We all have a favorite gun to shoot, whether we want to admit it or not
Asking someone to name their favorite firearm (or even their favorite type of firearm) can be like asking them to name their favorite child.
I, on the other hand, will tell you without hesitation that precision bolt-action rifles are my favorite. For the past two years I have completely immersed myself in all things precision shooting, and I’m always seeking and uncovering new and interesting aspects of it.
I like to compare shooting a precision bolt-action rifle to driving a sports car with a manual transmission. With a bolt-action, there’s a level of interaction between rifle and shooter that you don’t get with a semi-automatic or even pump-action gun. The act of cycling the bolt provides me with a visceral connection with the gun on every shot.
I appreciate the heightened level of accuracy and precision associated with a well-sorted rifle. As with any firearm, accuracy is dependent on the operator as much as the gun, but only a precision rifle can deliver first-round hits on steel at 1,000 yards, 1,500 yards, or even a mile. And after you’ve heard the distant ring of the steel smacked by lead, you’re never the same again.
Before I became so involved in precision shooting, my favorite firearms were semi-automatic short-barreled rifles—and the shorter the barrel, the better. Although short-barreled rifles require a tax stamp to own, I felt they were well worth the additional paperwork and money and became fairly obsessed with them for a while.
It wasn’t until August 2012, and my first impact on steel at 740 yards while at the controls of a .300 Win. Mag., that I switched my focus to precision-based shooting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a student of the gun and love them all. But right now, a precision bolt-action rifle is, without question, my favorite child.
About the Author: Sean Utley is an accomplished writer and photographer covering firearms and the shooting sports. His work regularly appears on the covers and within the pages of the nation’s top firearms-related publications. Sean is an avid shooter with a penchant for long-range shooting and precision rifles