The worst bolt action rifle of all time?

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tark

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Having fun over at the autoloading pistol thread asking the same question about automatic pistols, so let's have a go at rifles. Two classes, military and all others. No 22s please, stick to center fire rifles.

I have very little knowledge of hunting rifles but I do have a nomination for the worst military rifle: The Ross Mk. 1 and Mk. III. The former suffered from poor design and poor materials used in its construction The heat treatment was bad and several blew up, with some of fatalities. ( Sound familiar? ) The latter suffered from poor design. The left rear locking lug ( the Mk III had seven. ) would bang against the bolt stop and slowly deform. After a time the bolt would start binding in the receiver. This resulted in the soldier beating on the thing until it got so bad the bolt froze up. This , too, got people killed.

And then there was the problem of the incorrectly positioned bolt head. It was possible to assemble the bold with the locking lugs in the wrong position. The bolt can be inserted into the gun and chamber a round with the lugs in the unlocked position. The blown back bolt will be stopped by the bolt stop, AND YOUR RIGHT THUMB!!! In the rifles defense, the bolt in this position was very hard to insert in the gun and moves very stiffly. That alone should tell one something is wrong. This flaw was corrected in later guns.

The Mk II was a fairly robust and reliable design, whose biggest flaw was it couldn't be clip loaded. Ross should have stuck with it. I have a Mk III and it is a minute of angle gun. The most accurate military bolt gun I have ever owned
 
In my honest opinion, and from what I've handled..... A Remington 700 made on a bad day.

On average either the Remington 770 or the predecessor to the Mossberg ATR.... I can't remember who made that one but a friend had one for about a day and a half before he decided to upgrade to a used Savage Edge.


I've never handled a carcano, and the only military guns that really interest me are converted to sporters which can fix some of the handling issues that can cause complaints..... Thus I don't have any real opinions on the worst military bolt actions.
 
Mosins have a magazine interrupter to prevent rim lock.

My choice would be a Carcano or Vetterli. The Carcano has an “indecisive” lockup that does not feel solid or seated and the Vetterli was a compromise at best.

Arisakas were a sound and solid design, even the last ditch rifles that I have seen were solid, the majority had great metallurgy but many mfg shortcuts to simplify and speed up production.
 
Mosins have a magazine interrupter to prevent rim lock.

My choice would be a Carcano or Vetterli. The Carcano has an “indecisive” lockup that does not feel solid or seated and the Vetterli was a compromise at best.

Arisakas were a sound and solid design, even the last ditch rifles that I have seen were solid, the majority had great metallurgy but many mfg shortcuts to simplify and speed up production.

And on the several I’ve owned, it only works “part of the time”.
 
Both of mine are going to be controversial but here goes. I have shot maybe 10 different military issue bolt actions and honestly don't have any major complaints about any of them but my least favorite was a swiss K31. The straight pull action just seamed pointlessly complex for no real benefit and it felt like the trigger pull was 3/4" long.

As for a modern production rifle the one that does absolutely nothing for me is a savage axis. I detest the sprayed on bed liner finish and the stocks are the absolute worst on the market. I don't know what they are molding them from but I swear they are recycled cool whip containers. The plastic is so soft it feels like if you left it in the sun it would melt. Also I do not like the humpback aesthetics of the back of the receiver that they share with the savage model 12, and the 20 lbs of force it takes to open the bolt against the firing pin spring. All complaining aside, there is nothing functionally wrong with them and the ones I have shot were very accurate. I wouldn't try to talk someone out of one, but they are 40 grit sandpaper on my personal sensibilities.
 
I second the nomination of the Ross, in addition to the problems with the bolt its action was unsuited to the mud and muck of Flanders where the CEF fought, it had to be withdrawn after 2 years. It was said of Charles Ross that he spent a lot of time tinkering with his designs but didn't take the time to perfect them.
The Carcanos have a bad reputation due to the poor performance of the Italian military in WWII.
The Mosin Nagant is clunky and crude by our standards but well suited to a largely illiterate peasant army which often saw the rifle merely as a bayonet carrier.
I have heard it said of WWI that the US had the best target rifle, the Germans the best hunting rifle, the British the best battle rifle.
 
Agree with the above statement about Remington 700’s I’ve seen some absolute nightmares come out of the Remington factory. Here’s a sleeper for you though, the Blaser R-93. It seems like a well made rifle, it’s priced like a well made rifle, shoots like a well made rifle. Then that skyhook of a straight pull bolt fails and will blow half your face off for no apparent reason.
 
Not military… AR-7 have a terrible reputation.

Military gun… it wasn’t necessarily a mass produced arm, but the Asian Jezail guns have a reputation for being trash because some makers were skilled, but others were the Moroccan/afghan version of bubba. Especially the ones mounted on a camel saddle.

Edit:
I just reread some responses and realize now that neither of my answers were explicitly bolt action. I R Dumm
 
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NIGHTLORD40K said: "Carcano M38 carbine. Clunky, rough action, goofy clip feed, non-adjustable sights, floppy, rattling folding bayonet and brutal recoil in 7.35.....just ugh."

Coop45 replied: "Mine cost $9.95. And worth every penny."

Last Saturday in the black powder cartridge match I shot my Carcano Series 1891 Model 1938 Short Rifle in 6.5mm Carcano (made 1940 when Beretta ran Terni Arsenal) and somehow managed to place first ahead of shooters using real BP rifles in calibers like .38-55 or .45-70.

Course of fire is five shots each stage - 100 yd benchest target then standing offhand steel silhouette: 100 meter pigs, 150 meter turkeys, 200 meter rams. My benchrest score was lowest at 44 of 50, but I hit 4 pigs, 3 turkeys, 4 rams.
IMG_20160910_091659257_HDR.jpg
I'll agree the fixed 300 yard open battle sights are imprecise, the three stage trigger pull is a challenge. I have enbloc clips and offset the scope mount to allow use, but BP course of fire is single shot.
 
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NIGHTLORD40K said: "Carcano M38 carbine. Clunky, rough action, goofy clip feed, non-adjustable sights, floppy, rattling folding bayonet and brutal recoil in 7.35.....just ugh."

Coop45 replied: "Mine cost $9.95. And worth every penny."

Last Saturday in the black powder cartridge match I shot my Carcano Series 1891 Model 1938 Short Rifle in 6.5mm Carcano (made 1940 when Beretta ran Terni Arsenal) and somehow managed to place first ahead of shooters using real BP rifles in calibers like .38-55 or .45-70.

Course of fire is five shots each stage - 100 yd benchest target then standing offhand steel silhouette: 100 meter pigs, 150 meter turkeys, 200 meter rams. My benchrest score was lowest at 44 of 50, but I hit 4 pigs, 3 turkeys, 4 rams.
View attachment 1011307
I'll agree the fixed 300 yard open battle sights are imprecise, the three stage trigger pull is a challenge. I have enbloc clips and offset the scope mount to allow use, but BP course of fire is single shot.
They are alot more manageable in 6.5, thats true.

Love the broomhandle!
 
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