In selecting a Rifle or Shotgun there are a number of different considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost is being aware of the laws concerning the purchase, ownership, possession, use and transport of a firearm in your community or state. The laws can vary greatly from state to state and in some instances from community to community within the state. It is up to YOU to know and obey these laws. As the old saying goes; “Ignorance of the law is not a defense.” Violations of the laws regarding firearms can be severe so first put some time and effort into knowing what the laws are in your community.
Now that you are aware of the laws regarding firearms the next step is to determine what type of Rifle is for you. Just as you would consider the intended use for any tool that you purchase, so you should think about this in selection a firearm. Just what do you intend to use the rifle for? Is it for a sport such as target shooting? Maybe you are looking to use the rifle for hunting as many hunters do. Quite possibly you are looking for personal protection for your home or family. Whatever the purpose, keep it in mind when you are making your selection. Besides its intended use, you must consider the type of ammunition used and whether it is readily available, the amount of recoil produced when the rifle is fired, the ease of operation and if you are like most folks, the cost.
All things considered, for beginning shooters learning the fundamentals of shooting, a .22 caliber target rifle with a 18 inch barrel is going to be your best choice. The ammunition is very inexpensive so cost is not prohibitive to practice. The recoil is very slight compared to other, larger calibers and they are highly accurate. The .22 caliber rifle is available in single shot bolt action, lever action, pump action and semi-automatic versions and can be used for a variety of tasks from target shooting to just plain old plinking.
As I have mentioned before some look down on the idea of a .22 caliber for home protection. Granted, a bit larger caliber would be more advantageous in certain circumstances but a .22 is still a lethal round. There is an old saying that a hit with a .22 beats a miss with a .223 every time. Walk before you run. If you are a beginning shooter, start with a .22 and after you become proficient then trade up to a larger caliber that may be better suited for a specific task such as hunting or personal protection.
The Types or rifles and shotguns actions are:
- Break –Action
- on occasion other historical interest types may be found such as Rolling- Block and Trapdoor Springfield.
Most of this information is derived from The NRA Basics of Rifle Shooting. Here are some of the actions that you will find.
Bolt-action firearms consist of a receiver, a bolt that can freely move in the fore-and-aft direction inside the receiver, a barrel attached to the forward end of the receiver, a magazine, (unless it is a single shot) a stock, and a trigger mechanism. The bolt has lugs, or projections, which engage recesses in the receiver or, much less commonly, the barrel or the barrel extension, to lock the action.
Lever –action rifles operate by means of a finger-lever that is rotated downward and returned upward to perform the cycle of operation. The lever-action rifle has been around for more than 140 years, and conjures up the image of the Old West. The lever action offered a much greater rate of fire than the single-shot rifles of the time.
In general, semi-automatic firearms utilize the pressure from the gas generated by the ignition of the cartridge to perform the cycle of operation.
Semi- Automatic rifles fundamentally consist of a receiver, a bolt that can freely move in the fore-and-aft direction inside the receiver, a barrel attached to the forward end of the receiver, a magazine, a stock, and a trigger mechanism. A recoil spring slows the opening of the action, absorbs some of the recoil force generated upon firing, and pushes the bolt forward to close the action.
Pump–action also known as “Slide Action” rifles operate by means of a forearm tube slide that is located under the barrel, which is operated by a forward and backward motion to perform the cycle of operation. The pump-action rifle has been around for more than 100 years, and conjures up the image of the Old West. The pump action offered a much greater rate of fire than the single-shot rifles of the time.
Falling–Block Action Rifle
The falling-block action dates back to the 19th century, and is a single-shot in which a falling breechblock is used to close and lock the action. While the design is more than 150 years old, it’s still popular among varmint shooters and Big- game hunters. Falling- Block actions can be extremely strong, able to handle modern high-intensity cartridges, and the rigid barrel-to-receiver mounting contributes to accuracy. Additionally, the short receiver of these actions makes possibly a relatively short and handy gun size.
Falling-Block actions consist of a block-like receiver, a barrel attached to the receiver, a breech-block that slides vertically in the receiver, a finger lever or cocking lever, trigger and safety mechanisms, and a two piece stock consisting of a fore-end and a separate butt-stock. Ignition is by an internal firing pin or external hammer.
Break-action rifles are so called because the gun is “broken” open around a hinge pin at the end of the receiver. “Hinge Action” is another name for the same type of action. Break-action rifles are very much like break-action shotguns in design and operation.
At one time, double-barreled break-action rifles were preferred tool for hunting dangerous African or Asian game. Fitted with either a single trigger that would fire both barrels with successive pulls, or two triggers, these double rifles allowed for the fastest possible follow-up shot. Additionally, because each barrel had it’s own separate firing mechanism, double rifles were thought to be more reliable than bolt-action or other rifles having only a single mechanism.
Other Action Types
On occasion other types of actions may be encountered, such as the rolling-block and the trapdoor Springfield. Information on firing such rifles of historical interest should be obtained from a competent gunsmith specializing in their repair, or from reference works on these guns. Always consult a gunsmith before attempting to fire any original rifle of this type.
Rolling-block Trapdoor Springfield