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Brainstorming - Short Bolt action with opposite side handle

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by BattleRifleG3, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. BattleRifleG3

    BattleRifleG3 Retired Moderator

    Maybe this idea is totally bonkers, but I figured I'd throw it out there for digestion.

    Bolt action pistols generally have the bolt handle on the opposite side of the ejection port. The idea is that instead of holding the handguard while working the bolt with your trigger hand, you hold the grip with your trigger hand and work the bolt with the other.

    I wondered if anyone had ever considered this for rifles. I decided to try switching shoulders with a few of my bolt actions. The most obvious issue proved to be that it was impractically difficult to hold the rifle by the grip while cycling. One has better balance on the forend, plus the classic curved grip of most rifles doesn't lend itself to being used as the sole point of support.

    Next thing I noticed was that I continually hit myself in the nose with my hand. This was very much the case with my Savage in 300 RUM but not with my Rem 700 short action. Meaning that IF such a configuration were ever to be used, it would only work for the shortest of actions.

    Finally, I noted that grabbing the bolt handle from the position of the trigger seemed very natural, while moving one's hand from the forend back to the bolt handle took much more time and just felt sloppier.

    Another fact here is that a classic curved grip places the shooter's trigger hand very near the rear of the bolt, and while the bolt could be cycled without hitting it, it would be too close for comfort.

    So my conclusions are that IF such a rifle could ever possibly work, it would:
    1.) Basically have to resemble a pistol but have a 16" minimum barrel, and might as well have a buttstock, fixed or folding, to bring the overall length up to the legal minimum for a rifle.
    2.) Have a separate pistol grip in order to keep the bolt from hitting the shooter's trigger hand when cycling. So in other words, it would start to look "tacticool" by necessity. This grip would also help hold it steady while cycling with the other hand.
    3.) Be held by the non trigger hand as close to the bolt handle as possible, possibly even under the magazine. So it would need a flush fixed or detachable magazine. Military mags are out. In order not to feel barrel heavy, the barrel would have to be as light and short as possible, which would also help it to feel better when being held one-handed.
    4.) Use the shortest action possible. 308 at the longest, intermediate length like 223, 7.62X39mm, or 6.8 Rem SPC would be best. Or 35 Rem, since this setup would be good for a brushbuster. Shorten the bolt travel even further by using a rear locking bolt like the 788. So a 788 would be the best donor gun for such a project, especially with the left handed 788s ejecting out the right side.

    Why? A compact carbine for tight quarters useful for hunting and LE alike. Might as well give it a collapsible stock to accomodate different shooters and clothing thicknesses. A peep site and/or scout scope would probably be the best optical setup. Or just something that would give most of the advantages of handgun hunting in something a little larger and more versatile.

    So what do people think? Nuts? It would have to be done just right to feel good at all and not just awkward. Or maybe there is no way to do it right. I mainly got on the idea thinking a Rem 788 left hand would make a great hunting pistol if only it were legal, but alas once it has a buttstock it can never have a barrel under 16", so sayeth the NFA.
  2. SilverRun

    SilverRun G&G Enthusiast

  3. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Enthusiast

    no he's talking about putting the bolt on the wrong side. brg3 i think your on the wrong track here. most bolts have been on the wrong side for me all my life, so i can honestly say that you are not looking at any kind of advantage. now right bolt/left port for RH, and left bolt/ right port is the way rifles should be built.
  4. BattleRifleG3

    BattleRifleG3 Retired Moderator

    That's right, I'm talking about putting the bolt on the wrong side. But here's a key question - do you bring your forend holding hand all the way back from the handguard to work the bolt and have to awkwardly hold the rifle by the curved pistol grip while you do it? That's the problem I'm looking to address by using a separate p-grip for better control and a short, light barrel for less distance to bolt.

    One advantage is that one would never let go with the hand that pulls the trigger. Of course with a regular bolt action you have a better ability to steady the gun by the forend than the grip.

    Probably the biggest issue with such a setup is that everyone, including me, is used to the bolt being on the side of the trigger hand. No matter what the potential benefits may be, adjusting would be a tall order for anyone.

