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View Full Version : What are the benefits to a single shot rifle?


Kimio
August 23, 2012, 11:40 AM
Reading up on some modern firearms, I was curious about what is the benefit of a single shot bolt action rifle.

To clarify, I'm talking about rifles that require you to load a round manually into the chamber after each shot, as opposed to those that are magazine fed.

Are such rifles inherintly more accurate or something? Is there a design detail that I'm missing here that would warrent such a system where second shot capabilities are hindered due to the need to manually reload after each pull of the trigger.

oneounceload
August 23, 2012, 11:45 AM
Shorter overall length
More bragging rights when you only need one shot
Some can have VERY strong lockups

FloridaVeteran
August 23, 2012, 11:59 AM
Kimio - except for training new shooters, I can't recall any particular advantage of a single shot BOLT action rifle. My dad had a beautiful old Mauser .22LR single shot match rifle - I suppose its advantage was that the cartridge/bullet was never handled by a feeding mechanism. Presumably this is the advantage Scheutzen guys enjoy.

However, I can tell you about three friends who went elk-hunting and the two who used bolt-action rifles had some frozen-action problems when the weather got too cold, but the fella with the Ruger No.1 falling block single-shot did not. A No. 1 has a super-strong action and I'd put it up against an African double gun in that respect except that it doesn't have the second-shot capability you'd want if hunting dangerous game.

Scorch
August 23, 2012, 12:03 PM
Single shot rifles are a tradional-looking rifle, very minimalist. I think of it this way: they offer the benefit of simplicity that cannot be had from a repeater. Mechanically, they are fairly simple, and do not look so much like a piece of machinery as an example of gunmaker's skills and art. The difference between a single shot and a repeater of any kind is kind of like the relationship between a bolt action and an AR15. They basically say "I don't need more than one shot. How about you?"

aarondhgraham
August 23, 2012, 12:03 PM
I don't know if there is a real advantage,,,
I always thought they were just cheaper to manufacture.

Now having said that I should say I own two modern single-shot .22 rifles,,,
One (Henry Accu-Bolt (http://www.henryrepeating.com/rifle-acubolt.cfm)) has a MSRP of $399.95,,,
But it is a scary accurate rifle. :eek:

My other single-shot rifle is a H&R Sportster (http://hr1871.com/Firearms/Rifles/sportster.asp) break-open action,,,
It's a very nice rifle that retails for around $175.00,,,
It too is a scary accurate rifle.

Both of these rifles (when fired by a local sharpshooting lady),,,
Are 1-hole rifles at 50 yards distance.

I can't tell you that their accuracy is because of their single-shot design,,,
But both rifles have more inherent accuracy than I can utilize.

The real reason I bought them is because I simply have a liking for single-shot rifles,,,
It's a very leisurely way to spend a few hours at the range,,,
No frantic firing just to be pulling the trigger,,,
Just the quest for the one shot hit. ;)

Aarond

.

ltc444
August 23, 2012, 12:17 PM
Forces the shooter to shoot accurately. Do to the additional time required to load and fire you expend less ammo.

I started on a single shot bolt 22 lr. I am a better shot for it.

giaquir
August 23, 2012, 02:12 PM
There are no known benefits to a single
shot rifle

Salmoneye
August 23, 2012, 02:35 PM
Forces the shooter to shoot accurately. Do to the additional time required to load and fire you expend less ammo.

I started on a single shot bolt 22 lr. I am a better shot for it.

This.

handlerer2
August 23, 2012, 03:04 PM
Magazine bolt rifles have a great big hole in the bottom of the receiver, this makes the mag fed bolt more flexible, and less accurate than a single shot bolt.

Single shot bolts will be never as tacticool as a repeat action bolt, but will be stronger, more reliable, and more accurate.

I own both, a Weatherby MKV, Vanguard, and a Cooper MDL 22. The Weatherby's are more accurate than any other bolt repeaters I have owned; Mdl 700's, Interarms MKX, and MDL 96 Swede, but the Cooper is in another realm of accuracy altogether.

So all who said that there's no reason for a single shot rifle report to the library for detention.

