Most under rated bolt actions?


June 17, 2007, 08:30 PM
I know alot of opinions abound regarding under rated rifles but I've got to add my two cents.
The British battle rifles of WWII, the Lee Enfields have to be one of the most under rated rifles of all time. The British were able to use this design during the Boer war to hold off numerically superior forces due to the rifles accuracy and high rate of fire. Everyone that shoots these rifles pretty much agrees that they have the fastest and smoothest cycle of any WWII bolt action. You can tell that they are extremely under-rated because they are selling for around 125 dollars. They seem to be selling fast though, bet the price will go up like the K-31's and Russian SKS's did. I got this price by checking auction-arms dot com where there are a couple nice ones for sale.

Also there are new production Australian rifles being imported to Canada that look SWEET! I can't find an importer here but here is the website:

Personally, one of the milsurp rifles would be almost as good for alot less money. Thoughts?

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El Tejon
June 17, 2007, 08:44 PM
How did you come to the conclusion that it is "underrated"?:confused:

The Lee-Enfield is one of the most highly acclaimed bolt action rifles in history. It was and is widely used across the globe by militaries and sportsmen.

You will find many fans of the Lee-Enfield here at THR. And, welcome by the way.:)

The price of Lee-Enfields has risen and fallen since the 1950s. It is based on supply and demand and governmental interference.

Governmental meddling is also behind the other weapons you cite. The price of Russian CKCs rose because of the VRA with Russia that Clinton obtained. The price of K31s rose because they were selling and it is unknown whether another 6 will be approved to import the next freighter full of them and the hundreds of millions of rounds that the Swiss have.

June 17, 2007, 08:50 PM
The most under rated bolt action? Easy. The Krag.

Ian Sean
June 17, 2007, 08:52 PM
Lee Enfield under-rated? Not in my book or by anyone who owns one. Only reason they aren't as popular is that there aren't as many of them around like we see with the multitute of Mausers and Mosins.

You can tell that they are extremely under-rated because they are selling for around 125 dollars.

The cheap price of these recent imports is because of the fact they are from India for the most part and it is hard to find a "good" one....I went through about 6 before I found a good bore, the wood is rough and they have the flip sights not the more desirable adjustable sights...also the pot metal rifle butt is plain ugly compared to a shiny brass one.

My #4 is a beaut and shoots good now, but it took some time, $$$, and elbow grease.

My $90 Enfield.

Note: I parkerized it, I found a brass butt plate and micrometer sights.

Baba Louie
June 17, 2007, 09:03 PM
Boer War? Maybe Emilies (MLE) but not Smellies (SMLE). Boer Kommandos with their newfangled Mausers did a number on British troops for awhile and probably did a whole lot to force the Brits to further develop their battle rifles into better battlefield implements, as did the Spanish Army equipped with their Mausers when facing US troops in Cuba... hence the SMLE and the 03 Springfield. (Tho' I do wish the Brits had gone ahead with their Pattern 13 in .270 just to see where that would've lead. Even tho' it wasn't a true SMLE due to the internal 5 rd. magazine. Maybe the M1 Garand would have... nah, never mind)

The Lee Enfield family of rifles are far from under-rated to those who know anything about battle rifles... some darn fine rifles. My SMLE dated 1913 still wears the magazine cut-off (what a queer looking device when it's winged outward). The Savage No4MkI I own is a very very fine bolt action.

Those Aussie 7.62x51's look pretty sweet also. Anyone know if they've got a US Importer? What do those run in US dollars please?

Oh yeah, welcome to THR rizbunk77.

If you think they're under-rated now, you should have seen them back in the 50's - 60's. People would even (shudder) cut them up into sporty deer rifles cause they were so cheap. I bought my SMLE from Montgomery Wards for less than $15 thru their catalog back in '64 or '65 IIRC. They'd gone up in value to $79 as long ago as '84.

June 17, 2007, 09:24 PM
How about Arisakas as underrated rifles? Prewar Arisakas are very made, very strong, and have more cool gadgets on them than any other military bolt action.

June 17, 2007, 09:25 PM
Most underrated easily the MAS 36, Very accurate, excellent sights, strong and rugged and lastly unbelievably simple. The last bolt action military rifle designed for main issue and therefore the most modern.

daniel (australia)
June 17, 2007, 09:31 PM
The British were able to use this design during the Boer war to hold off numerically superior forces due to the rifles accuracy and high rate of fire.

Actually the British were disappointed with both the accuracy and rate of fire of the rifles fielded against the Boers. They had enormous problems with accuracy in fact, to the extent that it became something of a scandal. The rifles fielded in South Africa were found to be no match for the Boers' Mausers at long ranges, and there were several modifications made to the sights as a result.

As for rate of fire the early Marks fielded in South Africa didn't have provision for charger loading, and thus again were found to be outclassed by the Boers' Mausers. Charger (clip) loading was introduced as a result of this experience at the close of the Boer War.

