View Poll Results: Which would you choose for a Precision Rifle?

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  • Bolt Action

    39 79.59%
  • Semi-Auto

    1 2.04%
  • Both are balanced Candidates

    9 18.37%
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Thread: Precision Rifle: Bolt Action or Semi Auto?

  1. #1
    Member kjsl105's Avatar
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    Default Precision Rifle: Bolt Action or Semi Auto?

    This one's as controversial as the 1911 vs M9. If you were to build a 308 Precision Rifle for a range of 800-1000 yrds, would you choose a Bolt Action or a Semi Auto Rifle?

  2. #2
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    308 wouldn't necessarily be my choice, but that aside, I would choose bolt action.
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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Larue OBR

  4. #4

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    Inside 600 yards the semi is king. It allows you to engage multiple targets quickly and allows the sniper to act as a support cover person. Past 600 yards where precsion is king and you are hunting single targets and evading capture the bolt is king but in a caliber bigger than the .308.
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    As the question is about 'precision rifle' without any bounds on range then the answer will always be a bolt action. A top shelf bolt action will always perform better (in the right hands) than a top shelf semi for precision shots, due to fact of less moving parts. Some may argue that the SASS type guns where you can shut off te gas have same amount of moving parts as a bolt gun. But in 'sniper mode' the SASS is, to all intents and purposes, a bolt gun, so that agrees with the bolt gun arguement.
    In terms of what gun, I think that there is little real competition to the British Accuracy International Arctic Warfare Magnum in 338 Lap Mag, UK designation L115A3. I say that because it (and more importantly the British Cavalry Sniper behind) currently hold the World sniping record of just over 1.5miles; in Afghanistan in Nov 10, 3 shots. First took out the machine gunner, second shot took out the #2 gunner and 3rd shot took out the guns receiver, a PKM with a receiver about 6" diameter. That equates to a 0.22 MOA shot at 2706 yds!! Also 3 hits in rapid succession at that range pretty much covers the 'multiple engagements' part.

  6. #6
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    Get the Blaser...accuracy of the bolt rifle, fast as a semi auto

  7. #7
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjsl105 View Post
    This one's as controversial as the 1911 vs M9.

    I don't think so.

    What do most all the long distance shooting competitors use?

    Single shot bolt actions.

    Seems like a pretty good litmus test to me.

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    Comes down to ability. Not Action. With that said, once you have shot five or ten thousand rounds you begin to come into your own and "that shot" isn't so much about the action as it is about doping.

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    WIth a precision rifle rate of fire is not of the utmost importance. Accuaracy is. How many semi auto's do you see in long range matches where you have a choice?

  10. #10

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    For just pure accuracy at long range the bolt has the edge. But in the real world there are other factors to consider in a precision rifle and hence why the military is adopting semi auto sniper rifles.







    The difference between the best semi auto precision rifles and the best bolts is not that great anymore. Around 3/8 of an inch for the bolt guns and .5 to .75 for the best semi's
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  11. #11

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    300Win mag Savage 116FHSS 165gr HPBT Game King, 10 shot group at 100yds with one called flyer.


    300Win mag Savage 116FHSS 165gr HPBT Game King, 5 shot group at 100yds.
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  12. #12
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I will tell you this. On a stock rifle that you do no modifications to, it is far cheaper to buy an accurate bolt. In fact, I've owned a couple Savages (still own one) that would outshoot bolts costing twice as much and auto guns costing 4 times as much.

    That LaRue Stealth is pushing three grand... that SPS Tactical is less than $600 online.
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  13. #13
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    I will tell you this. On a stock rifle that you do no modifications to, it is far cheaper to buy an accurate bolt. In fact, I've owned a couple Savages (still own one) that would outshoot bolts costing twice as much and auto guns costing 4 times as much.

    That LaRue Stealth is pushing three grand... that SPS Tactical is less than $600 online.
    But price aside, and going back to the OP's context of 800-1000 yard targets, the bottom line has to be that the bolt gun is the better tool for the job. The counter point made in post #9 to the assertion made in post #8 is about all that need be said. Long range competition winners shoot bolt guns. Surely no one will claim this fact is due only to a coincidence that all the most highly skilled shooters just happen to choose bolt guns, regardless of price.
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by kjsl105 View Post
    This one's as controversial as the 1911 vs M9. If you were to build a 308 Precision Rifle for a range of 800-1000 yards, would you choose a Bolt Action or a Semi Auto Rifle?
    When I made the decision that I wanted a custom accurate rifle I had the same question. I called up GA Precision and discussed rifles and options. The man I spoke to explained that the bolt action platform is easier for most people to shoot well, easier than the AR platform, but that the AR can be a superbly accurate rifle. I ended up going with their auto-loading 308 AR because I have 30+ years experience with black rifles and very little with bolt rifles. My average good group is well under 0.5 inch, typically 0.25 inches or less at 100 yards with my GAP 308 AR. We won't discuss my bad group days because it's not the rifle's fault and I wouldn't want the forum folks laughing so hard they strain themselves.

    I hand load Berger 308 168 grain match hunting bullets in Remington brass, CCI primers, 43.5 grains of Varget, to a COAL of 2.81 and that has worked out pretty well. My tightest 100 yard group with hand loads and my GAP AR was 0.39 edge to edge for a 5-shot group. When you subtract the .308 you get a 0.082 center to center and that's pretty good. This was slow fire over about 10 minutes, prone position, rifle laid over a backpack, and there was no wind. I'm the first to admit that this tight of a group is NOT normal performance for me, it's extraordinary, it'll probably be the best shot group of my life. This rifle is far more capable than I am.

    I think that if you are truly on the fence with your selection then you may need to have one of each, but begin with the one you want the most.

    Last thought... I think that the shooter is the biggest variable in the equation. With that being said, there must be a reason that the most skilled shooters choose bolt action rifles for long range shoots.

  15. #15
    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Remington 700 XCR in 375 H&H. Group are .92" or better. 270 grain Horn, 72 grains of IMR 4064. That is a 5 shot group BTW.

  16. #16
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The real question should be why would you choose a .308 for use at 800-1000 yds? When looking for precision at that range, it's an entire package you need to look at, the rifle, the cartridge, and the optics. To an extent caliber isn't that critical, but the basic criteria to consider for that application is a bc of 0.5 or better at a muzzle velocity of 3000+ fps. The .308 falls far short of that criteria.

    If you want to work at extended ranges, don't compromise on the rifle, the cartridge or the glass. You're leaving way too much on the table.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    I will tell you this. On a stock rifle that you do no modifications to, it is far cheaper to buy an accurate bolt. In fact, I've owned a couple Savages (still own one) that would outshoot bolts costing twice as much and auto guns costing 4 times as much.

    That LaRue Stealth is pushing three grand... that SPS Tactical is less than $600 online.
    +1 on that Doug!

    Can't understand it, but having owned a few bolt action Savages myself (still own one in 338wm) those rifles are very (even scarry) accurate. Perhaps one of the forums accuracy guru's could expand on this, possibly i another thread as to not hijack this one.

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  18. #18
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    Who cares about all that stuff, if I had the spare cash I would get something FUN and this would be it:


    You may well shoot smaller groups but you would be hard pressed to get over the stupid grin on my face at the next bench!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    Who cares about all that stuff, if I had the spare cash I would get something FUN and this would be it:


    You may well shoot smaller groups but you would be hard pressed to get over the stupid grin on my face at the next bench!
    Oh great..... Something else to put on my Christmas wish list! Sweeeeet.
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  20. #20
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    You grin with that...I grin with this

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