What is a Straight-Pull Rifle?

While straight-pull rifles have been around for over 100 years, they have not infiltrated the hearts and gun safes of American hunters and shooters as much as our European counterparts. If you landed here wondering “What is a straight-pull rifle?” or perhaps why you might want to shoot one over a traditional bolt action or why Savage decided to manufacture an American straight pull – you’ve come to the right place. Let’s answer all your burning straight pull questions!

What is a straight-pull rifle?

A straight-pull rifle has two motions to cycle a round – pull the bolt handle back, then push forward to close. This is the primary difference between a straight-pull rifle and a conventional bolt action. A conventional bolt action rifle has four motions to cycle a round – lift the bolt handle up, pull back, push forward, push down the bolt handle to close. The straight-pull action is a more efficient and linear way to cycle rounds while reducing movement on the firearm and keeping the shooter on target.

What is the advantage of a straight-pull rifle?

Speed and consistency. A straight-pull rifle combines the accuracy of a traditional bolt action rifle, with the ability to cycle more rounds faster. Having a rifle with only two movements to operate the bolt allows a shooter to remain on target and shoot at multiple targets consecutively.

In timed competition settings, shaving off fractions of seconds can often mean the difference between winning and losing. In fast-paced hog hunting or driven hunting scenarios, a hunter may have an opportunity to take two animals if they are able to shoot quickly. In the most unfortunate circumstances, a hunter may deliver a non-fatal shot to their prey. Before the wounded animal runs off out of sight, a quick follow-up shot can ethically take the animal to end the hunt. A follow-up may also be needed as an anchor shot when hunting large and/or dangerous game to ensure an ethical harvest. This can help prevent the animal from seeking cover in thick brush, which could lead to dangerous and difficult tracking for the hunter. 

Consistency in a shooter’s body mechanics contributes to accuracy. A straight-pull action reduces the motions required to cycle the bolt by 50% and eliminating more opportunities for human error. Some shooters find it difficult to gain enough leverage to lift the bolt up on a conventional bolt action while remaining shouldered and will lower the firearm to the cycle the next round. Other shooters will often lift their face off the stock as they cycle a traditional bolt action. Both actions require the shooter to reestablish their shooting position, compromising consistency. 

Without the upward motion of the bolt handle of a traditional bolt action, a straight pull also eliminates the bolt potentially interfering with the scope when cycling the action. In some cases, this allows for the use of lower scope rings. 

Why build a straight pull?

We felt strongly that we could build a faster cycling firearm for a variety of hunting and shooting categories. The speed combined with accuracy offers a great rifle for PRS style competitions, big game hunts, and fast-paced hog hunting or driven hunting. Maintaining target acquisition, quick cycle times, and getting a fast follow-up shot are needed for success in many hunting and shooting scenarios. We saw an opportunity to bring the first American-made straight-pull rifle to the market and knew we could build a superior product to meet these needs. Plus, we’re excited to introduce American hunters and shooters to straight-pull!

How is Impulse different than other straight pulls?

Impulse is an American-made firearm. It’s manufactured and quality controlled in our factory in Westfield, Massachusetts. Savage offers innovation and new technologies that focus on safety, reliability, ergonomics, and accuracy at a price point that beats the competition and competes with premium conventional bolt action rifles. With 13 patented technologies built into this rifle, Impulse tackles problems that exist in other straight-pull rifles. Impulse gives shooters the benefits that they are used to seeing in a Savage like a user adjustable AccuTrigger, AccuStock with AccuFit, and precision button rifled barrels assembled with a barrel lock nut. 

The action features Hexlock, a robust roller-ball lockup mechanism that can handle magnum cartridges and high pressures safely and reliably. Our team focused on ergonomics by providing ambidextrous controls and flexibility to transition the bolt handle to either side of the receiver in multiple positions. Impulse has a quick release button that allows the shooter to remove a live round if it has not been fired and store the firearm safely locked and unloaded. 

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