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Old 01-21-2010, 02:39 PM
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Default Power/Accuracy of Lever vs. Bolt action?



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Was thinking on my way to work today about the marlin 336 when this thought came into my head.

Is there much different in the power and accuracy of a lever and a bolt, since it's not spending energy to eject a spent cartridge?
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:45 PM
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Someone suggested that lever actions don't close as tightly as a bolt, suggesting the lever will be less in power/accuracy than bolt? I could see that.
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:53 PM
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The 12 Pointer my friend killed last year with his Marlin .444 didn't think it was any less powerful or accurate!!
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:59 PM
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The sub 1" group my brothers scoped 336 gets with 170 grain winchester silver tips don't agree...fully. The average hunter will never notice the difference.
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:00 PM
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The identical cartridge fired from a lever action vs a bolt action of same barrel length will be within the random variation of all ammo. The energy in each case is captured completely by the brass casing and used to propel the bullet.

However, note that there is always a variation from one firearm to the next in chamber tightness, barrel throat (ie the gap between bullet and start of rifling), bore condition, etc. Expect 50 fps or so between two indentical rifles made sequentially from the factory.

Now, often lever actions come with shorter barrels than bolt action, so that will lead to loss of velocity in comparison. 18" barrel will not be as efficient as a 24" barrel, shooting centerfire rifle rounds.

Leveractions usually are less accurate than bolt-actions. Due to two-part stocks, allows more variation and flex. But not noticeable except at bench target shooting.
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:08 PM
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I grew up shooting a .308 Savage Model 99C with Iron sights (it's a lever action). It still shoots more accurately than I am capable of shooting on my end.

I am not as good of a shot as I used to be becuase of practice and eyesight issues.

Colonel Cooper put it the best: "It will do if you will do."
Old 01-21-2010, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Pete View Post
I grew up shooting a .308 Savage Model 99C with Iron sights (it's a lever action). It still shoots more accurately than I am capable of shooting on my end.

I am not as good of a shot as I used to be becuase of practice and eyesight issues.

Colonel Cooper put it the best: "It will do if you will do."
For me it was a .308 Win 88 lever action, scoped. Passed along from my Dad, I think it was made the year I was born actually. It was about a 2" group at 100 yds from the bench, plenty good for hunting.

Never got good at free standing shooting til investing in enough surplus ammo and giving myself '3 second' drills. Shoulder it and shoot within 3 seconds, at 100 yard targets.
Old 01-21-2010, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razadp View Post
For me it was a .308 Win 88 lever action, scoped. Passed along from my Dad, I think it was made the year I was born actually. It was about a 2" group at 100 yds from the bench, plenty good for hunting.

Never got good at free standing shooting til investing in enough surplus ammo and giving myself '3 second' drills. Shoulder it and shoot within 3 seconds, at 100 yard targets.
I am not familiar with the Wincehester model 88. Does it have a tubular magazine? If so how does it deal with the spitzer ammo common to the .308?

The Savage Model has a 5 shot internal rotary magazine not unlike the 1022.
Old 01-21-2010, 03:47 PM
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The Win 88 uses a 4-round box magazine, press the button & pop its out.
No problem with spitzer ammo.

The only problem I ever had was that reloads need to be completely full length sized, otherwise very hard to chamber.

Neat thing was that 110 grain hollowpoints, 150 grain and 165 grain spitzers, and mil-surp all had same point of impact at 100 yds. Well, not exactly same, but so close it didn't matter.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
I grew up shooting a .308 Savage Model 99C with Iron sights (it's a lever action). It still shoots more accurately than I am capable of shooting on my end.
Ah! Texas Pete Nothing like a Savage 99 lever gun about as close to having the best of both worlds I need to get mine out more often.

Sav.99 in 300 Sav.
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:05 PM
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If you look carefully, you can find lever guns chambered in some very high power cartridges. Unfortunately the basic Marlin 336 and Winchester 94 are chambered in modest cartridges such as 30-30 and 35 Rem.

Winchester 1886 (45-70) & 71 (348 win), the model 88 (308 win) and 94 big bore (307, 356, 375 win) shoot some really hot numbers. The Savage 99 (308 win) and Browning BLR (243 & 308, 270 & 30-06) and the Marlin 444 (444 marlin, 45-70, 45 marlin) are chambered is some high powered cartridges as well. The Winchester 1895 was originally chambered in 30-06, 405 win, and later 270 win.