Wyosmith
August 23, 2012, 03:25 PM
Other than a shorter length (which may or may not be an advantage depending on where it's used) I can see none
However I do love them
I own a Ruger #1 in 9.3X47R I am VERY fond of. I also have owned several other #1s in other calibers and also a few Sharps rifles.
Of course, one class of SS rifle that I am sure is not being referred to here, but is none the less popular is that of muzzleloaders.
I make them.
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/American%20guns/Carlen002.jpg
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/American%20guns/100_1341.jpg
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/American%20guns/100_1324.jpg
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/American%20guns/100_1193.jpg
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/English%20guns/TMRigby2.jpg
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/English%20guns/Purdey662.jpg
To me the classic flintlocks and some of the cap-locks of 150 to 250 years ago were the classiest rifles ever made.
But that’s just my opinion.

scottycoyote
August 23, 2012, 03:42 PM
one advantage would be the platform of the gun, for instance the tc encore. I have a stainless encore prohunter with blackpowder barrel, 7mm-08 barrel, 22lr barrel and 20g barrel. Put it all together in a rifle carrier and i could hunt pretty much anything in north america except maybe a griz. Another thing i like about that setup is i always have the same trigger, so once i get it like i like it its done and its familiar.

coyota1
August 23, 2012, 03:44 PM
Magazine bolt rifles have a great big hole in the bottom of the receiver, this makes the mag fed bolt more flexible, and less accurate than a single shot bolt.

This is spot on. A very stiff receiver. Also some of the old buffalo cartridges were to long to function through repeating rifle.

BlueTrain
August 23, 2012, 03:57 PM
Although the old style schutzenfest rifles were single shots, I don't think you see any single shot rifles in competition these days, do you? At least not Ruger No. 1s. And the are not necessarily less expensive, given what a Ruger No. 1 goes for or one of the modern day Sharps rifles. The difference is in the finish and the wood, I'd say. So, other than the shorter overall length for a given barrel length, there's no real practical advantage.

A curious thing about the owners of single short rifles is they way they will tell you that you only need one shot and how you have to make that shot count, then turn around and boast how quickly they can get off a second shot. To be honest, I can understand both statements, having owned a few single shot rifles when I still was shooting rifles. One really can get off a second shot fairly quickly with at least some single shot rifles, even when running (yes, really), though more than about three shots will be getting a little difficult unless you're holding cartridges in your mouth.

It compares fairly favorably with some Mausers that have a relatively stiff action, but not so well with something like a Lee-Enfield. Of course, no manually operated rifle will compare well with a semi-automatic and those have been used for hunting since the 1930s.

Woody55
August 23, 2012, 04:00 PM
I don't know that there are any aside from the length factor mentioned above. I like mine (a Browning High Wall) because it's beautiful. I enjoy working the action.

coyota1
August 23, 2012, 04:02 PM
I don't think you see any single shot rifles in competition these days

Benchrest shooters all have single bolt guns.

FiveInADime
August 23, 2012, 04:15 PM
Many have missed that the OP was specifically referring to single shot Bolt action rifles.

For slow fire competitions there's no reason to have a repeater. Single shot bolts can be stiffer and when feeding from a magazine the feed ramp can ding the bullet a little especially with smallbore.


Sent From My Galaxy S 4g Using Tapatalk

coyota1
August 23, 2012, 04:42 PM
Yeah fiveinadime, those benchrest techies have to be very fussy. They seat the bullet by hand so they can feel if the neck is sized right.

Strafer Gott
August 23, 2012, 04:44 PM
I don't think the length factor is any particular advantage, but the diameter,
the way a single without a scope rides in the hand, that is one reason to carry the single. To me that's the most comfortable way to hunt ever.

Slamfire
August 23, 2012, 06:30 PM
This Bernard action is extremely specialized and was purchased for F class competition.

As you can see from the pictures it has very thick sidewalls and the only holes are for the scope, trigger and action screws. It does not even have an ejector.

