Bolt Action or a Semi for Hunting?


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Firepower!
January 22, 2008, 01:16 PM
I was going through my rilfe collection and could not decide whether a bolt action is best as its traditional or a semi would be best for hunting- since most calibers are available in both.

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TCB in TN
January 22, 2008, 01:31 PM
Personally for what I consider to be ethical shooting distance (ethical for my ability) there is not enough difference in the two to matter. I have both bolt guns and semi's in 30-06 and they are both quite acceptable from an accuracy standpoint out to 250 to 300 yards. Use whichever gun you feel the most comfortable with.

Soap
January 22, 2008, 01:37 PM
What kind of game? Terrain?

aguyindallas
January 22, 2008, 01:40 PM
Well....I use both actually. I have an AR-15 that I built in 6.8SPC specifically for small-med size game such as coyote/hogs/whitetail. I have also been known to deploy my bolt .270 for the same task.

3pairs12
January 22, 2008, 01:42 PM
Bolt baby at least until I build a 6.8 AR

JesseL
January 22, 2008, 01:54 PM
You could split the difference and get a lever or pump gun.

Essex County
January 22, 2008, 01:55 PM
The older I get I tend to favor simplicity in my life. This includes all forms of new inovations, not just firearms. A Mauser or Mauser direvitave bolt gun meets this criteria.........But I'm still going to keep my AR's.....Essex

hossdaniels
January 22, 2008, 06:34 PM
I have hunted with a semi for 17 years, taken god knows how many deer with it, and never had the chance for a follow up shot. Missed twice, but I still didn't have a chance for a second shot. My last rifle was a 270 bolt action, and I love it. Better trigger, lighter, and more accurate than my old semi remington 742.

JWarren
January 22, 2008, 06:38 PM
I wish you had a "No Preference" Option, or a "It Depends" Option.

I've hunted with both, and my father hunts exclusively with a semi-auto 30-06. Over both our years of experience, I really haven't seen a difference.

A quality semi-auto will do the job as well as a bolt-action in most cases.


-- John

Shawnee
January 22, 2008, 06:51 PM
ROTFLMAO !! :D:D:D

High-5 to Ya, Jesse !!!! :D:D


It really all depends on YOU, Firepower. If you're good enough to be hunting you're good enough to use any of the action types that strike your fancy for other reasons - many of them subjective - and perfectly valid - for you.

I've hunted a LOT with a Ruger #1 single-shot and it served me very well. I know others who have hunted with all manner of guns and were perfectly happy and perfectly effective.

Choose the gun that looks and feels good to you.

:cool:

R.W.Dale
January 22, 2008, 06:53 PM
For Hunting nothing beats a Single Shot. They're typically lighter, and a good deal shorter than either a semi or bolt gun. A good hunter will NEVER need that second shot anyhow.

elmerfudd
January 22, 2008, 09:46 PM
Bolt actions are nearly perfect hunting rifles. They're light, strong, accurate, inexpensive and they point and handle well. Semi-autos are adequate for hunting, but inferior. They generally weigh more and are more front heavy. Only a few are as accurate as bolt actions and those usually cost much more and you can't get them in half as many calibers.

A semi only does one thing better than a bolt action, and that's to deliver an instant followup shot if it's needed, but someone who's good with a bolt action can still get a second shot in awfully quickly. IMO, the only reason to get a semi for hunting is if you're shooting multiple animals or dangerous game.

pbrktrt
January 22, 2008, 09:47 PM
i hunt with a vanguard 270 & a mini-30. just depends on where i'm hunting. they both have their place & work well.

JWarren
January 22, 2008, 09:56 PM
A good hunter will NEVER need that second shot anyhow.


I'd never speak in absolutes-- they tend to come back and bite you.

Now *I've* never had to take a second shot in 28 years of hunting, but I know plenty of good hunters who have. I know good hunters who have had to follow a blood trail for over a mile on a vitals shot whitetail.

Animals do strange and annoying things like run when trying to survive. I can see the need for a follow-up shot based upon some of the trails I've followed for family and friends. I've never had one take more than a few steps, but I KNOW what I am: Lucky.


-- John

dstorm1911
January 22, 2008, 10:40 PM
Single shot Thompson Contender or Encore, then pick the barrel for any given job

ckay
January 22, 2008, 10:51 PM
Bolt

browningguy
January 22, 2008, 11:01 PM
I have semi's in .223, 6x45, .270, .30-06, .50 Beowulf, all of them work extremely well. That includes DPMS, RRA, Browning BAR's and HK SLB2000.

