Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

Skyyr

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Hey guys...

Guess this is my first post here, so "hello!" I'm pretty active on m4carbine.net and ar15.com under the same handle.

I've decided that I need a bolt action to complement my collection. I've shot them before, but I've never actually looked into them seriously. At this point, I really don't know anything about them besides the differences between some calibers requiring a long vs short action and that the Remington 700 is collectively considered the best all-around starting point, bang for buck.

I've looked high and low for a rundown of bolt action rifles and, unlike the wealth of information on AR15's, I can't seem to find a good intro to what I'm looking for... and I definitely can't seem to find chart-like comparisons that we've been spoiled to have on M4C.

That being said, I'm looking to build a 1000yd MOA-or-better rifle, preferably in .308. .300 and .338 seem attractive to me, but I've never shot them and they seem to reportedly be expensive. I like the "tactical" functionality over the traditional, barrel-only hunting bolt actions. I noticed that I really like the Accuracy International stocks, as well as their complete rifles. I want to build the most accurate combat-capable (read: sniper-esque) rifle up to the point of diminishing returns of cost vs accuracy.

For what it's worth, cost isn't too much of a concern (not that I'm made of money - I'm not, but I want to objectively go after what would best suit me, regardless of cost, and work from there). I don't mind dropping $2,000, $3,000, or even $5,000 on a rifle (or more if needed) if that money is proportional to the performance I'll get out of it. What I want to avoid is putting an extra $1,000 into a gun and only getting .05 MOA more accuracy out of it. I'm looking for a very accurate combat rifle, not a benchrest spacegun.

Any help that can be offered would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

chadg

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Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

Welcome to the hide.......Keep reading the posts and then decide what you would like to start with.....
 

cav1993

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Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

Skyyr-if you like the 700 action, start with a 308 remington 5r, shoot it alot, and make mods particularly to the stock as needed/wanted. It'll be all you need and more(easy 1moa and maybe .5 moa out of the box).


If you want to know what the custom rifles will do, go to the for sale section, look at the rifles and targets posted. There are more than a few aics/700 rem for sale currently.

If i had it to do over, I'd Make sure I held any stock before I bought it b/c as in many things in life looks can be deceiving.....and what I thought I wanted/needed changed....

Please use the search function found in member ratbert's signature line-you'll find MANY threads addressing this issue

Oh yeah, one more suggestion if I may, the training lessons here with LL and Jacob will probably help your shooting way more than spending extra money on the rifle-they're pretty danged good
 

Elxx

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Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

Welcome to SH!

It will take a few days for you to orientate yourself to the forums. The information is definitely not as organized as m4carbine or ar15, but it is there. Pro-tip, the search function is half broken, so if you wanna search the forums, use this:

http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=010955838166721108978:qcbx5qqy10o&hl=en

I'd also start to read this:

http://demigodllc.com/articles/practical-long-range-rifle-shooting-equipment/

Thats the first part of 3(you can see the other parts linked within the first bit of the article). Read that throughout to get yourself a better idea of what you want.

Ok so now for your actual questions. I can't answer a lot of them but here it goes.

Calibers are ridiculous. You can go anywhere from a .223 to a .50 with all the flavors in between. Popular long range calibers are the 6.5(many types), .260, .308, .300wm, .308, .375 Cheytac, .408 Cheytac and so on. If you are getting something that is .308 or under, short action is the way to go (and most of the time, the only way to go).

Handloading is a must. You cannot realistically get away with shooting at factory costs...unless you want to shoot off 200 rounds a year =/

Ummm ya thats all I can think about for now.

O and watch out for BoltRipper. And dont call a scoped rifle a sniper rifle...some people get really worked up about that shit.
 

chili77

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Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

Hi Skyyr.

For the tactical aspect I would choose a caliber where you can buy good factory ammunition at the beginning. Later you will have to reload. I would also choose one, that is not too big for the beginning. You want to shoot 1000 yards, so a .308 (NATO caliber fits the tactical aspect) will do.

The rifle: I would make it a two-step plan.

