The bolt-action rifle

Cold War, Custom builds, Products, Rifles, War on Terror, WWI, WWII

With the advent and popularisation of centrefire ammunition, militaries around the world welcomed in a new era of accuracy and power. As smokeless powder replaced other propellants, a higher accurate rate of fire became not only possible but necessary to overwhelm the enemy.

British Lee-Metford or 'Long Lee', predecessor to the Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield (SMLE).

British Lee-Metford or ‘Long Lee’, predecessor to the Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield (SMLE).

The weapon of choice most armies turned to to arm their infantry was the bolt-action rifle. The best known being the British Lee Metford/Enfield series of rifles, the German Mauser mechanism and the Russians welcomed in Belgian firearms designer Leon Nagant in order to pilfer his feed mechanism! (OK, this story is a lot more complicated than that but I won’t go into that here).

There are advantages and disadvantages to all these mechanisms, the Enfield by all accounts had the highest rate of fire, The Mauser is a very solid, reliable mechanism and the (Mosin-)Nagant which is a solid mechanism with a good reputation for accuracy.

Gewehr 98 (G98). Predecessor to the Karibiner 98k.

All of these rifles served their countries well throughout their service lives. Consider that these mechanisms were all designed around 1890, the Lee-Enfield served the UK until around 1990 (100 years of service) and was still being used by India as of 2010, the Mosin-Nagant is still in use by a number of countries. The Mauser is harder to pin down on military use but it is still widely used for sporting rifles.

So it would be fair to say that these rifles deserve a fitting tribute in Airsoft too. Although good quality bolt-actions are available they are not often suited well to the Vintage Airsofter. Some are gas-powered and struggle in cold weather, others load through the fore-grip rather than the magazine so lose out on authenticity and ‘feel’ when being shot and some shell-eject which although look good are not practical for skirmishing.

Mosin-Nagant M28/30 rifle, one of the Finnish Nagant variants.

Mosin-Nagant M28/30 rifle, one of the Finnish Nagant variants.

Here at Vintage Airsoft we are developing a spring mechanism that will feed from a magazine in the ‘correct’ location. If you are interested, do let us know as we are looking for ‘backers’ to help us speed up the development of this system. It isn’t far off a functioning prototype at this stage and once it is functional we will be able to produce the main bolt-actions of the Second World War and many other rifles besides.

Do contact us on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com if you would like to know more about this project, we would love to hear from you!

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