Best Bolt Action Rifle
When most people envision what a bolt action rifle looks like, the image of a sniper rifle comes to mind. However, there are several types of bolt action rifles, including hunting rifles and tactical bolt action rifles.
It is important to learn what separates bolt action rifles from other rifles, the types of bolt action rifles, and how to determine the best bolt action to suit your shooting style.
What is a Bolt Action Rifle?
If you’re a novice shooter, you may find yourself asking what exactly a bolt action rifle is and how it’s different from pump-action rifles, lever-action rifles and semi-automatic rifles.
Bolt action rifles are precision rifles where cartridges are extracted and ejected using a bolt handle. Bolt handles are usually located on the right side but there are options for those who favor their left hand. Many bolt action rifles have muzzle breaks to further assist with negating the effects of recoil.
By comparison, a pump-action rifle’s fore-end moves backward and forward to eject a spent round of ammunition and to chamber a fresh one.
Lever-action rifles have a lever that’s located near the trigger guard (although it may include the trigger guard itself) that allows you to load the chamber with a fresh cartridge.
Semi-automatic rifles have a mechanism that automatically loads a cartridge into a chamber after one is used but you have to manually pull the trigger to fire it.
Although bolt action rifles are considered to be the slowest type of rifle they have arguably the most robust action. As a result, they can accommodate more powerful cartridges.
Other benefits of bolt action rifles include having fewer moving parts and thus a lower risk of malfunctioning. Many have threaded barrels and threaded muzzles. Bolt action guns can accommodate various cartridge types, including long.
Most experts agree that due to these factors, and the robust nature of the manufacturing, bolt action rifles are much more accurate than many other types. The military includes tactical bolt action rifles in its inventory.
The Savage 110 and the Remington Model 700 are two common bolt action rifles known today.
However, for beginning hobby shooters, most shooters agree that the Ruger Precision Rifle is a great gun for learning how to correctly and accurately shoot a bolt action weapon.
For hunters, the Winchester Model 70 is a popular choice.
Ruger Precision Rifle
The Ruger Precision Rifle, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor was made precisely for long-range shooting. There are a number of characteristics of this rifle that make it stand out from the others.
Rather than a traditional bedding system, the Ruger Precision Rifle has an in-line recoil system that manages recoil from the rear of the receiver of the buttstock and provides maximum accuracy.
In addition, it has a Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger that has a length of pull of 2.25 to 5 pounds. It’s Ruger Precision Stock allows for adjustments to be made to the length-of-pull and comb height, while featuring a bottom Picatinny rail and accepting any AR-style stock. With a heavy-contour barrel at 8.75”, it uses a Ruger Precision Rifle Magnum Muzzle Brake that has a tunable compensator which reduces recoil and muzzle jump.
Other features of this model include a free-float handguard for easy mounting of M-LOK-compatible rails and accessories, an ambidextrous manual safety, a 30 MOA Picatinny Rail, an extended-trigger reach AR-style grip and a three-lug bolt with a 10-degree bolt throw and dual cocking cams.
Savage Model 110
Originally designed in 1958 and produced by Savage Arms, the Savage Model 110 is the oldest, continuously-manufactured bolt action rifle in North America. There are 26 models in this series, with three for left-handed shooters.
Many consider the Savage 110 Storm, which also has a version for left-handed shooters, the most reliable and affordable of the 110 models.
The Savage 110 Storm, which was introduced to the market in 2018, is a centerfire rifle chambered in .270 Winchester. This model has an AccuFit system that allows you to customize length-of-pull (12.75-13.75/30.5) and comb height, allowing the shooter to have as much comfort and consistency as possible. The AccuTrigger, which is also adjustable, has a light and crisp pull. In addition, the AccuStock rail system secures the action three-dimensionally along the rifle’s length.
Other nice features of this model are it’s drilled and tapped for scope mounts, has a detachable 4-round box magazine, and has a soft grip on its fore-end and pistol grip surfaces.
Remington Model 700
No bolt action rifles that have the commercial success of a Remington 700, manufactured by Remington Arms, a renowned company with over 200 years of experience manufacturing quality guns. With a 3-rings-of-steel receiver combined with a hammer-forged barrel, the Remington 700 has exceptional strength for a gun of its type.
