on target faster than a perfectly functioning bolt action rifle. So it will be more "reliable" in putting multiple rounds on target/s.

I don't know that I have ever seen data on common hunting rifle designs stressed hard for large firing volumes, but I doubt they can stand up to the firing schedule that a AR or especially an AK can stand up to before parts failure. So most likely from a mechanical stand point a AR/AK will be more "reliable" on parts failure, but I can't actually quantify this.

If your definition is that there is no gas system/recoil spring system to failure/foul up and the motive force needed to feed/extract a round is 100% dependent on the operator, then yes. They are more "reliable".

So it depends on your definition of reliability.:D

taylorce1
August 2, 2012, 07:39 AM
Usually the action with the least amount of moving parts is the most reliable. That is why the Mauser 98 has been so popular.

mooner
August 2, 2012, 09:16 AM
Also, many bolt action guns are designed as hunting rifles and may or may not last for as many firing cycles as a weapon designed for military use. Of course military bolt action rifles are the exception to this, but you aren't going to find any new production ones.

I don't think you'll see many commercial hunting bolt actions wearing out - even if they aren't designed as military weapons. There just aren't that many moving parts in a bolt action. The round is tucked into a very strong chamber by design.

I do believe The Remington 700 was designed as a commercial bolt action and has been adopted as a military weapon (so I guess you can find a military bolt action, huh). It would be interesting to hear any comments on it's reliability from those who have used it in serious action.

In my opinion you will see similar reliability from all of Remington's best competitors.

Crow Hunter
August 2, 2012, 10:01 AM
I don't think you'll see many commercial hunting bolt actions wearing out - even if they aren't designed as military weapons. There just aren't that many moving parts in a bolt action. The round is tucked into a very strong chamber by design.

I do believe The Remington 700 was designed as a commercial bolt action and has been adopted as a military weapon (so I guess you can find a military bolt action, huh). It would be interesting to hear any comments on it's reliability from those who have used it in serious action.

You won't see many commercial hunting bolt actions wear out because the usually aren't fired as much or as heavily as an infantry rifle.

Sniper rifles are like hunting rifles. They aren't fired often in comparison to infantry rifles and usually arsenal rebuilt before getting anywhere near their service life. (Barrel will "shoot out" much earlier due to accuracy standards) I don't know it for a fact, but I figure that while they are replacing the barrels, they replace other wear parts as well. (They do when they refurbish M16s)

I am talking about the small parts like firing pins, triggers, springs, sears. Not the chamber. Chambers don't usually fail, even in non-bolt action rifles. :confused:

It is usually items like bolt lugs, cam pins, firing pins, disconnectors, sears that mechanically fail. Now granted, the large double lugs on the 700 will probably take alot more cycling than the much smaller 8 lugs on an AR bolt.

Now maybe someone here has run their hunting rifle up to 10,000 - 20,000 rounds with no mechanical failure. I haven't. My old bolt action hunting rifles were fired less than 2 boxes a year. At that rate it would be 250 years before I ever found out if it could make it to 10,000 rounds. I don't think I am going to make it that long.:eek:

Doyle
August 2, 2012, 10:23 AM
Of course, if you want to see a REALLY reliable action type you'll have to look to double barrels. There is a reason that the professional guides on African safaris use SxS rifles. When a big bull elephant is charging they have to have two quick and reliable shots. Paying the price for those fine SxSs is another matter.

Bart B.
August 2, 2012, 10:48 AM
Double rifles have the simplest, most reliable action. . . . for two shots. If one learns how to hold two extra rounds between fingers in the hand holding the fore end, they can develop a technique to get off 4 well aimed shots in 6 seconds all striking inside a 3 to 4 inch circle at 50 yards. Good enough to stop behemoths coming down on you in anger.

For bolt actions, since the late 1930's, the Winchester Model 70's proved itself to be the most reliable box magazine commercially made rifle in the USA. As for custom made bolt actions, the Magnum Mausers from Great Britian and the Continent are great for dangerous game 45+ caliber bolt guns; much better than the smaller military M98 versions.

tahunua001
August 2, 2012, 11:08 AM
ok let me drop this all into bullet points to try and make sense of all my scrambled thoughts.
1. there are outliers in every action design. there are bolt actions that prone to failures just as there are semi autos prone to failures however, simpler designs are always the easiest to streamline. fewer moving parts=fewer points of failure.