The lack of holes and thick sidewalls make this a very stiff action. Something that is desirable in target rifles.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Rifles%20various/Boltinaction.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Rifles%20various/Boltoveractioncut.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Rifles%20various/BernadFaceActionDSCN0781faceofactio.jpg


Kent Reeve won a NRA long range Championship with a single shot Mauser. It was highly unusual for anyone to be competiting with a Mauser, stiffer single shot action or not, but Mr. Reeve claimed with a good follow through it was good enough, and so it was for him that year.

During the blackpowder days you will run into single shot rifles, the commercial ones were just cheap, the military ones were due to the early technologlical development of the period, and the desire of the military not have issue repeaters to troops. Military leaders did not want troops “wasting ammunition”.

This M71 is a single shot, maybe someone knows why it has German and Belgium proof marks? And maybe what that Landwehr V OA NEB might stand for?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Rifles%20various/M71%20Mauser/IMG_0346.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Rifles%20various/M71%20Mauser/IMG_0340.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Rifles%20various/M71%20Mauser/IMG_0347.jpg

WIN1886
August 23, 2012, 08:27 PM
Simple, only one precise shot is needed ! :)

BlueTrain
August 24, 2012, 06:29 AM
You are correct but that's easier said than done. But I am also among those who missed the original poster's mention of single shot bolt actions.

In Europe, single shot bolt actions were what armies used before they adopted repeating rifles, usually. I think Landwehr was like the third-line component of the army, at least in the German armies, maybe second-line.

Rifleman1776
August 24, 2012, 07:17 AM
Other single shots, shorter, very strong action and a nostalgic sense when using.
Bolt actions singles? No advantage.
Wyosmith, beautiful rifles. Guess what I shoot mostly.

Wyosmith
August 24, 2012, 08:49 AM
Well from the 1776 at the end of the "Rifleman" moniker, ----I'd have to guess you are also infected with "Flintlock Fever".
:)
Happy hunting

Rigmarol
August 24, 2012, 11:51 AM
Wyosmith, a quick note to say thank you for the pictures! Very nice.

DaleA
August 25, 2012, 01:30 AM
I don't think you see any single shot rifles in competition these days, do you?

I think the Summer Olympic smallbore rifle shooters all use single shot .22 rifles, mostly by Anschutz.

The Winter Olympic Biathlon shooters DO use repeaters though.

bigautomatic
August 25, 2012, 09:19 PM
Much stiffer action, and, if the spring rate is not exactly the same from first round to last in a magazine fed bolt action, the upward pressure applied to the bottom of the bolt will change as rounds are fed from the mag. If you are shooting in a match, this can make a difference.

Rifleman1776
August 26, 2012, 01:11 PM
Wyosmith, you are right.
A Rev. period style .45, and a .54 Jaeger.

Skimp
August 26, 2012, 01:35 PM
Single shot rifles and pistols build discipline.

RevGeo
August 26, 2012, 02:27 PM
My sporterized Original Haenel-Lorenz single shot Mod 98 Mauser chambered for 30-40AI is my favorite hunting rifle. It's light, accurate, powerful and beautiful. Those are benefits enough for me.
There is no advantage to a single shot compared to a repeater, but for hunting purposes I see no great advantage in having a repeater either.
Unless it is a defensive situation against dangerous game, the quick second shot is usually a desperation move.

George

Wyosmith
August 31, 2012, 05:42 PM
1776, if you like classic flinters, you may like these.
:)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/American%20guns/PBZihn-Your3.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/American%20guns/PBZihn-Yorklock.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/American%20guns/My.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/American%20guns/Z-3.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/szihn/American%20guns/WhatIdoforaliving.jpg

Microgunner
August 31, 2012, 06:24 PM
Less deformation of the bullet while chambering with a single shot rifle resulting in improved accuracy.

Jack O'Conner
September 2, 2012, 01:49 PM
This single shot rifle has beauty and perfect balance going for it.

