Which Factory Rifle Action is "Best"? - Page 2
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:12 PM   #11
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My personal favorite factory action is browning a-bolt. With very little tuning they'll either keep up with or surpass the rest. I LOVE to build customs from them.

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Old 07-26-2008, 04:09 AM   #12
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I'm not a gunsmith, but I build most of my guns these days. You write an interesting article. However, I am reminded by the old engineering platitude: "Theoretically, it is impossible for a bumblebee to fly."

What makes an action "good"? Frankly, it is the fact that an action, in combination with other components and ammunition, can compose an accurate rifle. Thus, the actions that you have written about are all "good" in that they qualify. Basically, it comes down to personal preference.

Now, I think you were intending to write about accuracy potential, although you did not specifically mention it. If I am wrong, please tell me.

But, if you were intending to write about accuracy potential, there were some obvious characteristics that pertain to accuracy that were not mentioned. For instance, lock time, tenon length, and other technical characteristics have far more impact on accuracy than the geometry of the receiver bottom.

I also find it interesting that the Savage was not mentioned in your article. Take a gander at this:

http://accurateshooter.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/savage-6br-factory-rifle-delivers-superb-accuracy/

The Savage, while a round and lightweight receiver, has many accuracy enhancing characteristics, like a floating bolt head and nut-style barrel mounting system.

My personal experience with Howa actions is that, from the factory, they are more like Rugers - nothing to write home about - but can be made into accurate platforms. Remingtons, I find to have an edge over them in out of the box accuracy. Winchesters - well, Winchesters are Winchesters; I love them just because they have character. But more and more, I am thinking, based on my experience and that of many others, the Savage is the best action for the money out there, round bottom or not. Besides, there is nothing wrong with a round bottom that a decent bedding job couldn't fix.

Just my opinion. Obviously, YMMV.

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Old 07-26-2008, 04:45 AM   #13
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FAL - Yep. You missed the point of the artictle.

The action is the anchor, or the platform, or the launching pad of the bullet.

The action is the part of the boltgun that is the ONLY part of the "accurate rifle" that is adhered to the "stock" - or the part you are holding with your dick beaters.

The more solid, the thicker, the more "beefy" your action is, the better chance it has of supporting that big, thick, long, possibly bull barrel you are attaching to it.

This isn't magic, it's simple physics. The more mass you have behind the midpoint, or commonly seen as the recoil lug, the better chance you have of supporting that big, long barrel that you expect to give you sub-moa accuracy.

A true bolt action rifle, built by a quality smith, is built with a free floated barrel, one that never touches the stock in question. The stronger the action that it is mated too, the better chance of that barrel staying in postion and launching that bullet with more consistent accuracy.

The simple reason that the Savage wasn't included was merely because it is not in the top three of bolt gun requests in a shop that sees hundreds of build requests a year.

The Savage is a great model from the factory. They offer one of the best models for the money out there today - from the factory. They are not going to give you custom build accuracy. Anyone that says otherwise doesn't understand what a custom rifle can provide.

Anyone willing to spend the money to build a custom rifle isn't choosing a Savage as the action of choice. There isn't a request a month that is booking a Savage as the platform of choice. It just isn't happening...

For our shop, one that has a 14 month backlog on custom rifle builds, this is the list of requests ( minimum 2 dozen requests ).

1) Remington 700
2) Winchester Model 70
3) Howa Model 1500

Those are the facts from the Pacific Northwest. If you build something different, great. If you prefer another action, more power to you, see the first paragraph of the article.

However, as you can clearly see from the write up, the Remington ( which is hands down the most popular rifle action in bolt gun performance ) is not the "best" overall choice, given the criteria.

Now, we are not talking about the new .338 Lapua Remington Actioned Rifle that was submitted to the military for their new Sniper Rifle Competition. That action is one hell of a great piece of kit, but it is not available on the civilian market yet.

