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#4231673 - 07/10/10 07:09 AM Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy
bigwhoop Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 12000
Loc: MN. - Where loons abound.
This question concerns the inherent accuracy between bolt actions and single shots. It would seem that single shots have the edge based on the simplicity of their design. Their are no actions to true, bolts to tweak, magazines to fret about OAL's and the like. Yet, we all might agree that reality doesn't support this. Both action designs seem to have their own demons to deal with. But, due to the simplicity of the single shot, is it easier to fine tune them based on the limited number of issues to resolve? Bolt actions on the other hand, have more "moving parts" and therefore more problems to deal with.
What are your thoughts?


Edited by bigwhoop (07/10/10 07:09 AM)
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#4231706 - 07/10/10 07:24 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: bigwhoop]
McCake Offline
Member

Registered: 02/04/10
Posts: 195
In theory, would the one piece stock design ( bolt gun ) provide a superior platform?
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#4231713 - 07/10/10 07:27 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: bigwhoop]
battue Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 9232
Loc: outside the burg
Most single shots shooters seem to frequently have extras stuck on the stock. There are more convenient places to carry backups if needed.

As far as inherent accuracy, I don't know. However, I have often thought I would like a single shot groundhog rifle.
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#4231734 - 07/10/10 07:39 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: battue]
Mule Deer Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 31949
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
"Inherent accuracy" would have to go to the bolt action, but that doesn't mean single-shots can't be extremely accurate.

I own several single-shots that will shoot right alongside good factory bolt rifles, including several Ruger No. 1's and a Merkel K-1 break-action rifle in .308. My Ruger No. 1B in .22 Hornet is as accurate as any Hornet I've ever seen, and my lightweight .25-06 No. 1 (a Lipsey's special with slim 24" barrel) put 5 shots into an inch, not just 3 shots, with its favorite load two days ago when I was sighting it in.

I also once owned a Browning Low Wall .243 that would put TEN shots inside an inch. It was so accurate I shot the barrel out on prairie dogs. It was deadly out to 450-500 yards.

Single-shot black powder cartridge rifles are also very accurate. I also once owned a Ballard Rifles .45-70 High Wall that would put 5 shots into an inch or so at 100 yards, using a tang aperture sight.

But really, really accurate rifles, those that will basically put all their shots into the same hole at 100 yards, are almost invariably bolt actions. The bolt action is not only stiffer all the way through, thanks both to the action being pretty much in-line with the barrel and the one-piece stock, that the potential for super-fine accuracy is greater, even in factory rifles. These days it's not unusual for factory big game rifles to group into 1/2" or so with the right handloads, sometimes right out of the box, and the accuracy of a custom rifle can be MUCH better than that.
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#4231818 - 07/10/10 08:18 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: Mule Deer]
JohnMoses Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 05/23/09
Posts: 17960
Loc: Mississippi
I would have thought the falling block action on a Winchester 1885 or Browning B78 would have been as rigid a platform as there is.

Although it's hard to argue with the fact that single shot bolt guns make up the field at long range comeptitions.

I do believe that the falling block design may have an advantage over the bolt design in factory manufactured rifles. Just a guess though.

JM
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#4232477 - 07/10/10 01:15 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: JohnMoses]
MPetrov Offline
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#4232621 - 07/10/10 02:26 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: MPetrov]
atkinsonhunting Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 03/04/01
Posts: 6954
Loc: Filer, Idaho, USA
What Mule Deer said...bolt guns are normally more accurate than single shots and yes there are exceptions. All bench rests matches are won with bolt action, and some are bolt action single shots..

It would depend on what you intend to use the gun for..I am sure you will be satisfied with either if you have the bucks to build the right kind.
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#4232865 - 07/10/10 04:02 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: bigwhoop]
MontanaMan Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 8727
A bolt can also be a single shot.........

MM

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#4232899 - 07/10/10 04:14 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: bigwhoop]
Reloder28 Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 03/09/06
Posts: 8250
Loc: Deer Park, Tx
Originally Posted By: bigwhoop
But, due to the simplicity of the single shot, is it easier to fine tune them based on the limited number of issues to resolve?


Yes! As long as it is a single shot bolt action. grin

Seriously, I have had my single shots give me worse fits than any bolt gun I've ever owned. And, ain't none of my s.s.'s cheap.
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#4233140 - 07/10/10 05:39 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: Reloder28]
Gene L Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/14/06
Posts: 4773
Loc: Georgia
Bolts get the nod for accuracy, IMO.

