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  • Single-Shots and Snipers

    For bolt-action sniper rifles in the .30 ballpark, can a case be made for a single-shot rifle?

    My assumption (untested -fire away if anyone knows!) is that a single-shot is inherently more accurate than a similar weapon with a four- or five-round mag, at least among those widely available today. I wouldn't think reloading a single-shot bolt by hand would take more than couple of seconds longer than working the bolt (especially if you're shielding the port with your hand to avoid the gleam of an ejected shell), and I am not sure that volume of fire is as much an issue with snipers, but maybe it is.

    I am holding aside the merits of semi-automatic weapons, or really long guns like the Laupa 338 or 50 BMG, which seem to belong to different classes of long-range shooting.

    Any thoughts? This is a new subject to me so I'd be interested in reactions.
    "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
    -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

    (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

  • #2
    Hi, Jon.
    There are enough 1/2 minute guns out there with magazines, either internal or detachable, to make the selection of a single shot viable only for the most specialized of target shooters. For sniping the benefits of a magazine, again one that preferably is detachable so spares can be carried, is an important factor. Given that most shooters and a good deal of available ammo can't hold 1/2 minute, especially in field conditions, I can't see much reason for selecting a single shot bolt action stick.

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    • #3
      I've never heard of magazines adversely affecting rifle accuracy (since the magazine is behind chamber). But, also, semiauto rifles have become more common as a sniper's weapon due to increase in their accuracy and the value of taking a quick second shot.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ipser View Post
        I've never heard of magazines adversely affecting rifle accuracy (since the magazine is behind chamber). But, also, semiauto rifles have become more common as a sniper's weapon due to increase in their accuracy and the value of taking a quick second shot.
        In terms of usable, sniper level accuracy, you're exactly correct. There is some evidence that single shots have stiffer, and therefore more accurate, actions since they lack the cutout required in a magazine fed weapon, however this is a very fine hair to split. Additionally, as more rounds are fired the upward pressure on the bolt dimishes slightly since there are fewer rounds in the magazine. Occasionally, for a very few guns, this can make a difference as well. As I said, this is only relevant for the most extreme competition shooter who can shoot in perfect conditions at their leisure.

        Semi-auto's have come a long way. IMHO they're the future of the military and especially LE game for many applications. Bolts are still viable and very effective choices, but as more and more gas guns crack the 3/4 or 1/2 minute barrier the reasons not to use them become fewer and further between.
        Last edited by llkinak; 27 May 10, 13:17.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by llkinak View Post
          In terms of usable, sniper level accuracy, you're exactly correct. There is some evidence that single shots have stiffer, and therefore more accurate, actions since they lack the cutout required in a magazine fed weapon, however this is a very fine hair to split.
          That is probably the reason for my impression. Long range (e.g., F/TR) competitions are very slow fire affairs where fine hairs are split. But for hitting an unsuspecting thorax at 600m, probably a 30-inch barrel, small ejection port and stiff single-action are unnecessary given the loss of a quick second shot.

          Thanks for the perspective.
          "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
          -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

          (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

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          • #6
            I'm waiting for someone to stump for a muzzle-loader.
            I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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            • #7
              The single shot rifles are favored by benchrest shooters not only for their stiffer action but also as a means to feed the cartridge directly into the chamber without any risk of offseting the bullet seating in the case neck or damaging its tip into the magazine.
              The high tech benchrest shooters even orientate the cartridge in such a way that it is always seating with the same orientation (benchrest shooter reload and a match winning cartridge has been formfired in the same gun before being used for accuracy shooting).

              A sniper has to be ready to shoot again fast in case his 1st shot is not a disabling hit, while it's a fast and simple task to reload a repeater bolt gun while keeping the target in the cross hair, a single shot rifle would not be suitable for the task.

              kelt

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              • #8
                QUOTE=slick_miester;1500252]I'm waiting for someone to stump for a muzzle-loader.[/QUOTE]



                I believe this is a Morgan James Target Rilfe from the ACW period. Not mine, thought I wish it was.
                Last edited by llkinak; 28 May 10, 20:03.

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                • #9
                  Related discussion here..
                  http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...n+sniper+rifle

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