The Bolt Is Best

The repeating bolt-action rifle is still the best hunting arm in the world, bar none.

Enjoy your pumps, levers, single-shots and autos, but know that you’re missing out on the best if you’re not hunting with a bolt. I might be biased, but here’s why:

Strong And Safe: The bolt-action locks cartridges behind more steel than Fort Knox. Two—to as many as nine—lugs turned into deep steel recesses have been proven to contain not just the allowed 65,000 psi of some high-energy centerfires, but as much as double that pressure. One-piece stocks are rigid and tough with no weak connection points between action and butt.

Simple: There aren’t a lot of springs, clips and moving parts on most bolts. Just a basic steel bolt body that you push into battery.

Versatile: Bolt-actions can be made short, long or super long to accommodate any cartridge from .17 Mach 2 to .505 Gibbs. Stocks can be walnut, laminated wood, thermo-plastic or hand-laid fiberglass. They can be narrow and light, fat and heavy, long or short.

Repairable: Pull two or three screws and you can replace a broken stock in minutes. Burn out a barrel and you (or your gunsmith) can screw on a new one in minutes. No brazing, welding or cutting required. Mess up a trigger and you can install an aftermarket unit with a screw-off pin in minutes. Sticky firing pin? You can unscrew the cocking piece, firing pin and spring from the back of the bolt body and clean it yourself.

Compact: Top to bottom—with a scope aboard—a bolt-action averages 6-9 inches. It’ll easily slide into a slim case or scabbard. You can lay prone without its magazine poking into the ground.

Quiet: Slide the bolt back, pick up a round and ease it into the chamber with barely a snick.

Reliable: Drop it in the dirt, clear the barrel, wipe it off and keep shooting. Fire 500 rounds through it without cleaning. Ignore leaves and twigs in the action. Bolt-actions were forged on the battlefield.

Sleek And Lively: Thanks to their slim, straight-line shape and function, bolt-actions generally feel sleek and responsive. They fly to cheek and shoulder almost of their own accord, and they’re comfortable and easy to carry slung or at port arms with few knobs, switches, levers or sharp angles to poke you.

Great Hunting Firepower: With stacked magazines holding 4-6 rounds, bolt-actions have more than enough firepower at the ready for any hunting situation. But they’re so accurate with the first shot, you rarely need more.

Ballistic Launchpad: Because of their vertical-stack magazines, bolt-actions accommodate long, sharply pointed bullets that maximize ballistic performance. Bolts are perfect for sending low-drag bullets a long, long way.

Accurate: No other rifle type is so easy to tweak for accuracy. Straight-line bolts and firing pins are easy to align with the axis of the bore at right angles to the locking lugs. Barrels can be easily floated or full-length bedded as necessary for optimum accuracy.

Affordable: New bolt-actions can be found for as little as $300.

Long live the bolt-action!

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