Remington Defense Rifle
Remington Defense XM2010 in 300 Win Mag (Dan Z. for TTAG)
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For those new to rifles, you’ll probably hear about “long action” and “short action” rifles and you may wonder what that refers to and what that means for the buyer and the shooter. We’re going to explain it. However, you need to know a few things before we start.

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 creedmoor
Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor (Dan Z for TTAG)

First, by necessity, we’re going to deal in a lot of generalizations. I will do my level best to mention when something is not necessarily always true and provide an example or two, but I’ll probably fail here and there and I’m sure that the comments section will be as understanding as ever.

You’d better bring the pain this time, or you won’t hurt my feelings. Just kidding! I don’t have any.

Second, as with so many other things in things gun-related, there are a lot of things about long-action vs. short-action rifles that appear to matter on paper, but don’t always add up to as much in the real world. Ultimately, what matters is how well you can run the gun. If it works for your purposes and whether or not you like your rifle; the rest is ephemera.

So with that, let’s get started.

If you’re new to things rifle-related, rifle cartridges break down into four categories if grouped by case length: mini, short, long/standard and magnum. They’re generally grouped by cartridge overall length or COL, which (spoiler alert) is the overall length of the cartridge.

Francis Flinch at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Short-action rifle cartridges have a COL of 2.3 to 2.8 inches. Anything shorter (.223 Remington and its 2.26-inch COL, for instance) is considered a Mini. Short-action cartridges are often (but not always!) derivatives of the .308 Winchester. Plenty aren’t, but .308/7.62mm NATO is probably the best-known example of the type.

Francis Flinch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Long-action, sometimes referred to as standard-length action, means a cartridge with a COL of 2.8 to 3.34 inches. While many long-action calibers are not derived from or related in any way to it, you could think of .30-06 as sort of the archetype of long-action cartridges.

A person could argue 7.92mm Mauser would really be the originator of the breed, since that was the primary chambering of the Mauser 1898 which, of course, was pretty much the first modern bolt-action rifle. But so much for that Reise ins Unkraut.

Cartridges with a COL of 3.34 inches and longer are the magnum-length actions. Think .375 H&H Magnum and bigger, though – to be sure – plenty of smaller caliber cartridges are magnum length, such as 7mm Shooting Times Westerner, 8mm Remington Magnum and more besides.

Okay, so what does this mean?

Short-action rifles use a shorter cartridge than long-action rifles. It’s that simple. There are a small number of ways in which this matters in any practical sense, and a large number of ways in which it doesn’t.

What are those practical reasons?

Short-action rifles have a slightly shorter bolt and a slightly shorter receiver. This means slightly faster cycling of a bolt-action rifle and slightly less weight.

The difference in weight is usually only a few ounces. Granted, every ounce counts when you’re going up and down mountains chasing after an elk, but how much four ounces matters in the end…that’s up to you.

I can barely tell the difference when barrel length is the same (meaning a rifle with a 22-inch or longer barrel) but YMMV.

Short-action rifles are also slightly more compact as a result, but – again – the difference is minute when you compare rifles of the same barrel length. A Winchester Model 70 in .30-06 is 42¾” in length with a 22-inch barrel; the same rifle with the same barrel length chambered in .308 Winchester is 42¼” in length.

Granted, compact, lightweight rifles are offered in short-action calibers, but the savings in length (and weight) are from a cut-down barrel. For instance, Remington’s Model Seven CDL is 39-¼” in overall length in .308, compared to the 43-⅝” long Model 700 in that chambering. The latter has a 24-inch barrel, the former a 20-inch barrel.

The difference in receiver length is 0.5 inches. Where this might matter, however, is that a long-action rifle is (again, in theory) more susceptible to short-stroking under stress. Granted, that’s why you’re supposed to practice, but things can and do happen.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Long-action cartridges can hold more powder, making long-action cartridges more powerful when comparing cartridges that are similar in bullet weight. A .308 Winchester case holds 56 grains; .30-06 holds 68. However, the latter typically will give the same weight of projectile an extra 100 to 200 fps of velocity. The longer case also means longer and heavier bullets can be seated in the case; .30-06 can also use bullets up to 220 grains in weight, whereas .308 cannot.