I have bolt actions in about the same number of calibers, all of them work extremely well.

I have only one single shot, Browning 1885 in 45-70, that I hunt with and it works extremely well.

Neither is better than the other, none is more sporting. The Semi's offer a slightly faster follow up shot, and I'm willing to meet anyone who is faster with a bolt action at American Shooting range to do side by side trials. The bolts are more often than not slightly more accurate.

Just pick what works for you and be dome with it.

Cosmoline
January 22, 2008, 11:02 PM
Semis are just too noisy.

browningguy
January 22, 2008, 11:05 PM
I have semi's in .223, 6x45, .270, .30-06, .50 Beowulf, all of them work extremely well. That includes DPMS, RRA, Browning BAR's and HK SLB2000.

I have bolt actions in about the same number of calibers, all of them work extremely well.

I have only one single shot, Browning 1885 in 45-70, that I hunt with and it works extremely well.

Neither is better than the other, none is more sporting. The Semi's offer a slightly faster follow up shot, and I'm willing to meet anyone who is faster with a bolt action at American Shooting range to do side by side trials. The bolts are more often than not slightly more accurate.

Just pick what works for you and be done with it. By the way I've had plenty of second shots on animals, if it's not on the ground when I recover from recoil another is on the way. Even a perfectly heart shot whitetail can run 30-100 yards easily, I don't like tracking in South Texas rattlesnake country.

aspade
January 22, 2008, 11:12 PM
Depends where I'm hunting. If there might be dope farmers or feral dogs in the area, I'd like to have a M1A.

But for the deer and maybe elk someday hunting I actually do, a single shot would do just fine. A bolt gun is just a convenient way of loading and unloading that single shot, and carrying a couple extra rounds.

jpwilly
January 22, 2008, 11:26 PM
Semi Auto! Yes, they are usually heavier but they make your arms stronger. You may not need a second shot but you'll look like a woodland ninja while out hunting, especially if you are using a mil spec semi auto, maybe the squirrels will leave you alone. Get out your Ghili rags and snipe your prey instead of hunting! Also a big plus if you run into any dope farmers you can shoot it out with them *(be sure you have lots of ammo and a good plan of attack).

stiab
January 22, 2008, 11:34 PM
My deer rifle stable includes two semi-autos, two pumps, and a bolt action, and each one is my favorite gun whenever I am using it!!:)

USPfan03
January 23, 2008, 12:13 AM
Personally I use a bolt action mauser 98 that has been converted to a 30-06. Where I hunt rarely do you have a chance at a second shot so having the semi-auto is nearly pointless. That is unless you run into a big cat or bear, then you might want to have the semi. However, my mind might be changed after I take an m4 out on a hunt. :)

dcon
January 23, 2008, 12:23 AM
I started deer hunting about 10 years ago, and the rifle I bought for the job was a Browning BAR in .270, opening morning it did the job on a doe. Since that first year I haven't taken it out, even though it did the job well I am just more of a bolt action guy and now hunt deer with a Browning BBR in .30-06. I have other bolts for other situations and I justify keeping the BAR by telling myself it makes a good brush gun, of course so does my Marlin 1895 guide gun.

sachmo
January 23, 2008, 12:55 AM
Your hunting this is not Pork Chop Hill. Depending on the game and location a single shot. bolt. or lever action is the way to go.

eliphalet
January 23, 2008, 01:37 AM
If your rifle will shoot inch and a half groups or thereabouts at 100 yards, and nearly all modern hunting rifles will, and your proficient with your action, I don't think it matters one iota what you use. If a auto is any faster, and that is debatable, it is milliseconds as you need to recover from a centerfires recoil before you can shoot accurately again, and just about any bolt, lever, or pump should have been ran by the time your eye can line the crosshairs on target again after a shot is fired.

Haven't used a pump on big game but we've killed deer and elk with several of the other three and far as I could tell there was no difference.
Pumps work as good as a auto with a shotgun for me too.

Shot placement is what is far more improtant that the gun used.

Soap
January 23, 2008, 01:29 PM
So does any know what kind of game Firepower! is going after yet? Tough to recommend anything at all if you don't even have that info.

KBintheSLC
January 23, 2008, 02:17 PM
Hunting what? For big game, an 'ol bolty is perfect. For small game that runs fast, a semi is preferred. IMO

Firepower!
February 10, 2008, 09:39 AM
I guess there is nothing like a classic bolt action, but correct me if I am worng. Aren't most new guns being made in semi auto even when they are made to hunting purpose.

