Colt M2012 Bolt-Action Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

August 14th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.





Buffalo Bore ammunition.



Three-lug push-feed bolt.



Sturdy Picatinny-spec scope base.



Ambidextrous magazine release.





Cooper Firearms muzzle brake.



Bolt release.





Excellent Timney adjustable trigger.





Colt's Manufacturing Company has partnered with Cooper Firearms of Montana to build a series of long-range precision rifles. The one shown here is chambered for the 308 Winchester cartridge, and wears a gray laminated wood stock. Before we get into the details, lets get the most important one out of the way first; this is one seriously-accurate rifle! Let's get one more thing out of the way. If you just want a cheap 308 that is plenty accurate enough to pop a deer at one hundred yards, you might as well stop reading now. This Colt is not an inexpensive rifle, when compared to the many excellent hunting rifles on the market today. However, when comparing the price of this Colt to a custom rifle purpose-built to the standards of this M2012, the $2795 MSRP on this Colt is a very good deal.

This M2012 is built for Colt Manufacturing by Cooper Firearms, and Cooper knows how to build an accurate rifle. In making this M2012 for Colt, they built a very reliable, comfortable, portable, and superbly-accurate rifle.  Weighing in at eight and three-quarters pounds on my scale, this M2012 has plenty of heft, without being too cumbersome or heavy to carry. The gray laminated hardwood stock is very comfortable to use, and is fitted with two forward and one aft sling attachment studs. The butt is finished with a soft Decelerator recoil pad.  The pistol grip has a slight right-hand palm swell, but being a left-handed shooter, I still found the stock design to be very comfortable to handle. The M2012 uses, thankfully, standard Accuracy International magazines, and is supplied with one five-shot steel magazine. The magazine release is easy to reach, and easy to use. It is also centered and fully ambidextrous.

Atop the rigid push-feed action is a six and one-eighth inch long 1913 Picatinny rail which bridges the ejection port, but does not interfere with single-loading the rifle through the port, if desired. The heavy chrome-molybdenum barrel is fluted for most of its twenty-two inch length, and is free-floated into the laminated stock. The muzzle is threaded 5/8x24 TPI, and is fitted with the superb Custom Cooper Firearms muzzle brake. The heavy profile barrel measures 1.2 inches in diameter at the front of the receiver, then tapers quickly ahead of the chamber area, measuring .788 inch just aft of the muzzle brake. The bottom metal is one-piece aluminum, forming the trigger guard and magazine well. The magazine pushes straight up into the well, locking firmly into place. The barrel, action, bottom metal, brake, and trigger are all finished in a matte black, and match very well. The spiral-fluted bolt is polished, with the bolt handle and rear shroud matching the other matte-black parts.

The push-feed bolt is a three-lug design, resulting in a relatively low bolt lift, which makes the operation of the bolt easy, even while wearing heavy gloves. Colt wisely went with a Timney trigger unit, which is adjustable, and offers a very crisp trigger pull. As delivered, the resistance on the trigger measured just under three and one-half pounds, but I adjusted it down to two and one-quarter pounds resistance for my use. I can shoot better with a lighter pull, and the purpose of this review was to see just how well this M2012 would shoot. The trigger blade is curved, wide, and flat-faced, making for a delightful trigger pull.

When testing a 308 rifle such as this for accuracy, I want three things. The first is a good scope, and I always reach for my Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power Tactical/Target scope. The second thing I want is good ammunition, and my "go-to" ammo for accuracy testing a 308 is Buffalo Bore Sniper ammo that uses the excellent Sierra 175 grain Match King bullet. The third thing that I want is a solid rest, and when I can, I use the Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 or Model 1000 rifle rest. With all that in mind, I mounted the Leupold Mark 4 scope using an ArmaLite one-piece base/ring mount, securing it atop the rifle's Picatinny rail. With this rifle, I did not bother with shooting any military surplus or standard hunting ammo in it, but went straight for the good stuff; Buffalo Bore Match, Black Hills Match, and Federal Gold Medal Match. Placing the rifle into the rifle rest, I bore-sighted it using my trusty LaserLyte boresighter. This little jewel saves me a lot of expensive ammunition, and puts me pretty close to the center of the target at fifty yards, where I start firing until I get the rifle shooting to point-of-aim, before moving out to one hundred yards for accuracy testing.

When accuracy testing, I normally single-load the cartridges into the ejection port, but I also needed to be sure that the magazine would feed well, so I loaded five rounds into the steel magazine, and locked it into place. With all ammo tried, the magazine functioned perfectly. Extraction was also smooth and flawless, with no indication of sticky extraction at all. The Timney trigger made firing for accuracy easy to do, and the muzzle brake proved to be very effective at attenuating recoil. Even long strings at the bench, shooting with no shirt on, inflicted no pain nor discomfort at any time.

As stated in the first paragraph, the M2012 is accurate. Very accurate. Firing five-shot groups at one hundred yards, the rifle would cluster the good stuff into one ragged hole, over and over again. A couple of three-shot groups fired into one clean hole. It was not a ragged hole; just a hole. Buffalo Bore proved to be the most-accurate ammo tested in this particular rifle, as I expected that it would be. Buffalo Bore uses the best components available for their match ammo, and it pays off in accuracy. The group pictured was not the smallest fired, but was typical of what the Buffalo Bore ammo would do in this rifle, repeatedly. Really, it was hard to discern between the smallest and largest groups fired using that ammo, and the other brands also shot very well.

The Colt M2012 is a dandy rifle. It is lighter and handier than I expected that it would be, and that is a good thing. While the M2012 is purpose-built to be a dedicated sniper rifle, weighing in at under nine pounds with an overall length of only 43.25 inches, it is very maneuverable, making for an excellent predator rifle, or for hunting medium game from a stationary position.

With the M2012, Colt and Cooper got everything just right. A rifle of this type, to justify its asking price, must be very accurate, perfectly reliable, and a pleasure to shoot. The Colt M2012 satisfies each of those requirements. When accuracy is more important than price, the Colt M2012 is an excellent choice. When paired with a quality scope and fed premium ammunition, the Colt M2012 will shoot as well or better than custom rifles costing twice the price, or more.

Check out the Colt M2012 online at

To locate a Colt dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order the M2012 online, click on the Gun Genie at

To order premium ammunition, go to,,, and

For a look at the extensive line of quality Leupold optics, go to

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.





Laminated hardwood stock.



Soft Decelerator recoil pad.



Free-floated barrel.



M2012 uses standard Accuracy International spec magazines.



LaserLyte bore-sighter saves the author a lot of ammo.