I'm almost afraid to ask, Ferfal, but what do you think about military bolt actions? I'm just not a fan of semi-auto rifles. I like the simplicity, durability, and accuracy of bolt actions. Mausers, Enfields, Mosin Nagants, even the new Ruger Scout Rifle. Do you think they are viable alternatives?-A
Bolt action rifles are some of the toughest guns you can own. They are chambered for powerful rounds and can be extremely accurate.
Though it is true that bolt action rifles have served in wars well, they do have the obvious limitation of not having a quick follow up shot by simply pulling the trigger. With practice you can get fast at it but it is simply no match for semi-automatic fire, and this problem is even greater in CQC which is by far the most likely scenario in self-defense.
These days the bolt action rifle clearly has an offensive role in its use as a combat firearm and it is therefore unsuited for defensive purposes.
Having said that, bolt action rifles can be handy firearms, and while not ideal for defense, they sure are better than having no gun at all. As a hunting gun they are an obvious choice.
I would avoid some of the well known Mauser rifles and other surplus guns. While they have been used in combat they are large, heavy and not nearly as practical as the modern rifles on the market. They are not very accurate either. A modern gun will shoot much better than an old Mauser or Enfield. They have better triggers, better barrels and come ready for optic mounting. They tend to be lighter too.
Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle (above) Steyr Scout (below)
I would go for a light gun in 308W, maybe in Scout configuration with a forward mounted scope. Both Steyr and Ruger have some interesting offerings.