SHOOTERS MAGAZINE – VOL 4, ISSUE 2 – FEBRUARY 2016

Bolt action rifles for cartridges with smokeless powder are around for almost one and a half centuries.
They served mainly as military weapons, but also for hunting or sports shooting.

Starting with the forties and fifties, the need for a higher fire power (and, thus, less recoil) and the much shorter combat distances have brought the select fire rifles into play and sent the bolt rifles into a secondary, if not tertiary role.

They still serve the military and law enforcement as sniper rifles as well as anti-material rifles and others. And when talking about reliability and shot to shot consistency, they are unbeatable.

The good news are: after the military switched its main focus from bolt rifle to automatic rifles, gun producers concentrated much more on the needs of hunters and sport shooters in term of bolt rifles.

The result: there are hundreds of types of bolt rifles on offer, covering any imaginable wish of hunters.

There are also quite a few sports rifles with bolt action around.

Producers discovered meanwhile a new niche in the world of sports rifles: tactical bolt rifles.

While there is no uniform definition of a “tactical” rifle, it probably ticks following boxes:

a. A polymer or aluminum stock adjustable in length and height (of the cheek piece and sometimes its angle) to as to cover all shooting positions and body sizes;

b. Most of the times a steel or, more likely (for weight reasons) aluminum chassis ensuring stability and consistency; The chassis or, more likely the receiver, holds a rail [sometimes with a certain pre-set incline (e.g. 20 MOA) to allow long range shooting)] for mounting optical devices;

c. A free-floating (many times a weight or semi-weight) barrel; In big bore calibers there is a compensator mounted on the barrel to allow a better control of the rifle in the shot and less bruises on the shoulder of the shooter;

d. A sensitive trigger (ideally with adjustable pull and weight) and

e. Most of the time, but not always an aluminum handguard (holding MilStd or Weaver rails or at least allowing for the possibility of such rails to be mounted later). Aside of guarding the hand of the heated barrel, the scope of this part is to allow easier mounting of additional aiming devices (e.g. where allowed by law thermal devices, lasers, lamps, etc) or, more likely, bipods or other support devices.

Many times these rifles are being developed to compete in tenders launched by military or law enforcement authorities. It goes without saying that the winner of the tender capitalizes the prestige in selling (where allowed by the authority) the rifle to the sport shooters as well. Remington and Accuracy International are only two examples.

There are also “tactical” bolt rifles built by simply developing sport rifles, with little military connection.

Many European producers irrespective if large, medium or small (or even boutique producers), compete in this niche. We have listed below only a few examples in alphabetical order. If one producers or a rifle is not listed it is because our memory fails us or because we have simply not run across it.

1. Accuracy International – with various models;
Accuracy International

2. ADC Customs with their TBAR;
ADC Custom Intro

3. BCM with their MAAR;
BCM Europe Arms

4. DSR with their No. 1;
DSR

5. Haenel with several models – See Shooters’ Magazine Vol 3, no. 2;
Haenel

6. Remington with several 700 models;
Remington

7. Sako with their TRG;
Sako

8. Sig Sauer with their SSG 3000;
Sig Sauer

9. Steyr with several models;
Steyr

10. Tactical 73 with their TUS Model 1;
Tactical

11. Unique Alpine with various models;
Unique Alpine

12. Voere with various models (including the one with laser striker) – see Shooters Magazine- News IWA 2015;
Voere

Russian producers also compete in this growing market.

Not to speak of American Producers: Mossberg with their Varmint Predator or Kimber with their Advanced Tactical SOC/SRC,Mossberg Varmint Predator

Kimber-Advanced-Tactical-SOC-Riflejust to name a few larger producers. And probably dozens and dozens of other producers large or small that are active on the huge US market.

What characterizes these niche products is their relatively high price (compared with the average hunting rifle). Obviously, the tactical rifles have much more features to offer than hunting rifles (see above), but you need to be prepared to put at least 3,000 if not even 3,500 EUR as a base price on the table. Depending on the gadgets you add (including extra barrels – in .308, which is the caliber mostly used, or others- and so on) you can easily get up to 5,000 – 6,000 EUR or even more. Optics is not included in this amount.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

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