There are gunsmiths' all over the country that will tell you they can make you a one bug hole shooter out of any action. But, if you want to get the best possible platform, for the money, with the intent of building a truly great rifle out of it, you REALLY need to consider the Howa 1500, as a company that doesn't have the marketing of "R" or "W", and give yourself a much better base than the others can offer.

JD

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Old 07-26-2008, 04:20 PM   #14
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Ah, thanks for setting me straight.

I agree that the Howa action is a decent action, and quite reasonable to boot. I guess the reason that they do not get much press is that there is not a whole lot of a whole lot of aftermarket support for it. Several companies have imported them under different brands; my first encounter with the Howa was the S&W 1500.

As for not using the Savage action on a custom rifle, that is probably true for big dollar gunsmiths. The neat thing about the Savage is that you can do all of the work yourself when customizing. Due to its design, the truing of the action is minimal (I do mine on a benchtop lathe); you can rebarrel it with 2 wrenches and control the headspace while you are at it; and the Accu-trigger does not need any work. I see a lot of custom rifles built on the Savage 10 and 110 actions in the states that I travel in, and 99% of them are owner-built.

It will be interesting to see if many custom rifles are built on the new T-C bolt action. There are many features about it that I like, but I have not had the opportunity to shoot one yet. Like the Howa, it has a large flat bottom.

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Old 07-26-2008, 04:58 PM   #15
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Agreed. After looking at the latest price specs, I firmly believe that the new Savage Tactical package ( is it the SBR? SPR? Something like that )comes with the Accu-Trigger; the 24" Heavy Barrel and an H-S Precision stock in .308 for like $750 may be the best overall deal on a factory "precision" rifle.

That being said, any round bottom action is not going to be as inherently accurate when bedding and put in a custom stock as one that has more of the flatter, solid base.

Take a look at all the serious long range benchrest action, two things will be prominent. 1) Most serious benchrest actions are single shot only. The bottom is solid, no internal magazines, no nada. 2) The bottoms are usually flat across a broad cross section of the bases so that it has the most stable surface area to be locked down to the stock.

The real problem, any time you are discussing accuracy and the tools to get it done, is that there is no recognized criteria.

Take a hunter who only needs "Angle of Deer" to take game each and every season, and he will tell you that his rifle is the most accurate going. Why wouldn't it be? It does exactly what it's supposed to do.

Take a Sniper, someone who needs better than Minute of Angle performance each and every time he deploys? Minute of Deer is't going to cut it. Minute of Angle is the minimal need and 1/2 MOA is almost a requirement.

Give his rifle to a benchrest guy, one who is shooting 1,000 yard groups in a slow, steady, planned time limt shoot and sub-moa is the minimal requirement to even show up at the range. Minute of Angle at 1,000 yards won't even get you honorable mention at the end of the competition.

The big reason for this write up is because that is one of the most common, and frustrating, questions that come through the shop. "What's the best rifle action?"

JD

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Old 07-28-2008, 07:49 PM   #16
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Another thing a lot of people overlook when they start talking about benchrest matches, world records, etc., is the fact the Remington 700 action is one of the most produced actions in the world. There are literally millions of them. You can go to any gun show in the country and find dozens of beat up, shot up 700's for sale for a song. These are often purchased and chopped up for "project guns", custom builds, name it. The Remington 700 is to the gun world, what the "Chevy 350" is to the hot rod world. Abundant and cheap. By comparison, how many are going to spend top buck for an immaculately kept Weatherby Mark V DeLuxe, then take it home and chop it up for a project gun? Few, if in fact any. The Remington 700 is a well thought out design that has been produced cheaply, at a substantial profit over the last several decades. They have their pluses and minuses. Personally I can't see paying well into 4 digits for a "custom build" Remington. It's a bit like putting colored sprinkles on a Vanilla ice cream cone. It looks nice, but it still tastes like Vanilla because it is Vanilla. Bill T.