But that doesn’t necessarily translate to more stopping power on game or men. While, say, a .280 Remington (a long-action cartridge) is loaded to propel a 7mm projectile at somewhat faster velocities than the 7mm-08 (short-action) despite being broadly comparable, it’s not like a deer or elk is going to know the difference.

Placement and bullet design have far more importance and are always going to.

That also means a little less recoil for the most part. Again, not a huge difference; per Chuck Hawk’s rifle recoil table, the difference in recoil force between .308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield is less than 2 ft-lbs for the same bullet weight when fired from a rifle that weighs near as much the same.

There’s some difference, but again…not huge.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael R. McCormick [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Short-action cartridges are said by some to be more accurate due to a tighter seal and more efficient powder burn, but the degree to which that matters in the real world is a subject of much debate. A lot of people like to cite the Army trials from the 1960s that pitted .308 Winchester against .30-06, but with modern high ballistic coefficient projectiles…the gap is basically closed.

6.5mm Creedmoor and 6.5 PPC (short-action cartridges) are incredibly accurate out to 1,000 yards, but so is 6.5mm Swedish and that’s a long-action cartridge.

If you REALLY wanted to get into it, I recommend looking up the work of German A. Salazar, a retired long-range competitive shooter. His blog, The Rifleman’s Journal, is unfortunately closed but an archive is found on the Wayback Machine.

Salazar achieved Distinguished Prone Smallbore status from the NRA and won a number of matches, as well as state and regional championships, with rifles in .308, .30-06 and 6XC. Salazar found no practical difference in accuracy between .308 and .30-06, when loaded with quality bullets and fired through a quality rifle. The only substantial difference was .30-06 was more susceptible to wind drift at long range, though it’s worth nothing that he loaded a heavier grain weight projectile (Sierra Match King) for .30-06. As many know, the highest ballistic coefficients for .30-06 cartridges are those of the 180-grain to 200-grain bullets.

The point here is that a quality rifle, loaded with quality ammunition and in the hands of a skilled marksman, is capable of the same accuracy regardless of the COL of the cartridge. Long action vs short action rifles or cartridge doesn’t make an enormous difference in this regard.

However, there is something that really DOES matter for the modern shooter, and as things go…this is kind of a big deal.

AR-10 national match rifle. Credit: Vitaly V. Kuzmin/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

Long-action cartridges are generally not offered in semi-automatic rifles. There are some, to be sure, but not in commonly-found modern sporting rifles.

Since today’s rifle shooter is absolutely bonkers for the AR platform family, that can be a deal-breaker. If you wanted a cartridge that is both practical and tactical at almost any range…short-action rules the roost.

Both are great for medium- to long-range target shooting, including out to 1,000 yards. Both long action vs. short action rifles will put meat in the freezer. Plenty of both are easily found on the rack, both long-action and short-action cartridges are easily found (depending on the cartridge in question!) on store shelves.

But there are virtually no long-action black tacticool rifles that you can make a pew with. I remember finding one company out there – I forget which one; please sound off in the comments if you know – making an AR chambered in .30-06, but it was ludicrously expensive. Granted, I’m a terrible cheapskate, so what I consider “expensive” and what you consider “expensive” for an AR-pattern rifle are probably two different things!

So, that was a bit long-winded, but the goal here was to describe what long-action vs short-action rifles is all about for the newbie. Disagree with anything? Just angry in general? Sound off in the comments.

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    • GS650G, the WSSM calibers are still around and are a good idea. The powder column is shorter, though wider, than conventional magnums. Since the powder column burns from rear to front the WSSM calibers are more efficient. That said, my magnum rifles are all the older calibers. If I can’t buy ammo for it in any mom & pop store in Backwoods, USA I don’t want it.

      • Hey brother thank you for sharing that! That is unbelievably cool. But for a starting MSRP of $3,900, by God they can keep em, lol. I’ve got some money, but damn sure not that much.

        • I grabbed one of the last few (4 left when I purchased mine in March of this year) P308 Gen4 EDGE SPRs in the Robar NP3 finish. Really like it. One of my range friends purchased one of the last 4. POF AR-10 are pricey, but worth it.

    • The WSMs and WSSMs are still pretty popular. I can find the 7mmWSSM on the shelf of most stores. The .325WSM is likely my next project gun. Mostly because I’ve got a nice piece of wood roughed out for a short action, and well, I don’t have a rifle in .325WSM.

