What is the life span of a bolt action.

Discussion in 'Main Message Board' started by jackson1, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. jackson1

    jackson1 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Sheltering in place, with all the projects I can think of to do, done. With my limited brain power a question is rattling around my mind. With normal use, no blow ups or galled lugs, can a bolt action be worn out? Have seen over and under shotguns get loose, revolvers lose their timing, rifle barrels wear out, but what is the life span of a properly machined and heat treated bolt action (action only)?
     
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  2. divingin

    divingin

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    Considering how many bolt guns are around from the turn of the century (before the last one), I'd say longer than you should be worried about.
     
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  3. rsmithsr50

    rsmithsr50

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    well over 100 years
     
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  4. Evan

    Evan Gold $$ Contributor

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    If it is kept rust free and un-abused, it should last a very long time. Keeping something rust free over the long haul can be quite difficult though. My concern would also be how the rifle has been treated. If I acquired an old rifle of unknown history, I would be very concerned about how often somebody shot overpressure loads and beat the bolt open with a mallet.

    I came to find out recently that my grandpa and my dad were not aware of how to disassemble and clean a Mauser bolt. I took my grandpa's rifles apart and many of the parts in the bolt were more than slightly rusted. Cleaned it all up as best I could and oiled everything generously on reassembly but I don't shoot those rifles anymore and haven't really for years now.
     
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  5. Uthink Uknow

    Uthink Uknow Gold $$ Contributor

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    In the case of a Stolle Panda, well over 100,000 rounds
     
  6. gme

    gme Site $$ Sponsor

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    longer than most humans, got an 1890's swede Mauser that still shoots great
     
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  7. gunsandgunsmithing

    gunsandgunsmithing The best tuners and wind flags on the market Gold $$ Contributor

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    With proper care and a little maintenance, I'm not sure you can wear one out. Galled lugs and rust would be the things to avoid most.
     
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  8. ebb

    ebb

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    Most of the mausers have been sitting in a rack the better part of their life. How many shots could you get through a 22Hornet with factory ammo or Gun Kid hand loading a 6.5-284 to 75000 PSI. Ive heard 22lr benchrest shooters say they have seen guns with over 100,000 shots and still going strong. What about a BR shooter with a 6PPC that has been shooting the high node for 20 years and rebarreled every 1500 rounds, the receiver threads are almost gone. Yes 15000 was a typo some get 2000 from a PPC but most are more like 1500
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  9. Ned Ludd

    Ned Ludd Gold $$ Contributor

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    How many barrels can you buy?
     
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  10. Rsadams

    Rsadams

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    Wow some interesting comments on the life of a bolt gun and there right.... That's what I was thinking , there's bolt guns around that are older than myself.... I would just chime in and say I think alot of the life would depend on maintenance and the care of the gun.... I have a few that were my grandfather's , they still shoot lights out... Even an old woods master 720 I believe and it's like brand new right out the box because nobody shot it alot because it's in 30.06 and in S. Texas that's a little much for these tiny white tails... I would not be scared to take his old rifles out hunting and I do.... I never thought about the life of a bolt gun , but it's an interesting post for sure....

    Not a rifle or bolt gun but interesting story.... A guy came into my friends gun shop looking to buy a new Ruger mark whatever .22lr because he said he had shot the barrel out... We were like , really , how much do you shoot it , wow....He said we shoot 3 box's a day for the last few years before work and after at least... We kinda looked at each other thinking hmmmm.... Turned out he meant 3 bricks a day... And yup the barrel was shot out pretty good... But that's alot of shooting...
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
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  11. rsmithsr50

    rsmithsr50

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    15 thousand rounds...maybe a typo 1500
     
  12. rsmithsr50

    rsmithsr50

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    mosin nagant 1891 referred to as 91 ,
    THEN UPDATED TO lighter bullets in the 30's is now a 91/30.
    the longest in-service bolt action rifle ever.
    still going strong
    (7.62x54r about equal to 308 win)
     
  13. biggun2869

    biggun2869 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Bolt actions- if you take care of them they will last virtually forever. You asked about revolvers out of time and I can chime in on that. A buddy has a python that has been shot a ton and I personally witnessed it send a fragment back to his face, only an inch away from his eye (left eye right hand guy) that fragment went under his skin and if it would have been more centered on his eye he would have lost it. At that time I probably owned 4-6 Pythons but I don't remember ever having any thing that wasn't 4"
    They are FINE! guns but are not the workhorses that S&W have made us love. A 686 or 19 is ALMOST as good of an action as the Colt and it will last a lifetime. My buddy still has that Colt, It has been sent back 3 times now.
    I got rid of all mine but of course before they really became worth a lot of money
     
  14. wkdickinson

    wkdickinson Gold $$ Contributor

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    Just to play "the devil's advocate" here. An action will likely never fail under normal conditions and reasonable care, if it is only fired 10 or 15 times a year, as many hunting rifles are. Or if it spends it's life in a gun safe. So "age" truly has little to do with how long they last, it's really about "use". When I read the OP's question, I thought he was asking about "round count", not chronological age.

    I have never seen or known personally of any bolt-action truly failing (i.e., a bolt lug shearing off or something like that). However, I have seen pictures of those kinds of failures and have heard stories, as I'm sure we all have. Frankly, I think most of those failures were caused by reloading errors and/or doing something else stupid.

    I have a M70 Win Match rifle built in the mid-60's as a 308, that I bought used. I have personally burned up 3 barrels on it and recently had it rebarrelled to a 6.5 CM. My guess is that the action has something just short of 20K rounds through it, many of which were on the "hot" side. I'm sure this round count is very low in comparison to the rifles owned by many of the people on this forum.
     
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  15. JSH

    JSH

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    There are those that think they shoot a lot.
    Then there are those that do shoot a lot.

    I am of the thoughts that no one has lived long enough yet to wear one out. Even then there is little that could not be fixed.
     
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  16. gunsandgunsmithing

    gunsandgunsmithing The best tuners and wind flags on the market Gold $$ Contributor

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    I should have asked..Are we talking American or Chinese stuff? Lol! Buy American! Yes, the steel and machining would be factors but even a poorly designed and machined bolt gun, THAT WAS WELL ENGINEERED, should outlast any of us under normal use. I shoot way more than most but maybe not quite "a lot." A few thousand rounds per year, mostly all from a good American made bolt gun. FWIW.
     
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  17. Bulletman

    Bulletman

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    It's been my experience that a feller cant wear one out without abusing it. I know of a few Remington and Winchester actions that have an unknown number of rounds on them, and know for sure it's way over 50,000 rounds since I started keeping track.
     
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  18. ebb

    ebb

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    R Smith sr Ok a MN is old but that doesn't mean it has been shoot a lot.
     
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  19. edwardware

    edwardware

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    I'd say a new barrel every 1,000 to 100,000 rounds (depending on how high falutin you are), and a couple springs and a seer every half century.

    I can't see how a bolt action wears beyond minor headspace adjustments in a million rounds.
     
  20. hoz53

    hoz53 Gold $$ Contributor

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    i just know none of mine will be worn out in my lifetime especially if this virus gets me
     

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