A rifle is a firearm that was distinguished beyond other long guns because of its helical grooves or ‘rifling’ inside its barrel. It is actually a shortened name for Rifled Gun, the term used in these kinds of firearms. Since this is a type of a long gun (guns with noticeably longer barrels than those of handguns), rifles contain a buttstock that is especially designed to make the rifle user shoot from his/her shoulder.
The bullet or projectile passing through the grooves in the rifle barrel was forced to rotate in a ‘screwing’ motion, therefore improving the firearm’s overall range, accuracy and power. The firing propellant used in rifle bullets could either be Compressed Air, Black Gunpowder, Cordite (MK 1, MD, RDB, SC or N Type) or Nitrocellulose, depending on the cartridge type and its manufacturer.
- Bolt-Action Type
This is the type where you manually open the rifle’s breech, put a fresh cartridge and closing it by means of a bolt handle before taking aim and firing at your target. This rifle type usually contains no magazine, thus making them easier to carry.
Examples of these rifles are the Winchester Model 87 and L42A1 Enfield (this one contains a magazine, though).
- Lever-Action Type
These rifles consist of a lever located near the trigger guard that loads a fresh cartridge from its tubular magazine in the chamber while ejecting the spent one at the same time.
The best example for this category is the Winchester Model 1873, “The Gun that Won the West”.
- Semi-Automatic Rifles
These rifle types fire a single bullet, eject it and reload a fresh one from a magazine once the trigger is pulled or squeezed. They are also made from synthetic and lightweight materials, making them one, if not the lightest rifle type. Examples of these are the famous AR-15 and JP-15.
- Automatic Rifles
These rifles uses either its own recoil or a portion of the bullet’s gas propellant in order to quickly fire, eject and reload for as long as the trigger is pulled and cartridges in its magazine are available, making people think that they are a cross-breed between a Rifle and a Machine Gun. M16A1 falls in this category.
However, later designs include three firing modes: Full-Auto, Semi-Auto and Burst-Fire (three bullets per single trigger). The M16A4 used by US Marines and AK-47 are two best examples of these.