    • The WSM’s and SAUM’s are an excellent idea. With all the precision rifle interest out there “now a days“ you’ll see similar design becoming popular again, I’m calling it.

      • I always think it’s funny when you see posts on long range shooter forums talking down the wsm and wssm cartridges. Yet the Grendel(and the like) is used by long range precision shooters. I like your post. You beat me to the punch.👍

  1. Noreen makes a AR-style chambered in 30-06: BN36X3 – Carbine.

    I am not sure MSRP of $1900 ish is “ridoculously” expensive given that people routinely pay that and more doe something like a Daniel Defense, LWRC, IWI, SCAR, HK 556, or quite a few others I could name.

    I believe a few other companies also make a AR-style 30-06 as well, based on the AR-10 platform.

    • Ohio Ordnance Works makes the HCAR which is a BAR that looks like an AR10. Chambered in 30-06 with 30 Rd mags! For a mere $4500-5000, you too can own one!

      • That’s pretty cool.

        There’s a guy in Switzerland making modernized FG42s, but he has no interest in partnering with a US importer. Shame.

    • I was interested in the 30-06 AR from Noreen myself, except it’s seemingly only offered with a 16” barrel. A 16” barrel for a 30-06 just seems incredibly painful. I’d take one with a 20” barrel minimum. Preferably 22”.

  2. There is also the occasionally cited “stiffness” of the short action. And assuming the diameter, material, and hardening are the same, then yes, a short action is stiffer than a long action, and that stiffness should result in increased precision.
    And all that’s purely academic.
    The value of the short action was mentioned right up front: the throw.

    • I remember someone wanted a Savage Varmint rifle in .308 but none was available and with a permit-to-acquire about to expire settled on a .30-06 instead. He won or placed a lot of telescopic sight matches with that rifle and was very happy with the .30-06.

    • Hardness of the metal has very little bearing on the stiffness of the action (or any steel). Young’s Modulus is an intrinsic property of steel (or iron), and hardening the steel (an engineered property) won’t change the stiffness.

      Shorter actions are stiffer just because they’re shorter. For a rifle with a free-floated barrel, this matter, because the barrel’s motion upon firing is affected by the stiffness of the action in which the barrel is mounted. In some target actions, there is no cut-out in the bottom of the action for a magazine, and that makes the action a bit stiffer yet. Making the action have a thicker cross-section also will make it stiffer.

      This is where we get into custom actions vs. the standard action, and why you see lots of competition rifles built on custom actions. The era of building a competition rifle on a blueprinted Rem 700 action are pretty much over and done, because by the time you pay a ‘smith to blueprint a 700 action, you’re up to the price of a custom action. Might as well just admit that you should $1200 for a custom action as a starting point and get on with life…

  3. I believe the main advantage for the short action in this short vs long action war comes down to fire rate. The bolt doesn’t have to travel as far to eject, feed, lock, and fire so IN THEORY takes less time to cycle and allows faster follow up shots and a higher rate of fire from a bolt action. Semi autos I don’t think it matters as much with so much else factoring into the equation.

    • It’s been some years since I fired National Match Course type competition, which once upon a time I did with Model 70 Winchester Standard Target Rifles in both 30-06 and .308 Winchester/7.62NATO, after tireing of my old Winchester Garand. Being left eye dominant, I fired left handed. With a Model 70, in .308 Win. caliber, I would run the 200 yard rapid fire sitting stage in about 58 seconds out of 60. As I recall, my time with the 30-06 Model 70 was about the same. I also had a Remington 40X Rangemaster, which was extremely accurate, but the action of which was a bear to work in rapid fire, it never worked like the action of the Model 70.

      • There is a popular myth among younger shooters that they can shoot sooooo much more quickly with a semi-auto.

        Those of us who are older and have shot matches with bolt guns know that semi-autos just seem to slow you down…

        In Hatcher’s “Book of the Garand,” Hatcher NB’s that the War Department (what we called the “Department of Defense” when we still made it a goal to win wars) the tests between Army NCO’s shooting the Garand vs. the Springfield 1903 at various ranges. The only times the semi-auto Garand put more aimed rounds on target than the bolt gun was at 250 yards and under. Once the range got to 300 yards and out, the bolt gun put more rounds on target in less time than the semi-auto. This sort of result is replicated every year at Norwegian target competitions between their military members shooting H&K G3’s in semi-auto mode vs. civilian shooters using STR-200’s – at 300 meters. The STR-200’s win – consistently. You can find plenty of videos on Youtube of this happening.