    This is mostly a pure science type of question. As I said before, the main goal would be something like a bolt action hunting pistol but just big enough to count as a rifle.
  5. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Enthusiast

    with lighter rifles, i used to just continue holding the rifle(at the pistol grip) with my left hand and work the bolt with my right hand. now with all RH bolt actions i reach over the top and work the bolt with my left hand while continuing to hold the forend with my RH. while i can do this with the same or more speed than the average RH shooter using a RH gun, it comes from a ton of practice. im even faster with my left handed bolt action. having the bolt on the "wrong" side, just leads to a lot of unneccesary movement. next time you go to a gun store, see if they have a LH rifle, and give it a try. typically, larger stores have 1-3 LH bolt actions for every 200 RH bolts they have. so you may have to hit more than 1 store.
  6. BattleRifleG3

    BattleRifleG3 Retired Moderator

    Sounds like a good plan to see what it's like. I tried switching sides with my bolt actions, and the main problems for me were barrel weight and having to move my non-trigger hand all the way from the handguard. Then again my shortest action bolt gun is a bull barreled 308.

    A 22 would probably feel the closest to what I'm going for, in fact that might be the best way to prototype it too if I ever wanted to make it a reality.
  7. Farmer

    Farmer G&G Regular


    CZ have been making some excellent lh rifles in 223 and 204, with a short 98 action.... Just another option.
  8. nvshooter

    nvshooter G&G Newbie

    Nesika Bay will put the bolt and port on any side you want-- for the right price, of course. I'm a leftist; finding a gun to fit me is always a chore. So I had one built...
  9. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Suspended

    Left hand bolt, right hand eject?

    Nesika - Manufacturer of World Class Bolt Actions and Rifles - Offical Site

    I've made/built lots of these. Great for on the bench because you never take your hand off of the grip when loading. Better bag stability during bolt manipulation. Gives your left hand a functional purpose too.

    Bad side.

    Your finger can be on the trigger during loading. Watch yourself!

    Even stranger:

    Left hand bolt, left hand load, right side eject. "Dual port action"

    Nesika makes these as well.
  10. BattleRifleG3

    BattleRifleG3 Retired Moderator

    I might end up running with this on a rimfire platform. Any suggestions?

    Something that could use the new Ruger 22 magnum hi-caps would be nice.
  11. Metronome

    Metronome G&G Newbie

    Hmm, what if you used a dog-leg type bolt handle (like the Rem 600/660 and the early handcannons) or possibly a bolt handle mounted at the front locking lugs or ahead of the rear bridge (which would limit scope options). I think the main advantage of an oppositely-bolted gun would be in the situation of having a pistol grip/thumbhole stock.
  12. jtuck

    jtuck G&G Evangelist

    I'm a left handed shooter, just like lefty o. I've never owned an actual left handed bolt action, but I really like the right handed set up for shooting off a bench or sandbags. Execpt for deer hunting, the majority of my shots are off of sandbags, a bench, or bi-pod so I don't even touch the forearm with my right hand. This setup works really well when I'm shooting my .17. You are right about staying with a short action though. This technique doesn't work so well with the 98 long action.
  13. BattleRifleG3

    BattleRifleG3 Retired Moderator

    So now I'm looking for suggestions of a rimfire rifle available in a left handed version. I'm also leaning towards 22 mag, 17 HMR, or the new 5mm. Using the Shooters ridge or Pro Mag hi-caps would be nice, meaning Ruger 77/22. Anyone know if they're available in LH?
  14. SwedeSteve

    SwedeSteve Freedom Zealot Forum Contributor

    They show LH models for everything else I saw, but no mention of M77/22 LH's. Might require a phone call.
  15. DWFan

    DWFan G&G Evangelist

    Figure out a way to put a stock on a Savage Striker and a psuedo flash suppressor to make the barrel long enough to be legal and you're in business.
  16. Jim Rau

    Jim Rau G&G Enthusiast

    What he said.
    I have been shooting LH my entire life (left eye dominate) and have went to LH bolts about 15 years ago. Right now your best choices in calibers are with Savage. But Remington offers a LH youth rifle in the ADL configuration in 234, 7mm-08, and 308 for less $$ so I am going to get a 7mm-08 and restock it.:)
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