Bolt Gun Buyer's Guide

Bolt Gun Buyer's Guide


Henry Ford said you could have a Model T in any color so long as it was black, and once upon a time that was the general feeling about purchasing a new hunting rifle. The local gun shop had two or three guns from which to choose, and that was about all the options you had. Sure, if you lived by a big gun shop, you had more choices, and the very rare, highfalutin hunter owned a custom rifle, but for the bulk of middle-class America, your choice in rifles was like your choice in prom dates: You took what was available and attainable.

Today, however, there are tons of bolt action rifles on the market, and obtaining the gun you want is easier than ever. You can pour over spec sheets, read reviews, watch videos, order online, accessorize and outfit your new bolt-action with everything you need. Gone are the days of walking into the gun store, pointing at a rifle and saying, "I'll take that and two boxes of whatever ammo it fires."

Before you buy a new rifle it's best to know what options are available and have a basic understanding of how these options benefit the consumer. Some components, like improved triggers and glass-bedded actions, help improve accuracy. Other options affect cost; an injection-molded synthetic stock is going to be less expensive than a hand-laminated composite stock, and a really high-grade custom walnut stock can raise eyebrows with its good looks as well as its price tag. The rifle that fits your needs and budget is out there, but it's important to know the options that exist.

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