        Give me a Model 70 eight days a week. There were very good reasons it was called “the Rifleman’s rifle…”

        • “The only times the semi-auto Garand put more aimed rounds on target than the bolt gun was at 250 yards and under. Once the range got to 300 yards and out, the bolt gun put more rounds on target in less time than the semi-auto.”

          Ok, you got my attention. Was there an explanation of the cause?

        • If I had to guess about the cause (and it is only a guess), it would be that the semi-auto action makes for a bit less accuracy than a tightly locked-up bolt gun. This is probably not especially noticeable at close ranges, but might become apparent at longer distances, even with trained shooters. Again, only a guess.

          I will say this, though. First, my understanding is that a lot of combat DOES take place at closer ranges than we sometimes imagine. In such combat, a semi-auto action seems like it would be an advantage.

          Second, in a bolt action, speed is a function of training – how quickly and smoothly the rifleman can work the action, get back on target, and fire follow-on shots. In a semi-auto, training is just one part of the equation, and a considerable amount of trained effort by the rifleman is eliminated. In this sense, a semi-auto rifle is a good choice for a large military, which will field only a few highly qualified marksmen, but many, many, many basically trained riflemen.

        • I can speak only for myself as to the reason(s) why.

          When I’m putting aimed fire downrange with a bolt gun, I fall into a cycle where the requirement to cycle the bolt myself is part of handling the recoil and coming back down on target. With a semi-auto, the recoil is part of the rifle’s cycle, not mine. I seem to spend more time trying to re-acquire the target with a semi-auto than I do with a slick bolt gun.

          Here’s some evidence for what I speak of:

          You see a pretty consistent pattern that the bolt gunners are putting a round or two more on target in the allotted time than the guys with the H&K’s being fired in semi-auto mode.

          NB that those bolt guns are STR-200 series rifles, which are 6.5×55’s. The H&K’s are in 7.62 NATO. The STR-200 is a very, very slick rifle, and the bolt cycles with the smoothness of molten butter.

          Meanwhile, here in the US, the supposed ‘land of riflemen,’ people keep pouring money into the bottomless pit that is the Remington 700 design.

          • Thanks for the information. Was thinking returning to proper site line might be the issue.

            “Meanwhile, here in the US, the supposed ‘land of riflemen,’ people keep pouring money into the bottomless pit that is the Remington 700 design.”

            I read Hathcock’s book, and IIRC, he was torqued at the decision by USMC to drop the Winchester Model 70 for the Rem 700.

            Also read a British article on the Lee Enfield. One notation was that the action was so perfect that a good marksman could cycle the action with thumb and forefinger, pulling the trigger with the middle finger to set up an impressive rate of fire for ten rounds.

  4. Today bolt actions chambered for cartridges shorter than “30-06” have a major advantage. Most current hunting rifle scopes, trending continually shorter, will only fit short actions without resorting to extension rings or action length picatinny rail mounts. Most of the time, just a quarter to three-eighths of an inch of mounting surface is all that stands in the way of proper standard ring mounting.

    Extension rings or bridge mounts to mounts on a top loading bolt action rifles tend to restrict the available magazine loading space beneath the scope.

  5. Enjoyed reading. Nice information to have (even without being a rifle owner). Now I can hang around the rifle guys at the range, and listen intelligently.

    • NO RIFLE?!?!??! Fortunately, that’s a curable condition requiring only a sugar Momma with a little change. Or, an absence of Adult Supervision in Your Life. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • “NO RIFLE?!?!??! Fortunately, that’s a curable condition requiring only a sugar Momma with a little change. Or, an absence of Adult Supervision in Your Life.”

        “Momma” is a Colonel (allegedly retired, but not so much in evidence). She sets and controls the budget. $500/year max; must be spent by the end of the government fiscal year – no roll over. Fortunately, she doesn’t reduce the budget for next year if I don’t spend it all this year. Kinda was peeking at some sub-$400 black rifles. Thinking she would be more open to deficit spending if the rifle was nice looking, took her to see one in pink cammo. I didn’t get regular meals for a week.

          • “Good God man.”

            Yeah. RHIP. And she has the rank.

            If the Colonel ain’t happy, the whole squadron ain’t happy.

