Guns Like firearms themselves, there’s a wide variety of opinions on what’s the best gun.

Browning A-Bolt Safety

Reply

Old 11-08-2019, 08:56 AM
  #1  
Spike
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 14
Default Browning A-Bolt Safety

I have a “New To Me” 1991 vintage Browning A-Bolt in 270. I have discovered that in order to cycle the bolt to clear a chambered round the rifle must first be taken off safety. Apparently the safety completely locks the bolt and as long as it is in the “Safe” position the rifle cannot be cleared. Is this normal for an A-Bolt? Admittedly, this is my first bolt gun. For over 50 years I’ve been shooting Marlin and BLR lever guns. So, I find this “feature” of this A-Bolt to be a bit unsettling.

Is this normal for all bolt guns or just peculiar to the A-Bolt?
Voyager28 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2019, 09:10 AM
  #2  
Boone & Crockett
 
Oldtimr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: south eastern PA
Posts: 11,722
Default

There other brands that require that as well I don't think it is any more dangerous than a marlin or Winchester lever action where you have to jack all the rounds in the tube out through the action to clear it, so ling as you observe safe gun handling rules.
Oldtimr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2019, 09:32 AM
  #3  
Spike
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 14
Default

Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
There other brands that require that as well I don't think it is any more dangerous than a marlin or Winchester lever action where you have to jack all the rounds in the tube out through the action to clear it, so ling as you observe safe gun handling rules.
With the Marlin the cross bolt safety can be on and the lever cycled to clear rounds. Does not require being off of safety. Admittedly I may be over thinking it and just not used to it.
Voyager28 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2019, 11:09 AM
  #4  
Super Moderator
 
Bocajnala's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Trumbull County, Ohio
Posts: 7,287
Default

Only since 1983ish....

-Jake
Bocajnala is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2019, 11:35 AM
  #5  
Fork Horn
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 121
Default

I love bolt action rifles and own several. Locking the bolt with the safety on is the rule, not the exception. Many shooters have a similar level of unease with needing to put the gun into "fire" to cycle the bolt, so modern rifles often have two solutions.

Savage Model 11 rifles, and I think some Rugers, use three position safeties. On the Savage, the thumb safety fully back is "safe" - the gun won't fire and the bolt won't open. Middle position is "half safe" - the gun won't fire but the bolt can be opened. Full forward is "fire" where the gun can fire and the bolt can cycle.

Other guns, like the Browning X-Bolt have a traditional two-position safety with an independent mechanism to allow the bolt to cycle when the safety is on. In the case of the X-Bolt, there is a small button on the bolt arm. Press it, and the bolt will open even with the safety engaged.
Cub Slayer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2019, 11:49 AM
  #6  
Nontypical Buck
 
Nomercy448's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Kansas
Posts: 3,359
Default

Originally Posted by Cub Slayer View Post
Locking the bolt with the safety on is the rule, not the exception.
This statement is not correct - especially among American manufacturers, most bolt action rifle safeties allow the action to be cycled with the safety engaged. This is either accomplished by a 3 position safety, 2 position safety without a bolt lock, or a 2 position safety with a bolt release, in the case of the newer Brownings.

Remington 700: 2 position safety, which for the last ~30 years does not lock the bolt when on safe, such the action can be cycled while the safety is on.

Winchester 70: 3 position safety to allow the action to be cycled while the safety is on.

Winchester XPR: 2 position which does lock the bolt when safety is on.

Ruger M77 MkII and Hawkeye: 3 position safety to allow the action to be cycled while the safety is on.

Ruger American & Precision Rifles: 2 position safety which do not lock the bolt, such the action can be cycled with the safety on.

Tikka T3: 2 position which locks the bolt when the safety is on.

CZ550: most 550’s have a 3 position safety which allows the action to be cycled while the safety is on.

Savage 10/110 and variants: 3 position safety to allow the action to be cycled while the safety is on.

Savage Axis: 2 position safety which does not lock the bolt, allowing the action to be cycled while the safety is on.