I like single shot rifles, though. I have a single shot bolt 25-20 that's accurate, for a 25-20. Generally speaking, and I do mean general, non-bolt singles have given me less accuracy than similar-priced bolt repeaters.

The worst, and the best, single shot No 1s were a 25-06 a 3/4" inch 5-shot gun, and a No 1 in .243, about a 3" rifle at its best.

I no longer have any centerfire single shots except for a Encore in .223, which is very accurate but with an afermarket barrel. Two .22 rimfire rifles, Martinis, are quite accurate, holding their own with a Volquartzen 10-22. Almost.
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#4233860 - 07/10/10 09:42 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: Gene L]
Paul5388 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 140
Loc: East Texas
Normally, the forearm is the fly in the ointment for single shots. Varying pressure on the forearm can make for some really bad groups, so most people will try to rest their gun as close to the action as possible and hope for the best.

I try for a single contact point with the wood far enough from the barrel to pass a Dallas telephone book between the wood and barrel.

I never shoot 5 shot groups, since there isn't a critter in these parts that will allow that many shots with a single shot.


Edited by Paul5388 (07/10/10 09:43 PM)
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#4234332 - 07/11/10 07:07 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: Paul5388]
65BR Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 11663
Loc: NW Louisiana
As JB said, no hard fast rules unless you are shooting competition.

I have had #1s shoot sub moa out the box.

1885 Low Wall 243 all day 5/8-3/4" at 100. Shot first 2 inside a half inch at 200 yds in a 3 shot group......

#1 243s, groups 3/8" out the box first 3shot group, a 1A, another RSI mannlicher shot around 3/4-7/8" out the box. 1B 25-06 7/8" factory WW 120 OPE. 1B 270, not so lucky, 1-1.5 moa after bedding stock, but I digress, it was a pre-Ruger mfg. bbl, and outsourced bbls back then were hit/miss.

The 1A above, got a 6BR custom via Pac-Nor, one calm cool morning I shot 3 shots at 330 yds, yep, and the group was UNDER 1/2"......at 330 yds. Inherent? Certainly the action had the potential to allow a good barrel in a good chambering consistently spit those bullets out TIGHT.

Single shots can be fickle, but I have been pleased w/hunting accuracy out the box. My current, a K1A 6.5x55 put 3 into 1.1" at 200 yds. It's a routine sub moa......but Paul said, I never shoot a group into an animal. One good hit, on the first try is my goal, and usually what happens when I do my part.

BTW, those Singles, groups aside, will in MY experience as many other guns, put their first shot from a cold bbl where I want it to go, time and again. Bedding affects groups no doubt as every rifle is independent. But first shot cold bbl accuracy is my #1 concern in sighting in, and when it counts, for big game. I enjoy paper, but my primary end point is taking game with single shots.

FWIW, my longest kill on deer was with that 6BR, right at a pre-lasered (furthest edge of the field I hunted where the deer was by the fence adjoining a refuge), 400 yds. Accuracy was never a question as that gun was proven accurate, consistently and I knew where to hold. My oldest boy shot his first and longest w/that Low Wall above, broke a deer's back at around 300 long paces.

Single shots are fun......even when hunting w/bolt repeaters wink

Make all your first hits a good one whatever you use! Esp. on big game. If not, accuracy in groups will often be moot.

Big Whoop, if you have yet to try one, decide what model and caliber you want and TRY one. You might be happy you did.
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#4234375 - 07/11/10 07:23 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: 65BR]
Mule Deer Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 31949
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
On the other hand, my 1B .22 Hornet will keep plunking them in there long after it gets so hot that you can't put your hand on the barrel. And its bedding has never been touched since it came out of the factory.

In general I have found that No. 1's (or any single shot with a 2-piece stock) will maintain point of impact even with a warm barrel if the forend is bedded so it doesn't make firm contact with the front of the action. If a No. 1 does this, I work on the rear of the forend until a piece of paper can be slipped between the rear edges of the forend and the front of the action. Many people get so fixated on the front end of the forend (whether free-floated or firmly bedded in some way) that they forget the rear end is also a factor.
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The ultimate concern of a rifle loony is rifle trivia. And why not? What else is as distracting from the really important concerns of everyday life?

