Preferred method of shooting a bolt gun left-handed?


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Skribs
January 25, 2013, 03:42 PM
As far as I can tell, there are three methods you can use to shoot a bolt gun left-handed, and not wanting to opt for any of these (or seeing a personal need for a bolt gun) I've decided not to get one. However, I saw some shinies, and it got me wondering...anyway, the three methods I can think of are:

1) Buy a left-handed gun.
2) Cycle the bolt over-handed by reaching over the bolt with your left hand.
3) Cycle the bolt with your right hand.

#1 would be the best for ME, but it would be the worst for going shooting with my right-handed friends and family.
#2 is I believe what a lot of people say they do, but since I am RH/LE, and that method is awkward to begin with, I'm not too sure that's a good option.
#3 would be the easiest for me, but I feel unless I'm shooting from a bipod or rest, it would be very awkward due to the barrel being heavy and unsupported.

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thunder173
January 25, 2013, 03:53 PM
I have been using option # 3,...running the bolt with my right hand,....all my life. I am 62 now. Tried a left hand gun a few times. Never could take to it.

desidog
January 25, 2013, 03:55 PM
Get yourself a great left-handed bolt rifle set up for just you, and a cheap right handed bolt rifle for your shooting compadres.

I have a LH Montana Rifle Co. M-99 - the only truly custom-made gun in my locker...i don't share it at all often.... and a 91/30 Mosin i let other folks use all the time.

Or just get a semi-auto, because this time next year that might not be an option...

Abel
January 25, 2013, 04:48 PM
I do #3. If I were into shooting a lot of rounds, I would get a lefty. But typically, it's a one shot deal.

Fiv3r
January 25, 2013, 05:26 PM
I'm dominantly right handed (write, draw, anything with fine motor skills, etc with my right). However, I can't shoulder a gun right handed. It just feels wrong. I'm a total lefty. Pistols and bows I can manipulate right or left with similar results. Long arms and crossbows have to come to my left shoulder.

Most of the time, I just reach over if I don't want to break my stance. If I'm just shooting to shoot, I fire a round then bring the gun down to a neutral position to work the bolt with my right hand and re-shoulder.

It depends on the rifle too. A silky smooth bolt gun is way easier to manipulate than my 91/30. I've actually cut myself several times on the action of my Mosin due to the sharp edges and reaching over with my somewhat clumsy left hand.

I'm actually thinking about just saving my money and picking up a single shot 30-06 and putting some good irons on it. No goofing with the bolt, caliber is easy to find from cheap plinker to critter-getter. Single shot would slow down my shooting. Just do something simple and fun while all this gun drama blows over. I already have a nice lefty AR, so I'm happy to just sit out on that mess until .223 become available at a good price again.

Reloadron
January 25, 2013, 06:02 PM
I have been using option # 3,...running the bolt with my right hand,....all my life. I am 62 now. Tried a left hand gun a few times. Never could take to it.
That would be me also right down to the 62. Next month 63! :)

I do have a single left handed Ruger bolt gun in 7mm Remington Magnum but for me shooting a right hand bolt gun left handed just comes natural after all the years. No thought at all involved.

Ron

rugerdude
January 25, 2013, 08:09 PM
Cycle the bolt with your right hand. reaching over the top is going to be next to impossible with any kind of large-ish scope. It is awkward and inefficient while maintaining a cheek weld.

Off of a rest or bipod you are actually at an advantage with a right-handed gun because you can maintain your sights/scope on target (provided the bolt throw is short enough i.e. short-action rem 700), as well as your firing grip while cycling the bolt.

If supporting the rifle from the rear end for a couple of seconds while cycling the bolt is a big issue, then perhaps a lighter rifle is in order. If that still will not solve the issue to a satisfactory extent, then a left handed bolt or semi-auto is the way to go.

USAF_Vet
January 25, 2013, 08:25 PM
Shooting off sandbags or a bipod, #3 is what I have been doing.

Shooting offhand, #2.

Selling my Right handed bolt action so I can start #1.

littlelefty
January 25, 2013, 09:04 PM
Method #3 works pretty well and I don't notice any real burden in the heft or teeter totter affect with my left hand being away from center of gravity, on the grip while cycling the bolt with my right hand.

I do experience the bolt hitting my left hand on rifles that don't have enough (for me) drop at comb (is that the right term?). I like youth/short LOP rifles and noticed this issue on a Marlin youth bolt gun that I held at a LGS.

Then there's my Remmy 788 LH bolt - method #1 - no issues.

And while method #2 looks really cool on, say Private Ryan, it's terribly awkward for me.

cbmax
January 25, 2013, 09:28 PM
I am right handed but left eye dominate. The result is that I shoot rifles, crossbows and compound bows left handed. I shoot pistols right handed.

I use my right hand to cycle the bolt on my right handed rifles. I think I am probably faster than most right handed shooters using a right handed rifle because I never have to take my trigger finger out of the proximity of the trigger.

The key to this is that you have to be dexterous with our right hand. In actuality, I think my eye dominance issue has made me somewhat ambidextrous.