Jack

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/TC45.jpg
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/TC45b.jpg

swopjan
September 4, 2012, 09:44 AM
Some people appreciate the history. I've got a fondness for Springfield Trapdoors and Sharps rifles. Then again, maybe it's the looks, as I like Ruger #1's and Remington Rolling Blocks as well. Or maybe having more than one shot is frivolous ;)

Disregard, I see you were asking about single shot BOLT ACTION rifles. Well, the history part still applies. The "needle rifle" and Chassepot were the early French answers to the breechloading cartridge arms question, whereas the U.S. chose Trapdoors and the British chose Snyders instead. In fact, later military arms were often loaded one round at a time in bolt action repeaters, as it was thought allowing a man to fully load his rifle would result in undisciplined, inaccurate fire and waste ammunition.

Catfishman
September 4, 2012, 09:13 PM
I think the only real advantage is mental.

I hunted with a single shot H&R .308 for about a decade. I'm only an average shot and that rifle doesn't shoot that tight, but in that decade I never missed one deer. I truely beleive hunters waste a fortune trying to get a little bit better rifle.

ltc444
September 7, 2012, 07:12 PM
Cat fish ditto.

I once had the privilege of a duck hunt on one of the South La rice field duck clubs.

A Cajun elder showed up with three single shot shotguns. an open bore, a modified and one of the old long toms.

The guide instructed us to allow him to shoot first. The ducks came in. The gentlemen potted one with the open bore, tossed it aside shot a duck on the rise with the modified. tossed that one aside and filled his limit with the long tom way out there.

We thoughtfully looked at our high dollar guns and wondered about the excess cost above the $100 he had invested in his shotguns.

Bushmaster1313
September 9, 2012, 06:27 PM
No need to unload after you shoot your buck

BIG P
September 9, 2012, 08:56 PM
Ruger #1 fan,Its just a COOL factor to me.:D

tobnpr
September 10, 2012, 08:22 AM
Responses here are all over the road...I don't think the OP is referring to old or antique single-shots....

As far as modern, competition actions go, single shot actions are stiffer. However, myself and 99.9% of the guys that read this would never be able to tell the difference between a single shot and a repeater.

Competition BR shooters, yes.

One main advantage is that you are not limited by mag length of commercial repeaters, which can often be an issue with VLD bullets seated waaayy out there.

buckhorn_cortez
September 11, 2012, 12:49 PM
Although the old style schutzenfest rifles were single shots, I don't think you see any single shot rifles in competition these days, do you? At least not Ruger No. 1s. And the are not necessarily less expensive, given what a Ruger No. 1 goes for or one of the modern day Sharps rifles. The difference is in the finish and the wood, I'd say. So, other than the shorter overall length for a given barrel length, there's no real practical advantage.

A curious thing about the owners of single short rifles is they way they will tell you that you only need one shot and how you have to make that shot count, then turn around and boast how quickly they can get off a second shot. To be honest, I can understand both statements, having owned a few single shot rifles when I still was shooting rifles. One really can get off a second shot fairly quickly with at least some single shot rifles, even when running (yes, really), though more than about three shots will be getting a little difficult unless you're holding cartridges in your mouth.

It compares fairly favorably with some Mausers that have a relatively stiff action, but not so well with something like a Lee-Enfield. Of course, no manually operated rifle will compare well with a semi-automatic and those have been used for hunting since the 1930s.

I have two Ruger #1 rifles that I've used for 30 years. The #1 was used and admired by Elmer Keith as the "finest example of a falling block rifle made."

Now, that is not a reason to own one - but it does show that a noted gun authority liked and used the single shot rifle.

The #1 is neither right handed nor left handed - it works the same from either side. That's an advantage for left handed people who don't have the money for a left handed bolt gun.

The gun is simple to accurize. With a #1 you free float the forearm of the gun free of the barrel so it is only attached by the barrel hanger - and then seal the wood on the inside of the forearm that has been relieved from barrel contact. No glass bedding required. Free floating requires two pieces of equipment. A dowel about 3/4 inches in diameter and a piece of 220 grit sandpaper. No need for glass bedding and all of the other techniques used for a rotary bolt rifle.

If you are careful with reloading - you can neck size only which improves accuracy as the brass has been fire-formed to the chamber. You don't have feed problems as you don't have a repeating rifle.

