Rate of fire for bolt action


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SkyDaver
November 19, 2004, 06:33 PM
Hoping you'll forgive a rifle newbie, I'm trying to find out how rapidly a moderately skilled rifleman could fire a bolt action rifle, putting the rounds on target.

I'm guessing, from reading Cooper's Commentaries, that the action may have something to do with it. How's the Steyr Scout?

I'm asking because I'm in a thread over on democraticunderground where a hunter and benchrest shooter says he doesn't care if all semi-autos get banned. :banghead:

I don't know how well I'm doing

The 'subthread' is here (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=118x93053#93333)

OBTW, their forum software stinks. This one is much better, both the software and the people :D

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Chipperman
November 19, 2004, 06:54 PM
Too many variables:
1. Weapon
2. Distance
3. Target size
4. Optics or steel sights

The answer could be anywhere from 2 rounds a minute to 20 or more.

MrMurphy
November 19, 2004, 07:13 PM
With a Lee-Enfield No.1 MkIII or No.4 Mk1, I believe the current speed limit as set in the 1940s was around 15 rounds in 60 seconds, aimed, and on target. Granted,the Lee-Enfield has a faster-than-most bolt action type, and it was loaded with stripper clips. 10 rounds already loaded (normal load) and another stripper clip after that.

I don't think anybody's really beaten that. British Army issue from 1895 to 1955 or so for a reason.

Sistema1927
November 19, 2004, 07:14 PM
The Brits trained their troops to fire the SMLE in such a way that the enemy sometimes thought that they were up against machine guns. The SMLE action is fast, and has a 10 round box magazine.

goon
November 19, 2004, 08:28 PM
I have read 38 hits inside about a 24" target at 300 yards in one minute with an SMLE.
http://www.nrgcnews.org/TheLORDRobertsMatch.doc


Also, Simo Hayha is said to have been able to hit something like 15 targets in a minute at 150 yards (although I don't know what size targets or what position he was shooting from). This is pretty impressive on its own, but even more so when you consider that he was most likely using an 1891 Mosin Nagant when he set that benchmark (he used a Finnish M-28 and a Suomi submachine gun for much of his "career"). For those of you who haven't shot one, the Mosin Nagant isn't nearly as quick as the Enfield.

Those are the extreme though. With those cases you are talking about incredible marksmen who are very well practiced and who know their rifles intimately. Most of us would be lucky to do half as well as they did.

armoredman
November 19, 2004, 08:31 PM
I wish I could do that good with my old Mosin, but the sticky bolt phenomena gets me every so often. Need to clean the chamber again....Maybe I should get a SMLE some day, but the Mosins are so nifty and cheap....

SMLE
November 19, 2004, 09:14 PM
The original feat was performed by Sergeant Instructor Snoxall in 1914. I was 38 shots into a 12" bull at 300 yards. Prone, iron sights, no sling, loading with 5 round chargers.

The British Soldiers were taught to positions their heads far enough back on the butt that they could work the bolt without having to break their spot weld. One of the training drills they used was a "race" between two man teams. One man whould have the rifle, and the other would have a pile of dummy rounds and chargers. The object was for the rifleman to load and "fire" faster than the other man could fill the chargers. The trick was, that an instructor with a mirror would be observing the shooter's sight picture to ensure that he was actually AIMING correctly!

Vern Humphrey
November 19, 2004, 10:15 PM
The question is not how fast a bolt action rifle can be fired -- the question is, do we accept the proposition that a constituional right can be violated?

I don't have a single rifle with a vertical pistol grip, for example, and don't plan to buy one. But I DO vigrously oppose the idea that someone can pass a law denying me that right, should I choose to exercise it.

For what it's worth, some Wimbledon shooters feel those who shoot semiautomatic rifles are at a disadvantage. The Wimbledon is show at 1,000 yards, 20 shots in 20 minutes. BUT, winning shooters wait for exactly the right wind conditions, and shoot as many rounds as possible before conditions change. Winnning bolt gun shooters feel they can shoot faster than opponents armed with semiautomatic rifles.