        • Does she ever let your nuts out of her purse for a run around the track? Like even once a year just to breathe? My nephew had to take an anger management course and was told that having your spouse on an allowance counts as domestic abuse.

          • “My nephew had to take an anger management course and was told that having your spouse on an allowance counts as domestic abuse.”

            The Colonel knows I am a serial credit card abuser, and also someone who, without proper supervision, will bring stray dogs and cats home. The same applies to me bringing stray firearms and equipment home.

            The Colonel goes to the range with me, and we have fun making gun noise, destroying paper and having a beer after. Colonel can shoot, and she knows the combo to the little gun safe. I walk the line.

        • I would suggest purchasing uppers and lowers as individual components in separate fiscal years (Dec/Jan) in that situation.

    • What?! No rifle? Go get yourself one pronto. I’m partial to lever-actions, myself, but it really doesn’t matter what kind of action it is; just get one in a common caliber and start stretching your legs a bit. Handguns are handy, but rifles are where the real fun is.

      • “Handguns are handy”

        Rifles are dandy, they eat ammo like candy.
        Pistols are handy, but suck in the sandy.

        Semi-autos shoot forever.
        But the lever is clever.

        Revolvers get the job done.
        But, carbines get the war won.

        It’s fun to be shootin; to be rootin’ and tootin’.
        But it’s best to be able, to buy drinks at the table.

        I could do this all night,
        But you know sumpin ain’t right.

        “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker”
        – B.Cerf

    • Seriously?

      Ok, the first option is to leave her which probably isn’t an option.

      The second is to separate finances and be responsible for your own budget.

      The third might be to become involved in the budgeting a little more. Could you cut something out and redirect the priority to getting a rifle? Maybe dining out less, or cut the tv cable, turn down the thermostat, change your own oil, whatever.

      The fourth is to get a side hustle to get a little cash going. It’s been a few years since I saw Mosin Nagant garbage sticks for 75$, but $200 should get you into something you can shoot and have fun with. You don’t need the latest and greatest to have a lot of fun.

      Last option is to hang and make friends at range/gun club/with other shooters. I was just at a casual 3 gun where everyone was asking each other to try running a stage again with their gun. I’m always happy to provide firearms and ammo to get new people hooked and old shooters to find new excitement in our sport.

      I don’t know if you’re actually serious about not having rifles and your budget but I know a lot of people are. Take some action to get where you want to be and I hope to see you all at the range.

      • “I don’t know if you’re actually serious about not having rifles and your budget but I know a lot of people are.”

        We are on fixed incomes. The acquisition phase is winding down. The $500 budget isn’t really bad because I would only bring home a lot of stuff that would soon have to be distributed among family.

        The most I get out of owning a gun (.22) is some noise, and the fun of learning about firearms, and hearing the war stories. It’s all good.

  6. A couple of notes about action lengths in bolt actions for people to remember:

    1. The 8mm Mauser (aka 8×57, aka 7.92×57) cartridge doesn’t really need a “long” action in the American definition of the term (ie, a .30-06 length action). There are several different sizes of Model 98-esque actions made by different licensees. Here’s more information than most people will know what to do with:

    2. The actual driving necessity of a “long” or “magnum” action is really the ability to feed a round, in a parallel-to-bore-axis fashion, up into the action from the box magazine below. If you are OK with single-feeding your rounds into the action, you can get by with a much shorter action than the COL would seem to dictate. Observe, if you will, how long range competitors using an AR-15 will single-load rounds that have 80 to 90 grain pills on a .223 Remington case. These rounds are far too long to stuff into an AR magazine, but if you put in a dummy magazine with smooth follower, you can feed single rounds into the action, close the bolt on them and fire.

    Likewise, if you’re willing to feed a .30-06 length round into a .308-length action one-at-a-time, and then pull the brass from the port, you can fire ’06-length rounds through a “short” action.

    3. OK, let’s talk about modifying actions to accept longer COL rounds: This is done a fair bit with various full-length rifle actions. Full-length K98 actions have been modified to feed .375 H&H’s up from a custom magazine, as have P1917 Enfields (which are the go-to action for building magnum-length rifles). You have to hog out a bunch of material from the bottom of the action and pay attention to the result so the bottom bolt lug has something to back it properly, but it is done.

