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Thread: The hybrid bolt action rifle concept

  1. #1
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    The hybrid bolt action rifle concept

    Hybrid bolt actions have gotten popular. I don't know of a formal definition, but there's a decent overview article here . For discussion, let's say a 'hybrid' is a bolt action rifle that weighs roughly 8-10 pounds unscoped/unloaded, and is intended to be capable of both hunting AND benched/competitive shooting. In simple terms, it's a rifle that's light enough to be carried (at least for a ways) but heavy enough to shoot a higher rate of fire accurately. Some recent examples of mass produced hybrids:

    * Bergara B-14 HMR (9.2 - 9.8 lbs)
    * Ruger Hunter (9.2 lbs)
    * Remington 700 Magpul (9 lbs)
    * You could make the case that rifles like the Tikka CTR, or the Rem 700 LTR, or the original Ruger Scout in the wood stock should be here. They're close, but at roughly 7.5 lbs, I think barrel contours and stocks are a bit light to fit the category. This strikes me as more in the category of the 'light tactical rifle' or 'scout rifle' or something like that, there's significant overlap but it seems like not the same thing. Where these rifles would lose out to the hybrids is 'heavy enough to shoot a higher rate of fire accurately.'

    So, here are the most common pros/cons I hear:

    * Pros: for people who don't want to own a lot of bolt actions, this can be one do-it-all rifle. Heavy enough for accurate range shooting, light enough for a lot of hunting scenarios. That's the marketing message, and a lot of folks agree with that in practice. I see this as more common in circles like ours on M4C, where you have a lot of guys that are mostly AR or semiauto shooters, but want to own a single nice bolt action.
    * Cons: too heavy for practical hunting use, and often too light--esp the barrel--for serious benched or comps type of shooting, and extended strings of fire. A critique you often hear is that hybrid rifles in trying to be good at everything, are actually good at nothing.

    So what do you think? Do you like the hybrid concept, or would you rather own multiple bolt actions that are more purpose built, for instance a lighter one for hunting and a heavier one for range/comps shooting? (Full disclosure, already own a lighter Tikka and a heavier 'tactical' type R700, but still interested in the hybrid concept too).
    Last edited by maximus83; 07-26-19 at 12:42. Reason: add weight to Rem 700

  2. #2
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    I like the concept for people on a budget. Considering you only get to hunt a couple times a year. Can’t be a mountain rifle but can easily be a deer stand rifle. My riflesmith hates skinny barrels so my hunting rifle is pretty heavy after the Nightforce rings ammo.

    The real savings is on glass, so it’s not for me but it has its place in the market.

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  3. #3
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    I'd rather have one that can be a do-it-all.

    My Ruger M77 30-06. It may not be a military grade sniper rifle but it's a good do it all rifle.

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    I know a couple guys who have the Bergera, and they like them for the multi purpose role. They want to be able to shoot a deer, and they want to hit steel at extended distances. I'd love to own one, but it's not what I'd be shooting often enough to want to purchase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arik View Post
    My Ruger M77 30-06. It may not be a military grade sniper rifle but it's a good do it all rifle.
    Good to hear--I've always liked those Ruger controlled feed actions and the last time I had one was about three years ago, a Gunsite Scout. Super rugged and reliable.

  6. #6
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    I have a Bergara HMR so I guess I like the concept.

    I was also an early owner of a SiCo Omega. I put it on everything until I had other cans and didn't need to any more.

    The HMR fills the same role, just as a rifle. I can use it for everything until I don't need to any more.

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    I had a 700 LTR and with the Leupold LR M3 and sling, it tipped the scales at 10# even. I found it to do everything the heavier rifles could do on a short course, and generally do it quicker. I could also use it hunting back when I still hunted. When I had it, it was my only precision/hunting gun and it worked for what I wanted it to do.

    I'm just not sure I'd go beyond the range with a hybrid bolt gun. Unless I was strictly blind hunting where I could get close with a truck or ATV, I'd be too tempted to go get a light rig for woods walking. JMO, YMMV
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximus83 View Post
    So what do you think?
    I think it depends heavily on the type of hunting and the terrain where you hunt.

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    The more things change, the more they remain the same. I remember when hunting rifles weighed 8-10 pounds and the search for lighter alternatives began, taking us into the Age of the Mountain Rifle.

    My father's 30-06 built on a 98 Mauser action weighed about 9 1/2 pounds with scope and sling. Barrel was a medium weight sporter contour somewhere between 22 and 24 inches in length. The stock was walnut with a cheek piece and Monte Carlo. It had a contrasting forend and a recoil pad, both with whiteline spacers. Boy, am I glad the days of that style stock are (mostly) behind us!

    Grandpa had a similar rifle in 300 Weatherby Magnum that was maybe a pound or two heavier. If I recall, Grandpa's Mauser was bought through Sears or Montgomery Wards and Dad's was built on a surplus military Mauser action.

    Dad had a Military Mauser 98 in 7x57 converted for Mom. The bolt was bent and the metal work was polished and had a beautiful deep blue finish applied by a gunsmith my father was friends with. Same gunsmith that made Dad's rifle and rebarreled a 1909 Argentine to 6mm Remington for my 12th birthday.

    Uncle had a Ruger M77 with the tang safety in 308 that weighed in between 8 or 9 pounds. It had a medium weight sporter contour barrel.

    Another rifle that stands out is the Remington 788 in 22-250 Dad bought back in 1968 for about $79. The 788 was Remington's foray into economy price bolt action rifles that succeeded all too well. It had a plain birch stock, stamped steel single stack detachable magazine and a 9 lug bolt with a 60 degree lift. Trouble was, the 788 soon developed a reputation for accuracy that outshone the more expensive Model 700! Many claim that's the real reason Remington dropped the 788. Dad's 22-250 had a 24 or 26 inch medium weight varmint contour barrel. Whereas the sporter contour has a double curve going from the chamber to the main body of the barrel, the varmint contour is more of a straight taper from chamber to muzzle. (Straight taper means the barrel has a constant angle as the barrel diameter gets smaller towards the muzzle. The diameter isn't constant.) It too weighed about 9 pounds. It was the perfect walking varminter rig. Dad used it to kill many jackrabbits out in the Mojave Desert.

    9 pound bolt action rifles with medium contoured barrels weren't hybrids ("hybrid" seems to be the catch phrase of the moment) just standard hunting rifles- and they were quite versatile. (Keep in mind that, in those days, shooting a good group at 1000 yards was an almost superhuman feat. You couldn't just buy a rifle, scope and a box of bullets and go shoot. It took real work and planning.) But it will be interesting to see what refinements are made as the advances in technology of the last thirty years and updated innovations are applied to this "new" concept.
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    I'm a fan of the hybrid guns. Decent stocks and a little weight make them seem steadier, and easier to use a sling with.... I never cared for or had luck with sporter barrels. Probably me....

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