Howa 1500/Weatherby Vanguard: 2 position Safety which does lock the bolt (most production, I understand some early 1500’s were 3 position safeties, but I have not encountered one personally).

Browning AB3 & X-bolt: 2 position safety plus a bolt unlock button which allows the action to be cycled with the safety on. (Old A Bolts had a 2 position safety which did lock the bolt, phased out for the new AB3 design).

T/C Compass: 3 position safety which allows the action to cycle with the safety on.

Only 3 of this dozen rifle models lock the bolt when the safety is on. Safety designs which require the shooter to disengage the safety to cycle the bolt are exceptions, not the rule.

For the OP: it does take a little consideration to own a rifle which does require the safety to be disengaged to cycle the action - especially any blind magazine model which has to cycle each round to be emptied. Awareness is critical, and you really never should be completely comfortable with the idea of administrative handling without the safety engaged.

As another point in space, however, I have very, very rarely engaged the safety of my Seekins Havak match rifle. Most of the time, my bolt handle is my safety. When walking in the dark to my blind, I have the bolt closed on an empty chamber with the striker relaxed, and my magazine loaded under the closed bolt. Only when I’m actively stalking have I engaged my safety. I’ve shot about 3,000 rounds through the rifle in the last 2 years at matches without ever engaging the safety. Just a matter of deliberate muzzle management and pensive administrative management.
Nomercy448 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2019, 12:32 PM
  #7  
Typical Buck
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Indiana county, Pa
Posts: 574
Default

ive hunted with an older Remington for a long time and its one of those that the safety has to be disengaged to clear the chamber. when using this type of rifle make sure there is no one near you and point the rifle in a safe direction to get the round out of the chamber. the method i use is to use the bolt to bump the remaining rounds out of the magazines but not chambering them. when one is bumped up clear of the magazine i just roll the rifle so the round can fall into my hand. i continue to do this until the rifle is empty.
Mr. Slim is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2019, 01:22 PM
  #8  
Fork Horn
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 121
Default

Originally Posted by Nomercy448 View Post
Safety designs which require the shooter to disengage the safety to cycle the bolt are exceptions, not the rule.
Your missing my point. Most of these designs mitigate the shortcoming of locking the bolt on safe by some mechanism, either a 3-position safety or a button. If I want to get pedantic, the three position safeties use safe/half-safe/and fire. The "safe" position does not allow the bolt to cycle.
Cub Slayer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2019, 03:07 PM
  #9  
Nontypical Buck
 
Nomercy448's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Kansas
Posts: 3,359
Default

“Half-safe” is a silly carry over from the old world. The safeties, less the firing pin block safety in the case of the Ruger’s, all still function when these 3 position safeties are in the middle position.

Mechanically, there is no such thing as “half safe.” The rifles can’t “half fire”. The safeties remain engaged when in the middle position. Simply the physical bolt locks, typically a pin locking the bolt body to the receiver, or the bolt shroud in the case of Ruger’s. The Ruger safety lever does act as a firing pin block safety, while most of the others are simply bolt locks, with no additional security against firing with the safety engaged. Rather, in most designs, the “safe, half safe, and fire” jargon of the past is debunked by a mechanical description which prescribes “locked, safe, and fire,” as the only mechanical change in the final, 3rd position is the bolt lock, not any additional safety mechanism.

But the fact remains - firearm designs in which the safety must be disengaged to cycle the bolt, meaning the rifle will freely fire if a careless finger bumps the trigger while quickly cycling rounds to clear the rifle, are the exception, not the rule. As noted, even several rifle models which used to require the safety be disengaged to cycle the bolt have been modified in modern incarnations to allow the safety to remain engaged during administrative manipulation.
Nomercy448 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2019, 03:15 PM
  #10  
Boone & Crockett
 
Oldtimr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: south eastern PA
Posts: 11,722
Default

The bottom line is, keep your finger off the stinking trigger unless you are going to shoot at something. There is no reason to turn this into a debate. Some rifles allow you to work the bolt with the safety on, some do not. Not complicated.
Oldtimr is offline  
Reply With Quote

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service