The British were in fact close to replacing the Lee Enfield with a Mauser-type design, with a more powerful cartridge and better sights, as a result of the Boer War experience. In the meantime the SMLE entered service and then WWI started, so the replacement rifle (the P13) was shelved in its original form (though war pressures saw the modified version in .303 purchased in large numbers from US suppliers as a stopgap).

Fortunately the SMLE had most of the bugs worked out by then (bearing in mind that there'd been a fair number of models tried before the No. 1 Mk III entered service), and with a bit more modification to III* spec. the rifle served for more than a generation.

Interestingly though the British still weren't entirely happy and there were several more Marks trialled before the No. 4 Mk 1 replaced the SMLE in British service (we kept the SMLE), and even then there were further modifications before the rifle was replaced by the L1A1...

Having said all of that though I do like the Lee Enfields, and have a couple. They are still available in good numbers - millions were made - and are well worth having.

June 17, 2007, 10:29 PM
The so called Australian Enfields from what I have been told are made in Vietnam, not Australia. I suspect they are not being imported into the United States due to the higer duty rate (column 2 rate of duty for Communist countries). If they ever do reach the States you're gonna pay a pretty penny, 6 or 7 hundred dollars (US $). I think you would be happier with a Remington 700 or Browning.

June 17, 2007, 10:44 PM

June 17, 2007, 11:01 PM
But the MAS 36 lacks a safety, and therefore the only way to carry it is unloaded unless in the heat of battle. The rear lugs are okay, but nothing superior to forward lugs. The rear sights are good and are more rugged than the 1903a3, but they aren't as good as a Garand (and the style of action is irrelevent).

I would say the Carcano is the most under-rated rifle. They aren't anywhere near my favorite rifles, but they aren't nearly as bad as folks say. Indeed, as a combat rifle, they can hang with any of the others. Reloading a Carcano is faster than all the other bolt-action rifles, and the bolt, while not as fast to manipulate as an Enfield, is none-the-less easy to operate.

They were certainly capable rifles and handled their loadings just fine, were accurate, rugged, and handled combat as well as any of the other bolt guns issued. They are trashed by so many, which has to make them the most under-ratted.


June 18, 2007, 01:09 PM
The SMLE no 1 MarkIII and #4 Mark 1 are great rifles. Selling pretty cheap too. Ammo Dies and brass are available.

Essex County
June 18, 2007, 02:50 PM
WHO said the Enfield was over rated? I want to see them in My office at 08 hundred. We'll straighten this out promptly! Essex

June 18, 2007, 03:17 PM
I believe the Arisaka Type 99 was introduced in 1939, thereby making it a few years later than the MAS 36. The last bolt action rifle introduced for standard issue to an army was the Indian 2A Enfield in .308 which as introduced in the mid-60's I believe. There was also a Columbian Mauser of unique styling that came out in the mid-50's.

Not to be a PITA about it, but there it is. Sorry for all the "believes" but my reference books are many miles away right now.

I'd have to say the crown for underrated bolt action military rifle goes to the Arisaka type 38 and 99. Split decision. They were quite well made up until the very end, cleverly designed to use less parts in their bolt than a Mauser rifle, accurate as can be asked for, and the safety is actually pretty easy to flick off with the tip of the thumb of the firing hand. The type 99 adds a rear peep, chrome lined bore, and really cool but useless AA sights.

The Carcanos are also given a bad rap. They were very advanced (gain twist rifling, advanced steel composition for the time, etc) for their time in 1891. They are another good call for "underrated".

The Mosin Nagant was in this category until tons of new condition refurbs came to the US with cheap price tags and plentiful ammo. Another simple yet effective bolt gun with good power and accuracy.

I'd say the worst bolt action was the straight pull Canadian Ross rifle. It let the troops down in the trenches, and had to be replaced in the middle of a war. That is not a warm recommendation.

June 18, 2007, 10:54 PM
Don't forget the monopods and dust covers, lathedog. :)

June 19, 2007, 11:03 AM
The last Bolt Action Rifle designation of the MAS results from being the last Bolt Action Rifle completely designed. The M44, the Enfield 2A, the Arisakas, are all based on pre WWI actions, whereas the MAS36 was entirely new, based on nothing before it.


June 19, 2007, 03:04 PM
Carcanos are pretty good and just as accurate and reliable as the Arisakas.

I think the Dutch Mannlicher in 6.5 is a good choice as well. Good caliber.

June 19, 2007, 06:49 PM
The last Bolt Action Rifle designation of the MAS results from being the last Bolt Action Rifle completely designed.
The Madsen may never have been issued, but it was the last unique military bolt design.

June 19, 2007, 06:54 PM
I agree the MAS 36 or the horrible old Lebel are probably the most underrated rifles. The French military rifles in general get a bad rap, even though the French were often way ahead of everyone else.

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