    4. Alternatively, the action can be cut and extended. This is possible only on steel actions; cutting and re-welding an AR action is a pointless pursuit, because if it is made of 7075 aluminum, your welds won’t hold up.

    When you’re extended a bolt action, you have to extend the bolt and firing pin as well. The requirement here is that you’ve set up the jigs and fixtures to allow you to TIG weld the bolt/action/pin correctly timed and straight. Why go through all this effort? Well, go check out the price of magnum-length new Mauser actions with bottom metal. Here, go ogle a new M98-style action and look at prices:

    Now how much would you pay a gunsmith to lengthen a military surplus M98 or P1917 action? Maybe a thousand bucks, and you’d think it was a bargain.

    5. Last issue: When you get into “magnum” actions, you’re looking at yet another issue, and that’s the diameter of the bolt face and indeed, the diameter of the bolt itself. You can open up a M98 bolt face to accept a 0.538″ case head commonly seen on belted magnum cartridges, but you’ll find that the amount of material left surrounding the case head is rather scant. Going to a 0.750″ diameter bolt is what is ultimately necessary here…

    • Good info. I’m old enough that any “.30-06- length action in a bolt gun was a standard action. One who wanted a .375 H & H or Weatherby caliber bought a magnum length action. I can remember back around 1982 or so when Winchester introduced their M70 Fwt in what they deemed a “short action” and I got one in .243, outstanding rifle. But I now have these Fwts in .243, .257 Roberts, .270 and .30-06, the last 3 being standard (’06) length. I find them all to be highly accurate and easy to carry.

      Personally, I always refer to non-short and non-magnum lengths as standard actions. That’s what we had 35 years ago and before, why change?

    • That’s only the start of things that lots of gun owners don’t understand.

      One of the things I’ve seen in my lifetime is how the widespread appeal of Glocks and AR-15’s have made lots of gun owners ignorant. It’s as if all knowledge of firearms starts and stops with those two lines of guns, and all other knowledge of firearms is not only utterly superfluous, but deemed stupid.

      Increasingly, I think I should carry copies of Hatcher’s Notebook and make it required reading of gunowners. “Before you get your gun back, you have to read this book. All of it. There will be a 20-question test.”

      • “Increasingly, I think I should carry copies of Hatcher’s Notebook and make it required reading of gunowners. “Before you get your gun back, you have to read this book. All of it. There will be a 20-question test.” ”

        To be utterly snarky…..

        I remember guys like you from the early days of home computers. “If you can’t code, or build you own computer, you are too stupid to own one.”

        And today, all you need to know about computers is how to operate one. Kinda like your average gun owner?

        One thing gun owners (not gun people) should do is not try to impress knowledgeable gun people with what the uninformed gun owner doesn’t know.

        • I’ve slung more code and built more computers than most people here have. Wire-wrapped my own microcomputers in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Retired having worked on systems with millions of lines of code.

          But that aside:

          What annoys me the most about young tyro’s today is that they’re unwilling to learn what has come before – because you have Professor Google and Youtube at your disposal, you think you actually ‘know’ some stuff. For today’s kids, it seems as though all of history started about 10 years after they were born. They don’t want to crack an actual book made of dead trees and ink.

          Well, that’s not the case with guns. Most of the research and development on firearms that is applicable today came about from 1870 to 1950 or so. Much of that R&D and testing results has been documented – in dead tree books. Since about 1950 or so, most everything ‘new’ has either been a cynical turn of the crank to exploit that ignorance in the pursuit of profit, or has been a way to reduce the safety and quality of firearms, again in pursuit of profit.

          Too many AR/Glock neophytes are often dangerous people to run into on a range, because they literally do not know what they do not know. Lots of youngsters seem to be unaware how a slam-fire can disassemble an AR in a fat hurry, but I’ll see them single-load a round and allow the bolt to slam home on it. They’re seeing the long, thin tail of the lowest-cost production of guns in all of history, the profits maximized and the gun buyer screwed out of as much function, safety and durability as possible for the maximization of profit – and many gun buyers today have swallowed, hook-line-sinker, the marketing claims of companies peddling this crap. Glock’s “Perfection” line of bullshit is an excellent example of what I speak. ‘Perfection’? Really? Why so many re-spins of the same pistol design?

