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Old December 6, 2017, 11:46 PM   #1
oldscot3
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left hand bolt for right hand shooters

Sounds crazy, probably is, but these modular aluminum rifle chassis builds that are the current rage got me thinking about what it would be like (for bench shooting only) to be able to manipulate the bolt with my left hand while my right hand remains on the grip. I wonder if it would help prevent the gun from being moved around on the bags when the action gets cycled?

My brother is a lefty who has several right hand bolt action that he shoots, he's never owned a left hand bolt gun. (but he did switch to mainly single shot actions though)

Savage makes a right bolt, left port target gun but that's not quite the same.
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Old December 7, 2017, 01:13 AM   #2
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I've been using a right hand bolt for years and I am a lefty. As a matter of fact I feel awkward using my left hand hunting rifles at times, just feels weird.
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Old December 7, 2017, 07:20 AM   #3
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Bench shooting with a single shot? Yes, the left hand bolt has merit. Otherwise, not so much.
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Old December 7, 2017, 08:14 AM   #4
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That isn't a new idea. Some Benchrest shooters have been doing that for years. I don't remember who, but someone used to make a rifle with the bolt handle on the left but the loading/ejection port on the right.

Even for hunters it isn't a huge handicap. My brother shoots lefty, but there are no left handed rifles that he likes. He just learned how to make it work for him
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Old December 7, 2017, 12:54 PM   #5
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The quote "nothing new under the sun" applies. I figured someone had blazed that trail and might lend some insight.

Ruger makes a left hand American in 6.5 Creedmoor. There are numerous modular aluminum chassis makers now and since most use AR butt stocks it seems like it should be a snap to put a right hand butt stock on a left hand chassis.

When shooting from the bench, I'm often annoyed at myself for moving the rifle a bunch when cycling the bolt. Just wondering if someone had actually built something and tried it.
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Old December 7, 2017, 01:14 PM   #6
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"...would help prevent the gun from being moved..." Nope. Just cycling the bolt will cause the rifle to move.
There's shooting off a bench and benchrest shooting. Isn't the same thing.
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Old December 7, 2017, 01:22 PM   #7
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Doesn't mean a benchrest shooter won't do what he can to minimize disturbance.
Kelbly will make you a Panda action with any combination of bolt handle and port you wish. Even a double port so you can load from the inside, eject to the outside.

Another make, I don't remember who, even offers a bottom port action. Empties drop out the bottom into a box or bag. They don't get scattered around and dinged up by an ejector and you don't have to wiggle around to pick cases out of the typical ejectorless single shot.
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Old December 7, 2017, 02:01 PM   #8
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Many, many years ago there was a conversion that moved the bolt handle of the 1903 Springfield to the left side. Worked opposite of course, down for unlock, up to lock, but it did work, and allowed lefties to use the gun without "reaching over" to work the bolt.

Never a military item, and not many rifles were converted (it required cutting off the original handle and welding on the left hand one), but it was done.
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Old December 7, 2017, 09:06 PM   #9
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I'm a lefty and reach over the top to work the bolt on a right handed gun sucks. As a result of the suck, I own a lefty Savage 7mm Rem Mag.

As a bench gun, I guess it would not be much of an issue for you, minus the fact that you don't have as many choices available in left hand options.

Not sure why you'd want to limit your gun options because as lefty, and I think we make up 10% of the population, most things aren't built with us in mind.

Plus, I'd guess resale on lefty guns isn't great either if you decide to move on from it.
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Old December 8, 2017, 01:22 AM   #10
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One thing a shooter has to keep in mind when shooting a wrong handed rifle is the location of the blow hole (gas port).

In the event of a ruptured case and resulting blow back, the port will most likely be on the same side as your face.

Take a look at right handed rifles and you will notice that the hole will be on the left.

Could wind up being a lefties nightmare.

I shoot left handed. Luckily I have never had a blown case with a right handed rifle.
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Old December 8, 2017, 01:23 AM   #11
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Removing your hand from the grip shouldn’t move the rifle. The rifle moves because you work the bolt. Left or right the rifle moves. A 60 Deg bolt helps, because you can work the bolt and keep your elbow anchored while your support hand stays in place to stabilize.

Many chassis rifles use a grip where you don’t wrap your thumb around, but rather there is a thumb rest on the strong side so as you close the bolt your open hand drops right in place, and you don’t actually grip the grip except with three fingers, or not at all free recoiling.

https://17g3xk34ahga1v23q91j8y5oxka-...404_151006.jpg

When I close my bolt my hand drops right down on the grip, my thumb finds the rest, and my finger pad is right on the trigger. Nothing could be faster staying on or returning to target.

Lots of people make a big deal about how their rifle shoots soo great they don’t need a custom or a blueprinted action. One flick of a Bat, a Defiance, a Bighorn, or an Axiom action and you’ll see why the rifle barely moves when you work the bolt. Serious competitors pay a lot for a slick, fast action.
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Old December 8, 2017, 02:59 AM   #12
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Kreyzhorse why would you move your left hand over the top to work the bolt on rt handed rifles? I find it easier to just use the right hand to work the bolt. My cheek weld remains the same and my sight picture remains the same through the rifle scope.
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Old December 8, 2017, 09:01 AM   #13
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MS: when hunting, I had to hold the rifle with my right hand to cross over and work the bolt. Even on the bench its just more natural to cross over and work it left handed.