VG
November 19, 2004, 10:58 PM
Hoping you'll forgive a rifle newbie, I'm trying to find out how rapidly a moderately skilled rifleman could fire a bolt action rifle, putting the rounds on target.

I'm guessing, from reading Cooper's Commentaries, that the action may have something to do with it. How's the Steyr Scout?

I'm asking because I'm in a thread over on democraticunderground where a hunter and benchrest shooter says he doesn't care if all semi-autos get banned. Hatcher's Book of the Garand details Army and Marine Corps tests of the Garand versus the M1903 Springfield.

Obviously the range and size of target make a difference. Early (1931) Army tests recorded hits per pound of ammunition and hits per minute for the Garand, M1903, and BAR. The [.276] Garand recorded 19.5 hits per pound of ammo and 21.2 hits per minute; Springfield 12.8 and 9.0; and BAR 11.2 and 33.3. The Infantry and Cavalry board indicated the Garand could sustain a rate of fire of 20-25 effective rounds per minute and a maximum of 60. The Army officially adopted the Garand (in 30.06) in 1937.

The Marine Corps held service rifle trials in late 1940. Their tests officially selected the M1903 Springfield as the official service rifle of the Marine Corps (which changed once they saw Army units in action on Quadalcanal) but their tests included the Garand and competitors from Johnson and Winchester. Pages 146-150.

At 200 yards, the M1903 averaged 14.25 shots per minute and 13.81 hits per minute. The Garand averaged 22.31 shots per minute and 22.06 hits per minute.

At 325 yards and silhouette targets, the numbers were 8.8 shots and 3.85 hits per minute for the M1903, and 12.0 and 4.23 for the Garand.

At 300 yard moving silhouettes, the #'s were 14.25 and 3.27 / 19.10 and 3.54 respectively.

At 300 yard large moving targets, the #'s were 16.20 / 10.20 and 23.15 / 12.85 respectively.

These tests reflected a group of skilled, practiced marksmen in a short test. It was felt that for less experienced, less fit shooters, the difference would be greater, as would the sustained rate of fire.

A 1927 Army test noted (page 76)
"It was found that well trained firers, using the service rifle at 300 yards, could maintain a rate of fire of approximately ten rounds per minute, without an appreciable loss of accuracy, for a maximum periodof four minutes....all were temporarily incapacitated for further firing for a period of from six to ten minutes.

It was found that the same firers, using the two types of semiautomatic rifles at the same range, could maintain a rate of fire of approximately 16 rounds per minute, without an appreciable lost of accuracy for the same period, and without any evidence of physical fatigue....With an absence of malfunction, due to mechanical defects, it is believed that a rate of fire of 20 well aimed shots per minute could have been maintained for at least six minutes...without an appreciable loss of accuracy....

The men employed in the test had had almost daily firing, both in the regular target season and in the pursuance of these tests, for approximately two months, and were addition qualified as expert riflemen, so that the above results would probably two high for the average shot, and without the same amount of physical fitness.

Bolt action rifles remain in use as sniper rifles for engagements beyond 3-400 meters, for a variety of reasons. As most people can't even see a human with the naked eye at that distance, so it's moot.

Vern Humphrey
November 19, 2004, 11:07 PM
To a certain extent the Marines made a virtue out of necessity -- there simply weren't enough Garands to go around in '42. And as you point out, the Marines' own tests show the Garand to be more effective than the Springfield in getting the maximum number of hits in the shortest time.

(By the way, why don't I get a quote button anymore?)

Ian
November 19, 2004, 11:15 PM
How's the Steyr Scout?

I haven't fired a Steyr Scout, but I did handle one a fair amount. It didn't strike me as having any faster of an action than any milsurp bolt gun. My Enfield is definitely faster to use.

Jim Watson
November 19, 2004, 11:24 PM
In highpower rifle competion, rapid fire is ten shots a minute. Bolt actions get no slack vs autos.
The little CMP Rimfire Sporter competition started out giving .22 autos 25 seconds for 5 rounds and bolt actions 35 but has cut the bolt action time limit to 30 seconds to keep the "level playing field."

