How Does a Rifle Work?

Rifles are classified as a long gun. The term “rifling” explains spiralled grooves which are cut into the bore of a firearms barrel. It also explains the lands. Lands are ridges that rise up between the spiraled grooves.

Once ammo is fired, rifling causes it to spin. This spinning works affects the trajectory of a bullet and raises its accuracy. Also, a rifled bore permits a bullet travel a longer distance than if it were fired from gun whose bore was not rifled.

Shotguns, by comparison, don’t fire single projectiles. They fire what is known as shot. Shot is made up of many pellets that leave the barrel and spread out.

How a rifle shoots a bullet

The firing of a bullet from a rifle starts with a pull off the trigger. Once pulled, the firing pin snaps forward to strike the primer at the base of the cartridge case, which is added into the chamber at the base of the barrel. The cartridge case contains a gunpowder, primer charge, and bullet. When the firing pin strikes the primer, a spark ignites the gunpowder which quickly burns, creating an explosive expansion of gas which forces the bullet out of the cartridge and via the barrel at a high velocity.

Types of action


Lever-action rifles have a lever that you force down and forward, then pull back to chamber a round. Once you fire the gun, you repeat pushing and pulling the lever to chamber the next round.

Lever-action rifles are largely used for target shooting and hunting. When it comes to hunting lever-action rifles are generally used for close-in targets. Lever-action rifles generally do not have the accuracy or range as that of bold-action or semi-automatic rifles.


Bolt-action rifles have a bolt handle which you can pull, rotate, and push to feed and eject each round of an ammunition. Bolt actions have a rugged design with fewer moving parts that other rifles which makes them simple to disassemble and reassemble when it is time for repair and maintenance.

Both action rifles are generally used for hunting because they are high-run, lightweight, and accurate.


Semi-automatic rifles use the gases connected when a round of ammunition is fired to operate the bolt to chamber the next round chamber. When using a semi-automatic rifle, you need to manually chamber the primary round, but once the round if fired, chambering happens mechanically.

Reloading types

Rifles can either spec a bolt-action, automatic or semi-automatic reloading mechanism depending on its design. Bolt-action rifles have to be manually reloaded by the shooter after each shot. Semi-automatic rifles use the recoil from the end shot bullet to mechanically feed a bullet into the firing chamber from a magazine which contains multiple rounds. A semi-automatic rifle needs a pull of the trigger for each shot. An automatic rifle works much in the same way, but can fire multiple rounds in quick succession by pulling and gripping the trigger.

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