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Straight Pull Bolt Action Rifles.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Beak50, May 9, 2012.

  1. Beak50

    Beak50 Well-Known Member

    I'm curious as to why the straight pull bolt action rifle never really caught on with the different military's and hunters.Since the K-31 is a fine gun and you had the Lee Navy 6mm and the Styer ect.They are faster for a follow up shot then the typical Bolt action.You would think before the semi-auto rifle came into being the straight pull would have been a lot more popular especially with the military.
  2. throdgrain

    throdgrain Well-Known Member

    It's caught on pretty well over here!

    Because that's all we're allowed :(
  3. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    I passed many Swiss K-31's on tables at gun shows without ever picking one up because they looked so awkward. After trying one though I had to have one.

    A word of WARNING:

    If you are anywhere beyond average height or have a long neck be carefull!
    The K-31 cocking ring will hit you just below the eye if you operate it while maintaining a proper cheek weld. The bone under your eye is nearly as thin as an egg shell and will break easily. These rifles were designed when the average man was much shorter than modern Americans are now. I am about 5' 10" and I have to move my head back a little every time I cycle the action. This is not a tall mans rifle.

    That being said, otherwise they are EXCELENT shooters.
  4. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Well-Known Member

    From what I've read:

    "The Mauser, its many variants and a few other turnbolt designs won the reliability and durability tests decades ago because the lugs function as cams that provide mechanical advantage to make it easier to extract fired cases. It's a big advantage when the rifle is dirty from use or is being used in a dusty, dirty environment. An example would be the Ross rifle, a straight-pull design used by Canadian troops in World War I. It was a disaster in the filthy trenches. A lot of Canadians died before they were rearmed with the British Lee-Enfield, a turnbolt design that stood up much better."
  5. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    Pretty short step from straight pull to semi-auto.
  6. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    I think that's the point, Wally. Instead of 4 motions (up, back, forward, down) you have two (back, forward). This is, I think, why lever actions carbines and pump action shotguns are more popular for self defense than a bolt action.

    I had an idea for a gun that could be in a hypothetical future-ish video game (thinking like 2025 or so) that was a select-fire full/semi/straight-pull bolt action, where the bolt-action would grant increased accuracy and damage.
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    You can get a LOT of leverage on the bolt handle of a traditional turn-lock bolt action rifle and the camming of the locking lugs produces pretty substantial force which can help a bolt action rifle continue to function under conditions that would almost certainly cause problems for a straight-pull rifle without that massive leverage. Also, the locking mechanism tends to be more complex.

    The K-31 was probably the best of the heap, being relatively uncomplicated (though more-so than a Mauser or Springfield) but by the time it was being fielded, most designers were looking to self-loading designs so the bolt-action more or less stopped evolving.
  8. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    When you really think about it pump action rifles and shotguns are also 'straight pulls' and they are even faster since you use your other hand to cycle the action and never have to remove your finger from the trigger guard. Pump rifles never caught on with the military either.
  9. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Interesting in a way, though, that the "big" concern about them not functioning when very dirty or with low-quality ammo was brushed aside with the advent of semi-autos which all have more or less the same kinds of problems.

    I suppose the inertia of a gas-operated bolt slamming against the locking mechanism tends to help with locking and unlocking to a larger degree than can be achieved with a (relatively) gentle pull of a human hand, but the largest complaint about the semi- and full-auto military weapons that we do use today is the same reason usually given for why we didn't go with more straight-pull bolt guns.
  10. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    The reason pump-action's didn't catch on is because they typically employ a tubular magazine, a design that is bad for pointed centerfire bullets. You can also fit a lot more .30 caliber rounds into a box magazine or internal rotary magazine than you can a tube magazine.
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    By far the most popular centerfire pump rifles in the hunting fields are the Remington 760/7600 series. They use a box magaine. As does the 7615 that uses AR-15 mags.

    They have been used for law-enforcement purposes, but have fallen by the wayside, even though they can use any ammo that fits.
  12. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    I once saw a pump action .223 that used standard AR magazines.
    It was made in some country, (South Africa maybe?) that had outlawed semi-autos.
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

  14. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    I have to move my head as well, we stand the same height.
  15. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

    Unless the designers figured out a solution. See this.
  16. AethelstanAegen

    AethelstanAegen Well-Known Member

    For what it's worth, the straight pull action on my M95 Steyr is quite stiff and so it really doesn't amount to much faster follow up shots than I'm able to do with my M24/47 Mauser (a turn bolt). It's so much stiffer in fact that several friends and family have had trouble operating it so I could see how after it got a bit dirty, it would become a useless club to some shooters. So I think there really isn't much of an advantage in quicker follow up shots between a straight pull and a turn bolt.

    On a side note, I really need to pick up a K31. I've heard great things.
  17. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    I shot Lee Enfields and K31’s and Swiss M1911’s.

    Sure the K31 might be a little faster than a Lee Enfield but not by much. The Lee Enfield is the faster turnbolt I have shot. Without a doubt a K31 is faster than a M98 type. I have to agree a M1895 Mannlicher is a stiff action and I would not categorize it as a speed demon.


    Compared to a Garand, all these manual bolt rifles are tortoises in terms of lead down range.

    The differences in rate of fire between turnbolt actions had to be inconsequential in terms of combat effectiveness.

    I am of the opinion that while straight pull actions are interesting mechanisms, the lack of primary extraction is and was a problem, the complexity of the things is a real problem. Until you talk to Officers who have led draftees, you cannot comprehend just how stupid the bottom of the barrel draftee can be, and those are the ones who go into the Infantry! (There is a reason they are called "knuckle draggers"!). The difference in intelligence, the amount of training it takes to do minimal tasks, the speed of learning between draftees and our current all volunteer force which requires a minimum of a High School degree, I have been told it is amazing. Even the Officer core has its issues. I had to reassemble a couple of times a Mosin Nagant bolt for an ex Major. The Major could take it apart but he could not get it back together. He is not stupid in any way, but he sure is not mechanically minded.

    Straight pull actions are by nature more complex than a turnbolt. That is very, very, bad.

    Another fault, they are expensive to make. The Swiss are a rich nation and they make expensive weapons. Not every nation wants to put that much time and money into a service rifle.

    If you want to look at a good design for a service rifle, look at the HK91. Simple to take down, simple to operate and very cheap to build. I believe the rifle was considered disposable as being able to make mass quantities is a better idea in a war, than spending the time and money recycling old rifles. After losing Armies of millions of men with all of their equipment in Russia, that lesson was well learned by the post war German designers of the HK91.

    The Swiss continue to make some of the finest, most expensive service rifles on the planet. According to this, the last war the Swiss fought was in 1515, http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_was_the_last_war_that_Switzerland_fought_in, if you ignore some inhouse fights between Catholic Swiss and Protestant Swiss in 1847.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  18. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    K31's are smooth, and require only little applied force to function. Which allows for a faster cyclic rate. I love mine :)
  19. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Yes. When I've brought mine out for rifle side matches it has earned the nickname "that darned bolt-action machine gun!" ;)

    Having said that, an Enfield is very, very fast in the right hands.

    'Course there's no bolt-action RELOAD as fast as K31 stripper clips either, which helps.
  20. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    Haven't been able to put mine through a match, yet. Soon, though. And I have yet to pick up some stripper clips as well, there are some sitting in my LGS but haven't asked about price.

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