Rambling on about bolt actions


September 1, 2009, 04:56 PM
I was talking with someone who was trying out one of those new T/C Venture rifles. He liked it pretty well, and said that with no load development it shot 1" 3 shot groups, with both a 130 grain and a 150 grain load, just as advertised. What he wasn't happy about was the 60 degree bolt lift, which made it impossible to work the bolt without lowering the gun from the shoulder.

To me that would be a dealbreaker for a hunting rifle. I'm used to a slick old prewar Mauser 98 and a Swedish Mauser, and to slapping that bolt back and forth with reckless abandon right in front of my eyeball with the rifle shouldered.

The 60 degree thing kind of makes sense, in that it gives you better scope clearance, but why insist on retaining cock on opening? Wouldn't it make more sense to make it a cock on close like the Mauser 96?

I know, I know, I've just invented the SMLE. But still, wouldn't a modern action with front locking lugs, 60 degree bolt lift, and cock on close be sweet?

While puzzling over this, another thought came up. Has anyone ever made a bolt action with an AR type bolt head? If 60 degrees is better, would 20 degrees be better still?

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September 1, 2009, 06:51 PM
Why does a 60 degree bolt require you to bring the rifle off of the shoulder? Is there less leverage for cocking? I think it'd be a deal breaker for me too, I just don't get why it reqires different handling.

September 1, 2009, 07:00 PM
Yes, it's less distance to do the same work, so the force to lift it is higher. The friction on the cam is higher too. Most rifles like that end up being operated newbie style, taking the rifle down between shots to work the action.

September 1, 2009, 07:49 PM
That is true. It's part of the reason I prefer my Tikka (90deg) to my Sako 85 (60deg). I like a light bolt lift. M70's and mausers are ideal if you like light bolt lift IME. M700's are in the middle somewhere. The cocking peice can be polished on any of the rifles mentioned.

September 1, 2009, 09:24 PM
Interesting. I hadn't thought about the additional cocking force required with a short-throw bolt, but that makes sense.

True re cock-on-close. Why not? The Enfield still works.

How does the Weatherby Mark V cock? It's had a 54 degree bolt lift for many decades, and I've never heard a complaint about it.

September 1, 2009, 09:29 PM
Bolt lift on any of my M70's is so easy. I have handled the 60 degree bolt lift rifles, there is no way the people who own those load from shoulder. They must drop the rifle waist high to rack a round in.

They might as well get a single shot rifle.

September 1, 2009, 09:49 PM
Why have a bolt lift at all? Straight pull worked for the Swiss...of course they had Swiss Watch-makers building the rifles. :D I have had (and still have one) 60 degree bolt designs and find the added effort to be worthwhile. I also do not find it to be as difficult as is advertised...or I received good ones (previous A-Bolts and current DTA-SRS). I have had no difficulty operating the action while the rifle is shouldered...perhaps I have abnormally strong finger muscles from chambering all of those rounds. ;)

September 2, 2009, 01:22 AM
If its that hard to do--you really need to go on some weight training program or somthing---sheesh:scrutiny:

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