4 Rifle Types and When To Use Them

Long guns such as rifles can cover many styles or types of firearms. A gun enthusiast may wish to choose from a selection of different rifles based on the size, make, accessories, or firing actions. Although collectors or users can find various purposes for many of these long guns, some types or models might be better suited to specific tasks than others. Knowing a bit about some of the main types of rifles out there and how you can specialize them may help you make your choice.

4 Rifle Types and When To Use Them


The standard bolt-action rifle harkens back to a previous generation of gun enthusiasts, but it is still a relatively popular choice today. There are several reasons why a user might want to choose this kind over something like a semi-automatic rifle. The design of the firearm means that the cartridge you choose should fit the chamber tightly. The result of this tight fit is a long gun that is highly accurate. Semi-automatic rifles rarely compete against bolt-actions in any formal competitions precisely for this reason. Power and versatility are some of the other reasons to consider this type of rifle.

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The AR-15 comes under the semi-automatic category for rifles and is a popular choice for sport shooting. Due to its relatively compact size for a long gun and its highly customizable frame, it can also be a decent choice for home defense if paired with low-caliber ammunition that doesn’t puncture the walls of a structure. If you want to try a rifle that you can personalize for years to come and that should serve you well for hunting, sport, and possible defense, choosing from among the various AR-15 rifles is a good place to start.


Lever-action rifles changed how the Western frontier operated in the early days of settlements. There was now a long gun that a user could operate quite quickly under the right conditions, firing several rounds at a fast pace when necessary. If you are an enthusiast who is just starting to explore an interest in rifles, the simple nature of the lever-action makes it a good choice. These kinds of rifles are also known for their overall reliability in the field. The lever-actions tend to balance superbly, are easy to transport during long treks, and can snap to a target quickly.

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A pump-action gun may bring to mind shotguns more than rifles for most gun enthusiasts. However, pump-action rifles do exist, and there are some scenarios in which you might want to choose a long gun of this type over others. Pump-action rifles lock up in the same way bolt-action guns do, and they can give the cartridge much of the same power. If you need a long gun that is powerful yet doesn’t require much maintenance, this is an excellent choice.

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Different types of rifles have some overlapping strengths and weaknesses. Some might be more suited to beginning hunters or sport shooters. Other long guns make great choices when you need something that is a multipurpose tool.