          And before you get your panties in a wad, claiming that “I just don’t like Glocks because I’m a cranky old man,” I would NB that I own two of them and can disassemble (to the pins) and re-assemble them blindfolded, and in under five minutes. They’re functional, if dubiously safe, firearms that should cost no more than $300 retail, but y’all are paying an additional $250 for each example, because wild billion-dollar profits! As for AR’s, I own more than a half-dozen. I built all but one of them, and two of them sport custom barrels I made from blanks.

          Were modern tyro’s reading a compendium of actual knowledge, arrived at through exhaustive testing and refined development (such as Hatcher’s Notebook), it would go a long, long way to dispelling huge, billowing clouds of utter technical ignorance on the subject of guns that I see rapidly accelerating in today’s gun buyers. For example, the trope that 1911’s are unreliable. How many of today’s plastic fantastics have gone through a test of 6,000 rounds the way the 1911 did when it was accepted? What gun could have replaced the 1911 for reasons of simplicity and reliability in the 1920’s, but for the numbers of 1911’s the War Department had already purchased? The Remington Model 53, a .45 ACP riff off the Model 51, which so many tyro’s today tell me is a “piece of shit design” because all they’ve actually seen is Remington’s aborted attempt to cost-reduce the Model 51 design into a cost-reduced offering in the R51. I see tyro’s claiming that the Garand is a piece of shit. Really? Seems to me that we won an unprecedented two-front war with that rifle – and since we’ve adopted the Armalite design, we haven’t won anything but ephemeral tactical successes.

          I get the question all the time: “Where do I go to learn about guns?” and “How did you learn all this stuff about guns?” I point at my bookshelves, creaking under the load of $20K+ in books. Some of my books are rather rare today, and cost big bucks, but I actually loan them out to people who can take care of them.

          What I see, however, is my young interlocutors blanche and flinch. Somehow, lots of young people today seem allergic to reading actual books.

          • “For today’s kids, it seems as though all of history started about 10 years after they were born.”

            More like, if it happened prior to ubiquitous video cameras, if it isn’t on video, it didn’t happen.

        • @Sam I Am – nice, you got a wall of text response out of DG!
          TLDR, but I’m sure it’s full of good info, insight and needless snark in roughly equal measure. 🙂

          • “@Sam I Am – nice, you got a wall of text response out of DG!
            TLDR, but I’m sure it’s full of good info, insight and needless snark in roughly equal measure.”

            Actually, I got a great deal of information from DG. And no name-calling. My snarkiness way intended as irreverent humor, and I think DG took it that way.

            It’s all good.

  7. For those who are content with factory loaded ammunition, there might not be all that much of a difference. For those who, for whatever reason choose to reload or handload their ammunition, a “long action” is a given caliber rifle, offers flexibility the short action does not.

  8. One more point or thought, this being a matter of personal taste. Up to a point, there is not a whole lot of performance difference between the .308 Winchester/7.62 MM NATO round and the 30-06. That said, the 30-06 cartridge had long struck me as having a classy look that the .308 Winchester lacks.

  9. I just look for any firearm I can afford, and afford to shoot, that feels good in my hands and against my cheek and shoulder. Don’t really care who makes it. I’m not a collector, although I am ambidextrous, I usually only shoot one gun at a time. If the gun I chose can’t be made accurate and reliable it will soon be somebody else’s problem. Poor folks got poor ways, but we are survivors.

  10. If the choice is humping a .30-06 over the hills, versus a .308 and a McDonald’s quarter-pounder in the backpack, I see a clear choice.

  11. “…regardless of the COL of the cartridge.” Made me smile. Now I have to go get some cash from the ATM machine.

  12. Quite frankly I never really get the value of distinguishing different size actions. Especially if one owns different action sized rifles. You goal is to become proficient no matter what size action. There is no noticeable differences in performance. I could care less what size action I have. I make it my business to shoot them all well.
    Also, I’m pretty shore the military has quite a few automatic weapons chambered in large cartridges-lol.

  13. One more thing as far as conversions go. The time and money it takes-unless your a gunsmith- seems impractical. Just buy another. Most have more than one rifle anyway.

  14. Long action rifles don’t hold more powder than short action the whole reason for short action rifles was to concentrate the same amount of powder and a shorter casing which means a more concentrated burn which means better trajectories better burn rates better pressure regulation all equal up to more accuracy.

  15. Whenever I’m seeking a simple answer to something, I always find it on TTAG. Absolutely the best writers and best information. Excellent article.

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