SILENCER SATURDAY #265: Why Everyone Needs 5.56 Bolt Action Rifle

by Pete
SILENCER SATURDAY #265: Why Everyone Needs 5.56 Bolt Action Rifle

Good afternoon everyone and welcome back to TFB’s Silencer Saturday brought to you by Yankee Hill Machine, manufacturers of the new YHM Turbo T3 5.56mm rifle suppressor. Last week we reviewed the FN RUSH 9Ti on the FN 509 Compact Tactical. This week we move into what some might consider FUDD territory with some arguments for owning a 5.56 bolt action rifle. Do you have one? You probably should.

SILENCER SATURDAY #265: Why Everyone Needs 5.56 Bolt Action Rifle
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SILENCER SATURDAY #265: Why Everyone Needs 5.56 Bolt Action Rifle

SILENCER SATURDAY #265: Why Everyone Needs 5.56 Bolt Action Rifle

I definitely have a thing for end-of-the-world survival entertainment. It probably dates back to reading Stephen King’s epic novel The Stand as a kid (and later watching the TV miniseries). Then, TV shows, movies, and books like I Am Legend ( Omega Man remake), The Road, The Walking Dead (first season), and currently The Last of Us, continued the obsession with all-or-nothing survival stories. I am somewhat ashamed of my interest in disaster porn – like war movies, everyone knows that there is nothing fun or glamorous in pain and suffering that leads to certain death. But from an early age I have been focused on self reliance and I think these fictional stories are a way to think about possible situations without worrying about the cataclysmic end of humanity. Oh and it’s also a good excuse to buy guns, ammo, and gear. That’s priority one.

5.56 Bolt Action Ruger American Ranch Rifle – Specifications

The AR-15 is an American icon for a reason – it has six decades of service in military, law enforcement, and civilian hands, it is infinitely modular, easy to operate, and has made the 5.56/.223 cartridge one of the most widely available rifle rounds in the world (yes, I hear you all yelling about .308 Win and 7.62×39, settle down).

As fantastic as the AR-15 variants are, it is still comprised of a lot of moving parts and a gas system. All of which require maintenance and will eventually fail and require replacement parts. A bolt action rifle, on the other hand, sacrifices autoloading capabilities for a much simpler mechanical design. A well made bolt gun with a minimum amount of cleaning and lubrication, will provide a few lifetimes of service. And because we all have a stockpile of .223/5.56, a bolt action rifle chambered in the AR-15 native caliber makes for a great companion gun.

SILENCER SATURDAY #265: Why Everyone Needs 5.56 Bolt Action Rifle

YHM Turbo T3 Specifications:

Aside from humanity-ending survival situations, a 5.56 bolt action rifle can fill an important role In your armory. Especially if you are a fan of suppressors. Let’s run through the list.

It should be noted that TFBTV Executive Producer and teen heart throb James Reeves was surprised to hear that I was picking a 5.56 bolt action rifle over a 300BLK bolt action rifle as a silencer host. While true, subsonic 300BLK will be a much quieter suppressed rifle, it defeats the purpose of an AR-15 companion with affordable and accessible ammunition.

1. They are quieter than you imagine.

Without all that action movement and gases venting out of the ejection port, all of the sound exits from the muzzle. In this case, running the Ruger American Ranch with the YHM Turbo T3 sounds like an unsuppressed .22LR rifle. The majority of the sound comes from the bullet breaking the sound barrier a few yards in front of the muzzle. I still advise everyone to wear hearing protection with supersonic centerfire rifle ammo, but one or two shots of 5.56mm in an emergency or hunting situation with a bolt action rifle is much preferred to a few shots from semiautomatic rifle.

2. Everyone owns an AR-15; a 5.56 bolt action is a perfect companion.

We have covered this one already, but besides survival situations, having a 5.56 bolt action rifle can better help you focus on marksmanship techniques, save money on ammo, and be a simple, lightweight suppressor host. The Ruger American Ranch uses AR-15 magazines, so there’s no need for loading up for a different platform.

3. They are more accurate than your AR*.

I’m sure I’ll get heckled by the crowd, but in my experience, all things being equal, a bolt action rifle will out perform a semiautomatic rifle in terms of accuracy. How much of a difference will really depend on the shooter, their skills, and the distance of the shot. But if you want the best shot placement possible, I’m going to suggest a bolt action over a semiautomatic rifle.

4. Simple operation and mechanics.

Because they have been in use for more than a hundred years, most people who have shot a firearm in the past are at least aware of bolt actions and how they operate. A simple thumb safety that is visible with a quick glance down, a pull up and back and push forward and down operation cycle makes unloading easy, and the ability to easily check if their is a round in the chamber helps make this a great platform for shooters at all skill levels.

5. Hunting.

Some areas restrict the use of semiautomatic guns for hunting, which eliminates the AR-15 as a possibility. Even so, an AR is heavier, more complex, and less accurate* than a 5.56 bolt action rifle like the Ruger American Ranch. A five round magazine or even a single shot sled will help keep you legal. And with a quality suppressor, you’ll be quieter and protect your hearing. These are all things that hunters need to focus on as they outfit themselves for the season.

6. You are now a budget mid-range sniper.

History shows that defensive gun uses in real world scenarios happen at very short distances and with pistols. As we move towards survival situations, the need to keep potential deadly threats farther away becomes more viable. For less than $1,000, someone could outfit themselves with a bolt action rifle like the Ruger American Ranch, a YHM Turbo T3, a basic optic, and a sling.

With that setup, shooters could test all their .223/5.56 ammo types for accuracy, and bring it along to each range session to confirm zero and functioning. This is a perfect skill-builder setup that won’t break the bank. And if it matters to you or your family, it’s not a scary looking black rifle that drags along images of boogaloo boys and Val Kilmer with bank bags in downtown L.A.. After all, blending in is a tactic in itself.

Shooting the YHM Turbo T3 on a bolt gun also allowed me to hear the gases venting forward – for a half of a second or more, it was like air was being let out of a car tire.

But the biggest reason of all is that this is just a fun combination to shoot, without having to refinance your home. The truth is, a 5.56 bolt action rifle is the perfect partner for the AR-15 and everyone should consider owning one.

Be safe, have fun, and we’ll see you back here next weekend for another Silencer Saturday.

SILENCER SATURDAY #265: Why Everyone Needs 5.56 Bolt Action Rifle

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2 of 123 comments
  • Vitor Roma Vitor Roma on Feb 05, 2023

    I find the disdain that some have for 556 to be so silly. I fully believe that 77gr 556 rounds are among the nastiest out there with a very decent range.

  • Wererat Wererat on Feb 06, 2023

    Now do the 7.62x39 ranch version.