In a single shot bolt action rifle, one of my favorite set ups is right handed bolt with left side load / ejection. Check out some of the Savage rifles that have this feature.

Practice operating your right handed bolt action rifle using your right hand to manipulate the bolt. I bet with practice, you can develop the necessary motor skills to make this work.

CB

BCCL
January 25, 2013, 09:39 PM
I did #3 until I was 40, and then my niece had a little boy that's a fellow "southpaw" like his ol' uncle, so I finally broke down and ordered me a left handed bolt, since I have someone to start him out with one. (no kids of my own)

His dad had a Savage MII right handed bolt, so I got the leftie version. :)

It was a struggle after all those years of using right hand guns, to retrain myself. :)

fiddleharp
January 26, 2013, 04:45 AM
Every time this subject comes up on a shooting forum there will be someone who states that "Actually, for benchrest, a lefthanded shooter with a righthanded rifle working the bolt with his right hand has an advantage over righthanders because he doesn't have to move his trigger hand... yada, yada, yada".
And, for the zillionth time, I ask the rhetorical question:
If this is such a terrific shooting technique, why don't righthanded benchrest competitors in droves demand the manufacture of lefthanded bolt-action rifles?
:banghead::barf:

helotaxi
January 26, 2013, 06:01 AM
If this is such a terrific shooting technique, why don't righthanded benchrest competitors in droves demand the manufacture of lefthanded bolt-action rifles?
:banghead::barf:

Because in most cases they've never thought to try it out and realize how good it is. Have you? For pure "benchrest" it doesn't matter one whit anyway. For a more "tactical" type setup it has value. The big difference between the right-handed shooter and the left handed shooter is that the left-handed shooter has been adapting to things that are built wrong for them in the first place and as such is a bit more open to different techniques. Also, it's very easy for a lefty to find a right handed rifle whereas it is a great deal more difficult for a righty to find a left handed rifle to try out and realize that from a supported position is actually *is* more ergonomic...but only from a supported position. As soon as you have to shoot off-hand all bets are off which is why my hunting rifles are left-handed.

The Savage dual port target action is pretty close to this concept. The bolt is still on the right side but the rifle loads from the left, you know, in front of the shooter's face where he can actually see what's going on. They also make a left port target action.

Hacker15E
January 26, 2013, 06:11 AM
I'm an over-the-top-with-the-left shooter. Works fine with me.

eastbank
January 26, 2013, 06:34 AM
buy a rem pump or a browning lever action. eastbank.

Skyshot
January 26, 2013, 08:26 AM
As a southpaw myself, most of the dozen or so bolt guns I own are righthanded and haven't given it much thought. In forty plus years of big game hunting, I can only remember a couple of times that required a fast second follow-up shot. Both times using my right hand to cycle the bolt caused me no problems.

Elkins45
January 26, 2013, 10:01 AM
I do #1 now but I used to do #2 until I got my first left handed rifle. I'm gradually trading my commercial RH guns for LH. Obviously my milsurp 98 Mauser and 03A3 don't have LH versions so I guess I'm stuck with them :)

KC&97TA
January 26, 2013, 11:29 AM
I have several right handed friends who own left handed bolt guns, they cycle the bolt with the 'fore hand', it would be no different for a left handed shooter on a right handed gun to cycle with his right hand.

*** right, why would a right handed guy buy a left handed bolt gun... simple, you don't break cheek weld / eye relief and keep your shooting hand on the trigger for follow up shots.

jeepnik
January 26, 2013, 11:46 AM
Unless you are into old military rifles, don't buy into the right handed BS that "You don't need a left handed gun".

There are simply too many good and equally priced left handed bolt rifles not to have one.

But, for as long as their have been firearms, the majority (right handed shooters) have fed southpaws the above BS. I wonder just how the right handed shooters would feel if the majority of the firearms made today were for lefties?

Andrew Wyatt
January 26, 2013, 12:36 PM
get a lh bolt gun. your friends can learn to deal with it.

Abel
January 26, 2013, 01:00 PM
I bought my M70 Featherweight because that's the rifle that I wanted. If it would have come in lefty, I'm not sure that I would have bought it, even though I shoot lefty 95% of the time. The M70 that I found was 2011 inventory and $50 cheaper than the new inventory, plus it had pretty walnut and was in the caliber that I wanted. Those are more important factors to me than it being a lefty. I've been shooting right handed rifles my whole life.

briansmithwins
January 26, 2013, 01:20 PM
Buy a semi auto and let the gun handle the reloading?

Straight pull actions seem to work pretty good for my left handed friends, as do lever guns.

BSW

Sav .250
January 26, 2013, 01:40 PM
I learned long ago to shoot left or right. Simple enough. Just need to practice. Have killed many deer form either side over the years.

VVelox
January 26, 2013, 03:12 PM
2) Cycle the bolt over-handed by reaching over the bolt with your left hand.

Have you tried it with a straight bolt handle or the more common bent bolt handle?

I found that it works nicely with the straight bolt handle on my FR8.

