stiff bolt after firing Steyr Mannlicher

BRACES of Bristol - Mauser M12 with Schmidt & Bender 2.5-10x56 Illuminated Scope


Well-Known Member
Some insight very much appreciated...

I have an oldish (early 1980s) Steyr Mannlicher 'L' in .308.

It shoots well, but the bolt is exceptionally stiff to open after firing a shot. It cycles very smoothly when dry firing, but as soon as you take a shot, you have really force it to get it open. Oddly, the first shot in a group is the worst, with the second and third being easier (though still not at all easy).

Does anyone know what might be causing this and what the solution is?



Well-Known Member
Thanks for the replies.

Bolt lift when dry firing is easy - not as smooth as my T3, but perfectly smooth enough.

Cases look normal after firing.

Oil might have got in, but I'd would have thought it would have burned off after the first few shots, and the problem persisted throughout a 30 shot range session (firing groups of 3 with 5 min gap between groups, first shot in each group always the worst).

paul o'

Well-Known Member
2p worth
whats it like with other ammo say sako or geco! or your home load's, thay may just be hot loads and your steyr don't like them ? can also be as a result of dents or pitting and the case fireforms into the low spots thus grabbing the walls if you get what i'am saying prob wrong but haho can see the chamber or rifle from here LOL .one of my AR15 m4's hated mil spec ss109 rounds and only would eject home loads due to tight chamber all the others would eat milspec ammo all day long,so i had it polished and that sorted it out.


Well-Known Member
I would think you have pressure problems !
Have you run them over a crono to see what there running at , then you could compare them to other factory ammo .
Then you could mail Federal and check with them . Ive had to beat rifle bolts open when guy's have used loads for there old rifle's that have not worked in there new rifle , but as you say these are factory loads and the bolt is closing correctly but very hard to lift the bolt and the rounds are not grouping so I would say a bad batch of ammo .


Yokel Matt

Well-Known Member
Have a really, really good look at the brass mate. Is it smooth or are there dimples / bumps.. especially towards the neck end? I missed the early signs of throat chamber damage and it proved terminal for the rifle.


Well-Known Member

take the bolt apart, check the firing pin is in good order, check the extractor is not bent or dirty. Clean the bolt face properly as well as the recoil lugs. give the chamber a good clean with acetone on a brush, give the recoil lug recess a really good clean with a 12g brush too.

you may wish to check headspacing too of course, but I bet it's a cleaning issue.


Well-Known Member
you may wish to check headspacing too of course, but I bet it's a cleaning issue.

Thanks for that.

It it were a cleaning issue, wouldn't that still manifest itself when dry firing or cycling unfired rounds?

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Mungo - I have seen this with another Mannlicher - admittadely a much older one in 7x57 using RWS ammo. Probably not wrong with rifle or the ammo, just they don't suit each other. I would try a different brand. Do though give it a good clean, and apply a tiny bit of lubricating grease to the bolt lugs.


Well-Known Member
I have a Mannlicher Pro Hunter in 243 that is the same. However it is smooth before firing and stiff after. Now it does not mater if it is dry fire or live so must be the bolt. I striped it down yesterday to see if it was in need of a clean and yes it was but after a clean and re assembly it made no difference. Could it just be the spring is stiffer on some than others needing a bit more effort to re cock?
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