How universal are short actions??

courtier

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OK, I will confess up front that I'm still new to long range/tactical shooting so I apologize in advance if the following is a stupid question...

While researching components (caliber size, barrel manufacturer, barrel length, action maker, chassis system maker, etc.) for a custom build, I think I have narrowed it down to the following: 6.5mm creedmoor with a 26" barrel in a Dual Strike 30 chassis, action and barrel manufacturers still pending. While researching actions though, I'm seeing a lot of references to short actions, long actions, as well as those for *some* specific calibers (.308, .300, .338) but not 6.5mm, .243. .260 (what I'm led to believe are newer/less common calibers).

So my question is this: benchrest and other technical differences aside (lefty/righty, etc.), are there really only two basic types of actions, i.e., long and short? Meaning do calibers .308 and smaller work best in short actions and larger calibers (.300, .338, and up) only work in long actions? I've seen claims that you can use .308 in either type and that seems (from what I can tell) to be the midpoint caliber that can ride the fence while smaller calibers are really meant for short actions and larger calibers *have* to use long actions.

Am I over simplifying this? Am I just way off base? Does what I wrote even make sense?

THANK YOU in advance.
 

RobertB

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Yep, you can go LA on the CM but not at all necessary and actually doesn't help at all on that round. SOme rounds ride the fence but you got plenty of room on the CM. Get a short action and you will love it and won't have any buyers remorse. Good luck and enjoy
 

McCrazy

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    Your assessment is correct. Shorter cartridges can fit in short action. Longer ones need long actions. Some can cross over and have benefits either way.
     

    courtier

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    Thanks for the information so far. Now I have a follow on question... So if a short action covers a variety of (short) cartridges and it is really the barrel that determines whether you are going to shoot .243, .260, 6.5mm creedmoor, etc., what is the viability of getting two different caliber barrels -- say .308 and 6.5mm creedmoor -- for the same rifle? I've seen this type of multiple caliber setup for the AI PSR and some other (very) high end systems, but I'm wondering if your "average" build could be setup to be able to interchange barrels with a reasonable amount of ease (and precision). I'm sure you'd have to re-zero for each swap, but otherwise would this be possible? Or is it just a dumb idea all around?
     

    Onoko

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    there are a few things you have to consider.
    You can interchangeable barrels if the both barrels have been chambered and set to your action and your bolt faces are the same for that caliber. For example, A Remington 700 that has been trued may not be exactly the same as another Remington 700, so the chamber will have to be made for that specific rifle. The .260 and .308 uses the same bolt face so you can use the same bolt. If not, than you will have to get another bolt with the correct bolt face to use whatever caliber you want. For example, .223 and .308 you will have to change the bolt and magazine.
    Now you will still need tools to change your barrel out, basically barrel vise and action wrench.
    This is not exactly the same as those interchangeable systems like the AI PSR, Their systems don't need to change caliber using a barrel vise and action wrench. They set it up so they don't need those tools to change caliber, they still need tools but just simple hex wrenches
     

    rusty815

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    For Savage rifles, where barrels can be changed by the user without the need for a smith, a long action may be preferred, since you can switch between most any cartridge except for the really large magnums. I have my long action 110 that i interchange between 243 and 284, and I'm looking around at 30-06 and 270 barrels, that shows you its versatility.
     

    BigJimFish

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    Thanks for the information so far. Now I have a follow on question... So if a short action covers a variety of (short) cartridges and it is really the barrel that determines whether you are going to shoot .243, .260, 6.5mm creedmoor, etc., what is the viability of getting two different caliber barrels -- say .308 and 6.5mm creedmoor -- for the same rifle? I've seen this type of multiple caliber setup for the AI PSR and some other (very) high end systems, but I'm wondering if your "average" build could be setup to be able to interchange barrels with a reasonable amount of ease (and precision). I'm sure you'd have to re-zero for each swap, but otherwise would this be possible? Or is it just a dumb idea all around?

