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The Complete Guide to Choosing Your First Rifle: Everything to Know

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Few things are as exciting as buying your first rifle, but like any other gun, rifles come with a ton of responsibility. In the US, about 40 percent of adults own a firearm or live with someone who does, so welcome to the club. Choosing your first rifle is as intimidating as it sounds, but worry not; we’re here to help.

If you’re completely new to guns, picking one out for yourself can be a real challenge. Selecting a rifle on its own is hard work, let alone getting all the bells and whistles to make it complete. Plus, you need to do tons of things in the days following your gun purchase to be in line with the law.

Today’s post is the ultimate guide to choosing your first rifle and everything you need to know about the entire process. Let’s get right into it.

Is There Such a Thing as the Perfect Rifle?

You walk into the gun store with one thing in mind, buying the perfect rifle? However, does the perfect rifle exist in the first place? Well, honestly, it depends on the gun holder in question.

Expert opinions on the perfect rifle are about as varied as the types of rifles on the market today. That’s why the perfect rifle is only a concept that depends on the rifle’s intention and the skills and capabilities of the holder. For instance, you may have trouble with your rifle during the rest days, but eventually, you grow into it, and it becomes perfect.

Choosing Your First Rifle: The Lowdown

Choosing your first rifle is a rather complicated affair, but here’s how you can make it simpler. This is how you choose your first rifle.

Do Your Homework

The first step to choosing your first rifle is extensive research on the rifle you have in mind. The first rifle was invented way back in the early 17th century. It’s safe to say the rifles we have today are a far cry from what we used to have back then.

Before your go rifle shopping, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few terms related to rifles. Here are some of these terms:

Action: Action describes how the gun holder loads, fires, and ejects the cartridge from the rifle’s magazine or tube. Gun experts classify rifles according to their type of action.

Cartridge: You can think of the cartridge as the bullet mechanism. The cartridge contains the bullet, casing, primer, and a gunpowder-filled chamber. When you pull the trigger, a mechanism strikes the primer and causes the bullet to shoot out the gun chamber.

Magazine: Magazines are what hold the cartridges. Rifles can have both built-in and external magazines.

That said, rifles roughly break down into five types, and they are:

Bolt-Action Rifles

You can tell bolt-action rifles from the small metal handle on the right side of the rifle, behind the chamber. This metal handle is for ejecting used cartridges and loading a new one in one quick motion. The rifle’s ease of use and accuracy makes it a preferred choice for most people worldwide.

With bolt-action rifles, you can either use the internal or external magazine for the cartridges. This makes the rifle pretty versatile in terms of the cartridge size that it holds. The main con of bolt-action rifles is that you have to release the trigger hand after every shot then grips it again for the next.

Pump-Action Rifles

The first thing that comes to mind when most people here pump-action is a shotgun, and rightly so. Many registered gun owners have pump-action shotguns, but the exact mechanism can also be found in rifles.

Pump-action rifles use a special sliding mechanism that removes cartridges from the barrel and loads a new one simultaneously. You can do this with your supporting hand, so the trigger hand never leaves the trigger. This translates to higher firing rates and faster reloads.

Pump-action rifles use tube magazines, which are slower to load but generally carry more rounds, so the pros and cons equalize. This can be a real advantage for plenty of situations.

Lever-Action Rifles

Lever-action rifles were among the first rifles to come into production. Like pump-action rifles, lever-action rifles use tube cartridges, which hold more rounds than other cartridge types. Lever-action rifles have a handle found just behind the trigger that you use to eject and reload cartridges

Lever-action rifles aren’t the most accurate of rifles, but they get the job done. One advantage is that they have a high cartridge capacity meaning you don’t have to reload as frequently as other rifles.

Semi-Automatic Rifles

Semi-automatic rifles are most arguably the most famous types of rifles. They are the go-to choice for sports shooters and hunters across the country. That’s because they can fire more quickly and discharge more rounds per given time.

When using a semi-automatic rifle, all you have to do is move the action to a fire position. The rifle will automatically eject and reload new rounds when you pull and release the trigger. However, failures with semi-automatic rifles are more common than with other types of rifles.

Break-Action Rifles

These are single-shot rifles where the barrel opens up like a hinge allowing you to load more rounds. They are the slowest and most impractical type of rifle you could settle for. However, they are great for simple hunting expeditions.

Choose a Rifle That Fits You

Buying the most expensive rifle on the market is of no use if it’s not good for you. That’s why you should prioritize buying a rifle that’s the perfect fit for you. The rifle should feel comfortable to use and should meet your specific needs.

You should even consider trying a couple of guns for size before settling on the best one. Try shooting various guns, and look out for their range, accuracy, and feel. A rifle is a huge investment, and you certainly don’t want to make the wrong decision.

Choose a Reputable Gun Shop

You might need to do a bit of digging to find the right gun store to buy your rifle. There are numerous gun shops strewn across the country, but not all of them can give you what you want. Ensure you buy your gun from a licensed gun dealer with a good reputation.

Make sure you check out reviews and testimonials from previous customers before picking a gun store. Review sites like the Better Business Bureau will help give you a clear picture of the kind of gun store you’re dealing with.

Perfection Is an Illusion

As mentioned earlier, there’s no such thing as a perfect gun, so don’t bother looking for one. While expert opinions are informative, some of them might be misleading. The best approach is to find a rifle that’s right for you and meets your needs.

Try comparing rifle prices and find one within your budget. It’s a good idea to ask the gun shop owner as many questions as you can. There’s no charge for asking questions, and asking the right ones can help you make a more informed decision.

The Shooting Range Is Your Friend

Make sure you spend considerable time at the shooting range to get a feel of the different types of rifles. The shooting range allows you to shoot the gun you have in mind before purchasing it.

Until you’ve actually shot the rifle, it’s impossible to tell whether you’ve found the perfect rifle for you.

Practice Makes Perfect

Handling your first rifle will be a tad challenging, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Make sure you’re consistent with your gun practice so that you become a pro in no time.

Also, don’t forget about rifle safety training, given that over 92 deaths have occurred because of unintentional shootings. A rifle is a heavy responsibility, and remember to handle it with care to prevent any accidental injuries or deaths.

Don’t Forget About Accessories

Buying accessories for your first rifle may seem like doing too much, but buying rifle accessories never hurt anyone. The type of accessories you pick for your file depends on what you use your rifle for. If you’re an avid hunter, a few accessories you should consider getting include:

  • A bipod
  • A cheekpiece
  • A sling
  • Muzzle brake

These are just a few of the many accessories you should consider for your rifle. If accuracy is your main concern, you should consider purchasing rifle parts from Aero Precision. That way, you can get the most out of your first rifle

Choosing Your First Rifle Is a Breeze

The above tips should make choosing your first rifle a walk in the park. Just remember to take your time when picking a rifle to find the best fit for you. Also, ensure you look around for a reputable gun shop to buy your rifle from.

For more informative content, be sure to check out the other pieces on the site.

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