Q: I’ve been bitten by the single-shot bug and intend buying myself one of these rifles in a flat-shooting calibre. However, I am still undecided whether to go for a rifle with a falling block action or a break-open action. Which design would be the strongest and most accurate?
A: Theoretically at least, the falling block should be the more accurate of the two designs, although there surely are no flies on the break-open action either. Rifles like the Blaser K96, Merkel K1 and Harrington & Richardson certainly affirm that there’s no lack of accuracy with a break-open action. In terms of strength, however,the falling block has an edge over the break- open action. The falling block resists high chamber pressures with a breech block held directly behind the chamber by the receiver. A break-open action on the other hand, is held closed by a locking mechanism that is either above or below the axis of the chamber and bolstered by the hinge pin itself. But the break- open action does lack something in the way of strength and I’d be wary about feeding it a steady diet of high pressure loads. It is something to keep in mind if reloading for a Thompson Contender, a H&R or a Bergara. If you’re looking for an ultra-accurate long- range single-shot rifle you’d do better with a long-barreled Ruger or Browning for modern high-intensity cartridges.