First step: Buy a "cheap" one like a Remington 700 or a Howa 1500 and learn to shoot a bolt action rifle. There are numerous accessories for them and you can find out where your preferences are. Ask everyone you meet on the range about their guns and if you may take a look through their scope and see if you like the stock.

Second step: Meanwhile you will know which rifle you really want.

Chili
 

Snakum

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Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">the Remington 700 is collectively considered the best all-around starting point, bang for buck</div></div>

Only among head trauma victims. Poor bastidges.
frown.gif
 

deadly0311

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Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Snakum</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">the Remington 700 is collectively considered the best all-around starting point, bang for buck</div></div>

Only among head trauma victims. Poor bastidges.
frown.gif
</div></div>

Its not considered the best by any means, now it does have the most aftermarket support. The Rem 700 is like the AR15 of bolt guns. Now it is by no means a shabby rifle.....it will out shoot most Salvages that i have seen
wink.gif
 

deadly0311

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Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

BoltRipper would say:

Thats the real brain trust over there, and one can learn lots with a 308 and a couple cases of ammo. Or something along those lines
 

desertHK

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Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

If you want a "tactical" rifle that is MOA or better out of the box, and don't mind dropping about 3K-5K then I would suggest the AIAE, or AIAW. The AW is very battle proven. You can't go wrong with that.

If you want the best accuracy rifle then go with the custom route. The AWs are very accurate, but cutom gun will be more accurate. For me, the AW is more accurate enough. if you are looking for an "accurate <span style="text-decoration: underline"><span style="font-weight: bold">combat</span></span> rifle" then the AWs is the answer. That's just my opinion.
 

GardDog

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Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: deadly0311</div><div class="ubbcode-body">BoltRipper would say:

Thats the real brain trust over there, and one can learn lots with a 308 and a couple cases of ammo. Or something along those lines </div></div>

Impressive. You must have seem a few hundred of his welcoming posts.
wink.gif
 

ggmanning

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    I differ from some of the advice. Go ahead and buy something custom and good. Unlike many starting out you don't have a problem with having to piece together a price point rifle. In the long run even if you shoot the heck out of it and rebarrel it you've still got a well made rifle from a reputable builder. I always go under the idea of buy what you want and top quality gear and you buy it once....every time I go back on my own advice I end up having to unload lesser gear at my loss and buying the better stuff anyway. There are some good builders and rifles out there....several right here on the hide. Me, I would talk to william Roscoe-La Precision, Jared Joplin-APA and George Gardner-GAPrecision. Decide what you want and have one of them build it and never look back. Another good option is to spend some time looking through the for sale section here....note what you like and even pick up a real good rifle for often very good prices lightly used (because building great rifles is a sickness and you can benefit from others' sickness as they sell to fund builds). Do some searches on here as to gunsmiths there are some very good ones besides these I mentioned on here contributing. Greg
     

    Snakum

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    It's drain bamage. Drain bamage, I tell you.
     

    minnesotadan

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    Skyre:
    Can not add much more to the posts but you may want to consider the time you have available to devote to this endeavor. Some of the custom builds have a 6 to14 month wait time. If you have more time than money buy low and build up, more money than time start high and improve your skills of shooting. I made a similar move from AR to Bolt guns a few years ago and started with a Rem R5, that was a good choice and I would do it again, progressed to the AIAW and then custom builds. Most folks also allocate 1K to 3K for a scope, want a range finder, figure 1k to 2K for the reloading toys. Your 5K budget can be consumed with "wants or needs" leaving 1k for the rifle.

    Beware the bold guns are addictive and have a tendency to reproduce like rabbits.

    Dan
     

    BlackOps Tech

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: deadly0311</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Snakum</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">the Remington 700 is collectively considered the best all-around starting point, bang for buck</div></div>

    Only among head trauma victims. Poor bastidges.
    frown.gif
    </div></div>

    Its not considered the best by any means, now it does have the most aftermarket support. The Rem 700 is like the AR15 of bolt guns. Now it is by no means a shabby rifle.....it will out shoot most Salvages that i have seen
    wink.gif
    </div></div>

    +1 and I like the fact that the part of Boltripper is being played by Deadly....He's well represented during his absence....
     