Vern Humphrey
November 19, 2004, 11:49 PM
I like to play a little game of my own -- shooting at a standard 11-bull, 50-foot target from the offhand (standing, unsupported) position with my M82 Kimber.

I fire five shots on one bull, working the bolt from the shoulder, then reload and put another five rounds into that bull. I can easily get off all 10 shots in well under a minute (including reloading the magazine) and keep everything inside the 8 ring.

goon
November 20, 2004, 12:03 AM
SMLE - with that title I shall defer to your expertise. :cool:

The Enfield is without a doubt the fastest bolt action I have ever worked. I can work mine so fast that I can almost catch the empty casing on closing the bolt, and I am just some yahoo who hasn't really shot his SMLE much (about 100 rounds). Imagine what a trained shooter could do with it.

I agree with Vern Humphrey though. No one has any business telling me what I can do as long as I am not harming anyone.
Some of these arguments make this a moot point though. A trained shooter with an Enfield is at least as dangerous to you at 300 yards as a guy with an AK is. Probably more dangerous.
A guy with good eyes and an SMLE at 300 yards .... Put it this way: If he isn't on your side you had best not stick your head up.

Chipperman
November 20, 2004, 09:02 AM
"A trained shooter with an Enfield is at least as dangerous to you at 300 yards as a guy with an AK is. Probably more dangerous. "

I'd say waaaaaaaaaay more dangerous. An inherently more accurate rifle with a .303 vs 7.62x39.

If I had to choose between somebody shooting at me from 300 yards. I'd pick the AK over the SMLE. Even if I were hit, I'd stand a better chance of survival.

MrMurphy
November 20, 2004, 09:36 AM
Not to mention the Afghans used to pick off Soviet at 400-600 with L-E's, outside the range of their AKs.

I've owned both. For long range, the Lee-Enfield wins. For closer range, the AK wins. That's the whole point (they are specialized weapons).

30Cal
November 20, 2004, 08:01 PM
I saw that post the other day and I held my tongue.

Since the context is a democraticunderground thread, the frame of reference would be someone in a close quarters, target rich environment (school or workplace). Ranges never exceeding 25yds. In that case, I would say that 5 rounds in 10 seconds would be about right--pretty much as quick as it takes you to work the bolt. Once the magazine is empty, all bets would be off as most of the victims would be out the door.

In otherwords, I don't think a semi-auto would be any more dangerous than a bolt action, although you'll probably have more smoke and noise. Nutcases tend to focus more on pulling triggers than making shots count. The benchrest shooter is making arguments that don't really apply.

Ty

ALS
November 21, 2004, 01:40 PM
I hit an eight inch steel plate from 300 yards 5 times in 10.8 seconds with my LRS2 300 WinMag Blaser. I got beat by 2 FBI agents with their Remington 700's. I saw an Ex Viet Nam Sniper with 3 tours under his belt and presently head of a Swat team hit that same plate at 500 yards in just over 8 seconds.
All I can say is Practice, Practice, Practice you will get better.

T.Stahl
November 21, 2004, 04:04 PM
A week ago I tested myself and my No.4 in a "modified" Lord Roberts match (10cm target at 50m instead of 24" at 300yds).
I managed to shoot 19 rounds and score 17 hits. And it was only my second attempt at the "mad minute".

benEzra
November 21, 2004, 04:40 PM
Since the context is a democraticunderground thread, the frame of reference would be someone in a close quarters, target rich environment (school or workplace). Ranges never exceeding 25yds. In that case, I would say that 5 rounds in 10 seconds would be about right--pretty much as quick as it takes you to work the bolt. Once the magazine is empty, all bets would be off as most of the victims would be out the door.

