Beginner Tips on Rifle Selection: The 5 Types of Rifles

Posted by Rob on Jan 25th 2023

So you want to buy a rifle? Great, but what makes a rifle different from other firearms, like a shotgun for example?

Rifles are shoulder-fired firearms. Rifle barrels have grooves that spin the projectile for better accuracy and range. Rifles come in many types. Bolt action rifles, semi automatic rifles, full automatic rifles, and muzzleloaders. 

This post will talk about some of the most common types of rifles: 

1. Single Shot Rifles 

A single shot rifle fires one round at a time. It's usually reloaded after each shot and has few moving parts. Bolt-action, break-action, muzzleloaders, and more are single-shot rifles. Single-shot rifles limit to firing one round at a time. They are for precision shooting and hunting. Single shot rifles are great for teaching young and inexperienced shooters. They cannot fire more than one round at a time. 

2. Bolt Action Rifles 

This kind of rifle makes the user load and unload ammunition themselves. The process involves pulling the bolt back to eject the spent case. Then push the bolt forward to chamber a new round. The rounds load from a magazine or insert into the chamber. Magazines can be internal or external box type mags. A bolt-action rifle is the preferred choice for accurate shooting and hunting. Its action is simple and reliable. Bolt actions are simple. They have a slower rate of fire. Each shot needs to count, making it ideal for those who want to make the most of a single shot. 

3. Muzzleloader Rifles 

This rifle requires the user to load it from the front of the barrel, which is the muzzle. For each shot fired, the user must insert a powder charge, a bullet or ball, and a new percussion cap for ignition. Muzzleloaders have the design of early rifles used during the Revolutionary War. They have a slower rate of fire. They are also more complicated to reload than modern firearms. They are inefficienct for combat and self-defense. But, muzzleloaders are still used by hunters. 

4. Lever-Action Rifles 

A lever-action rifle is a gun that requires the user to operate a lever. It's near the trigger and ejects a spent round and chamber a new one. Pulling down and pushing up the lever is necessary to be able to use the gun. Operating a lever action rifle is enjoyable and reminiscent of the Wild West. Yet, they are not suitable for combat since they cannot operate in a prone position. Lever-action rifles have a slower rate of fire than semi-autos. They are a little more reliable than bolt-action, generally speaking. As a result, they are not the best choicallself-defense. For all these reasons, the U.S. military doesn't generally issue lever-action rifles. (Although some US SOCOM operators do have access to them for special operations.) 

5. Semi Automatic Rifles 

A semi automatic rifle is a popular choice for many people in the United States. It is capable of firing one round per trigger pull. This type is popular among gun enthusiasts, hunters, and military personnel. The AR15 platform, in particular, is one of the most popular semi automatic rifles in the nation. It is accurate and reliable for a semi auto. It's known for its ability to be custom made to fit the user's needs. The AR15 is used for hunting, target shooting, personal protection, and law enforcement. It has become so popular that many versions of the gun is available in most gun stores. 

6. Automatic Rifles 

An automatic rifle is a type of weapon that can fire as long as the trigger is down and as long as it has ammo. The US armed forces use the M4 carbine, which is capable of semi automatic and burst-fire. These also have a selector switch to shoot full automatic mode. Owning an automatic rifle is attainable for a civilian in the US, but it is not easy. The rifle must have been produced before the 19th of May, 1986, and there is a lot of paperwork to complete. For those looking to save money, avoiding the more popular models like the M16 or Uzi could help. 


There are other types of rifles, such as pump action rifles and a few others. Rifles are diverse, and they each offer something special depending on what you want to use them for. Impact Guns is the top online gun dealer in the US. We offer incredible prices and great customer service to responsible owners. If you're looking for a gun-shopping website, check out what we offer and give us a call!