Semi auto vs bolt action accuracy

CHRIS MCBRIDE

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Some what of loaded question. In general what would you say accuracy potential differences there is between a bolt action and a well tuned semi auto.? Semi auto in question AR10 in 7mm-08 McGowen 24" ss heavy barrel. 1:9 twist floating handguard with bi pod. New build and have not tuned in any rounds yet. Shooting under 1" at 200 right now with starting loads. 4th grouping was 5 shot with 3 making one big hole,4th just out side of touching and 5th I screwed up on. Trigger was probably best money spent on gun or at least equal to barrel .

Yes I know hard to make blanket statement that covers all guns here. Just wondering how much tighter the closed action of bolt is over action with everything moving around after the hammer drops.
 

del2les

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Some what of loaded question. In general what would you say accuracy potential differences there is between a bolt action and a well tuned semi auto.? Semi auto in question AR10 in 7mm-08 McGowen 24" ss heavy barrel. 1:9 twist floating handguard with bi pod. New build and have not tuned in any rounds yet. Shooting under 1" at 200 right now with starting loads. 4th grouping was 5 shot with 3 making one big hole,4th just out side of touching and 5th I screwed up on. Trigger was probably best money spent on gun or at least equal to barrel .

Yes I know hard to make blanket statement that covers all guns here. Just wondering how much tighter the closed action of bolt is over action with everything moving around after the hammer drops.
AR's can be made very accurate, and you are experiencing that now. I have a couple of match AR's in 5.56 and 223 match that shoot fantastic for autoloaders. The 24 inch 1/8tw shoots my 75gr Hornady Match loads into .3 groups routinely, and sometimes, it puts five into a .2-.25 group.

I have had NM M1A's shoot 168 SMK's into .5 groups

However, most hunting autos of larger caliber are not in that category. Some can, many can't.

FYI, usually the bullet is out the bore before parts start moving.
 

SheepSeeker

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To start with nothing moves until after the bullet exits the barrel.

Many well tuned ARs will shoot sub moa and many bolt guns will not.
I own two ARs that are sub MOA shooters and they cost a lot. I'd never hunt with one ( excepting people ) where a 20-40 round magazine would be useful.

Most of my hunting is done with a semi-auto that will put 3 in 1" with certain handloads. It also handles like the makers upland shotguns in 20 gauge. It's a Benelli R1 in 300 WinMag and works fine for me. Never had to use the "3 shots quick" feature but it's nice to have. The slim light NF 2.5-10x32 with the HV reticle is a perfect match for it

Love my bolt guns and single shots but for my big game hunting, technology has passed them by.
 

CHRIS MCBRIDE

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Understand bullet is down range before anything moves. Kind of like my 460 has left the barrel before my hand gets smacked with sledgehammer effect. LOL Did not mean for it to sound like semi parts movement would effect bullet. Just that a bolt should have more rigid lockup.

All in all most guns are more accurate than the one pulling trigger.

Most of the area we hunt around here are under 200 yrds with good portion between 100 and 200.However there some good size fields and being able to bust a good size buck if it appears at 500 plus is not a bad thing. Being able to do so with new toy I built would just be dbl icing on that cake. Yes I do practice some at that range too, because it is just fun. After all hunting is kind of by product of being a gun aholic. LOL
 

Tiny Tim

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Quality parts make a quality gun. I suspect that the AR platform shoots so well due to the floating bolt head. Like a Savage, most I have shot (if well built), are more accurate than I am. Benchrest guys and the Smiths can give a better answer than I can.
 

Canadian Bushman

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AR’s will never reach the accuracy of benchrest style bolt guns. They can be very accurate, more so than what most people need, but not like bolt guns.

Its a common belief that “nothing moves before the bullet leaves the barrel” but that is simply not true. There are series of vibrations that take place as soon as the firing pin is let loose, more as the bolt is loaded up against the lugs, and more yet from the bullet engraving into the rifling. All these contribute to barrel harmonics. Now think about the gas system that is attached to the barrel. Think about how much pressure exits into the gas system before the bullet leaves the barrel. What happens as the ports start to pick up carbon fouling. There is just so much at play here.

