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Old October 26, 2018, 11:40 PM   #1
DPris
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A Boltgun Question

In a private discussion, it has been suggested that I throw this at the assembled multitude here, so-

What's the prevailing opinion on boltguns for home defense?

Please keep all responses under a thousand words, and please no rock throwing.
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Old October 26, 2018, 11:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPris View Post
In a private discussion, it has been suggested that I throw this at the assembled multitude here, so-

What's the prevailing opinion on boltguns for home defense?

Please keep all responses under a thousand words, and please no rock throwing.
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Old October 27, 2018, 12:32 AM   #3
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They'll work fine, as long as you don't get mobbed by more than 5 people. I wouldn't choose one on purpose, but if it's whatcha got, ya make it work! I never understood why people think they need a 30-round, laser sighted, flashlight-mounted, thermal-scoped self-loader for home defense. I remember reading that most home invasions are settled with 2-3 shots from whoever gets a gun out first, so you want it fast and portable.

Just my opinion, if somebody enters your house SWAT-style, you aren't going to have time to get any gun into action before you're looking at a gun from the wrong end, and then you have to decide to fish or cut bait.
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Old October 27, 2018, 03:05 AM   #4
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If there's more than one inside a house you're probably screwed, especially if they're armed.
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Old October 27, 2018, 04:12 AM   #5
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There are bolt action shotguns out there if bolt is what you prefer.
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Old October 27, 2018, 04:46 AM   #6
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What sort of "boltgun"?
Actually a "bolt gun" is a device used for stunning animals during slaughter and must be in contact with the victim's skull.
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Old October 27, 2018, 04:51 AM   #7
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A bolt gum will work but there are considerations. Barrel length, shorter is more maneuverable I'm close quarters, muzzle blast, calibre, bullet weight, over penetration of bullet could cause unintended injury in your neighbors home. Lots to think about
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Old October 27, 2018, 05:16 AM   #8
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In general, a bolt gun implies a couple things over other platforms: range and velocity... at least to my way of thinking.

Range won’t ever hold up as self defense.

Velocity goes through people and walls.

So I agree that it’s better than nothing if it’s all you have.
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Old October 27, 2018, 11:09 AM   #9
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What's the prevailing opinion on boltguns for home defense?

Personally I don't use a bolt gun for home defense. Not because it is a bad or poor choice in a home defense gun roll. I do not use a bolt gun for home defense because for my home, in my location, under my conditions I have other guns more suited for the application. Now if a bolt action gun, be it a rifle or shotgun was all I had or the best candidate then absolutely I would be using a bolt gun for home defense.

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Old October 27, 2018, 11:23 AM   #10
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The only real issue is the chambering. A nice No. 4 or No. 5 Lee-Enfield, preferably with a bayonet fixed(a No. 1 with its 18" blade is more impressive than either. Cold steel scares criminals as much as a dog.), will deal with multiple criminals, but the .303 British will seriously over penetrate with any ammo.
"...mobbed by more than 5 people..." Nothing will help there. Not even a shotgun. Oddly, a dog just might give you time. And criminals are usually afraid of dogs.
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Old October 27, 2018, 01:30 PM   #11
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Range won’t ever hold up as self defense.
If you are able to hit them, they are close enough to hit you.

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Velocity goes through people and walls.
That depends on a lot of factors. Most handgun loads as well as buckshot penetrate building material much easier than most centerfire rifle loads with expanding bullets. The speed from rifles combined with bullets designed to expand in soft tissue often disintegrate when they contact building material.

A compact short barreled bolt gun along the lines of a "scout" type rifle is every bit as good as a lever action rifle if chambered in a similar cartridge. I have 223, and 308 bolt guns with 18" barrels that are lighter and more compact than my 30-30's or 44 mag lever guns. They take magazines ranging from 5-20 rounds.

With a 1X optic on them I'd feel just as well protected. With practice a bolt gun is almost as fast for rapid repeat shots. I've timed myself getting off 3 shots with a bolt gun in under 2 seconds. I'm closer to 1.5 seconds with the 30-30, but I don't consider 1/2 second for 3 shots to be a huge handicap.

