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I was shooting my new rifle for the first time today and had one slight hangfire. There was a click bang. It never did it again. My Interarms 30 06 is my first bolt action rifle and it is a Mauser 98 action. The range owner was with me and we think that maybe I didn't close the bolt completely before the shot. Would this cause a slight hangfire? I've noticed the Mauser 98 action on my rifle is beefy but not the smoothest in the world. My local gunsmith told me not to baby this style action. He said this action was used to fight in WWII and is tough. If I smoothly cycle the action, shells don't eject sometimes. If I go ahead and cycle the action with authority the shell sails about 10 feet through the air. I wonder if maybe I didn't completely cycle the action and the bullet was able to fire but with a little hesitation. What do y'all think.
 

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Yes, that could have easily happened. The energy from the firing pin finished closing the bolt and there was enough energy to still set the primer off.
 

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... My local gunsmith told me not to baby this style action. He said this action was used to fight in WWII and is tough. If I smoothly cycle the action, shells don't eject sometimes. If I go ahead and cycle the action with authority the shell sails about 10 feet through the air...
Yeah, it's tough, but why apply any more force than is required to anything ? I cycle my Mark X .30-06 just hard enuf to eject the shell onto the bench. If you're hunting, and need a quick followup shot, then don't hesitate to eject vigorously to be sure the shell ejects.

You didn't say whether they were reloads - if you had a high primer, some of the firing pin force could have been taken up in seating the primer, leaving a reduced force to ignite the primer.

Do an experiment: with a double-checked empty chamber close the bolt partially, and pull the trigger. See how far up the bolt handle can go, and still release. If open too far, the trigger should not be able to release the firing pin. See whether firing it does actually close the bolt if the handle is up a little.

I suspect you had a bad or contaminated primer, if it's really just the one.

:)
 

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You could have also had the firing pin fall slowly because of crud, a weak spring, or an improperly sized case. If you set the shoulder back too much, the case will be loose in the chamber and the pins energy will be used to seat the cartridge completely before firing it.
 

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The range officer is giving you a very good possible explanation. There are others, as well.

But he uis also right about the action.. It is designed to work properly when worked vigorously. Ejection, in particular, is solely dependent upon the rearward velocity of the bolt, which to me is a good thing -- go slow and easy and the brass barely clears the action and can be easily recovered for reloading; work it fast and the empty is gone fast and far and the action is clear for a reload.
 
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