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What are the major differences between a short action and long action?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by blackops, Jul 14, 2009.

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  1. blackops

    blackops Member

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    I was wondering what the major differences are between a short action and long action?
     
  2. sarduy

    sarduy Member

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    1 the lenght of the ammo used
    2. the size of the receiver.
     
  3. sarduy

    sarduy Member

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    Long Action
    [​IMG]

    short action
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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  5. natman

    natman Member

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    The short action is shorter, lighter and stiffer. Depending on how you use the rifle this may or may not make a difference. If your hunting takes place in a beanfield stand with a couch and a benchrest, shorter and lighter won't mean much. If you are building a sheep rifle it's a big deal.
     
  6. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    About 1/2" and around 3-4 oz. It depends on the maker. A Remington 700 short action is a lot shorter than most others. Savage short actions are only about 1/8" shorter than a Remington long action.
     
  7. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    The box or detachable magazines are also the appropriate length.

    Some rifles use the same action length for both long and short action cartridges. They make the bolt throw short for short action cartridges with the use of an altered bolt stop.
    A good example is Tikka's T3.

    It would be nice to have a "short action" 308 in a Tikka, but in that particular rifle you'd only save 2 oz and it would probably drive the price of the gun up a few dollars.
     
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    The Catch-22 is that you give up velocity with a short action, so you can sacrifice flat shooting for easier climbing. The WSMs are an attempt to deal with that problem, but they tend to like longer barrels that cancel out weight/size savings.

    In a custom rifle, designed for weight savings, they might still offer something, of course.

    Or you could get something like a Mark V Ultra Lightweight in .257 Weatherby Magnum, 6 3/4 lbs. with a 26" barrel and a big magnum-length action. You don't need to use a weak round and a shortened barrel to lighten up.

    Everything is a tradeoff. Short actions are one possible option to throw into the mix.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009
  9. P.B.Walsh

    P.B.Walsh Member

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    How do short actions give up velocity?
     
  10. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    You choose to sacrifice cartridge performance, when you choose a short action and/or a short barrel to get lighter weight.

    That's not good or bad. There's just no free lunch.

    For a sheep rifle, you want light weight, but you also want flat shooting. The short action isn't necessarily the best compromise. Might be, might not.
     
  11. Arkel23

    Arkel23 Member

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    Size and ammo prices lol. It isn't a HUGE difference.
     
  12. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    One more thing...

    If you want to shoot fast, you can often cycle a short action without having to break your cheek weld.
     
  13. Reid73

    Reid73 Member

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    Here's a real short action:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. P.B.Walsh

    P.B.Walsh Member

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    I'm still not understanding how a short action reduces velocity? The bullet's gases are pushing after the primer has been struck, and then propeles the bullet out of the barrel. So how would the length of the action have any affect? Or is it just the longer case capacity to put a bit mire powder in a long action (30-06) compared to less powder (.308).

    Thanks,
    P.B.Walsh
     
  15. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Yup.

    The main difference between a .308, .30-06, .300 Win Mag and .300 Wby Mag is the amount of powder (in ascending order here). Velocity goes up accordingly. The bullets used are usually literally the same (with the caveat that the bigger rounds can push oversized bullets better).

    The .308 might have been designed to match the old Garand round's velocity, but it doesn't match a modern .30-06 hunting round's.
     
  16. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    All he's saying is that long action cartridges tend to be hotter than short action cartridges with the same bullet diameter.

    The actual receiver itself has no impact on velocity.
     
  17. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    It's totally amazing how much lighter and more compact and handy my Remington M7 is compared to my Savage 110 in 7 mag. Even my old short action M722 Remington is positively svelte compared to that Savage cannon. I only break out the Savage when I think a magnum caliber is needed, which in the last 15 years hasn't happened, LOL. I hunted with it for a while after I got it, then figured out it was a might much for whitetails. It is a heavy beast to carry all day in the mountains, can tell ya that! That's why I got the M7 in .308, but it's also handier in a deer stand or box blind.
     
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Hmm, was lookin' at the published ballistics on the .325 WSM the other day.........

    Hey, if you need more gun than that, you ain't in the western hemisphere.
     
  19. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Note that a .308 Model 7 is designed to be svelte from butt to muzzle.:)

    The short action is part of, but not all of, the equation.

    Simply getting a 700 in .308 instead of .30-06 probably won't net as much of a difference.

    Yes, but the Model 7 in a WSM caliber isn't any more svelte than your average 700. "Short action" doesn't necessarily translate into a quick little rifle (hence my reluctance to go with a WSM).
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Yes, well, most short actions are designed to be svelt, else, why bother? My son-in-law has a Remington "Varminter" in .308, 26" fluted heavy barrel. It seems pointless to me. Yeah, it's accurate, but yeah, in a gun that heavy and long,I'd get it in .375 H&H MAGNUM length action. LOL Short actions are best in compact, light rifles. The whole reason for the short magnum craze is giving big caliber ballistics in a short action, compact round, but I kinda think .308 is plenty for anything I'll ever be shooting at. If I ever can afford a Nilgai hunt, maybe I'll break out that big 7. I could rebarrel that thing in .338 Win Mag, have been thinkin' about that. I mean, if you're going to go excessive, do it right, eh? LOL
     
  21. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Here's one that has intrigued me for a while. I have no use for it, but if I lived in Alaska and worried about big bear........

    http://www.browning.com/products/ca...ue=003B&cat_id=034&type_id=009&item=034009177

    It's 4 ounces heavier than the .308 Win version. You can get it in stainless, but not in .325, but in .300 WSM which ain't shabby. Now, I know, find ammo for it in Alaska, right? I reload so ammo wouldn't be a problem if I lived there, assuming Midway USA and UPS delivers there. LOL
     
  22. Reid73

    Reid73 Member

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    Right on (substitute .358 if a larger bore is for some reason thought necessary).
     
  23. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    That's why I think that the WSMs are an engineering failure -- not that they don't work, but that they fail to really meet their design criteria in the real world.

    For example, the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight, which is a sleek, but full-size rifle (more of a fair comparison, since the standard-caliber Model 7 is lightened up a bit more AFAIK, so it makes the WSMs look even worse).

    .308 - OAL 42" - 6 lbs. 8 oz.
    .30-06 - OAL 42 1/2" - 7 lbs.
    .300WSM - OAL 44" - 7 lbs. 4 oz.
    .300 WM - OAL 44 1/2" - 7 lbs. 8 oz.

    The size and weight of the rifle seems proportional to the performance, to me.

    If the WSM were a true engineering success, you'd expect the .300 WSM to be a .308-like rifle. But it's not.

    In a receiver gun like a BLR, though, it does seem to offer something.
     
  24. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    WRT short and other magnums, I thought that they were excessive until I came here.

    We have high mountains and deep canyons, prairies and rolling hills.

    Antelope, sheep and bighorns beg for flat shooting rounds. Elk and moose benefit from big ones. Even mule deer live in some amazing terrain.

    It depends on what you're pursuing, and where.
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well, then, don't get the winchester....:D That BLR is 6 lbs 12 ounces in .325 WSM. Of course, I kinda like the gun. My buddy's .308 BLR is a 1.5 MOA gun, pretty good for a lever gun, but no in that magic 1 moa range I'll admit. Out there in your part of the world, that can matter.
     
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