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Thread: Long action or short action as clear as muddy water

  1. #1

    Long action or short action as clear as muddy water

    Can anyone really explain short/long action as I bought a C&B stock for a weatherby etc in long action as some one said that is what I need for my rifle. But in fact I needed a short action so I now have a spare stock!

  2. #2
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
    Yorkshireman in Darkest Cornwall
    Short-308 length and less
    Standard (long) - between 308 and 30-06
    Magnum- between 30-06 375 H&h

    But it it isn't always that simple. For example some .223 rifles use a short action, others use a micro action.

    I presume you mean Weatherby Vanguard (aka Howa 1500). What caliber is it?
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  3. #3
    I don't think there is any definition that says 'short' = x.x - y.y" length, and 'long' = a.a - b.b". It's traditionally do to with the length of cartridges the action can cope with, in particular with reference to US designs. So, 'long- handles the .30-06 whose SAAMI COAL is 3.340", and the raft of other designs that are either based on the .30-06 or were given similar COALs - .25-06, .270 Win, .280 Rem etc.

    'Magnum' actions were designed to handle the H&H belted magnums, later Roy Weatherby's designs that initially used the H&H case, so we're talking around 3.6" length cartridges.

    When the 308 Win was adopted in 1952 and its popularity grew, spin-offs (243 and 358 Win) appeared, US manufacturers introduced shortened versions of their previous standard (now renamed 'long') actions designed to handle these 2.800" COAL numbers, maybe one or two tenths of an inch more in some designs. These soon came to be called 'short' actions, although there had been short or shorter actions around previously to handle small cartridges like the .22 Hornet, .222 Rem and suchlike.

    Generally European manufacturers are less bothered about this nomenclature and classification unless they want their rifles to really sell in the USA where there is a bit of a fetish about getting a true short action (that's why the recently introduced short magnum cartridges are all around 2.8" COAL). It's also a considerable minus to many less well informed American 'hunters' for a cartridge to need a 'long' action, such as 6.5X55, 7X57 and suchlike, not to mention the .284 Win with the chamber throated properly to accept heavy bullets without excessively deep seating.

  4. #4
    And the Remington long action will actually handle the magnums, or the .308. An example is the US Army M24, which is a long action, shooting the 7.62x51mm NATO for years, but also the .300 Win Mag, and now almost all new ones are .300 WM. The Tikka T3 is like that, handing all sizes from different magazines and using bolt stops, whereas the 595 was "short" and the 695 was long.

    Some, like Sako and Steyr, have at times built 4 action sizes, for the .222/.223, the .308/.243, the .30-06 class, and the magnum cartridges.

  5. #5
    SD Regular
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    Long action, once, really meant anything for a old 7x57 Mauser derived cartridge or what was the STANDARD Mauser 98 military or commercial receiver. So that anything of 57mm length case. Or longer. That is 7x57, 8x57, 30.06, 270 WCF and additionally 300 Holland.

    To muddy the water a lot of users of surplus wartime Mauser 98 actions, such as Parker Hale and many American "custom" gunsmiths (or larger) also for economy used these same actions for rifles chambered for the shorter 308 Winchester and 243 Winchester.

    Best to ignore the exotic Mauser Kurz actions for the sake of this discussion!

    All's so far fine. However the actual gun MAKERS in the US then start making actions specifically for the "new" cartridges like the 308 and 243 and these, by some, then become known as "short" actions. Remington even making "extra long" actions. But then things get a name change and like bullets becoming "bullet heads" these, in USA, old "stnadard" actions for predominately 30-06 or 270 suddenly become known as "long" actions!

    As Laurie says it is all the fault of the 308 Winchester!
    Last edited by enfieldspares; 14-01-2015 at 14:22.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by enfieldspares View Post
    As Laurie says it is all the fault of the 308 Winchester!
    It was actually the 243, the 308 generally feeds fine from a long action. Winchester just copied the 308 from the military but the 243 is a design winchester did all on their own.


  7. #7
    Winchester actually was in on the development of the 7.62x51mm NATO, and when things were stalled as Canada and England leaned towards a 7mm ( 7x43, 7x46, 7x49, .280 Enfield, and .276 Pederson), Winchester commercialized the cartridge as the .308 Winchester and released it in the Model 70 with an advertising campaign, to nudge things their direction.

    The initial M60 machinegun (T61) was developed for the .30-06, just in case there was no change, and was tested with the ".308 Winchester" as well as some 7mm cartridges. I got my hands on one of the prototypes (.30-06) about 5 years ago and stripped it for a look. Spain was actually one of the first nations to adopt the 7.62x51mm ( at lower pressures and lighter bullets), rebarreling their La Coruna Mauser, which is slightly shorter action than the M98, and in the CETME battle rifle, designed by Mauser engineers who had fled Germany in 1945. I own a mix of all these: M43, FR-7, FR-8, and CETME.

  8. #8
    Hi there for all that replied.

    Clear as foggy glass. But it seems that I have to of the main calibers which are short action. That being .308 and .243 winchester.

    I have now bought a short action for the weatherby vanguard shock from Midway but still have the long action stock sitting in the cupboard.

    So that action is nothing to do with just the length of the ejection port. I will take Laurie advice and check out the caliber before I buy another stock for my rifles.

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