    JRose

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    I lend more credence to the barrel and it's plumbing then to the action.
     

    JRose

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    BTW, if cost isn't an option here's some options...

    Out of the box GTG's:

    Accuracy International
    Sako TRG

    Custom built:

    A number of good smiths are on this board that can build you a shit kicker. GAP has always done me right and has always delivered me a tack driver that has exceeded my expectations.
     

    gugubica

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    You need to ask yourself a question and give an honest answer...

    Do I want this rifle for a collection, or do I want it to be good with it?

    Either answer is fine, but the rifle might be different.

    If you want a top of the line, bad ass stick just so you have it, cool. You will own a very capable rifle.

    If you want to be the bad ass, the budget constraints change. Unless you are willing to start (and get really good shooting) a .22, then your budget just went up... a lot. Ammo is really expencive, and it takes a lot to get really good.

    Either way, AIs and TRGs are great suggestions to wind up with.
     

    Snakum

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    When I started looking for a dedicated LR rifle I put together an elaborate and overly complicated spreadsheet (Rube Goldberg
    laugh.gif
    ) showing everything from costs of initial purchase to stats on accuracy from published tests to a rating based on QA feedback from the net and from shops and more experienced shooters. At the time I had a house full of Remington rifles and shotguns and not much else - and even now I hate my Savage's trigger. I'm a Remington fan. But I wanted the info to be as subjective as it could be and tried to make it so. And Savage and Howa made more sense than the Remington 700 for an entry level tactical weapon by far. The quality of base model 700s is hit-or-miss today, as is the accuracy. Some shoot ... some don't. While a Howa or (especially) a Savage not being a shooter is rare and their QA is more consistent. Aftermarket support and ease/cost of smith work are the only areas Remington lead the pack on. Savage was catching up on the former and it might have taken a year or more before I'd need the latter. Looking at all the info, it didn't make sense to go Remington unless I knew for certain I'd still be using the same action for an eventual uber high speed build.

    This may not be the most subjective scientific method of choosing a rifle. But it's certainly better than "I bought a Remington so it's the best." or "My bro was in the Army and he says all the secret squirrels use Remington."
    laugh.gif


    From recent personal experience I can tell ya' that what most newbies really need is a cheap .308 that's a proven shooter with a stiffened forearm, a mountain of ammo, and someone who knows their shit standing over them.
     

    McKinneyMike

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Snakum</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

    From recent personal experience I can tell ya' that what most newbies really need is a cheap .308 that's a proven shooter with a stiffened forearm, a mountain of ammo, and someone who knows their shit standing over them. </div></div>

    QFT
     

    MikeeBooshay

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Snakum</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
    From recent personal experience I can tell ya' that what most newbies really need is a cheap .308 that's a proven shooter with a stiffened forearm, a mountain of ammo, and someone who knows their shit standing over them. </div></div>

    This is really good advice. Also, the advice about the TRG and AW guns being good out of the box is too. Buy one of those, in 308 and then spend the bucks for an S&B scope, mil reticle, mil knobs, accept no less. You then have a system that will not fail, is proven and will hold it's resale value for a long time, regardless of round count.

    I shoot a lot. I hang out with guys that shoot a lot. We can mostly buy anything we want. I ended up shooting a borrowed TRG 22 last weekend, because 2 high dollar custom wonder guns, didn't perform as well as the TRG, with a S&B on top. Not that the wonder guns were "bad", the TRG was consistently more consistent.

    I spent Sunday night shopping for TRG's and AI's. in 308....

    However, rifle disease being what it is, I have a short bolt custom being rounded up in 243, to go with the numerous 300 WM, and other "exotic" stuff. The guy that owns the TRG, is getting a GAP 260.... and so it goes...

    Hope you are either not married, or like me, the wife says " I won't ask about your guns, if you don't ask about my shoes".

    I just hope, if I should pass before she does, she doesn't sell my stuff...... for what I told her I paid for it....
     

    19Scout77

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    Don't buy ANYTHING yet. You have no idea what you will eventually prefer when it comes to caliber, weight, stock style, barrel length, etc etc. You won't know until you've spent some time behind a few different rifles.

