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Rate of fire for bolt action

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by SkyDaver, Nov 19, 2004.

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  1. SkyDaver

    SkyDaver Member

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    Hoping you'll forgive a rifle newbie, I'm trying to find out how rapidly a moderately skilled rifleman could fire a bolt action rifle, putting the rounds on target.

    I'm guessing, from reading Cooper's Commentaries, that the action may have something to do with it. How's the Steyr Scout?

    I'm asking because I'm in a thread over on democraticunderground where a hunter and benchrest shooter says he doesn't care if all semi-autos get banned. :banghead:

    I don't know how well I'm doing

    The 'subthread' is here

    OBTW, their forum software stinks. This one is much better, both the software and the people :D
     
  2. Chipperman

    Chipperman Member

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    Too many variables:
    1. Weapon
    2. Distance
    3. Target size
    4. Optics or steel sights

    The answer could be anywhere from 2 rounds a minute to 20 or more.
     
  3. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    With a Lee-Enfield No.1 MkIII or No.4 Mk1, I believe the current speed limit as set in the 1940s was around 15 rounds in 60 seconds, aimed, and on target. Granted,the Lee-Enfield has a faster-than-most bolt action type, and it was loaded with stripper clips. 10 rounds already loaded (normal load) and another stripper clip after that.

    I don't think anybody's really beaten that. British Army issue from 1895 to 1955 or so for a reason.
     
  4. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    The Brits trained their troops to fire the SMLE in such a way that the enemy sometimes thought that they were up against machine guns. The SMLE action is fast, and has a 10 round box magazine.
     
  5. goon

    goon Member

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    I have read 38 hits inside about a 24" target at 300 yards in one minute with an SMLE.
    http://www.nrgcnews.org/TheLORDRobertsMatch.doc


    Also, Simo Hayha is said to have been able to hit something like 15 targets in a minute at 150 yards (although I don't know what size targets or what position he was shooting from). This is pretty impressive on its own, but even more so when you consider that he was most likely using an 1891 Mosin Nagant when he set that benchmark (he used a Finnish M-28 and a Suomi submachine gun for much of his "career"). For those of you who haven't shot one, the Mosin Nagant isn't nearly as quick as the Enfield.

    Those are the extreme though. With those cases you are talking about incredible marksmen who are very well practiced and who know their rifles intimately. Most of us would be lucky to do half as well as they did.
     
  6. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I wish I could do that good with my old Mosin, but the sticky bolt phenomena gets me every so often. Need to clean the chamber again....Maybe I should get a SMLE some day, but the Mosins are so nifty and cheap....
     
  7. SMLE

    SMLE Member

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    Goon;

    The original feat was performed by Sergeant Instructor Snoxall in 1914. I was 38 shots into a 12" bull at 300 yards. Prone, iron sights, no sling, loading with 5 round chargers.

    The British Soldiers were taught to positions their heads far enough back on the butt that they could work the bolt without having to break their spot weld. One of the training drills they used was a "race" between two man teams. One man whould have the rifle, and the other would have a pile of dummy rounds and chargers. The object was for the rifleman to load and "fire" faster than the other man could fill the chargers. The trick was, that an instructor with a mirror would be observing the shooter's sight picture to ensure that he was actually AIMING correctly!
     
  8. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The question is not how fast a bolt action rifle can be fired -- the question is, do we accept the proposition that a constituional right can be violated?

    I don't have a single rifle with a vertical pistol grip, for example, and don't plan to buy one. But I DO vigrously oppose the idea that someone can pass a law denying me that right, should I choose to exercise it.

    For what it's worth, some Wimbledon shooters feel those who shoot semiautomatic rifles are at a disadvantage. The Wimbledon is show at 1,000 yards, 20 shots in 20 minutes. BUT, winning shooters wait for exactly the right wind conditions, and shoot as many rounds as possible before conditions change. Winnning bolt gun shooters feel they can shoot faster than opponents armed with semiautomatic rifles.
     
  9. VG

    VG Member

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    Hatcher's Book of the Garand details Army and Marine Corps tests of the Garand versus the M1903 Springfield.

    Obviously the range and size of target make a difference. Early (1931) Army tests recorded hits per pound of ammunition and hits per minute for the Garand, M1903, and BAR. The [.276] Garand recorded 19.5 hits per pound of ammo and 21.2 hits per minute; Springfield 12.8 and 9.0; and BAR 11.2 and 33.3. The Infantry and Cavalry board indicated the Garand could sustain a rate of fire of 20-25 effective rounds per minute and a maximum of 60. The Army officially adopted the Garand (in 30.06) in 1937.