That said, given the choice I'll choose a handgun for inside the home every time. Take it outdoors and I'd still rather have a shotgun out to 25-30 yards and an AR for everything else. But a bolt gun isn't nearly as much of a handicap if set up right.

I wouldn't want to try to use a 10 lb 300 WM with a 26" barrel. But a 5-6 lb 223 or 308 with an 18-20" barrel and the right ammo wouldn't be that bad.
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Old October 27, 2018, 03:03 PM   #12
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Better than a rock or a knife. For the majority of the situations, it is probably fine if you are well trained. For a minority, it would not be a good choice.

Practice is king, regardless of platform. I run a bolt gun *faster than the average person with a pistol in the nightstand they never shoot can run a auto-loading pistol, but that would not make it my first choice.

*Mossberg MVP with frangibles on a 10" steel at 10 yards at 1 shot per second.
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Old October 27, 2018, 03:15 PM   #13
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I'm with the very first response. If its all you got its the best one in the world. If you have a second choice its probably better than any bolt gun for home defense.
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Old October 27, 2018, 03:28 PM   #14
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Actually a "bolt gun" is a device used for stunning animals during slaughter and must be in contact with the victim's skull.
Actually, that is called a "captive bolt gun". It is fired with blanks like those used for power hammers. I worked in a slaughterhouse for 3 years and saw millions of cattle "knocked" with a captive bolt gun. The "bolt" in question is approximately 8" long and has a large head on one end to keep it "captive" inside the "gun" portion. A substantial spring slows the bolt in the last inch or so of travel to keep it from breaking out of the gun. The end of the bolt penetrates about 2"-3" into the animal's head, stunning it. The animal is then killed by "sticking" it, using a knife to open the neck and sever the aortic trunk in the upper thoracic area of the animal. It is quite amazing to watch (for the first few hundred times) 5-10 gallons of blood dump out of an animal all at once.

But I digress.
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Old October 27, 2018, 07:24 PM   #15
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A couple of points: First, self-control such that the first shot is effective. Second, skill (from practice) to rapidly cycle the bolt and be able to quickly fire a second shot if needed.
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Old October 27, 2018, 09:20 PM   #16
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It sounds to me like most people agree with my own opinion:
That a bolt gun is not a good idea for the average perceived HD scenario.
And, quite importantly, that tactics, training, and proper ammunition selection are likely more important than the firearm itself.
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Old October 27, 2018, 10:37 PM   #17
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They'll work fine, as long as you don't get mobbed by more than 5 people.
I wonder what the odds are of the rest of the gang doing a banzai charge on you after you've center punched 1-3 or even all 5 with a .30 caliber deer rifle or milsurp??? (and if you use an SMLE, you get 10 shots before empty )

Bolt action centerfire rifle inside the house? Lots of better choices, if you have the choice. All the drawbacks of a long gun inside the hour, more than enough power to go through several regular house walls (possibly even after going through the bad guy), blast and flash to rival a flash bang grenade, and compared to other actions, a slower working speed getting off follow on shots, and the joy of being deaf for a period of time, with some permanent hearing damage for good measure.

If its all you got, its all you got, but there's an awful lot of guns with superior handling for use indoors.
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Old October 27, 2018, 11:22 PM   #18
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Being witness to a discharge of a Win M70 30-06 inside, it is deafening, bright, and can penetrate 3 2x4 boards and leave a 25 cents size hole on exit of the building.

That tells me that much more than one person would be penetrated with one shot if they were lined up.

I would use a bolt gun if it was within reach....meaning it was closer than anything else.

Normally there are other guns within reach that would offer not more fire power, but better control.