Not every lever gun will shoot as well as the average bolt action, but some will. Some lever guns will shoot their first few rounds into incredible tight groups and very few suffer from their point of impact shifting due to temperature or humidity changes.

Folks who one a truely accurate lever gun tend to keep it for life. I have a Winchester 94 chambered in 356 win that shoots 200g flat points at 2500f/s into 1 inch groups and only weighs 6.5 lbs. Very few bolt guns can match that and none at the price of a Winchester 94.
Old 01-22-2010, 01:28 PM
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Bolt actions are stronger than lever actions, but that shouldn't matter if you are using ammo that is safe to shoot.

Both have about the same muzzle velocity if the cartridge and barrel length are he same.

I have never seen a lever action target rifle or sniper rifle, but 1MOA groups are fairly common with a good scope.
Old 01-22-2010, 03:18 PM
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Equal quality guns will have equal power and accuracy.

What determines accuracy and power after that is length of the bbl and the round chambered.

Even semis won't loose power unless they are direct blowback where the recoil of the round cycles the gun. Otherwise some gas is bled off after the bullet reaches maximum velocity to cycle the action. Most semis are delayed blowback by using some type of locking system like rotating lugs.

Each inch of bbl can effect a change up to 50 fps of a bullet. That equals power downrange.

Find the right round for your rifle and it'll have all the power and accuracy you want or need, regardless of it being a bolt, lever, single shot or semi.
Old 01-22-2010, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ls1 View Post
The sub 1" group my brothers scoped 336 gets with 170 grain winchester silver tips don't agree...fully. The average hunter will never notice the difference.
First round/chambered only I hope?
Old 01-22-2010, 03:30 PM
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Overall, the lever gun is designed to be quick and handy. Which pretty much means short barrels. Usually 20" barrels. Tube fed lever guns have to use ammunition that is safe to store inline. Revolver or magazine ones don't. Lever action guns are somewhat weaker actions than some bolt action rifles. Therefore, maximum pressure limits of the chamber are lower.

there is much debate over velocity, bullet weights, and the way it expands and destroys tissues inside your hunted game. Some of the mose effective cartrudges out there are moderate velocity ones firing a heavy bullet for the diameter. Out of what's available, there are many good lever action calibers that take advantage of this situation.

IT's really up to a matter of preference over anything factual. The biggest limitation with locking bar lever actions is cartridge clearances. Rimed cases are set by the rim and not the bottleneck. This means the catridge case can have more variances in fittment of the bottlenck area to chamber and overall aim of bullet inside the chamber. This causes accuracy to suffer. Beating 1" groups at 100 yards is real tough with rimmed cartridges. Once past the 300 yard mark, shot placement can wander.

Some folks hate to set a limit on their shooting range. If you're one of them, then a lever gun may not be a good choice. My limit on deer is 200-250 yards no matter what I shoot.

I think for game that is more likely to attack you, a lever gun is a better choice for close range situation like swamp hunting or wooded area. In open areas, the bolt is much better.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mightyoak View Post
First round/chambered only I hope?
Don't know if Olin still makes it, but they used to make a 170g flat nosed silver tip for the 30-30 win. Without exposed lead they penetrate really well and might have been intended for game larger than deer.

Since I have to deal with problem black bears relocated by the national park service, I changed over to hunting deer with a 270 or a 308 win.
Old 01-24-2010, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThoughtfulWolf View Post
Was thinking on my way to work today about the marlin 336 when this thought came into my head.

Is there much different in the power and accuracy of a lever and a bolt, since it's not spending energy to eject a spent cartridge?
We have a tendancy to undervalue the power afforded cartridges used in leveraction rifles...which is understandable when comparing them to the higher intensity cartridges normally used in bolt action rifles...fact is most centerfire leveractions, have sufficient power and if you do your part accuracy to tackle most tasks...
Old 01-26-2010, 02:05 PM
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There are a lot more options in caliber with a bolt gun vs. a lever action. Lever actions restrict you to handgun type calibers with short ranges. With a bolt gun you can shoot any designated rifle cartridge ranging from .17 hmr-.50 BMG. Then you have to consider that a rifle cartridge can shoot further than a lever action caliber. As long as your target is within 150 yards(if your a good shot) then you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
Old 01-28-2010, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Lever actions restrict you to handgun type calibers with short ranges.
What are you smoking????
Old 01-28-2010, 06:14 PM
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Most shooters know that

1. a rifle is only as accrate as the person pulling the trigger

2. Practice and knowing the rifle equals accracy

later
wayne
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