2. there are outliers within models or designs themselves. glocks can and do fail on a regular basis and every AK I've picked up has had it's quirks and kinks to have to deal with. likewise there are bolt actions that tend to get a lot of flak from the general internet populous such as the Remington 700 line that for the most part are very well made guns but a few problem guns made several decades ago continues to tarnish the remington name.

3. price is not a direct representation of quality as it is with your $450 AK47s vs your $900 AK47s. you can get a weatherby vanguard for around $400 that is guaranteed to shoot just as well as some of the $1500 setups you see on snipers hide or other benchrest forums.

your best bet is to do research on your own and make a decision from there however just as I already stated.

you can't expect to grab a glock sight unseen and expect it to be 100%
you can't expect to pick up an AK47 and put your life in it's hands before you field test it and
you can't expect that any bolt action is going to be 100% reliable because of it's simplistic design.

armoredman
August 2, 2012, 03:15 PM
I can only answer with what I know - if I had to choose a bolt action rifle to cover many widely different requirements, and could also conceivably be used for self defense, this is the one I would choose.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b13/armoredman/starvingsucks.jpg

The CZ 527M 7.62x39mm carbine. Good power, easy hits out to 300 yards, Mauser action, reliable, durable, and loads with detachable 5 round mags. Only thing I had to do was have a gunsmith make an adjustable rear sight, just my want - the original is a non adjustable never-break block of steel. :)

bfskinnerpunk
August 2, 2012, 04:02 PM
Oooh, that CZ looks about right.

So accuracy is good?... build is robust?

It would be cool to keep my ammo to the basic 7.62 x 39 (my other rifle is an AK).

I'll poke around on YouTube for reviews.

math teacher
August 2, 2012, 05:20 PM
Paraphrasing Occam's Razor, the best solution is usually the simplest. For a big game rifle, I recommend a bolt as they tend to be fairly rugged, having few moving parts, and are not shot all that much. Your mention of a Mini-14 suggests however that you intend to do a lot of shooting, so as others have suggested, pick the action you like best and look for the most reliable amoung that action type.

Slamfire
August 2, 2012, 08:52 PM
Military rifles, bolt or semi auto, have been developed to a high degree of mechanical reliability. Commercial rifles that have been in production for decades will have their weaknesses weeded out through time. Many lever action designs date back to the 1890’s, and those that do seldom break parts.

In harsh environments a manually operated mechanism requires less maintenance and because it is manually operated, there is a power source to operate the mechanism.

10-96
August 3, 2012, 12:59 AM
Crowhunter- Even if the AR-15 has a failure that can be corrected by SPORTS every 5 rounds, you will still be able to put more rounds on target faster than a bolt action. The firing rate is faster, there is no movement needed until the remedial action and the Bolt action will need to be reloaded every 5 rounds, even with stripper clips, it isn't as fast as SPORTS. If you have to single load, it is MUCH slower. So an AR-15 rifle with a problem will still put more rounds on target faster than a perfectly functioning bolt action rifle. So it will be more "reliable" in putting multiple rounds on target/s.

Wow, all I can say is try to see if you can find some of those innerweb videos of some Springfield match shoooters. Yes, I've shot in a match or two with various different rifles. In comparing a Prone Slow or Standing Slow fire stage and your malfunctioning AR idea- the bolt shooter is most certainly at no disadvantage.

SPORTS used to stand for Slap, Pull, Observe, Release, Tap, Squeeze (or Shoot). If a man can't run a bolt faster than that, he ought to see if things improve during the second day he owns the thing.

WV_gunner
August 3, 2012, 06:01 AM
Most reliable? A single shot or possibly a double barrel. I think then bolt action, tie between revolving, lever, and pump, and then semi-auto. But, some guns are more reliable than others, like an AK is more reliable then some cheap bolt action. I like bolt actions the most, I like my Savage 110 in .243 alot. I even have a 12 gauge bolt action. Single shots are nice too, I like the H&R/New England guns alot.

