Long action Vs. Short action on a bolt gun?


June 20, 2006, 10:38 AM
Whats the difference between a long action and a shot action. I noticed something about the round that were avaliable were different from eachother, so I'm guessing its got something to do with the round the gun is chambered for?

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June 20, 2006, 10:43 AM
You are correct. It all has to do with the round. Look at a 30-06 and a .308 cartridge side by side. Since the .308 is shorter than a 30-06 it can be used in a short-action rifle.

Short-action has the advantage of usually being lighter and able to used by smaller-framed people.

June 20, 2006, 11:12 AM
So the "BIG" rounds are going to usually be long action. Becides getting the round you want, is there any advantage to eather the long or short action as long as a little weight isnt a problem?

Long action if refered to the distance you pull the bolt back?

June 20, 2006, 11:50 AM
Like the Ultra mags, then they go in the "magnum actions" or some companies call them extra long actions. I think Sako actually has 5 action lenghths. Sorry to complicate things.

June 20, 2006, 12:14 PM
"Long action" refers to the fact that the cartridge length is longer, so it requires a longer pull on the bolt to accommodate it (extract, eject, load next round, etc.).

You can, of course, have a rifle that has a long action that fires a shorter cartridge (think of Savage 110 long-action rifles that chamber the .243), but you can't have a short action that will chamber a longer cartridge.

I hope that makes sense...this is a lot easier to show than to describe.

June 20, 2006, 12:21 PM
Other than a little wieght, no there is no real advantage unless you are talking about a smaller shooter who might like a shorter bolt stroke. In some cases, .308 vs. 30-06. Over most loads, the only difference between the two is action length and it becomes a matter of personal preference.

Me, I like short-action rifles but I prefer 30-06 for hunting (more power with heavyer weight bullets than .308). To me, the advantage of short-action does not out wiegh the performance advantage of the case.

Did that help muddy things up?

June 20, 2006, 12:30 PM
About half an inch.


June 20, 2006, 07:32 PM
Are you asking about WSSM cartridges?

June 20, 2006, 07:39 PM
IF you were to buy say a short action , with a closed box magazine, with not bottom drop. this is the stiffest receiver you can buy, other than a falling block type. This means you will have a accuracy rating higher from a starting point , than most.
you also get the shorter bolt throw, for faster follow ups.

June 20, 2006, 09:01 PM
you also get the shorter bolt throw, for faster follow ups.

A completely negligible advantage. The hub-bub over the Win Short Action Magnum rounds are a reason to sell guns. THe advantage over a 1/4" or so on the bolt throw is nominal at best and no advantage at all to 90% of shooters.

My $.02


June 20, 2006, 10:47 PM
Got to say I'm with you on the WSM's however I have found the Tikka line's one length fits all dissapointing for short action calibers. The added length of the receiver means that the magazines all have a block in them to hold the cartridges in the proper position. It struck me as a sloppy feeling situation that just didn't appeal to me. That being said, Tikka's have a seriously great record for accuracy short action or not. It's just that I enjoy the precise feeling of an action that is designed around the length of the cartridge.

June 20, 2006, 11:04 PM
There are basically 3 action lengths (unless you count .22 Hornet guns). Short action will house anything from the .222 to the .308-length catridges (and sometimes the 6mm rem and 7x57, which are slightly longer than .308). Standard (or long) action is for .30-06 length cartridges, and magnum actions are for the big stuff with OALs similar to the .375 H&H.

There is typically only about 5-8 ounces weight difference between action lengths.

Most manufacturers offer all three types (though some break it down even further). Unfortunately, others (like Kimber) only do one (short, in Kimber's case). Those that do not offer short actions often chamber short cartridges in a standard action. I do not believe any manufacturer builds magnum actions exclusively.

The new WSM's and RSAUM's were an attempt to bring the power levels found in the larger actions to the compact short action rifles.

The really big stuff, including .50 BMG, require an entirely different action that is specific to that class of rifle.

June 20, 2006, 11:55 PM
In most rifles its just a matter of personal perference. You could say that its easier to avoid not pulling the bolt back far enough with a short action but with any practice that shouldn't be a problem. Short actions are more important with machine gun fire.

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