In otherwords, I don't think a semi-auto would be any more dangerous than a bolt action, although you'll probably have more smoke and noise. Nutcases tend to focus more on pulling triggers than making shots count. The benchrest shooter is making arguments that don't really apply.
Actually, the nutcases tend to adjust their tactics to accomodate their weapons. Think the Jonesboro school shootings, for example (rapidly picking people off from 100 yards away with a non-self-loading hunting rifle), or Charles Whitman (Texas Tower massacre) and his bolt-action 6mm hunting rifle, who killed well over a dozen people--some at ranges exceeding 500 yards--by sniping from a clock tower. Even a nutcase with a single-shot rifle that took 15 minutes to reload could kill plenty of people in a D.C.-sniper-type scenario.

BTW, the most deadly mass shooting in the U.S. (Luby's Cafeteria, Killeen, Texas, ~23 victims IIRC) involved slow, very deliberate fire using a couple of ordinary 9mm handguns, and a large roomful of trapped victims who had been disarmed by Texas state law. One of the survivors spearheaded the passage of Texas's concealed carry law.

M67
November 22, 2004, 08:21 PM
In Norway we have a type of rapid fire competition that somewhat resembles the Lord Roberts-type shooting T.Stahl mentioned.

The shooting is done from prone with sling and aperture sights. Sauer 200 bolt action target rifles (and occasionally an old Krag Jørgensen) compete against G3s - and the bolt guns usually win. Regardless of rifle the shooter starts with five rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, then reloads with five rounds in each extra magazine (speed loaders for the Krag).

The course of fire consists of two separate strings of 25 seconds each. The shooter with the highest combined score wins. You can shoot as many shots as you like, but only hits count of course. If memory serves, the target used at the "short" range, 130-ish to 180-ish meters (varies from match to match), is an oval shape about 25 by 30 cm, the target for the "long" range stage, 230-ish to 280-ish meters, is a bit larger.

Large matches nowadays are always shot at electronic targets, which record time as well as score. The best bolt action shooters have, IIRC, split times of around .9 to 1.1 seconds between shots and just over 4 seconds between the last shot in one magazine and the first in the next. Because the magazine changes take so much time, the "safe" way to win is to "slow down" and go for 16 hits in 16 shots for each stage. It is possible to shoot 18 to 21 shots in those 25 seconds, but at that speed, including a third magazine change, it is much more difficult to hit than if the shooter paces himself for 16 shots. Off the top of my head, I can't remember having heard of a match being won with more than 32 hits aggregate for both stages, although a score of 17 or 18 hits for one stage occasionally occurs.

No, I don't compete at this myself, but it's impressive to watch. Especially to see someone fumble the last reload and then fire all five rounds in the last magazine during the cease-fire command, which lasts for two seconds. :)

ClarkEMyers
November 22, 2004, 11:45 PM
Steyr Scout is adequate but not outstanding. Notice Steyr offers a big bolt handle on other models they consider tactical.

The Steyr Scout uses the SBS action which has a slightly shorter maybe stiffer lift and offers the option of stowing the bolt knob pressed close in and locked for carry and having the butterknife style handle release and ride a tad out for use.

Might consider the Swiss straight pull or Browning T-bolt .22 at one end of the scale and consider the Weatherby 3 lug 60 degree lift - I've heard of but not handled actions with up to a five lug pattern for drastically reduced bolt lift but of course extra force for the camming extraction and cocking. Never heard that anything could beat the SMLE in the hands of a trained user.

DF357
November 23, 2004, 10:34 AM
Lee Harvey Oswald fired 3 rounds in 8 seconds at a moving vehicle.... so they say. :confused:

SkyDaver
November 23, 2004, 01:00 PM
30Cal, the DU poster is making arguments that don't apply, but I'm trying to counter them.

I'm hoping to at least reduce the constant barrage of 'high-powered assault weapons' garbage there.

But this guy, allegedly a hunter, and a benchrest shooter, is, IMO, the worst kind of gun owner ... he's got his, he doesn't think his will get regulated, so go ahead, take all those nasty semi-autos. :banghead:

shoobe01
November 23, 2004, 01:50 PM
I have always found the SBS to be an /unreasonably/ stiff action, so have never gotten one. Plus or minus the worst I have ever used. I can't fire 5 shots a minute with any Steyr SBS-action gun.

