Rifle action length.


Well-Known Member
Oct 12, 2016
Palmer, AK
So... Something that I've never understood on here....

Why are so many people obsessed with trying to match long action ballistics and terminal performance from short action rifles?

Because it saves 2-4oz? It seems like there are a myriad of less complicated ways to do that while hunting.

Is it because the short action is theoretically marginally stiffer? Has anyone actually been able to prove that that matters?

Is it because of the marginally quicker cycling time? I can see that in a competitive sport, but how many hunters practice bolt manipulation enough for it to be a real advantage?

People will spend all kids of time/money on Gunsmith ING and special reamers/dies to try to make a 300wsm beat a 300win mag. Or a 7saum beat a 7rem mag. It just seems like there's no real, tangible benefits to trying to do that. Just use a long action and run a bigger cartridge instead of trying to over pressure a small one.

What am I missing here?


Well-Known Member
Feb 25, 2008
The bolt length thing is moot, rack it fast and there is no difference.
I do not believe stiffness matters, it is the alignment of action to barrel and how square it all is in relation to bolt centreline, nothing else. Bolt lug engagement is paramount, it must be square, it doesn’t have to be perfectly equal on both lugs, but close to it.
As to performance on a short action with long action cartridges,..I don’t know about this. I go the other way, I build short action stuff on long action rifles to get MORE performance from them.
Currently building a 6.5GAP 4S (aka 6.5 SAUM) on a long action Rem 700, this is totally overkill as the action is so long that I don’t need a 3.7” mag or the length for feeding/extracting rounds, but it won’t hurt either.


Send it 284

Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2020
Yep pretty good points

I'm a huge fan of the wsm and saum cartridges but I see zero reason for the use of a short action.
My 6.5 saum is built on a Tikka, which is really about the perfect action length for any SA chambering.
I just built a 7 wsm on a Defiance LA and its really impressive what it'll do running 195's at 3.2", plus I can switch it out with a 30 Nos barrel when I'm needing a super heavy hitter

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