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Gun Culture Historical Hunting Rifles

10 Best Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time

by Brad Fitzpatrick   |  October 27th, 2014 135

10-best-bolt-action-riflesThe bolt-action rifle has remained a primary hunting and target shooting tool for more than a century. While the basic concept has stayed the same, some turnbolt designs stand out from the rest. 

Bolt-action rifles became popular with military forces in the early twentieth century, and hunters soon began using sporterized versions of these early military arms for taking game of all sizes. Since that time, the bolt-action has become the most popular choice for big game hunting for a number of reasons. They are accurate, dependable, affordable, and they lend themselves well to the use of scopes. The bolt-action’s robust design made it possible to utilize powerful new centerfire cartridges that extended the effective range of these firearms. Unlike tube-fed lever actions, they could also utilize spitzer-type bullets safely.

Hundreds of different bolt-action rifles originated in Europe and the United States, and today hunters have a wide selection of turnbolt rifles to meet every hunting situation and budget. The modern bolt-action rifle is lighter and more accurate than at any time in history. Over the past several years there have been numerous upgrades to bolt-action design in the form of synthetic stocks, improved finishes and better machining, but today’s rifles remain very much true to original designs.

A few bolt-action designs stand out as the best in history. Some have a reputation for rock-solid dependability, some have become hunting field favorites, and others have revolutionized bolt gun design. Certain guns, such as the Winchester Model 70, have been the basis for a number of other, later designs that have also been successful. Others, such as the Remington Model 700, have become so widely accepted by shooters and hunters that you’ll find one in virtually every hunting camp in the country. However, all of these guns, have earned a place in history as the best bolt guns ever created.

Here’s a look at the 10 best bolt guns of all time. Be sure to vote for your favorite and enter the debate!


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