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Kappy
09-23-2012, 7:03 PM
I'm not incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to rifles, especially comparing calibers.

I keep hearing about long action v. short action. My understanding is that it has to do with the length of the cartridge?

If I am correct in thinking that it has to do with cartridge length, is there a cut-off for what counts as long or short?
Is there an advantage to long or short action?

If I'm just bench shooting (I'm considering going out to 500 yards or so), does it matter if I go with a long/short action?

rromeo
09-23-2012, 7:10 PM
Short action will be quicker to work the bolt.
I don't know the cutoff, but .308 is generally short, and .30-06 is long.

Fjold
09-23-2012, 7:20 PM
Generally the American short actions are used with loaded cartridges of about 3" and shorter, long actions for loaded cartridges of about 3.5".

Saying that the mauser actions were designed for about 3.25" inches and mauser Kurtz actions for <3". The magnum Mauser actions are generally built for about 3.9" cartridges and the mini Mauser are for 2.5" cartridges.

Confused yet?

CK_32
09-23-2012, 7:52 PM
Long is what it's explained longer bolt which is longer pull back makes you come off the rifle more to manipulate and needed for longer cartridges.


308 is short.

Kappy
09-23-2012, 8:16 PM
So... it sounds like there is no real advantage except that I would need to do extra work to change the cartridge. Well... in a way that's good, since it doesn't really limit me on cartridges... and in a way it's bad because it didn't help me make a choice...

Fjold
09-23-2012, 8:37 PM
At 500 yards any length action will do as 90% of the modern centrfire cartridges will make 500 yards easily. If you like light recoiling rifles then go to the 223. For a little more recoil it's the 243 then the 7-08 and 308 for shirt action cartridges, then the 6.5x285, 7x57, 25.06, 280 and then for more recoil the 270, 284 or 30.06.

Don't go any bigger.

Cheap Shot
09-23-2012, 8:46 PM
Long and Short action relates to the cartridge. You can't pick long action in .308 cartridge and you can't pick .30-06 in short action even though they both are .308 caliber bullet cartridges.

This probably didn't help either, but I hope it cleared up some confusion in you having to pick action and cartridge. The cartridge you pick will dictate the action length. The action length you pick will limit your cartridge choices.

ar15barrels
09-23-2012, 9:13 PM
So... it sounds like there is no real advantage except that I would need to do extra work to change the cartridge. Well... in a way that's good, since it doesn't really limit me on cartridges... and in a way it's bad because it didn't help me make a choice...

That 1/2" of bolt length and then the extra 1/2" of action length are combined.
The result is that the tail end of the bolt sticks out of the back of the action about 1" more with a long action.
This is enough difference that you have to lift your face off the gun so the bolt does not hit your face.
If you lift your face, you are breaking your position.
That makes it slower to get back on target to re-engage.
Breaking position also allows small changes in your position from shot to shot that will influence how precise you are on target.
These are all very small, but very important things when you get down to the nitty gritty details of shooting as precise as you can...

Reasons like this are why most serious target rifles use short actions.
The ability to maintain your cheek weld while cycling the action is very desireable.

Kappy
09-23-2012, 10:28 PM
Would it be possible to put, say, a piece of tape on the stock to remind you of where your cheek was?

6.5x55... Long or short?

ar15barrels
09-23-2012, 10:34 PM
Would it be possible to put, say, a piece of tape on the stock to remind you of where your cheek was?

6.5x55... Long or short?

Not needed or even helpful as you would not be able to see it.
If you learn what a proper cheek weld feels like and more importantly adjust the stock to fit you, the correct cheek weld will come naturally.

6.5x55 is a long action cartridge.

Kappy
09-24-2012, 6:43 AM
I was thinking I'd be able to feel it. I might try it on my current bolt action.