As a lefty, I think all of us are good at adapting to a right hand world, but guitars and bolt actions flummox me.
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Old December 8, 2017, 09:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Take a look at right handed rifles and you will notice that the hole will be on the left.
Right handed Howas have the receiver hole on the left, Rugers and Remingtons on the right. it's so far out in front of a shooters face I can't imagine it being much of an issue. Also I think (like Howas) most bolt guns have large holes in the bolt body bottom to direct gas down to the magazine area should gas escape.
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Old December 8, 2017, 09:32 AM   #15
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OzeanJaeger, you're shooting a chassis gun, your post sounds logical to me. Thanks for the input.
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Old December 8, 2017, 10:42 AM   #16
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Well, I only shoot a ray gun in competition. I have a lot of hunting and sporter rifles too. Matches are really the only time I need maximum speed and to keep the scope on target for follow up shots, ergo everything is designed for that. When hunting with magnums I prefer the biggest brake I can find or a can that effectively reduces all that recoil. I’m not a bench rest shooter, but I like looking at those machines, and many builders offer offer a right hand bolt with a left eject. That makes sense to me too, as does a left windage for a right handed shooter on a long distance rifle when dialing windage.

I am pretty sure that some of the old straight pull military rifles were designed that way to try and mitigate the problems you bring up. I have an old Styre straight pull in the safe, I’ve never shot, but putting it on a work rest and cycling the bolt it seems to work pretty well in that regard.

I have always thought if someone could figure out how to make an effective Olympic, biathlon repeater in a center fire cartridge it may change the way we look at bolt guns. The engineering problem appears to be length of the throw more than anything else. To get that “flick” in a long cartridge the mechanism may have to be too complicated to be 100% reliable. Just a thought...

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Old December 8, 2017, 10:51 AM   #17
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Quote:
I've been using a right hand bolt for years and I am a lefty. As a matter of fact I feel awkward using my left hand hunting rifles at times, just feels weird.
While my 7mm mag is a LH 700BDL, all of the others are rh and I have no issue shooting those from the bench or in the field.
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Old December 8, 2017, 11:28 AM   #18
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After all of these years I'm not going to attempt changing from what and how I learned to shoot. The mere thought of changing over seems unnatural at my age.
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Old December 8, 2017, 12:05 PM   #19
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I am left handed, but right eye dominant. I shoot right handed rifles, but a left handed bolt feel more natural to me.
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Old December 8, 2017, 12:09 PM   #20
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I'll probably just buy a Ruger PR. I don't see how I could build one with everything they offer without spending much more money. Most of the bare chassis I'm seeing are $400 plus the butt stock, grip, forearm, etc. It doesn't sound like the left bolt thing would be worth the extra money.
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Old December 8, 2017, 01:18 PM   #21
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I feel the same way joeb, but some changes and new stuff make so much sense they're intuitive. There's nothing to really learn. It's just a much more effective way to do things. If you try them you would wonder why you ever put up with how you've been doing it all these years.

Reflex sights are a good example. I've always hated lasers, and shot much more poorly with them. But I find that with a reflex sight I am melding point shooting with a front sight hold without missing a beat. There's nothing to learn. Just bring the pistol up and there it is floating like a HUD display. There's nothing to learn and no "skill" to master.

I was really leery about a left handed windage owning exactly 0 scopes set up this way. I thought I was going to have to un-learn/re-learn something. Once I started using it, meaning the very first time, it was completely intuitive and there was nothing to it. Generally the parallax is on the left, and you use that a lot more than dialing windage, but on my scope the parallax is another ring below the turret, so you just dial it before dialing the elevation, and don't miss it being on that side. In the first five seconds I was using it like I had been doing it all my life.

So...while I agree with you that it usually isn't worth relearning something that has been working well for you for years, some things (the ones you don't have to "learn") are really better.

On the flip side, I tried to learn to like using a cuff sling, and I CAN use one. But it's never going to be as fast, feel as comfortable, or offer a more meaningful degree of stability, as the "normal" slinging I've been doing my whole life. To me it's a big hassle without a benefit, and I don't think even people who use it exclusively and have "mastered" it will ever be able to use it in positional shooting faster than a sling without a cuff. Yes, they can get out of it just as fast with a QD, but getting into it is the issue. If you have to go from a slung position to an unslung one and back it just takes a lot more time to get that cuff above your bicep and comfortable than it does for me to flip a wrap around my arm or over my elbow. If you have time to mess with a cuff you probably have time to build a better position without the sling. To me sling support is for when you don't have time to build a more stable position, or it something weird, like shooting off a steep down slope.

So I agree, but I also try to keep an open mind.
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Old December 8, 2017, 01:58 PM   #22
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I am a lefty shooter. All of my bolt action rifles are right handed. When prone shooting or bench shooting with a front rest, or bipod I can stay on the scope, and cycle the bolt with my right hand. As long as it is a short action. With a longer action you will wind up with the bolt hitting you in the face. With tbe CZ 527 I never have to come off the scope. Follow up shots are quick. With any long actions I have to move my face to cycle the bolt anyway.
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