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bitmasher's picture
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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

I would like to read opinions on semiautomatic big game rifles versus the traditional bolt actions.

Such as the pros and cons of using a semiauto and what you have seen works or does not work (make, model, calibers, bullet types).

The reason I ask is that in the past I have found myself wishing that I could take a rapid follow up shot, without having to rebolt. To me, the advantage of the quick second shot is attractive, but with advantages sometimes come disadvantages.

Any thoughts?

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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

The semi-auto(and full-auto) has it's biggest advantage in a combat situation where firing multiple rounds in succestion is crucial. What I have found with many big game hunters is they use semi-auto rifles as
a "spray and pray" method of hitting or bringing down game. Last year my son and I were in the wood deer hunting and I swore I was "back in time" when all hell broke loose as a deer ran across an open field. A hunter 200yds from us opened up on that deer and emptied his semi-auto, reloaded and continued firing. Believe it or not he never hit the deer. Someone shot the deer soon after and there was only one shot in it from the second person. My point is that a person should become skilled with a weapon so that only one(and maybe a follow-up )shot is needed. If you work with a bolt action rifle enough you will be surprised how quickly you can bolt in the next round. Another point is that a semi-auto could have feeding and ejecting problems with a wrong powder load or misfeed. I'm all for accuracy and safety of the bolt action weapons.

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Location: minnesota
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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

Hey Lv2hunt don't be critizing all of us because of our rifle choice. I have a Remington Wingmaster 740 in 30.06 and I love it. It does have it's drawbacks but I feel the trade off is worth it. Keep it clean and jamming is few and far between, and by the end of the day it does feel a little heavy, but for deer I wouldn't use anything else. There are those of us who do not chase through the woods like Rambo! Having that second shot right at the fingertips if you need it is a good thing.

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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

I'm not criticizing all semi-auto users I'm referring to many-and I mean many- who use the semi-auto as an excuse for poor first-shot placement and lack of practice. I have owned semi-auto rifles, shotguns, and pistols. In the right hands they are very safe and useful. I have taught both military and police officers to use and fire them correctly. I have also seen much abuse of them in real life situations. I stand by the bolt action as a very sound choice for the big game hunter. Military and police snipers use bolt action rifles for both the accuracy and reliability. They also practice and learn to make their first shot count with maybe a follow-up. We should all be confident of a one-shot-kill and be ready for the second assurance shot. We should rarily need more than two shots to kill.

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Location: Colorado
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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

I agree with lv2hunt. The only real disadvantage to a semi-auto for hunting is the possibility that you might fall into the "spray and pray" mindset. As long as you can avoid that, a semi-auto can make a fine hunting gun.

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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

I am somewhat a good example of over shooting an auto loader even though it was with a shotgun and I was bird hunting.
I borrowed a buddys Browning Auto loader on a Dove hunt once and even though I killed the same number of birds as with my Mossburg Pump and my Winchester single shot I shot 3 times as many shells. I found myself taking follow-up shot at birds too far away or, in some cases, already hit and falling.
In Big Game calibres I can Bolt my 700 just as fast as I can Pump my 760 as still remain accurate. I have never user an Auto loader for Deer huntin.

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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

I have to agree with lv2hunt. All too often we don't concentrate on that first shot when we know we have 4 other shots to follow up with. I started hunting with a bolt gun(lee-enfield) with great success. I switched to a 742 and didn't concentrate on one shot kills as much. I since switched back to a bolt gun. I have found that you only need one shot if it is delivered right. Stick to the bolt Bitmasher. JMHO

[ This Message was edited by: ChesterGolf on 2003-11-06 16:12 ]

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Location: Alabama
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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

I can see where everyone's coming from. I use (and recommend) a .270 bolt action for hunting long open cut-overs or green fields. But I break out the semi-auto 30-06 when I head for the timber only because there is very little time for a second shot (even tough most shouldn't need it) because the wood's are thick around here.

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Location: Arizona
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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

I use a bolt action 270 most of the time, but I love my model 100 and 88 Winchesters in .308. Keep em clean and don,t use too big a charge.

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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

Thanks for all the responses. I appreciate it.

Why do folks say from time to time that semi-autos are less accurate than bolt actions? Is there a mechanical reason for this statement that can be tested or just practical experience?

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Location: Colorado
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Thoughts on semiautomatic big game rifles

In general, rifles with 2-piece stocks tend to be less accurate than rifles with 1-piece stocks. Almost all semi-auto rifles have 2-piece stocks.

That's a very broad generalization, though, and I think the variations in accuracy from one rifle to another of the same type, not to mention the variations from one type of ammo in a particular rifle to another, are greater than the supposed accuracy issues of a 2-piece stock.

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