The simpler and more rigid platform will always win in this scenario.

If you read Harold Vaughns book, “rifle accuracy facts” he will explain more about barrel harmonics than you ever wanted to know.
 

FEENIX

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Some what of loaded question. In general what would you say accuracy potential differences there is between a bolt action and a well tuned semi auto.? Semi auto in question AR10 in 7mm-08 McGowen 24" ss heavy barrel. 1:9 twist floating handguard with bi pod. New build and have not tuned in any rounds yet. Shooting under 1" at 200 right now with starting loads. 4th grouping was 5 shot with 3 making one big hole,4th just out side of touching and 5th I screwed up on. Trigger was probably best money spent on gun or at least equal to barrel .

Yes I know hard to make blanket statement that covers all guns here. Just wondering how much tighter the closed action of bolt is over action with everything moving around after the hammer drops.
It is definitely a loaded question. You need to define what accuracy is (i.e. 1 MOA) and for what purpose (hunting or target) regardless of the type of action (semi-auto or bolt action) and what is acceptable to you that you can live with.
 

CHRIS MCBRIDE

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As with any gun I own its for both hunting and target. This one is more for fun shooting aka target. As for expectable accuracy is 5 shots one hole. Is that going to happen? odds are against it. Its what I want out of every gun. 5 rounds under 1" at 300 yrds(longest area we have for target shooting) is what I feel should be attainable with shooter doing his job which is usually biggest factor. My question may not be stated correctly. Not sure how else to ask. I do agree that a bolt action is inherently more precision piece.
 

FEENIX

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As with any gun I own its for both hunting and target. This one is more for fun shooting aka target. As for expectable accuracy is 5 shots one hole. Is that going to happen? odds are against it. Its what I want out of every gun. 5 rounds under 1" at 300 yrds(longest area we have for target shooting) is what I feel should be attainable with shooter doing his job which is usually biggest factor. My question may not be stated correctly. Not sure how else to ask. I do agree that a bolt action is inherently more precision piece.
1" @ 300 yards is ~1/3 MOA, that is a tall order even for a full custom bolt action rifle. 1MOA is the standard that most rifle manufacturers/custom gun builders guarantee.
 

FEENIX

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Always aim high. If you aim low and reach it you have to start all over
Nothing wrong with aiming high, just need to be realistic. I do NOT know anybody here that aim low. There is a big difference between aiming for 1 MOA and 1" 5-shot group @ 300 yards, esp. from a semi-auto platform. Good luck with your quest.
 

the blur

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I have hunted with my Browning BAR. Very successful.
I have also hunted with my Remington semi-auto woodsmaster. Total piece of junk... had to sell it.
 

CHRIS MCBRIDE

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never said its do or die thing.Just stating I want all I can get ,as is human nature. Do I expect to achieve 5 in 1" at 300,not really. That remark was simply reply to question and my way of saying I aim for perfect even if its not obtainable. Hey a direct shoulder shot at aby range will do the job if good bullet and not so far out its lacking power .The desire for perfect just adds to ablity and confidence in firearm.
After I get a very good combo working as close as Possible to great. I will keep trying different loads to see if I can improve and even tinkering with gun some. As a drag racing crew chief its just my nature to try and improve anything I work with. There is not lot you can do with AR to improve accuracy except barrel and trigger. Always fun to try new things,plus good reason to do more shooting.
 

Greyfox

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I have found the accuracy of my AR10/15’s to be quite accurate and have used them to compete in 200-300 yard egg shoots against the bolt rifles with good success. As with a bolt rifle, load, and attention to build and component quality can produce surprising results. Most all my shooting was done to 500 yards max. At the longer distances the cartridge/velocity and bullet selection for the bolt rifles begins to edge out the AR platforms IMO.
 

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