The #1 action is extremely strong and hot loads are not a problem in the gun.

Now the question - why do I have a single shot rifles? One Ruger #1 is a 6mm that I use for prairie dogs - you don't need follow up shots. The second is a 30-338. This is a custom round and was simple to make in the Ruger #1 by changing the barrel with no other work to the gun required.

How you do follow up shots with a Ruger #1? It takes practice and if you don't want to do that - don't buy a #1.

If you do want to take follow up shots you hold the cartridges between your index and middle finger, and middle finger and ring finger in the hand that feels most comfortable for you. I use my right hand as I'm right handed and can guide the new round quickly into the chamber.

You rack the lever open, the spent brass is ejected and you push another round in - not quite as quick as a box fed rotary bolt - but I've never missed a follow up shot using that method.

If I need more than that - I'll load a 20 round magazine into my Les Baer .308...and forget about bolt action rifles completely as being far too slow with not enough magazine capacity.

drfroglegs
September 11, 2012, 03:59 PM
In my opinion, most target shooters actually shoot single shot rifles anyways. Here's what I mean:

If you want to reload accurate rounds, most people load anywhere from 0" to 0.050" from the lands/grooves. This makes the overall length of the bullet much longer than the magazine will hold. Thus, each individual round has to be loaded at a time (you're using the rifle as a single shot).

Also, the recoil in some magnum rifles can be significant enough to move the bullet if there is not enough neck tension or if an appropriate crimp is not applied.

So in my opinion, magazines are completely useless and unsafe for target shooting. If hunting, if you have enough time to bolt a new bullet you have enough time to load a single bullet too (and you should shoot better).

I hunt with a Thompson pro hunter (single shot) and target shoot with a Savage 100 (which I use as a single shot). Unless you're shooting 3 deer at a time in quick succession, it's really not necessary to have a magazine at all....

B.L.E.
September 11, 2012, 09:48 PM
There are no known benefits to a single
shot rifle

On the other hand, espescially for someone who shoots mostly targets at a shooting range, there are no real disadvantages either.
Single shot, you load and shoot one cartridge at a time.

With a repeater, is seems you are spending half your time loading the magazine.

With a full auto rifle, you spend most of your time reloading magazines at the range.

FloridaVeteran
September 11, 2012, 10:36 PM
Bushmaster1313 "No need to unload after you shoot your buck"

I like that one! I love my 1970s Ruger No. 1 because it is beautiful and well-made. I enjoy just looking at it. Last year, three hunters I know went after elk and when it got super-cold and drizzly, the two with bolt actions had some trouble working the actions - the one with the No. 1 did not. Can't claim as fact it was solely the rifle and not the lube or degree broken in, but I enjoy believing it was the rifle.

B.L.E.
September 12, 2012, 05:54 AM
Let's see, I got a Ruger #1, a Remington rolling block, a 1885 Winchester low wall, and a Stevens Favorite. You might say I'm a classic single shot afficiando.
I just think they are a lot prettier than repeaters.
Also, the overall length of the rifle can be a little shorter for a given barrel length because the the barrel can start farther back on the rifle.

langenc
September 12, 2012, 06:42 PM
AIM SMALL, MISS SMALL...

With one shot the shooter will concentrate on the first shot and not depend on 'spray and pray' follow up shots to hit the target.

Also as noted a couple posts above-longer, perhaps more accurate ammo can be loaded into a SS..

FloridaVeteran
September 12, 2012, 08:33 PM
Langenc - you made a great point that ties into some statistics I read in the last year or two about how many rounds were shot per enemy killed in the wars since 1900. The greater the rate of fire, the more rounds it took. As you say, knowing you have one shot will sure get you focused on patience, breathing, obstructions and a perfect-as-possible shot.

44 AMP
September 12, 2012, 09:14 PM
Reading up on some modern firearms, I was curious about what is the benefit of a single shot bolt action rifle.

emphisis added


To answer this question, look at something like the original Remington 40X-BR guns. They sold them single shot, and a version with a magazine a little later, if I remember right.

for the "ultimate" in action stiffness, the single shot has strong following with benchrest shooters. Makes the gun more accurate, they say. Maybe they are right. But the same gun as a repeater that shoots .125 minute of woodchuck worse than the single shot has a place, too.

