The Anatomy of a Tactical Bolt Action Rifle

By Ian Kenney



The tactical bolt-action rifle has been and continues to be a popular niche in the firearms industry.  The consumers that seek out and purchase these rifles are often looking for the very best in components and accuracy to help them hit targets at ranges that were once thought laughable.  Whether it is a fully custom built rifle or one purchased from a well known manufacturer a tactical rifle often sets itself apart from your average sporting rifle in many ways.  The definition of what constitutes a tactical bolt action rifle is often ever changing and solely dependent on the needs of the end user.  Tactical rifles have been called everything from precision rifles to sniper systems depending on who is doing the talking.  No matter what it is called though the tactical rifle is really a means to an end.  The end in this case is providing a maximum amount of accuracy in a rugged and man-portable package.


Some people might ask, well what is the difference between a tactical bolt gun and just a regular hunting rifle?  While the answer may seem pretty simple at first, but it is actually a fairly complex one and relative to the user.  For me, the tactical bolt action rifle uses key components that are designed to give the user maximum durability in extreme conditions for lengthy periods of time.  More often then not your average tactical bolt gun will be heavier in weight because of the heavier barrel, sturdier stock, and more rugged optics that are often necessary to meet these requirements.  With everything attached to the rifle it is not uncommon for the weight of the rifle to exceed 13-15lbs while your average hunting rifle may not even break 10lbs.  Of course the average hunting rifle may not see the kind of harsh use that a tactical bolt action rifle will so it can get by with the lighter weight.  Often because of the necessity for these more rugged components the cost for a tactical bolt action rifle will also be considerably more than your average rifle.  In my opinion, those are the things that really set a tactical bolt action rifle apart from your everyday hunting rifle.






The purpose of this multi-article series is to take an in depth look at not only the components that make up these often expensive builds but how they work together to produce hits on target at long range. Starting from the top down I will examine the riflescope, rings, bases, barrels, stocks, trigger guards, and how it all works as an integrated system.  By clicking on the links below you’ll be able to read the articles associated with that particular component and hopefully gain some new insight into how it operates.





                                             Barrel                                                   Riflescope                  Rings/Base


                  Anatomy of a Tactical Bolt Action Rifle.jpg

                               The Stock                                              Action                             Bottom Metal