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#4235034 - 07/11/10 11:25 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: bigwhoop]
Klikitarik Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 10949
Loc: Alaska - N63, W162
Originally Posted By: bigwhoop
This question concerns the inherent accuracy between bolt actions and single shots. It would seem that single shots have the edge based on the simplicity of their design. Their are no actions to true, bolts to tweak, magazines to fret about OAL's and the like. Yet, we all might agree that reality doesn't support this. Both action designs seem to have their own demons to deal with. But, due to the simplicity of the single shot, is it easier to fine tune them based on the limited number of issues to resolve? Bolt actions on the other hand, have more "moving parts" and therefore more problems to deal with.
What are your thoughts?


This is not necessarily a correct assumption. If you've ever taken a Ruger #1 apart, you'll realize that, while the design is very reliable, there is nothing "simple" about it. There are a goodly number of parts which fit and move in sequence in order to load, fire, and unload cases. By comparison, many bolt guns seem quite simple. Then there is the greater complexity of making a two piece stock work as simply as a single piece...


Edited by Klikitarik (07/11/10 11:26 AM)
Edit Reason: added /
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#4235791 - 07/11/10 04:14 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: Klikitarik]
bigwhoop Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 12000
Loc: MN. - Where loons abound.
Good thoughts on this topic so far. Thanks
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#4236766 - 07/11/10 10:30 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: bigwhoop]
greydog Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 2439
While I believe it would be possible to make a falling block action which could shoot with the bolt actions, I also think it would be difficult to do. Understand, I am speaking of BR level accuracy. There is little question that falling blocks can shoot well enough that there is little difference in the hunting fields.
The successful single shot would probably have an inline striker. If a two-piece stock design was retained, the fore arm would be attached to a rigid hanger and the buttstock well fitted and attached. Scope mounting would be on a cantelevered extension integral with the receiver. The requirements vis a vis squareness of the breechface etc. would be just as strigent as with a precision bolt action.
The bolt action is the easy way to achieve precision at this time.
As I said before, the falling block is certainly capable of excellent field accuracy. I have owned and built No. 1's which were true 1/2 moa rifles and I really like them but I don't see a falling block target rifle in my future. GD

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#4237296 - 07/12/10 07:52 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: 65BR]
MissouriEd Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 3463
Loc: Between somewhere and nowhere
65BR-My K1A in 6.5x55 is also very accurate, especially with Hornady factory custom ammo. It will always group 3 in 1/2 from a cold barrel. I have not been able to equal that with my reloads, so I shoot Hornady factory.

My #1 in 300 H&H is also very accurate. This Past saturday I shot three shot groups under 1" with Nosler brass, RL22 and Hornady 180BTSP.
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#4237332 - 07/12/10 08:01 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: greydog]
slopshot Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 05/21/05
Posts: 1880
Experience Here:

Pretty much what Greydog says!

The ammo will also have to be tuned correctly via reloading for that rifle and action. And some single shot actions/rifles do amazingly well with select (lots) factory ammo these days.

Think harmonics and best fit ammo for a particular breech and action.

Expectations for the tune:

1 moa almost always possible.

.500 achievable, and consistent, depending on tune, action,
ammo selection/or reloading.

.300 and .200 will happen, but not consistently possible even from bench.

Single shots will hunt, and you might occasionally win/place in a match outdoors w/wind. Think best of the best e.g.: action harmonics, shooter, wind-doping.

Just my 2 cents worth, and remember single shots are always going to be slower under duress than a bolt action repeater when something can claw, bite, grind you to dust, or tear you apart, frown !

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#4237401 - 07/12/10 08:21 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: 65BR]
slopshot Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 05/21/05
Posts: 1880
1885 Low Wall 243 all day 5/8-3/4" at 100. Shot first 2 inside a half inch at 200 yds in a 3 shot group......


Just caught your line above. Best friend, has one in .243 Win. that left me with mouth hanging open when shot right out of the box. This w/several different factory loads, and bullet weights.

Someone sure did a good job putting it together before it left the factory, grin! He wondered if he should work up reloads for it.

My answer, "What for!".