Crow Hunter
August 3, 2012, 07:40 AM
Crowhunter-
Quote:
Even if the AR-15 has a failure that can be corrected by SPORTS every 5 rounds, you will still be able to put more rounds on target faster than a bolt action. The firing rate is faster, there is no movement needed until the remedial action and the Bolt action will need to be reloaded every 5 rounds, even with stripper clips, it isn't as fast as SPORTS. If you have to single load, it is MUCH slower. So an AR-15 rifle with a problem will still put more rounds on target faster than a perfectly functioning bolt action rifle. So it will be more "reliable" in putting multiple rounds on target/s.

Wow, all I can say is try to see if you can find some of those innerweb videos of some Springfield match shoooters. Yes, I've shot in a match or two with various different rifles. In comparing a Prone Slow or Standing Slow fire stage and your malfunctioning AR idea- the bolt shooter is most certainly at no disadvantage.

SPORTS used to stand for Slap, Pull, Observe, Release, Tap, Squeeze (or Shoot). If a man can't run a bolt faster than that, he ought to see if things improve during the second day he owns the thing.

Read what I said again.

I didn't say Prone Slow or Standing Slow fire.

I didn't say anything about artificial constraints of competition. In slow fire competitions there is no reward for speed, it is all accuracy. Given a large enough window between shots a muzzle loader could be competitive. That doesn't mean someone shooting one is just as fast as someone with a semi-auto.:rolleyes:

I didn't say that you did SPORTS every round, I said every 5 rounds.

I know that I personally can fire off 5 rounds accurately without having to move and still do a SPORTS quicker than I can cycle a bolt 5 times and then reload, even with stripper clips.

And having to do SPORTS every 5 rounds is a serious exaggeration of malfunctions. Hopefully someone having that many malfs will fix whatever is wrong.

So you are saying that someone can fire a rifle taking their hand off the trigger, cycling a bolt, placing it back on the trigger, and pulling it again just as fast as they can just pulling the trigger a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th time? Then in this instance, open the bolt again, at best retrieve a 5 round stripper, shove it into the action, close the action again then return the hand to the trigger and fire versus slapping the bottom of a magazine, pulling charging handle, observing ejection, releasing handle, tapping forward assist, then firing again?

Considering the lack of stripper clip loading on most modern hunting rifles it will be even slower if you have to single load every round.

Maybe this trend of arming soldiers with semi-automatic rifles was a huge boondoggle.:D

jmr40
August 3, 2012, 08:36 AM
Absolutely no doubt. Among repeaters a quality bolt rifle has no peers in relability with a quality CRF rifle being virtually bulletproof. There is some junk made, but even most budget bolt rifles will be more reliable than most other repeaters. This is especially a factor when used in dirty harsh conditions. A lever is by far the least reliable with pumps and semi-autos in between. There are far more moving parts in a lever and more opportunities for dirt and crud to get into something and fowl things up. Bolts have far more camming power and leverage for getting sticky, dirty cartridges into and out of the chamber than any repeater.

A quality double will better it, but with 5 figure price tags they are out of most folks price range. The quality semi-auto's when fed quality ammo are right up there and much better than they used to be.

armoredman
August 3, 2012, 09:38 PM
bfskinnerpunk, the CZ 527M is VERY well built, and has a lot of good reviews out there. With a scope I have been able to get 2.75 inch groups at 200 yards. I managed to put 4 out of 6 on a 12X8 steel gong at 300 yards with iron sights; both shoots were with hand loads.
It's tough enough and reliable enough for me to use it as a camp rifle/backpacking rifle if need be, and loaded with good soft points, I think it could handle just about anything that can crop up here is southern AZ.
Look for the review from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSu7EuQr6o4

shaunpain
August 4, 2012, 12:42 AM
This may have very little interest to the OP, but if you're sticking with the x39, you could consider an SKS. As far as reliability goes, they are thought of pretty highly by their owners (me included). I've heard some... "other" things about the Norincos, but there's always a couple of lemons out there in the world. I myself have a Yugo and it runs like a sewing machine once the cosmoline is gone. Those CZs sure do look pretty, though, if you ask me.

10-96
August 4, 2012, 06:48 PM
Crowhunter- You're right. I went back and re-read everything and it does make a lot more sense. Appologies extended.

Crow Hunter
August 5, 2012, 12:23 PM
Crowhunter- You're right. I went back and re-read everything and it does make a lot more sense. Appologies extended.

No problem!

I should have been more clear.:o