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long and short action question

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Unread 05-16-2008, 07:26 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 179
long and short action question

after reading the "acceptable actions" thread. I have a few questions. I thought the only difference in the 2 actions was the lenght of built they could recieve. I read in the thread though where a long action could be used on a small caliber such as a .223. Does it have to be modified. If starting from scratch is it best to buy a long action so I can use it for any caliber. Also to swap from a say 270 to a 30-06 all I have to do is change the barrel. I am completely dumb on these.. thanks
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Unread 05-16-2008, 10:31 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,882
No question is dumb!!

Yes you can use a long action for a small round ,but it is not normaly

First look at the round you want to shoot.

Then decide what length to use.

If the round Has a Cartrige overall length (COL) of 2.825 to 2.865 then the
preferred action would be the short action. (243,260,7/08,308,7WSM, 300SAUM

If the round has a COL of around 3.600 or more then a long action is required,(

The next thing to consider is the bolt face dia.

Small dia. is around .378 ( 222,223,ETC)

Standard bolt face is .473 (270,280,3006,ETC)

Magnum bolt face is .532 to .537 ( 7 rem mag,300 h&h, 300 win mag,300 RUM.ETC)

So with all that said if you wanted to build a 270 Winchester you would want a
long action with a standard (.473 ) bolt face.

And if you wanted to build a 300 RUM it would need a long action with a magnum
bolt face (.532 ).

Or a 308 Winchester you would want a short action with a bolt face dia. of .473.

You can use a short action for long cartriges but you have to single load and extracting
a loaded round is very difficult.

If you use a long action for a short round (like a 308 ) the action just makes the overall
length of the rifle longer and is not nessary.

There are a lot more reasons for choosing the right action for the intended round.

Talk to a good gun smith and tell him what you want to build and he should recomend
the best action for the build.

Good Luck
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Unread 05-16-2008, 10:38 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,855
To build a 223 on a long action several thing would need to be done , one being the bolt would need to be either modified to the smaller bolt face or the best approach is get a new bolt with correct bolt face from PTG , next would eb the magazine feed lips would need to be fitted so to hold the smaller case and a spacer would need to be made so that the case would not slide back and forth and cause feeding malfunctions. Is this a good idea , i don't think so but it is possible.

Now as far as going from a 270 to 30-06 their would be no modifications needed to the action at all and yes the ability to make a switch barrel gun is their and all thats needed is that both barrels are fitted to the action so that they head space correctly , BUT , threads streach so after a few barrel swaps , if the action was setup where the nose of the bolt was avery close fit , you would run into the barrel tightening down on the bolt before the shoulder mated and took the brunt of the strain.
You can even use long actions for short cases like the 308 , 243 and such with no magazine mods needed as the case bodys are very close to that of the 30-06 family of rounds , in fact the Army's M-24 sniper rifle is a 308 thats built on a Rem 700 long action so that later if needed they could easly be built up to 300 win mags with just a magazine swap , minor bolt work and the same barrel rechambered.

So if your looking to build on a small case like the 23 , 222 rem and such then get the short action , but if your building a 243, 260 , 308 and such and think that later down the road you might want a bigger case then the long action will work fine
Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
Molon Labe
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Unread 05-16-2008, 10:56 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 179
I think I understand now

Thank you guys very much. That was some pretty good explainations in simple terms that I could understand. Thank yall for yalls time and patience.
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Unread 05-24-2008, 05:55 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 44
There seems to be a common problem with short actions running short magnum calibres not having enough length in the magazine to allow easy feeding of bullets that are seated out to the lands. I understand that for remington 700 short actions you can fit a wyatts extended magazine and machine the rear end of the receiver magazine slot to get more length. Are there any fixes for other actions like the model 7 where the trigger is pretty much hard up against the magazine? It is possible for instance to remove the barrel and recut the chamber with a shorter throat (despite case capacity loss)?
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