WardenWolf
January 26, 2013, 03:18 PM
It depends on the gun. Non-scoped rifles with a straight bolt handle, I'll reach over with my left hand and cycle it. It's much easier to do that if the rifle doesn't have a bent bolt handle, because you simply don't have the leverage and range of movement to easily do it with your right arm. If the rifle has a bent bolt, I'll use my right arm.

Ronin101
January 26, 2013, 07:47 PM
#3 works for me...a LH rifle is a waste imho. I did get a LH shotgun though

bobinoregon
January 26, 2013, 08:27 PM
Right hand , no scope, I reach over. Scope and I use right hand on bolt. Finally bought a left handed rifle and it's actually been awkward learning to work it. Levers and autos that throw brass forward are easiest to deal with for me.

Hangingrock
January 27, 2013, 11:18 AM
Personally I believe all firearms should be designed primarily for left handed usage exclusively. Then all the right handed individuals could tell me all the neat ways they’ve found to operate them.:rolleyes:

ball3006
January 27, 2013, 11:28 AM
I am ambidextrous so I never gave it much thought. You can always "teach" your other hand to do something....chris3

jeepnik
January 27, 2013, 07:37 PM
Personally I believe all firearms should be designed primarily for left handed usage exclusively. Then all the right handed individuals could tell me all the neat ways they’ve found to operate them.:rolleyes:
I still like to watch right handed folks swap single actions to their left hand to reload. I don't know if Sam Colt was a lefty, or just decided to play a devilish trick on the majority of the world.

taliv
January 27, 2013, 08:44 PM
i strongly prefer left handed bolt guns.

Nalgi
January 27, 2013, 08:54 PM
As a devout lefty, I will always go for the Left hand bolt. However the reach over on a right hand rifle works OK. I learned to shoot with a Remington Mod. 37. The bolt is close enough that I can work the bolt with my left thumb faster then any other method.

airsix
January 27, 2013, 09:08 PM
Most pumps and lever actions have terrible trigger feel. It comes with the mechanics of those designs. They aren't an acceptable solution for this south-paw. My favorite rifle is my Ruger No.1. It has a fantastic trigger and is 100% ambidextrous. Left handed bolts are great too. It's worth getting a rifle that works properly for you.

Elkins45
January 28, 2013, 10:41 AM
I have had dealers bad mouth LH guns because of their "poor resale value", but I could care less how much my wife sells them for after I die. :) I like LH guns in the same way I like cars with standard transmissions: when it's been sitting in inventory for months they are far more likely to take a crazy low offer just to move it off the lot/shelf.

Reloadron
January 28, 2013, 11:16 AM
I have had dealers bad mouth LH guns because of their "poor resale value", but I could care less how much my wife sells them for after I die. :) I like LH guns in the same way I like cars with standard transmissions: when it's been sitting in inventory for months they are far more likely to take a crazy low offer just to move it off the lot/shelf.
I see them as not very bright dealers. When you own a real live brick and mortar gun shop and are actively working gun shows you need a niche. I specialized in reloading supplies, M1 Garand rifles and last but not least left handed bolt action rifles.

When doing the shows we placed 6 to 10 on one of our tables with a little sign reading "Defective guns, bolts installed backwards". They always sold well because at a show with thousands of bolt guns we were frequently the only people selling left handed bolt action rifles. The more people that found us the more rifles we sold. The more business cards we passed out. So based on personal experience I would have to disagree with any dealer who runs down LH rifles, unless of course they are looking to buy one and looking to low ball the gun to the seller. :)

Ron

greyling22
January 28, 2013, 11:43 AM
I'm a huge left handed bolt gun fan, but I've got to say, the more I shoot off a bench, the more I start thinking about using a right handed gun. Only problem is that I don't want to take my left grip off the gun when I cycle the bolt with my right hand, which necessitates I use either a pistol grip chassis, thumbhole, or mcmillian style stock. Chassis is way to expensive, mcmillians feel too thick in the grip, and I've yet to find a thumbhole I am comfortable with. So I stick with my lefty guns, but I have the dream...........

Elkins45
January 28, 2013, 01:17 PM
I had a case head failure in a Savage 111L in 270. The blast of gas that jetted out of the emergency vent hole was enough to blow stuff off the next bench over. My right hand was merely blackened with soot. I hate to think how badly I might have been burned if I hadn't been shooting a lefty that day.

There are reasons other than convenience to choose the correct handed bolt gun.

Hangingrock
January 28, 2013, 03:44 PM
I’ve never had a problem selling a left-handed rifle. When Winchester entered into the left-handed rifle market with their Classic M70 I purchased two. One in 30-06 and the other in 375H&H. Later on when I decided to quit hunting I sold the 375H&H the selling price covered the original purchasing cost of the two Classic M70 rifles along with the optics.

Elkins45
January 28, 2013, 04:21 PM
I have found myself working the bolt on a 22 with my right hand when shooting from the bench but that's not a technique I have used with center fire bolt guns. Maybe that's because of cock on opening vs cock on closing actions?

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