BTW: I saw a 7mm Rem Mag semi auto by Browning. What should it cost?

Charles S
February 10, 2008, 10:07 AM
I think semi autos are ethical.

I just prefer the simplicity, reliability, and handling characteristics of a bolt or a single shot.

If there was a semi auto that balanced well, was no longer than about 38 1/2 inches overall, weighed no more than about 6 1/2 pounds with scope, had a great trigger, was utterly reliable, and was offered in 260, 7-08, or 6.5X55. I would own it.

FullClip
February 10, 2008, 10:33 AM
My hunting rifle collection contains bolt, lever and semi-auto versions of several calibers. Find that most of the time I end up grabbing one of the semi-autos. While on paper and off a rest, there is a decernable differance between the bolt actions and the semi-autos, the areas where I hunt seldom present any long range shooting, and from an off hand stance, that differance makes no practicle advantage.

1911NM
February 10, 2008, 10:44 AM
I really have to agree with a choice of whatever you feel comfortable with and shoot best. I grew up hunting some rough country where long range shots were the norm, and shoot a bolt gun. My only fuzzy little rational in that decision is from a bad semi my Father had, and from being able to make the conscious decision of whether to chamber another round or not. Find what you like, shoot it enough to know the gun, and have fun.

Infomet
February 10, 2008, 10:45 AM
I know we are all careful and never slip up, but the bolt action is very safe once fired. The semi is hot and ready. Yes, I have seen, twice, experienced competent people shoot a semi and then proceed if it were a stick. One walked off leaving it on a table and one carried it to a car. The potential for problems is great: kids, the curious fools, and careless handling are accidents in the making. Pistols are far worse, of course. Hey, bubba, look here, how'd you like that last shot? Oh yes, my loaded hot .45 is hanging here by my side with my finger still in the trigger guard...Do you really want all those toes?
WL

That said, my only ever accidental discharge was a .22 single shot when I was a kid. The knob slipped out of my fingers and BANG. The desirability of having the gun pointed at the ground was brought home in an impressive way!
I think it was a JC Higgins.

Firepower!
February 12, 2008, 06:06 AM
If I go hunting deer, I think I would have better fun out of game with my bolt action .243 then a semi. To me it is the nature of the game and the fun that counts.

Art Eatman
February 12, 2008, 10:24 AM
I've no objection to hunting with a semi-uto, certainly, but my own history of hunting is such that there was never any advantage in using one.

Critters were either dead or down, so no hurry--or they were behind some brush, instantly, if it was not a DRT or knockdown hit. Regardless, it's sorta hard for me to worry about it one way or the other, with most of my kills needing no second shot beyond a coup de grace. It's not that I'm all that wondrous a shooter; I don't take shots where I'm not confident.

amprecon
February 12, 2008, 10:28 AM
The bolts are generally more accurate and definitely lighter to lug around...... well that generality is limited to the scope you have attached to it.

Firepower!
February 12, 2008, 10:30 AM
ART EATMAN
I have asked it here before and I am asking again. Do you or anyone else here knows how much a 7mm Rem Mag semi auto by Browningshould cost? It has some engraving on it. Although I am not sure if I want to use it for hunting, I do want to get it for my collection. Since this gun is popular among hunters I am putting up this question here.

Also how big can you hunt with a 7mm Rem. Mag.?

K3
February 12, 2008, 10:34 AM
I use a semi-auto when calling predators at night. I've had several occasions where more than one bobcat or fox came in at once, and the semi-auto was very handy. The last thing I want to do is shoot one and educate the other one. :D

I have no objections to semi-autos for deer or elk hunting. I just don't own any in a suitable caliber. Bolt guns have always worked fine on deer for me. I'm sure they'll work for elk when I go for the first time. Assuming I come across an elk, but that is another story. :D

Interestingly enough, I'm going more retro these days. I plan to use a lever gun next season chambered for the ancient .30-30. Then, I plan to use a single shot trapdoor style .45-70 for my 2009 Mississippi deer hunt.

Maybe in 2010 I'll use a pointy stick. :cool:

UnTainted
February 12, 2008, 02:23 PM
If I go hunting deer, I think I would have better fun out of game with my bolt action .243 then a semi. To me it is the nature of the game and the fun that counts.

and the meat counts too ;)

Deer Hunter
February 12, 2008, 02:24 PM
Does it really matter?

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