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Q:
What is the difference between a long action and a short action gun.

Question by blake425. Uploaded on August 03, 2009

Answers (9)

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from micropterus wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

It has to do with the calibers and how long they are. I don't know all of the calibers and what classification they fall into, but for example, a .223 or .22-250 rifle is a short action and a .30-06 or a 7mm Rem Mag. is a long action. It basically has to do with how long the round is that is being shot. So .30-06 is definitely longer than a .223 and so on. I don't know what the cut off point is between long and short action though. Hope this helps.

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from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

The length of the action is the difference. The short action is based on supporting at a maximum the overall length of the .308 Winchester cartrige and it will support all cartriges of that length and shorter. The heavier and longer "long action" supports cartriges the length of the .30-06. There is another classification as well and that is the magnum action length based on cartiges the length of the .375 H&H and above. Each larger action is bigger and heavier to carry as well as being longer. Therefore many hunters prefer the small action size so that their rifle can be lighter to carry. If they choose a magnum length, they get a very heavy rifle to carry.

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from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Excellent description Dakota!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!

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from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

DakotaMan has covered it well, but I'll add a little background. Years ago, before USRAC made two action lengths, the Winchester Model 70 Target in .30-'06 was an excellent choice for the rifle range, but the height of absurdity was to see this same action used for the .223. It was a waste of metal and weight.

At that time, Sako made four bolt action lengths: the Vixen for .222 Rem., .222 Rem Mag, and .223; the Forester for "medium" length cartridges such as the ..22-250, .243, .308,etc. They made a standard length action, the FinnWolf for the .270, .30-'06 and others, and they offered a Magnum action for larger base diameters and longer than standard cartridges like the 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag and others. That made perfect sense! Sakos were comparatively expensive but beautifully made. I relied on the .222, .22-250 and .243 so my purchases were small and medium actions, which were trim and properly proportioned for the cartridges I used.

The shorter cartridges should not require a long bolt throw. It makes no practical sense. You want an action that's properly proportioned for the cartridge you're using. Excess weight is dead weight. I'm willing carry a heavy-barreled varminter to fire from a stand or blind, but I don't attach a brick to the front swivel; it's not contributory weight. Any metal on a rifle has to justify its weight or mass.

In Benchrest competition, which has been a trendsetter and a laboratory for shooting concepts, you are limited to 10.5 lbs for Light Varmint and Hunter class, and 13.5 lbs for Heavy Varmint class. Every ounce counts.

Tooling is very expensive and every production step adds cost (which is understandably passed on to the consumer). The design and production of a shorter bolt action is a major undertaking. Those manufacturers who produce a long and short action can justify it on the basis of a practical market. Those who take it a step further and offer an even better proportioned action for the .222/.223 family of cartridges will find a receptive market among those who specialize in these cartridges, but rifles like the Sako Vixen, the Kimber 84, the Cooper Model 21 and Model 38, the Mini-Mauser, and others are frequently prized by their owners for the best of reasons.

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from hjohn429 wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Well let me see. Hmm, the difference between "LONG" and "SHORT"? Well the length is the difference just like Dakota said. Short actions are usually from 223 to 308 caliber. Long actions are usually from 30-06 (or slightly shorter) length cartrdiges to something like 7mm Rem Mag. Next is the "Magnum". This is usually from 416 Rigby stile lengths to something like 458 Boss.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Thank you. This is another of those "I always thought I had it right but didn't want to look too dumb to ask" questions. I never really thought about the cutoff point.

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from MLH wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

As Edward J implied - long is aka standard.

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from jtboles wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

long action is refering to how far the bolt has to move in order to eject/load the next shell the long action is a longer shell, the short is a fatter cartridge both have the same amount of powder in them but the short action is supposed to have a faster muzzle speed cause the powder takes less time to burn when fired

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from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

The length of the action is the difference. The short action is based on supporting at a maximum the overall length of the .308 Winchester cartrige and it will support all cartriges of that length and shorter. The heavier and longer "long action" supports cartriges the length of the .30-06. There is another classification as well and that is the magnum action length based on cartiges the length of the .375 H&H and above. Each larger action is bigger and heavier to carry as well as being longer. Therefore many hunters prefer the small action size so that their rifle can be lighter to carry. If they choose a magnum length, they get a very heavy rifle to carry.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

DakotaMan has covered it well, but I'll add a little background. Years ago, before USRAC made two action lengths, the Winchester Model 70 Target in .30-'06 was an excellent choice for the rifle range, but the height of absurdity was to see this same action used for the .223. It was a waste of metal and weight.

At that time, Sako made four bolt action lengths: the Vixen for .222 Rem., .222 Rem Mag, and .223; the Forester for "medium" length cartridges such as the ..22-250, .243, .308,etc. They made a standard length action, the FinnWolf for the .270, .30-'06 and others, and they offered a Magnum action for larger base diameters and longer than standard cartridges like the 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag and others. That made perfect sense! Sakos were comparatively expensive but beautifully made. I relied on the .222, .22-250 and .243 so my purchases were small and medium actions, which were trim and properly proportioned for the cartridges I used.

The shorter cartridges should not require a long bolt throw. It makes no practical sense. You want an action that's properly proportioned for the cartridge you're using. Excess weight is dead weight. I'm willing carry a heavy-barreled varminter to fire from a stand or blind, but I don't attach a brick to the front swivel; it's not contributory weight. Any metal on a rifle has to justify its weight or mass.

In Benchrest competition, which has been a trendsetter and a laboratory for shooting concepts, you are limited to 10.5 lbs for Light Varmint and Hunter class, and 13.5 lbs for Heavy Varmint class. Every ounce counts.

Tooling is very expensive and every production step adds cost (which is understandably passed on to the consumer). The design and production of a shorter bolt action is a major undertaking. Those manufacturers who produce a long and short action can justify it on the basis of a practical market. Those who take it a step further and offer an even better proportioned action for the .222/.223 family of cartridges will find a receptive market among those who specialize in these cartridges, but rifles like the Sako Vixen, the Kimber 84, the Cooper Model 21 and Model 38, the Mini-Mauser, and others are frequently prized by their owners for the best of reasons.

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from micropterus wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

It has to do with the calibers and how long they are. I don't know all of the calibers and what classification they fall into, but for example, a .223 or .22-250 rifle is a short action and a .30-06 or a 7mm Rem Mag. is a long action. It basically has to do with how long the round is that is being shot. So .30-06 is definitely longer than a .223 and so on. I don't know what the cut off point is between long and short action though. Hope this helps.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Excellent description Dakota!

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from hjohn429 wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Well let me see. Hmm, the difference between "LONG" and "SHORT"? Well the length is the difference just like Dakota said. Short actions are usually from 223 to 308 caliber. Long actions are usually from 30-06 (or slightly shorter) length cartrdiges to something like 7mm Rem Mag. Next is the "Magnum". This is usually from 416 Rigby stile lengths to something like 458 Boss.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Thank you. This is another of those "I always thought I had it right but didn't want to look too dumb to ask" questions. I never really thought about the cutoff point.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

As Edward J implied - long is aka standard.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jtboles wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

long action is refering to how far the bolt has to move in order to eject/load the next shell the long action is a longer shell, the short is a fatter cartridge both have the same amount of powder in them but the short action is supposed to have a faster muzzle speed cause the powder takes less time to burn when fired

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!

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