    Find some local shooters and make friends. If you are not a dick, I'm sure you be able to get some time behind all sorts of rifles and optics--then go from there.
     

    steve123

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Skyyr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Hey guys...

    Guess this is my first post here, so "hello!" I'm pretty active on m4carbine.net and ar15.com under the same handle.

    I've decided that I need a bolt action to complement my collection. I've shot them before, but I've never actually looked into them seriously. At this point, I really don't know anything about them besides the differences between some calibers requiring a long vs short action and that the Remington 700 is collectively considered the best all-around starting point, bang for buck.

    I've looked high and low for a rundown of bolt action rifles and, unlike the wealth of information on AR15's, I can't seem to find a good intro to what I'm looking for... and I definitely can't seem to find chart-like comparisons that we've been spoiled to have on M4C.

    That being said, I'm looking to build a 1000yd MOA-or-better rifle, preferably in .308. .300 and .338 seem attractive to me, but I've never shot them and they seem to reportedly be expensive. I like the "tactical" functionality over the traditional, barrel-only hunting bolt actions. I noticed that I really like the Accuracy International stocks, as well as their complete rifles. I want to build the most accurate combat-capable (read: sniper-esque) rifle up to the point of diminishing returns of cost vs accuracy.

    For what it's worth, cost isn't too much of a concern (not that I'm made of money - I'm not, but I want to objectively go after what would best suit me, regardless of cost, and work from there). I don't mind dropping $2,000, $3,000, or even $5,000 on a rifle (or more if needed) if that money is proportional to the performance I'll get out of it. What I want to avoid is putting an extra $1,000 into a gun and only getting .05 MOA more accuracy out of it. I'm looking for a very accurate combat rifle, not a benchrest spacegun.

    Any help that can be offered would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks! </div></div>

    There's lots to think about in making the best decision for yourself.I'm condensing to IMO's.

    Are you planning on shooting mostly prone ? Is weight an issue? or do you want a rifle better suited for carry,hunting,tactical matches?

    Cartridge,caliber,recoil,availability and cost of components or ammo,performance/ballistics...subsequent barrel/throat life.It's all a trade off here.For instance 6.5 cal could be considered a good balance of these trade offs.

    Action...long or short,60 degree or 90 degree bolt throw,factory or custom,price,truing or mods that need to be done if desired.Tikka T3's are a great value for $ if bought used.It's a "very" smooth action and Surgeon's could be considered one of the best "custom" tactical actions.My current rifle is a R700 custom,it's OK.If I were starting over I'd pick one of the actions mentioned for a custom rifle.

    Custom barrel makers...Bartlein,Krieger,Schneider,Rock creek,Broughton and others.Faster twists are suited to higher ballistic coefficient bullets.

    Muzzle brakes are noisy but effective.Get one with the ports on the sides.They lessen debris being blown around. Suppressors are expensive and reduce noise/recoil

    Stocks... Mcmillan,Manners,HS,MAK tube gun kit.

    Triggers...single stage or 2 stage,Factory,Jewel,Jackson,Rifle basics others.

    Detachable bottom metal for use with magazines.Double stack/AW or single stack/AI,Badger,Surgeon,CDI.AI and AW are the most popular magazines,5 or 10 round.

    A 20 MOA base and high quality rings should be considered.Nightforce,Badger,others.

    AIAE in 260Rem might be be a top pick for you ???

    Steve
     

    srv656s

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    Based on your budget you can afford a really great rifle. The problem is, different people have different tastes, so you could spend a lot and get something that you don't like. If I was you, I'd buy a Remington 700P in .308 and a Nightforce NXS and start shooting it. After a while you'll figure out what does and doesn't work for you. Also, whether precision shooting is something you like. Once you shoot the crap out of that, you can buy an AICS for it, do some custom work on it, sell it and buy an AI AW, build a custom rifle, etc. But you'll have a better idea of what you will want.

    You won't really know what works for you until you shoot for a while. I started off with the 700P and found that I really loved precision shooting. Eventually built my dream gun. If I'd started off building a custom rifle to begin with I would have gotten a lot of things wrong or different because I would have been buying stuff based on what other people thought were priorities rather than what I learned myself.