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Old 09-04-2010, 02:47 AM   #17
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Default only a fourth year engineering student's thoughts

This all is very fascinating to me as I am working on my masters degree in mechanical engineering.

I just wanted to bring out a physics point on the idea of bedding a rifle action on round vs flat. With the bolt draw and torque points being equal on the actions there can be a large friction coefficient with the round action that would offset considerable counter torque of any rifle caliber. Remember the moment of torque applied during firing is quite short. A flat rifle action could have lateral and possibly forward and backward movement unless its set with a zero tolerance for that play. The wedging of a round action once set under torque would not have lateral play at all.

From a sonic and vibration point of view a round joint has much better vibration dampening than a flat joint. Guitar necks are flat wedge or flat jointed to transmit vibration.

Did you ever notice the use of round grove cut wood to remove barrels. It seems to hold quite well under torque. I have seen engineers on board ship to remove some stubborn round items out of pumps and things using simple round cut wood vises.

I like to shoot rifles and look forward to learning more here before I buy a one hole shooter for myself.

Seb

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Old 09-04-2010, 03:31 AM   #18
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Sebbie - I appreciate the bump and your thoughts. This is far more than a lot have added since this was first posted.

A flat surface is a flat surface. If the round flat surface is mated and the square flat surface is mated, you have almost the exact same resistance, but you have to remember that torque from a rifled round is more of a twist as opposed to a backward, lateral, transmission.

The recoil as far as lateral goes, is going to include the rifle's stock. It's not like the rifle's stock is going to be locked in place and the action gets to slide within the stock bedding.

While I have nowhere close to level 090 in Engineering, I do have several years experience in a custom rifle shop producing rifles that flat get the job done: In competition, in hunting animals, in hunting humans and in dead on accuracy.

JD

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Old 09-04-2010, 08:49 AM   #19
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If you really want to look at what action type is better take a look at the bench rest shooters.

Kelbly top three action are all flat bottom designs.

RPA makes a flat bottom.

Stiller makes a flat bottom.

Yes there are plenty of round bottom IE remmy 700 guns on the lines. The most popular that I see talked about are the flat bottom actions.

Hey also Less Johnson from Predator Quest uses HOWA. He is a coyote killing GOD and if that is what he is using then I may have to get me one of them....

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Old 09-04-2010, 09:20 PM   #20
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Default It would be fun to work this on a computer model

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
Sebbie - I appreciate the bump and your thoughts. This is far more than a lot have added since this was first posted.

A flat surface is a flat surface. If the round flat surface is mated and the square flat surface is mated, you have almost the exact same resistance, but you have to remember that torque from a rifled round is more of a twist as opposed to a backward, lateral, transmission.

The recoil as far as lateral goes, is going to include the rifle's stock. It's not like the rifle's stock is going to be locked in place and the action gets to slide within the stock bedding.

While I have nowhere close to level 090 in Engineering, I do have several years experience in a custom rifle shop producing rifles that flat get the job done: In competition, in hunting animals, in hunting humans and in dead on accuracy.

JD
Experience is worth a lot. And I don't doubt your qualifications at all. But mathematically I would have to disagree with your thoughts on surface mating. Friction coefficients between surfaces are a complex thing. Example Notice how you lose traction on a corrugated road surface at certain speeds and not at other speeds. A ping vibration impulse will have a tremendous effect on the stabilization on the mated surfaces. Energy likes to travel in a straight line and loses amplitude when its bent or curved in a medium. Here is where round is better for vibration stabilization. The moment of inertia also has a dwell time factor dependent of mass ratios, angular momentum, and delta V relationship of the moving objects. There is a lot more too this but basically this may explain why round bedded actions work at all. Personally I like what I see in the TC Icon rifle's engineering.

Thanks for the reply. I like things that make me think and this thread did. I might try to work some of this on a computer model. Thanks JD, Your the best!

Seb
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