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Old September 12, 2017, 03:14 PM   #1
keithdog
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16" AR vs 16" bolt action in 223/556?

I have a carbine length AR 15. I would love a scout style rifle with a forward mounted scope. This is not for hunting or anything serious. I just want a fun bolt gun. That being said I want it to be more accurate than my AR. The Ruger gunsite scout for example comes with a 16" barrel much like my AR. I hear bolt guns are inherently more accurate than semi autos but does anyone here know if the scout in 223- using similar cheap 55g fmj target ammo- would actually achieve any real accuracy advantage? 308 is so costly and just getting a decent scope with the rifle would cost a pretty penny. if 223 out of a bolt gun with a 16" barrel is significantly more accurate than out of a semi auto I would find that to be perfectly acceptable for my purposes. But if not I'll have to save up and go 308. Thanks.
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Old September 12, 2017, 03:44 PM   #2
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Cheap ammo is cheap ammo. A great barrel won't shoot an imperfect bullet any better. If you want small groups buy good ammo or make your own.
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Old September 12, 2017, 03:45 PM   #3
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My Tikka T3 loves Fiocchi Extrema btw. Good stuff.
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Old September 12, 2017, 04:15 PM   #4
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Thank you turtlehead. I understand all of that already so sorry if my question was unclear. What I am asking is if a bolt action with same length barrel and same type ammo will show any higher degree of accuracy over a semi automatic rifle such as the one I currently possess?
High end ammo out of my AR then- will it shoot better out of a bolt action with the same length barrel?
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Old September 12, 2017, 04:21 PM   #5
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My buddy and i went P-dog hunting. He used his Ruger American in 223. It proved to be as accurate as he was. Its a nice rifle and wont break the bank
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Old September 12, 2017, 04:31 PM   #6
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Thank you gentlemen. I'll just assume the greater accuracy people claim from bolt actions to be a result of them frequently having smoother, lighter, hunting triggers rather than combat triggers, and the fact that many bolt actions (though surely not all) tend to have barrels in excess of 16". My AR 15 shoots great, even with crap steel. I'll just get the 308 down the road if I can afford to get that, the scope, and stockpiles of another type of ammo.
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Old September 12, 2017, 04:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
I hear bolt guns are inherently more accurate than semi autos but does anyone here know if the scout in 223- using similar cheap 55g fmj target ammo- would actually achieve any real accuracy advantage?
The notion that a bolt-action is inherently more accurate than a semi-auto (especially a quality AR-15 in it's native caliber) is so generalized as to be essentially false. With so many variables involved - quality of the barrel, bolt, furniture (free-floated, bedded, etc.), trigger quality - there is no way to make such a broad comparison.

But generally, I wouldn't expect any bolt-action to be any more accurate with cheap ammo than any decent AR-15.
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Old September 12, 2017, 04:44 PM   #8
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I am no rifle expert but a few things make them more accurate generally:
1) less vibration of moving parts.
2) a bedded barrel reduces flex points as the bullet travels. I believe free floating. barrels in semis have the same idea.
3) they typically have much better triggers as you already noted.
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Old September 12, 2017, 04:54 PM   #9
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FIshbed and Zinc those were very helpful replies. I don't know enough about bolt actions and as you are no doubt aware, searches on the internet too frequently turn up conflicting information based on second and third hand accounts. I suppose if I want better accuracy with a bolt I'll need a 308 or 6,5 or something like that. My AR is free float with a nice trigger. The barrel isn't special. Thanks to all of you who took the time to reply I know now what I'll need for the results I desire.
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Old September 12, 2017, 05:46 PM   #10
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I think you pretty much nailed it with post #6.
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Old September 12, 2017, 07:54 PM   #11
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When I shoot a bolt .223 it is for training on my precision bolt guns more than anything else. That said, with similar quality ammo, my bolt guns and AR15s are within 10% or so of each other. BUT, my AR15s have match triggers, free float HGs, precision barrels. They typically cost 3-4 times a Ruger American to get the same groups.
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Old September 12, 2017, 08:09 PM   #12
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It is possible to build a semi that rivals a bolt gun for accuracy. But never quite equal one. The difference is cost. You can buy a bolt rifle in the $350 range that will out shoot most $1000 semi-autos.

But you won't see a significant difference with cheap ammo and certainly not by handicapping your self with a forward mounted scope.

I wouldn't spend the money for the Ruger Scout rifle. The Ruger ranch rifle has a 16" barrel, is threaded for a flash hider or suppressor, is chambered for 5.56 or 223 ammo and you can take one home for under $400 out the door. With decent ammo I can put 5 shots into 1/2 MOA out to 300 yards. Maybe farther, that is as far as I've shot it. It weighs 6 lbs unscoped.

Mount a 1-4X20 conventionally on it for fast close work or something with more magnification for longer range precision. Either option is far better and cheaper than a forward mounted scope.

http://ruger.com/products/americanRi...ch/models.html
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Old September 12, 2017, 09:00 PM   #13
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We have both. Wife has a S&W M&P 15....which as a baseline AR with a Nikon P223 scope on it, works just fine. Reasonably accurate. But she also has a CZ 527 Carbine...that will out shoot the AR any day of the week and twice on sunday. As it was pointed out...the trigger...makes a huge difference....with the CZ having a "single set" trigger. The CZ also has the iron back up sights...and the rifle will shoot both 5.56 and 223 with no issues.

http://cz-usa.com/product/cz-527-carbine-223-rem/

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Old September 12, 2017, 09:53 PM   #14
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The "bolt gun is more accurate than a semi" comes from the days BEFORE ARs became precision shooting machines. It comes from the days when all semis, including the AR were generally not as accurate as a good quality bolt gun.