If the game is all bullets in exactly the same hole, the single shot bolt is proven choice of competitors. But if you only need to hit what you aim at, and maybe do it again as fast as practical, the bolt action repeater has been a world standard for well over a century.

Rifleman270
September 16, 2012, 12:05 AM
Well like many say it teaches the shooter to shoot more accurately.

Rifleman270
September 16, 2012, 12:10 AM
Just think of the Famed Mountainmen such as Jim Bridger , who had only the Hawken rifle, to kill grizzly.

Husqvarna
September 16, 2012, 12:32 PM
facilitates barrel exchange easier?

Rifleman270
September 16, 2012, 02:20 PM
Am sure many have notice the gain in popularity of single shot rifles. It started with New England Arms Handirifle. Yhen Rossi, both guns shoot great and very accurate, New England rifle advance over Rossi, but only slightly. Heck even the Pro hunters these days on Outdoor Channel can be seen hunting big game with TC arms single shots, so single shots bust be accurate if pro hunters use them.

coyota1
September 16, 2012, 02:30 PM
It started with New England Arms Handirifle.

If you got a shooter you got lucky. I had one that I sent back to the factory 3 times before I got rid of it. It would string groups up to 4 inches as it warmed. They were rude when I called. Kind of like talking to tony suprano gangsters.

customaquatics
September 16, 2012, 03:36 PM
i'd put my .17 HMR up against some of these single shot .22 LR's. i didn't take a pic of the score card but last time i was at the range i was shootin around .20" inch at 100 yards with the factory 5 round magazine an shooting Hornaday 17 grain V-Max.

jeffe65
September 20, 2012, 03:03 PM
"i'd put my .17 HMR up against some of these single shot .22 LR's. i didn't take a pic of the score card but last time i was at the range i was shootin around .20" inch at 100 yards with the factory 5 round magazine an shooting Hornaday 17 grain V-Max."

Comparing a .17 HMR to a .22LR is more the cartridge than the rifle; the HMR's tend to be inherent tack-drivers. I have three single-shot NEFs - a .223, .17HMR, and 45-70. The .17 is like a laser, and the .223 can give me 1" at 200 yards. The problem with break-action rifles like the NEFs, you have to remove the rifle from its rest each time you reload it, so it's not the same as a repeater that you can leave in one position. My Ruger 10-22 is a prime example - I can shoot ragged 1-hole groups with it at 50yds using a full 10-round magazine, and come pretty close to it at 100. But that's partly because the only movement I make between shots is pulling the trigger.

jer_t
September 20, 2012, 03:32 PM
I would say safety. My dad bought me my 243 single shot/single action rifle for hunting when I was young. For a new hunter/shooter, it was perfect. The only way that gun could fire is if I pulled back that hammer. No misfires! It was probably really comforting for my dad. :)

Deja vu
September 20, 2012, 04:11 PM
If you plan to suppress they are the quietest action out there.

PawPaw
September 20, 2012, 06:03 PM
What are the benefits of the single shot rifle?

The cool factor is just all out of proportion to the rifle itself. It makes a statement.

darkgael
September 23, 2012, 04:44 AM
Probably the most accurate .22 bolt guns are single shots.
Lots (most?) of Smallbore competition is shot with single shot .22 bolt guns. Olympic competition is the most visible.
Pete

B.L.E.
September 23, 2012, 07:22 AM
It just occurred to me that with a repeater, the rifle with its emptying magazine gets lighter with each shot and that has got to affect barrel jump during bullet accleration just a little. This would especially be so with a tubular magazine full of heavy .30-30 bullets on the first shot and empty on the last shot resulting in stringing of the shots on the target. A box magazine probably wouldn't affect barrel jump as much.

Maybe that's another reason why bench rest shooters use their guns as single shots even if they are equipped with a magazine.

coyota1
September 23, 2012, 09:02 AM
This is the reason I load a rifle single shot when sighting in, or working up a load.