With so many different rifle models available, picking the right one can be overwhelming. That said, the process of choosing a rifle is not dissimilar to picking a car or laptop — it is vital to consider what you’ll be using it for and what features you find most important.
With that in mind, this article will look at some key factors to consider when selecting a rifle, such as the intended use, accuracy, and type of action. Let’s get to it!
Purpose and Intended Use
The first thing to consider when choosing a rifle is what you’ll be using it for. Different rifles are designed for different purposes, so it’s crucial to select a firearm that will meet your specific needs. Rifles are typically used for:
- Hunting — If you’re planning to use your rifle for hunting, you’ll want to choose one that is accurate, reliable, and suitable for your preferred type of game. Some popular hunting options include bolt-action, lever-action, and semi-automatic rifles.
- Target shooting — The perfect target-shooting rifle doesn’t differ dramatically from the ideal hunting rifle, so the above factors still apply here. We might add that a good target-shooting rifle should be comfortable to shoot.
- Home defense — If you want a rifle for home-defense purposes, you’ll want something that is easy to maneuver in tight spaces and can be quickly and easily loaded and fired. Semi-automatic rifles and shotguns are popular choices in this category.
Accuracy and Reliability
Once you’ve determined the intended use for your rifle, it is time to think about accuracy and reliability. These are two of the most important factors to consider when choosing a gun, as they will directly impact your ability to hit the target.
Bolt-action rifles are typically the most accurate, followed by lever-action and semi-automatic rifles. Precision rifles are also a good option for those looking for extreme accuracy.
The situation is similar regarding reliability, with bolt-action rifles again taking the #1 spot, followed by lever-action and semi-automatic rifles.
The caliber refers to the size of the rifle cartridge.
If you’re planning to use your rifle for hunting big game, you’ll want to choose a larger caliber capable of doing more damage. Some popular big game calibers include .30-06, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum.
When it comes to target shooting, it is all about accuracy over a distance. Some popular target shooting calibers include .223 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.
Once you’ve chosen a caliber, you’ll also need to select the appropriate ammunition — this can significantly impact your rifle’s performance.
Type of Action
When we talk about action on a rifle, we refer to the mechanism that is used to load and discharge rounds from the chamber. There are several types of actions to choose from, including bolt-action, lever-action, and semi-automatic.
Standard bolt-action rifles are the most accurate and reliable. However, they are slower to load and fire than other types of rifles.
Lever-action rifles are also a traditional option, and they are popular for hunting and cowboy shooting. They can be quick to fire but are less accurate than bolt-action rifles.
Finally, semi-automatic rifles are the fastest to load and fire, but they are less accurate and reliable than bolt-action rifles. They are a popular choice for target shooting and home defense purposes.
Accessories and Upgrades
Once you have selected the rifle that is best suited to your needs, you may want to add a few accessories and upgrades to improve your shooting experience. Here are some options to consider:
- Sights/optics — Many rifles come with basic iron sights, but you may want to upgrade to a more advanced sight system for greater accuracy. For instance, adding a scope to your rifle can significantly enhance your ability to hit targets at longer ranges.
- Slings — Sometimes, the most straightforward upgrade can make all the difference. A sling can help you carry your rifle more comfortably and keep it close at hand when you need it.
- Upper receiver upgrades — Upgrading your rifle with high-quality complete upper receivers can help you change its characteristics and customize it to your specific needs.
Choosing the right rifle for your needs can be a complex process. Still, by considering factors such as your intended use, accuracy and reliability, caliber, type of action, and accessories and upgrades, you can make an informed decision that will suit your needs and preferences.
Remember that safety should always be your top priority when handling firearms, so follow the basic safety rules and seek proper training before using your new rifle. With the right firearm and a commitment to safe and responsible handling, you can enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding shooting experience.