Days when a MOA rifle was a pearl of great price, and something to be treasured, rather than the expected standard it has become, or seems to be, according to the Internet...

IT is still somewhat true, but the line is much blurrier than it used to be.

A given AR might out shoot a given bolt gun and the reverse is also true.

Today, it is more a matter of the individual rifles (AND the shooter!!) than it is action types.
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Old September 12, 2017, 10:46 PM   #15
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
I hear bolt guns are inherently more accurate than semi autos but does anyone here know if the scout in 223- using similar cheap 55g fmj target ammo- would actually achieve any real accuracy advantage?
Military grade ammo is test fired from a fixture with the barrel more or less immobilized. The acceptable accuracy spread for M193 and M855 is 3 MOA. So unless you get some weird combo that likes a particular ammo*, you are not likely to see better than 3 MOA in any rifle you are feeding blasting ammo.

*I had an otherwise unremarkable Bushmaster 16" HBAR that just really liked Santa Barbara SS109 and got very nice groups with it. Load it with Federal XM855 (also 62gr SS109) and back to 3 MOA.

My general experience is that most shooters, including me, are unable to appreciate the accuracy difference between a good AR with good ammo and a good bolt-action with good ammo.
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Old September 12, 2017, 11:19 PM   #16
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You can purpose build an AR to be more accurate than a bolt action. I did.
That said, IMO, much of the "bolt action accuracy" fallacy lies in the average
person shooting the average M4gery. The standard short, light barreled, AR,
shot by the average joe, quickly hammering out mag after mag, isn't as accurate
as the typical bolt-action shooter, who takes his time with each individual shot,
and has learned through long and hard experience to embrace better optics.
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Old September 13, 2017, 03:28 AM   #17
Bartholomew Roberts
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Mechanically, an AR action can certainly hang with a bolt action. The bolt action is still easier to be accurate with though because it has no reciprocating mass.
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Old September 13, 2017, 06:26 AM   #18
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Hmmm...two different types of weapons. AR's are almost always going to "hit the wall" in COL limits necessary for magazine feed. That action is a great one--though still pretty violent and that is more prone to impart at least some damage to your cartridge which is pitched at the chamber at an angle.

Bolt gun is going to always present you the advantage of straight-in cartridge battery and essentially seating the bullet "jump" all the way into the lands if you want.
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Old September 13, 2017, 07:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
I suppose if I want better accuracy with a bolt I'll need a 308 or 6,5 or something like that.
Not using cheap ammo.
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Old September 13, 2017, 08:52 AM   #20
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I sold my Savage heavy barreled 223 because it wouldn't out shoot my White Oak barreled AR to a noticeable degree.
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Old September 13, 2017, 09:06 AM   #21
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What I am asking is if a bolt action with same length barrel and same type ammo will show any higher degree of accuracy over a semi automatic rifle such as the one I currently possess?
There are manufacturing generalities here. The tighter the tolerances the more something costs to manufacture. The more moving parts interacting the more tolerances that have to be controlled. When something is automated, such as a gas driven semi-auto, there needs to be greater clearance to deal with any unexpected debris v. a bolt gun that is manually operated and brute force can be easily applied to deal with most issues. To get accuracy despite greater clearances or to minimize clearances requires even tighter tolerances, polishing, etc.
So as indicated above, it comes down to price. Many factory production $350 bolt guns will out-shoot factory production $1000 ARs is exactly the end result.

In my very limited, mostly observational, experience the high price tag comes with making a very accurate AR that also remains reliable. With the bolt locking into the barrel directly it seems little else matters as far as technical accuracy.
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Old September 13, 2017, 12:12 PM   #22
Art Eatman
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In today's world, most basic bolt actions are capable of under-2-MOA, right out of the box. Many do even better. Costs of $500 and less. I've owned several which were sub-MOA.

How many basic ARs are capable of one MOA, right out of the box?
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Old September 13, 2017, 12:49 PM   #23
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Certain Fulton models are, but we're pushing $1,200
http://www.fulton-armory.com/farifle...e-3-3-2-2.aspx
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Old September 13, 2017, 01:57 PM   #24
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Quote:
keithdog wrote:
I hear bolt guns are inherently more accurate than semi autos...
The "inherent" accuracy of the bolt action over the semi-auto is a function of the fact the semi-automatic has more moving parts so there is a dynamic component from firing it that is not present in the bolt action. But, the effect of those shifts in center of gravity and vibration is much less important that the quality of the parts, the quality of the ammunition, and the skill of the shooter.

For the "five shot, one hole" crowd of competitive shooters those effects matter. For someone defending themselves against a human-size target at 300 yards, the other considerations become more important.

I know that at the ranges I shoot, every rifle I own is more accurate than I am and I suspect that applies to most shooters.
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Old September 13, 2017, 07:41 PM   #25
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I don't see $ 1,200 as being a "basic" AR. I've done minor tweaking on over a half-dozen bolt rifles and grouped regularly below one MOA. By minor I mean reworking the forearm bedding and occasionally replacing the trigger. Nothing that I'd call serious work. And some didn't need much of anything.
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