Controlled-Round Feed

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Q: I have noticed that you are an avowed disciple of Mauser-type rifles which feature controlled-round feed since most of your personal rifles are built on F.N and Mark-X Mauser actions or are Model 70 Winchesters. Can you explain why you think the M98 system is superior to the push-feed system for hunting purposes?
Hugh Watson

Controlled Round Feed Bolt - image C. Parkin
Controlled Round Feed Bolt - image C. Parkin

A: The Mauser 98 action may be old, but it provides the most foolproof feeding and extraction system of all bolt actions. It is built around a non-rotating, wide steel hook extractor with a long tail which is attached to a rotating collar mounted in a groove in the bolt body. Peter Paul Mauser achieved the maximum purchase area for his extractor. As the bolt is lifted, the extractor, attached to the collar, remains stationary, and its pull on the cartridge rim is straight rearwards as actuated by the cocking cams. These balanced cams provide an 8.5 to 1 leverage for extraction and seating of a fresh round. In the M98 most of the cocking is done by the uplift of the bolt handle which works the primary cocking and extraction cam. The remainder of cocking and seating the fresh round comes as the bolt handle is lowered and secondary camming occurs. The non-rotating extractor system also controls the cartridge as it is fed out of the magazine by the bolt - forcing the case rim under the extractor claw with bolt travel, so each round is properly positioned on the bolt face and the extractor hook grips the case rim before the bolt is home. This prevents double-feeding, and also permits the hunter to work cartridges through the action to load or unload for testing the fit of the cartridges to the chamber before going afield. The non-rotating extractor allows rounds to be worked through the action without cocking, simply by working the bolt backwards and forwards. There are several other advantages of the Mauser-type rifle that makes me choose them over a push-feed rifle.

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