    Anyways, welcome to the board!

    Shawn
     

    Skyyr

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    Thanks for the replies, guys.

    I've been spending the last week or so researching a good place to start, so your comments helped put what I have gathered into perspective. I'm also a fan of the "buy once, cry once" mentality, so I immediately started looking at the Accuracy International AI rifles after seeing so many good reviews on them.

    I called today to get a price quote and, with the options I'm considering, I'm looking at spending $6,000 - $6,500 before optics. While I have no issue with spending that much on a quality weapon, since I've never handled an AI AW before, I think I've decided on another route...

    As of now, I'm planning on picking up a Remington 5R 700SS. While I haven't shot that specific rifle, I have shot the plain-Jane 700 in .270 and I'm not a big fan of the stock. I'll most likely swap it out for an AICS 1.5. All in all, I'm looking at $1,900 before optics. If this is a poor plan, let me know - I'm all open to advice.

    My only dislikes with the above setup is stainless finish (I love stainless, just not a silver finish). I also wanted a picatinny rail, which the 5R seems to lack. If I can find an aftermarket picatinny rail, then I can use my NF 2.5-10x from my Noveske AR15 until I can get a dedicated optic for the platform.

    I'm still putting together a plan and working out the kinks before I move forward, so I'm open to advice and to change.

     

    terrygood

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    I think you made the correct decision. You can always get a new stock and have the rifle coated. Take it one step at a time and try to enjoy the whole experience. I have a AIAW and would say they are the ultimate Military bolt gun. With that said I would not buy one one yet. In the end you are spending a lot of money on a whole puncher.
     

    Greg Langelius *

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    Starting out is just that. Specialized and spendy is not the first step. Nor is taking on the extreme distances to cut your teeth.

    Your initial post makes mention of AR15 and M4, so I'm guessing you're primarily familiar with the .223 cartridge. I'd suggest staying with it for your first bolt gun.

    It's a good varmint cartridge, there are lots of good factory vamint guns that shoot it and plenty of good commercial loads and handloads for it. So start with a very basic varmint .223, and a moderately effective scope in higher magnifications.

    I suggest a Savage rifle and recommend the Weaver V-24. Like everything else, start reasonably small and basic, and then follow your experience toward more specialized directions.

    Greg
     

    Snakum

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    Re: Tactical Bolt Actions - Where to Start?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Greg Langelius *</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Starting out is just that. Specialized and spendy is not the first step. Nor is taking on the extreme distances to cut your teeth.

    Your initial post makes mention of AR15 and M4, so I'm guessing you're primarily familiar with the .223 cartridge. I'd suggest staying with it for your first bolt gun.

    It's a good varmint cartridge, there are lots of good factory vamint guns that shoot it and plenty of good commercial loads and handloads for it. So start with a very basic varmint .223, and a moderately effective scope in higher magnifications.

    I suggest a Savage rifle and recommend the Weaver V-24. Like everything else, start reasonably small and basic, and then follow your experience toward more specialized directions.

    Greg</div></div>

    I have to agree, having just gone thru what the OP is going through now. I'm ex Mil, post-level scout/sniper school, shot a lot when younger, but only got back into shooting in the last two years. A little hunting, a little 3-gun, etc. But just like NRA Hi Power or F Class, long range tactical shooting is a whole different ball game and you'll be crawling before walking. I started with a bedded/floated Marlin XS and Bushy 10x four months ago and 'graduated' to a Savage FCP/Elite 4200 in March. And while I'm planning either a new build Savage or a modded FCP McMillan, I haven't come close to outgrowing the FCP-K yet. I'm just now starting to shoot MOA to 600 yards with roughly a thousand rounds down raange (I'm unemployed so I shoot almost every day
    laugh.gif
    ). So I'm not sure what a quarter minute weapon would do for me now, only four months on and a whole lot to learn.

    Take these guy's advice and buy a used Savage 10FP or Remington 700 Varmint and a couple of cases of ammo. You'll thank them later. Trust me ... I've been thru it/am going thru it.
    smile.gif