    The Marine Corps held service rifle trials in late 1940. Their tests officially selected the M1903 Springfield as the official service rifle of the Marine Corps (which changed once they saw Army units in action on Quadalcanal) but their tests included the Garand and competitors from Johnson and Winchester. Pages 146-150.

    At 200 yards, the M1903 averaged 14.25 shots per minute and 13.81 hits per minute. The Garand averaged 22.31 shots per minute and 22.06 hits per minute.

    At 325 yards and silhouette targets, the numbers were 8.8 shots and 3.85 hits per minute for the M1903, and 12.0 and 4.23 for the Garand.

    At 300 yard moving silhouettes, the #'s were 14.25 and 3.27 / 19.10 and 3.54 respectively.

    At 300 yard large moving targets, the #'s were 16.20 / 10.20 and 23.15 / 12.85 respectively.

    These tests reflected a group of skilled, practiced marksmen in a short test. It was felt that for less experienced, less fit shooters, the difference would be greater, as would the sustained rate of fire.

    A 1927 Army test noted (page 76)
    Bolt action rifles remain in use as sniper rifles for engagements beyond 3-400 meters, for a variety of reasons. As most people can't even see a human with the naked eye at that distance, so it's moot.
     
  10. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    To a certain extent the Marines made a virtue out of necessity -- there simply weren't enough Garands to go around in '42. And as you point out, the Marines' own tests show the Garand to be more effective than the Springfield in getting the maximum number of hits in the shortest time.

    (By the way, why don't I get a quote button anymore?)
     
  11. Ian

    Ian Member

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    I haven't fired a Steyr Scout, but I did handle one a fair amount. It didn't strike me as having any faster of an action than any milsurp bolt gun. My Enfield is definitely faster to use.
     
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    In highpower rifle competion, rapid fire is ten shots a minute. Bolt actions get no slack vs autos.
    The little CMP Rimfire Sporter competition started out giving .22 autos 25 seconds for 5 rounds and bolt actions 35 but has cut the bolt action time limit to 30 seconds to keep the "level playing field."
     
  13. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I like to play a little game of my own -- shooting at a standard 11-bull, 50-foot target from the offhand (standing, unsupported) position with my M82 Kimber.

    I fire five shots on one bull, working the bolt from the shoulder, then reload and put another five rounds into that bull. I can easily get off all 10 shots in well under a minute (including reloading the magazine) and keep everything inside the 8 ring.
     
  14. goon

    goon Member

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    SMLE - with that title I shall defer to your expertise. :cool:

    The Enfield is without a doubt the fastest bolt action I have ever worked. I can work mine so fast that I can almost catch the empty casing on closing the bolt, and I am just some yahoo who hasn't really shot his SMLE much (about 100 rounds). Imagine what a trained shooter could do with it.

    I agree with Vern Humphrey though. No one has any business telling me what I can do as long as I am not harming anyone.
    Some of these arguments make this a moot point though. A trained shooter with an Enfield is at least as dangerous to you at 300 yards as a guy with an AK is. Probably more dangerous.
    A guy with good eyes and an SMLE at 300 yards .... Put it this way: If he isn't on your side you had best not stick your head up.
     
  15. Chipperman

    Chipperman Member

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    "A trained shooter with an Enfield is at least as dangerous to you at 300 yards as a guy with an AK is. Probably more dangerous. "

    I'd say waaaaaaaaaay more dangerous. An inherently more accurate rifle with a .303 vs 7.62x39.

    If I had to choose between somebody shooting at me from 300 yards. I'd pick the AK over the SMLE. Even if I were hit, I'd stand a better chance of survival.
     
  16. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    Not to mention the Afghans used to pick off Soviet at 400-600 with L-E's, outside the range of their AKs.

    I've owned both. For long range, the Lee-Enfield wins. For closer range, the AK wins. That's the whole point (they are specialized weapons).
     
  17. 30Cal

    30Cal Member

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    I saw that post the other day and I held my tongue.

    Since the context is a democraticunderground thread, the frame of reference would be someone in a close quarters, target rich environment (school or workplace). Ranges never exceeding 25yds. In that case, I would say that 5 rounds in 10 seconds would be about right--pretty much as quick as it takes you to work the bolt. Once the magazine is empty, all bets would be off as most of the victims would be out the door.

    In otherwords, I don't think a semi-auto would be any more dangerous than a bolt action, although you'll probably have more smoke and noise. Nutcases tend to focus more on pulling triggers than making shots count. The benchrest shooter is making arguments that don't really apply.