There are 34 versions of the Remington 700 and the Remington Model 700 SPS (Special Purpose Synthetic) is one of the most popular versions of it.
The Remington Model 700 SPS is sold by IFA Tactical has an ergonomically designed synthetic stock for comfortable handling, a receiver that’s drilled and tapped for scope mounts, and a matte blued finish on all exterior metalwork. This model also has a version without a heavy barrel and for young shooters who are left-handed (the Remington Model 700 SPS Youth).
This model can take a wide range of calibers: .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, .260 Remington, .270 Winchester, .270 Winchester Short Magnum, 7mm-08 Remington, 7mm Remington Magnum, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Short Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, .308 Winchester, .300 Remington Ultra Magnum and 6.5 Creedmoor.
Remington Model 70
Winchester Repeating Arms, another long-standing and well-known firearm manufacturer, has a bolt action series model that’s popular for hunters: the Model 70.
The Model 70 Sporter has a classic look with its satin-finished checkered walnut stock, polished metal surfaces, and steel swing swivel studs. It’s not just a sporting rifle that looks good though, as it has a number of features that make it highly effective.
Useful features include a raised cheekpiece for improved alignment, claw extractor for reliability, recessed target crown to improve accuracy and an MOA trigger system that has no take-up, creep or overtravel.
Other benefits of this model are its Paychmar Decelerator Recoil Pad to protect shooters against recoil and that it’s been drilled and tapped for scope mounting.
Other Popular Bolt Action Rifles
There are a few other bolt action rifles that you may find worth researching.
Savage Arms has another highly popular bolt action rifle in the Savage 110 Apex Hunter XP. This particular model comes with a 3-9x40mm Vortex Crossfire II Scope that’s already mounted and bore-sighted.
The Crossfire II’s Dead-Hold BDC reticle reduces the guesswork on holdover and windage. This makes it much more accurate at longer ranges. In addition, this model has a button-rifled barrel and threaded headspacing, which also helps with aiming.
Like the Savage 110 Storm, this bolt action rifle has a detachable box magazine, an adjustable length-of-pull, and an adjustable AccuTrigger.
Tikka, a Finnish brand that’s been around for nearly 20 years, has become one of the more well-known rifle manufacturers over the years. Their T3x TACT A1 model is considered to be one of the best bolt action rifles on the market today.
The T3x TACT A1, which also has a version for left-handed shooters, has a number of interesting features like an adjustable double-stage trigger, a modular stock with interchangeable pistol grips for multiple shooting positions, picatinny rails and a foam insert of the interior of the rear stock to reduce noise.
Barrett, an American rifle manufacturer founded in 1982, has a 5-year contract with the U.S. military’s Special Operation Command. This speaks volumes about the quality of these bolt action rifles. Their MRAD model is provided to the U.S. Special Operation Command Advanced Sniper Rifle System and its features are clearly top-notch.
The Barrett MRAD’s bolt guide allows for smooth and reliable operation in harsh environments, it’s 45-degree throw allows for minimal disturbance to the firing grip and sight picture, and its receiver is made from high-strength 7000 series aluminum alloy.
In addition, it has a folding stock, adjustable comb height, a button-operated adjustable length-of-pull, and an interchangeable barrel system.
A bolt action rifle that will be on the market soon has been manufactured by SIG Sauer, an established company that’s primarily known for its semi-automatic pistols. The SIG Sauer CROSS Rifle, branded as a precision hunting bolt action rifle, was designed and manufactured in the U.S. and was created for both precision long-range shooting and backcountry hunting.
Key features of this rifle include a fully adjustable and folding SIG stock, a 2-stage match trigger, an M-LOK accessory rail, a 1-piece aluminum receiver for improved accuracy. As it’s under 6.5 pounds, it’s considered one of the lightest rifles in its class, which should make it easier to handle while reducing muzzle lift and recoil.
There are a number of different ammo types that are compatible with the SIG Sauer CROSS Rifle: .308 Winchester, .277 SIG Fury, and 6.5 Creedmoor.
If you’re looking for a bolt action rifle, IFA Tactical Guns has a superior selection featuring many of the most respected and well-known manufacturers. Located in Sterling Heights, MI, we can be reached at (586) 275-2176.