ClarkEMyers
November 23, 2004, 02:38 PM
I wouldn't buy a gun just because of the SBS action but I have 2 - Scout and pseudo-Scout Dragoon for other reasons. The action does solve a lot of problems I don't have. I'd take a Yost-Bonitz custom pseudo-Scout on a classic style Model 70 action if I could make a straight across swap :) .

I'd say there are many other considerations that confound the discussion. A Mauser 98 with a straight bolt handle can be distinguished from a Mauser 98 with a bolt handle bent for scope for instance. Locked into a tight jacket and glove/sling combination is somewhat different from a field position. Some say use the trigger hand to work the bolt as a straight pull with an open hand flick/flick the bolt and use the hand on the forend to turn the gun while the trigger hand restrains the bolt from turning with the gun but never grasps the bolt. I've know people firing bolt guns over the course with barely visible bolt handle modifications that seemed to suit them perfectly.

Norman Dog
November 23, 2004, 05:32 PM
...to be considered when determining the firing rate of a bolt-action rifle is recoil. When shooting a heavy-recoiling rifle/cartridge combination, it takes longer to recover between shots.

Go to this site:

http://www.470mbogo.com/RecoilVideo.html

and click on the "Rapid Fire" video. This guy gets off three shots from a heavy-recoiling rifle in just about 4 seconds.

ClarkEMyers
November 23, 2004, 05:47 PM
12 gauge pumps can be fired with full loads quite quickly. As noted above some say stick the trigger hand under the bolt and bring the gun down from recoil with the forend to open the bolt, flick, flick and twist again with the forend for a good speed so the recovery time isn't wasted.

Jim K
November 23, 2004, 06:57 PM
Hi, DF357 and guys,

Three shots in 8 seconds is entirely possible, even with a Carcano, and yes, I have done it. Remember, that is four seconds to reload and aim, quite slow for many people who practice with bolt rifles. (Loading and aiming time for the first shot and unloading time - if any - for the last don't count.)

So far as the SMLE goes, the British used a little trick, grasping the bolt handle with the thumb and forefinger to operate the bolt, then swinging the hand down to operate the trigger with the middle finger. (Yes, I know, I know...) Any rifle whose trigger is further back or further forward or that requires removal of the hand from the bolt to fire is going to be slower.

It is significant that one of the advantages claimed for semi-auto rifles when the adoption of the Garand rifle was being advocated, was not that the semi-auto could be operated faster in aimed fire, but that it could be operated with far less fatigue. In one test of Garands against Springfields, shooters each fired 300 rounds. Garand shooters were ready for more, while the Springfield shooters were so bushed that a couple ended up in the hospital. And these were professional soldiers who had spent all their rifle training with the bolt action.

Jim

ClarkEMyers
November 23, 2004, 07:10 PM
IIRC Mas Ayoob has run whole classes through the scenario from scaffolding at a moving target with equipment to duplicate Oswald's and shooting left handed - again IIRC many looked over the scope and reached over to work the bolt left handed and made the shots against the par time.

ALS
November 23, 2004, 07:36 PM
The trick is never lift your cheek off the stock or eye from the scope when operating the bolt. It is all feel with the bolt handle. Put a 1 inch orange pasty on the wall to use as a target. MAKE SURE THE GUN IS EMPTY. Sight in the orange dot and try to keep your cross hairs on it through out the exercise. Squeeze the trigger then turn your palm to 9 O'clock facing up and pick the bolt up pull it back with your ring and pinky finger and push the bolt forward with the base of your thumb and lower inside of your palm and close the bolt. Squeeze off another round and repeat. Remember to concentrate on keeping your cheek against the same spot on the stock through out the exercise. Don't believe me try it with a empty gun and see how fast you can cycle that bolt and squeeze the trigger. Start out slow and increase as you begin to get the rhythm. It takes some practice but you can get pretty quick with that bolt. Some custom Tacticals are now offering the larger bolt handle knob, because sometimes you may need a follow up shot to finish the job.

moa
February 9, 2005, 06:00 PM
I recall an event during WWII where one GI fired almost 1,000 rounds during one engagement using an M1 Garand. I think the exact number of rounds was 976. I believe this in the battle of the Huertgen (sp?) Forest.