    As you may have gathered, systems like the AI PSR have the locking lugs attached to the barrel and not the action and therefore can be made easy to change because less torque is required to attach the barrel. This type of design requires no barrel vice for change and can be very fast. Regular 700 based systems vary in how easy it is to switch calibers in the same action in the field. To do so well requires a great deal of precision in manufacture as well as a pinned recoil lug. In know that Kelbly's has a great deal of experience in making barrel switching easy, fast, and precise because they have done it for years for the benchrest folks. They sell an action wrench that fits into the locking lugs for doing changes so that they can easily be done without removing even the scope. Often benchresters attach a barrel vice to their trailer hitch so that they can quickly change at a match. It takes more than 100 ftlbs of force to properly torque in a barrel in a 700 based action. The bottom line is that most makers who use 700 based systems do not really emphasize field caliber or barrel changes. If you are interested in this sort of thing Kelbly's is probably who you should look to. Kelbly's also sells bolts separately for their actions so that you can have more than one bolt per actions to facilitate barrel changes. I have thought seriously about this option myself because .223 is so much cheaper to reload and practice with and, living in central Ohio, ranges that outdistance a .223 is not common. My thought is that short action with a barrel and bolt for .223 and one of the 6.5's would be a nice set up.
     

    courtier

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    As you may have gathered, systems like the AI PSR have the locking lugs attached to the barrel and not the action and therefore can be made easy to change because less torque is required to attach the barrel. This type of design requires no barrel vice for change and can be very fast. Regular 700 based systems vary in how easy it is to switch calibers in the same action in the field. To do so well requires a great deal of precision in manufacture as well as a pinned recoil lug. In know that Kelbly's has a great deal of experience in making barrel switching easy, fast, and precise because they have done it for years for the benchrest folks. They sell an action wrench that fits into the locking lugs for doing changes so that they can easily be done without removing even the scope. Often benchresters attach a barrel vice to their trailer hitch so that they can quickly change at a match. It takes more than 100 ftlbs of force to properly torque in a barrel in a 700 based action. The bottom line is that most makers who use 700 based systems do not really emphasize field caliber or barrel changes. If you are interested in this sort of thing Kelbly's is probably who you should look to. Kelbly's also sells bolts separately for their actions so that you can have more than one bolt per actions to facilitate barrel changes. I have thought seriously about this option myself because .223 is so much cheaper to reload and practice with and, living in central Ohio, ranges that outdistance a .223 is not common. My thought is that short action with a barrel and bolt for .223 and one of the 6.5's would be a nice set up.
    [MENTION=55505]BigJimFish[/MENTION]: Sounds like we are on the same page. My thought was to put as much $$$ as I could afford into one really good rifle that I could grow into (skill wise) so I was looking at the 6.5 creedmoor I mentioned above. But the cost of shooting a lot rounds to get "good" would be a lot more palatable on a lesser expensive caliber like .308 or even .223 as you mentioned. I suppose I could just start off with a trainer, but knowing myself I'd still drool over a better setup that I've been lusting after. And I figured it would be better -- not to mention cheaper in the long run -- to build one setup and get used to it rather than build, upgrade and replace along the way as I get better. I realize different calibers will have different characteristics (bullet flight dynamics, recoil, etc.) but the chassis itself would remain the same (trigger weight and feel, chassis weight/length/hand placement, etc.). So I think I'll be having a conversation with Kelby's very soon. Thanks for the insight and confirming I'm not really crazy -- or at least not on this particular idea.
     

    Jedi

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    Dec 10, 2003
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    having had numerous customs built over the yrs

    You want a single rifle that is a jack of all trades build on a long action regardless of cal used
    Some cals barely work in a Short action (S/A) 284, 260 243 6rem 6.5x55 257 etc etc all need extra length of long action to seat bullet correctly
    A rig built on a long action will be infinitely more usable than a rig built on a S/A, especially in cals that have OAL issues
     

    courtier

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    A rig built on a long action will be infinitely more usable than a rig built on a S/A, especially in cals that have OAL issues
    [MENTION=2161]Jedi[/MENTION]: Thanks for the tip. I like your suggestion and I think I'll go route for the flexibility down the road if/when I want to change cailber.