    Ty
     
  18. ALS

    ALS Member

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    I hit an eight inch steel plate from 300 yards 5 times in 10.8 seconds with my LRS2 300 WinMag Blaser. I got beat by 2 FBI agents with their Remington 700's. I saw an Ex Viet Nam Sniper with 3 tours under his belt and presently head of a Swat team hit that same plate at 500 yards in just over 8 seconds.
    All I can say is Practice, Practice, Practice you will get better.
     
  19. T.Stahl

    T.Stahl Member

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    A week ago I tested myself and my No.4 in a "modified" Lord Roberts match (10cm target at 50m instead of 24" at 300yds).
    I managed to shoot 19 rounds and score 17 hits. And it was only my second attempt at the "mad minute".
     
  20. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    Actually, the nutcases tend to adjust their tactics to accomodate their weapons. Think the Jonesboro school shootings, for example (rapidly picking people off from 100 yards away with a non-self-loading hunting rifle), or Charles Whitman (Texas Tower massacre) and his bolt-action 6mm hunting rifle, who killed well over a dozen people--some at ranges exceeding 500 yards--by sniping from a clock tower. Even a nutcase with a single-shot rifle that took 15 minutes to reload could kill plenty of people in a D.C.-sniper-type scenario.

    BTW, the most deadly mass shooting in the U.S. (Luby's Cafeteria, Killeen, Texas, ~23 victims IIRC) involved slow, very deliberate fire using a couple of ordinary 9mm handguns, and a large roomful of trapped victims who had been disarmed by Texas state law. One of the survivors spearheaded the passage of Texas's concealed carry law.
     
  21. M67

    M67 Member

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    In Norway we have a type of rapid fire competition that somewhat resembles the Lord Roberts-type shooting T.Stahl mentioned.

    The shooting is done from prone with sling and aperture sights. Sauer 200 bolt action target rifles (and occasionally an old Krag Jørgensen) compete against G3s - and the bolt guns usually win. Regardless of rifle the shooter starts with five rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, then reloads with five rounds in each extra magazine (speed loaders for the Krag).

    The course of fire consists of two separate strings of 25 seconds each. The shooter with the highest combined score wins. You can shoot as many shots as you like, but only hits count of course. If memory serves, the target used at the "short" range, 130-ish to 180-ish meters (varies from match to match), is an oval shape about 25 by 30 cm, the target for the "long" range stage, 230-ish to 280-ish meters, is a bit larger.

    Large matches nowadays are always shot at electronic targets, which record time as well as score. The best bolt action shooters have, IIRC, split times of around .9 to 1.1 seconds between shots and just over 4 seconds between the last shot in one magazine and the first in the next. Because the magazine changes take so much time, the "safe" way to win is to "slow down" and go for 16 hits in 16 shots for each stage. It is possible to shoot 18 to 21 shots in those 25 seconds, but at that speed, including a third magazine change, it is much more difficult to hit than if the shooter paces himself for 16 shots. Off the top of my head, I can't remember having heard of a match being won with more than 32 hits aggregate for both stages, although a score of 17 or 18 hits for one stage occasionally occurs.

    No, I don't compete at this myself, but it's impressive to watch. Especially to see someone fumble the last reload and then fire all five rounds in the last magazine during the cease-fire command, which lasts for two seconds. :)
     
  22. ClarkEMyers

    ClarkEMyers Member

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    Steyr Scout is adequate but not outstanding

    Steyr Scout is adequate but not outstanding. Notice Steyr offers a big bolt handle on other models they consider tactical.

    The Steyr Scout uses the SBS action which has a slightly shorter maybe stiffer lift and offers the option of stowing the bolt knob pressed close in and locked for carry and having the butterknife style handle release and ride a tad out for use.

    Might consider the Swiss straight pull or Browning T-bolt .22 at one end of the scale and consider the Weatherby 3 lug 60 degree lift - I've heard of but not handled actions with up to a five lug pattern for drastically reduced bolt lift but of course extra force for the camming extraction and cocking. Never heard that anything could beat the SMLE in the hands of a trained user.
     
  23. DF357

    DF357 Member

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    Lee Harvey Oswald fired 3 rounds in 8 seconds at a moving vehicle.... so they say. :confused:
     
  24. SkyDaver

    SkyDaver Member

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    30Cal, the DU poster is making arguments that don't apply, but I'm trying to counter them.

    I'm hoping to at least reduce the constant barrage of 'high-powered assault weapons' garbage there.

    But this guy, allegedly a hunter, and a benchrest shooter, is, IMO, the worst kind of gun owner ... he's got his, he doesn't think his will get regulated, so go ahead, take all those nasty semi-autos. :banghead:
     
  25. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

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    I have always found the SBS to be an /unreasonably/ stiff action, so have never gotten one. Plus or minus the worst I have ever used. I can't fire 5 shots a minute with any Steyr SBS-action gun.
     
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