976. Wow!

Vern Humphrey
February 9, 2005, 08:47 PM
My first tour in Vietnam, I was an adviser to 4/48 ARVN Infantry. My issue M2 carbine got wrapped around a tree, and I bummed a Garand from the ARVN and carried it from then on.

I saw men go into combat with clips all over them -- full cartridge belts, crossed bandoliers, clips in their rucksacks, stuck to their suspenders and helmit covers. And they had no problem shooting up all they could carry.

JNewell
February 9, 2005, 09:10 PM
In the field, water and ammo are both that way.

Vern Humphrey
February 9, 2005, 09:18 PM
I always carried a 5-quart collapsable canteen. :D

hps1
February 10, 2005, 07:07 PM
In highpower rifle competion, rapid fire is ten shots a minute. Bolt actions get no slack vs autos.

As Jim Watson stated, the bolt guns are not cut any slack in HP competition. The 200 yard sitting RF allows 60 seconds for ten rounds, requires one reload (using either stripper clip or detachable magazine) and the shooter is standing until the targets begin to come up, at which time the clock starts and the shooter can assume the sitting position and begin firing. The targets are pulled on command of pit officer at the end of 60 seconds. IIRC, I usually needed between 10-15 seconds to settle into solid position , acquire a natural point of aim (time very well spent) and get the first shot off. First five shots took about 15 seconds, 5-10 seconds for recharging bolt gun w/stripper clip and another 15 seconds for last 5 shots. The other 5 seconds could be used to correct any problems, such as stripper clip dropping a round, other trouble on reload, cleaning fingernails, etc. :) This was with 30-06 Mod. 70. Have done it with an 03 Springfield, but score was a bit lower due to slower lock time and a bit stiffer action.

The 10 ring is 7" on the 200 yard target and a good shot can usually keep 8-10 shots in the 10 ring sitting RF.

As VH stated, many Palma and Wimbleton shooters do try to get as many shots off as possible before conditions change, but in long range or "slow fire" matches, the shooter is limited by the "pit service" he receives because the target is pulled and a spotter disc inserted in the bullet hole after each shot so bolt manipulation is not really a factor.

Recently practiced for a special hunt where it was important to get quick follow up shot(s) using a 375 h&h Mod 70. standing w/rifle resting on shooting sticks. Found that it was not too difficult to keep all shots in a 12" circle with at least 96% in 6.5" at 100 yards. First shot started clock and each subsequent shot took 3 seconds. While recoil of heavier rifle does require more recovery time, it is still possible to work the bolt and get off well aimed follow-up shots within 3 seconds.

Whether you shoot a bolt gun or a semi-auto, the key is practice, practice, practice...........

Regards,
hps

dogngun
February 12, 2005, 03:47 PM
I came back to bolt rifles after spending way too much money on AK/SKS type rifles. They are fun to shoot, but I was dissapointed in the accuracy. I got spoiled shooting SMLE's,Mausers, and WWI P-17 US Enfield rifles.

My current military rifle is an Israeli Mauser based on a 1938 Sauer action converted to 7.62 NATO.
I'm also looking at a MK4 SMLE.

Mark :)

Vern Humphrey
February 12, 2005, 03:55 PM
Quote:
---------------------------
I came back to bolt rifles after spending way too much money on AK/SKS type rifles. They are fun to shoot, but I was dissapointed in the accuracy
----------------------------

Comblock weapons were never designed to meet western standards of marksmanship. If you want to blow cheap ammo downrange, they're fine. If you're serious about accuracy, they won't satisfy you.

An exception, of course, is the MN -- which was pre-Revolution.

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