In the rifle category, a lever gun would suit me better, but I stand by my answer above.
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Old October 28, 2018, 07:13 AM   #19
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Maybe the best weapon is the one you know how to use for the situation.
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Old October 28, 2018, 08:07 AM   #20
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I prefer belt fed, myself... :

If your scared of getting mobed by 5 or more (much less 30) then it's time to move!
My home defense is locked doors and windows, the dog, and failing that a 20 gauge pump.
The sound of a pump shotgun being racked is universal for "You picked the WRONG house!".
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Old October 28, 2018, 08:35 AM   #21
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My Grandfather used a Remington 721 bolt action .270 as his hunting and primary home defense weapon well into his golden years, passing in 1979. He served in the National Guard in the 20's and had been trained to use a bolt action 1903 Springfield for battle. He could have used a shotgun or handgun in retirement as a home defense weapon, but he gave his other guns away, keeping the Remington. He preferred the power of his trusty rifle and familiarity of the bolt action. The .270 is an awesome cartridge.
He shot a ton of game with the gun, deer, bear, wild hogs, woodchucks, fox, etc. There are clips on Youtube of WW1 and WW2 fighting men using bolt actions rapid fire. It comes down to training and familiarity. I own the 721 now and can say from experience, that bolt can be worked VERY fast in the field and the damage a high powered hunting round inflicts on large game is... well, devastating to say the least. My son just shot a whitetail doe yesterday with my bolt action Remington BDL 700 .270... one shot. Massive impact and trauma... almost like it was struck by lightning. Handgun cartridges are not in the same class, in my opinion (and I have hunted with both), compared to the tissue damage that a high powered deer rifle bullet inflicts. If over penetration isn't a concern, train with your rifle and use it. If it's new, oil and work the bolt repeatedly to smooth it out. A metal buttplate is handy on a battle rifle (Gramp's old Remington 721 has a metal butt plate), as butt strokes were a last ditch, close range tactic. At least they were in WW1 and WW2. Are there better home defense systems? Sure. The current market offers some truly outstanding home defense weapons based around shotgun shells. But I wouldn't feel at a disadvantage with a good bolt action high powered rifle (.243, .30-06, .308, .270, 7MM Magnum, etc.), when dealing with things that go bump in the night.

Last edited by shurshot; October 28, 2018 at 09:35 AM.
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Old October 29, 2018, 12:08 AM   #22
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I reckon that the best bolt action rifle caliber for home defense inside the house would be a 22 Long Rifle, and second best would be a 22 magnum.
But wait a minute,.... I almost forgot the Ruger 77/357.
However, in the real world, if all you have is a bolt action rifle, it will have to do.... But it sounds like a perfectly justifiable excuse to buy another gun that would be more appropriate to the task.
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Old October 29, 2018, 01:12 AM   #23
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If a Bolt Action Rifle is what you have, then you make it work for you. It is a whole lot better than a club of some sort. But there are better choices IMHO. A short barreled Pump or Semi Auto Shotgun in a 12 gauge with heavy shot for one. Or a short barreled Semi Auto Carbine, such as an Old 30 Cal M-1 Carbine loaded with soft point ammo in a 30 round magazine or both. These are two of my all time personal favorites, and they work for me. As far as handguns go, I prefer Long Barreled Glocks such as 17L`s in 9mm or a model 24 in 40SW with extended magazines for house guns. And an easy to turn off and on light on each one of these firearms. I have always found extended round magazines to be very comforting, in the dark when I am scared. You will just have to trust me on that last statement.
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Old October 29, 2018, 06:27 AM   #24
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Although not the best option. "Something is better than nothing."
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Old October 29, 2018, 08:09 AM   #25
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If you are able to hit them, they are close enough to hit you.
The OP mentioned home defense. You can hit someone with a bolt gun at, oh let's say, 300 yds. That won't generally qualify as your general home defense scenario. Rarely have I heard of a home invader who sniped occupants from the tree line before entering the house.

Quote:
But a 5-6 lb 223 or 308 with an 18-20" barrel and the right ammo wouldn't be that bad.
Even with these choices your likely at more than double the velocity of a handgun. Home defense implies close quarters. A .308 firing just about any bullet (I guess you could have loaded your home defense .308 scout rifle with 110 grain varmigeddons) at 12' is going to pass through, unless perhaps you shoot someone sideways through the pelvis.

It should be noted that this whole thread has me laughing good-naturedly.
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