It’s easy to argue that not much new has happened with bolt-action rifles since more than a century ago when Paul Mauser worked out the basic pattern with its cylindrical receiver, two front-locking lugs, small-diameter bolt and roughly 90-degree bolt lift. True, there have been a number of designs departing from this pattern, such as the straight-pull Mauser M96 and Blaser R93, the three-lug Browning A-Bolt and Sako 75, and the Weatherby Mark V, with nine lugs and a full-diameter bolt. However, most of the actions favored by American shooters are variants of the Mauser. Two-lug actions are not only simple and strong, their 90-degree bolt lift provides better camming leverage than multi-lug actions with 60-degree (or less) lift.
Arguably, the best American expression of the Mauser design is the Remington 700 action. Reliable, immensely strong, easy to bed, and furnished with a good trigger, the Remington is the commercial action most favored by custom riflesmiths. It’s capable of extraordinary accuracy. Indeed, in the early days of benchrest competition, before the widespread availability of precision custom actions, Remingtons were common on the firing line.
It’s easy to argue that not much new has happened with bolt-action rifles since more…
by Stan Crist / Mar 1, 2007