Ever since the rifle first came into being hundreds of years ago, it’s been a¬†respected and beloved piece of weaponry. Before the invention of the rifle, the only guns that could fire projectiles were muskets and cannons, which were impractical in most situations and also difficult to use.¬†

Rifles are still extremely useful, even today.

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Are you interested in learning more about them? If you are, then keep on reading and we’ll take you through the different kinds of rifles and how they’re different from one another.

What Defines a Rifle?

Rifles are called that because they are “rifled.” In fact, it’s this rifling that made the weapon so revolutionary in the first place.

Rifling refers to a series of spiral grooves that circle the interior of the barrel. These grooves help the bullet that’s being fired to spin as it moves through the barrel, as opposed to just explode out of the weapon.

This spinning action means that the projectile is going to be a lot more stable. Basically, rifling makes a firearm much more accurate. With a rifle, a marksman could aim their weapon and be fairly confident of where the bullet is going to go. 

This innovation meant that hunters could come back with a lot more game and soldiers could also overcome their adversaries much more easily.

What Does Action Mean? 

Before we jump into the different kinds of rifles, it’s important that we understand what some crucial terminology means. 

First off, a cartridge is made up of multiple parts. Those parts include a chamber filled with powder, a primer, a bullet, and a casing. When a rifle fires a bullet, a mechanism will hit the primer which will force the bullet to move down the barrel of the gun.

Cartridges are stored in a magazine that extends along the barrel of the rifle.

The action refers to how the cartridge is loaded and discharged. 

1. Lever-Action Rifles

One of the first rifle designs was the lever-action. This kind of rifle made use of a handle that was placed behind the trigger. It also had a cartridge that was pulled out of the magazine running along the barrel and loaded into a chamber in order to be fired.

These guns are less accurate than other rifles and a bit heavier. 

These rifles are usually pictured being used by cowboys and Old West types. That’s mainly because they were a popular gun of choice by filmmakers who made Western movies. The Winchester models of the 1800s are still associated with lever-action rifles to this day.

2. Bolt-Action Rifles

Bolt-action rifles make use of a small handle that sticks out of the side of the gun. 

With a simple hand movement, the user can discharge a spent cartridge, load a new one from the magazine, and close the chamber seamlessly.

This kind of action is extremely popular today, thanks to its accuracy, durability, and simplicity. 

Like other kinds of rifles, bolt-action ones make use of either an external or built-in magazine in order to hold cartridges. This design means that the gun can utilize a wide range of cartridge sizes. However, one of the big disadvantages of this is that the trigger hand has to leave the gun and regrip after each shot.

Despite that, these rifles are extremely popular and preferred by marksmen and snipers alike. 

3. Semi-Automatic Rifles

These kinds of rifles are much newer to the world of firearms. They’re also very popular among marksmen and sport shooters. With this kind of weapon, the shooter only needs to move the action once into a firing position.

After that, the action will automatically eject the old round and reload a new one with each pull and release of the trigger. 

These rifles can usually be fired more quickly than other types of rifles. However, due to their design, they’re also prone to malfunctioning. 

4. Air Rifle 

Unlike a regular rifle, an air rifle uses compressed carbon dioxide or just regular air to propel the ammo. Air rifles can be used for fun, target practice, or to even take down small game. 

The firing process of BBs occurs in a matter of milliseconds. The most common kinds of air rifles use spring pistons. After the user flexes the lever of the air rifle, the piston moves back into the mainspring, which causes compression until it reaches the sear.

Once the trigger is pulled, the sear becomes disengaged and the mainspring decompresses. When this happens, the elastic potential energy is released and the piston pushes forward. 

The air in the pump cylinder then becomes compressed and the air pressure increases. That pressurized air then propels the ammunition forward. 

You can treat an air rifle just like you would any other rifle. In fact, you can even buy a bunch of cool accessories, such as an air rifle scope, to make your firearm even more effective. 

The Importance of Knowing the Different Types of Rifles 

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better idea of what the different types of rifles are and how they are unique from one another. Rifles have played a pivotal role in the history of firearms and are still incredibly useful to this day.

Are you looking for other helpful articles about firearms? If you are, then you should definitely make sure to check out the rest of our website today for even more!

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