Edited by slopshot (07/12/10 08:21 AM)

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#4237745 - 07/12/10 10:36 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: slopshot]
atkinsonhunting Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 03/04/01
Posts: 6954
Loc: Filer, Idaho, USA
The word "inherent", is the clue to this post..therefore the winner is the one piece stock bolt action.

But the most critical factor, by far, in rifle accuracy is the barrel. Next would be the wood to metal fit, and of course the chamber would also be a factor. You can build a super accurate single shot, no doubt about that.

I have, over the years, had more trouble making a single shot shoot little tiny groups than I have had with bolt guns, but I have built and owned a lot of really accurate single shots.

I have owned Ruger no. 1's that shot super and some than wouldn't shoot for beans..A new Lothar Walthar barrel always solved the problem of accuracy with the Rugers, at least so far..I also use a aluminum V that is part of the echon to the forend that Jack Belk modifys.

I also believe a heavy bull barrel works best if one wants a super accurate SS. I suspect the heavy barrel is less subjective to inletting problems and operates mostly on its own.
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#4237945 - 07/12/10 12:02 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: atkinsonhunting]
bcp Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 03/04/05
Posts: 4356
Loc: SW WA
I've always heard of poor accuracy for single shots and lever actions blamed the two piece stock.

But AR15 has a two piece stock and a two piece receiver, and can be made to be pretty accurate.

Must be something else. smile

Bruce

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#4238195 - 07/12/10 02:11 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: bigwhoop]
olsingleshot Offline
Member

Registered: 12/03/06
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
I love the singleshots and have written several articles about them. Their weekness is two piece stock and the forearm. The S/S's that shoot well are those whose forearm is not directly attached to the barrel. The forearm should ride on a hanger that comes off the action. Even as in bolt rifles, the barrel's relationship to the forearm is crucial. The Browning B78 can attain tremendous accuarcy.

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#4239141 - 07/12/10 07:59 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: atkinsonhunting]
65BR Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 11663
Loc: NW Louisiana
Not knocking Rugers, but I have to say I rarely if ever read any accuracy issues w/Brownings. I believe IIRC, my Low Wall had a Floated bbl, perhaps not. I do not believe it has the ejector and accompanying hanger bar/spring, etc. that affects bedding and tension/vibration, during the shot cycle.

I admit selling my Low Wall left regrets......as a few other rifles in the past. Can't own/keep them all I suppose.

That said, I have ZERO reservations w/Rugers.

Ed, congrats you have a great shooter in that K1A. 6.5's just WANT to shoot well wink Esp. the Swedes.
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Rule #2 - See rule #1

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#4246914 - 07/15/10 05:08 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: 65BR]
DigitalDan Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 05/01/04
Posts: 18843
Loc: Yankeetown, Fl
I guessing the most accurate of all is probably a single shot bolt action. Just basing that on what a lot of BR shooters use. Hope that helps. laugh
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#4261264 - 07/21/10 09:05 AM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: DigitalDan]
xphunter Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 10/19/05
Posts: 933
Loc: Wyoming
I use single-shots for 95%+ for competing, shooting and hunting.
I don't hunt dangerous game.
I have a falling block action, but its forend is completely free-floated-It does great in the accuracy department.
Most of mine though are single-shot bolt actions-Just about as good as it gets.
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#4262292 - 07/21/10 02:42 PM Re: Bolt actions vs. Single Shots - Inherent Accuracy [Re: bigwhoop]
DMB Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/10/04
Posts: 13436
Loc: Grayling, MI
Originally Posted By: bigwhoop
This question concerns the inherent accuracy between bolt actions and single shots. It would seem that single shots have the edge based on the simplicity of their design. Their are no actions to true, bolts to tweak, magazines to fret about OAL's and the like. Yet, we all might agree that reality doesn't support this. Both action designs seem to have their own demons to deal with. But, due to the simplicity of the single shot, is it easier to fine tune them based on the limited number of issues to resolve? Bolt actions on the other hand, have more "moving parts" and therefore more problems to deal with.
What are your thoughts?


I had four centerfire benchrest rifles, and all were bolt action, single shots.
Never saw one single shot lever gun on the circuit.
In Rimfire bencrest shooting, I have two Martini Mk II's that will hold their own in competition, but, ultimately, the winner's circle will have one of the custom rimfire single shot actions in it. I also have a Suhl 22 RF target rifle that will be very close to the winner's circle, but won't quite make it at the National level.
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