Differences Between Rifles, Shotguns, and Handguns

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The main differences between rifles, shotguns, and handguns are their barrels, their intended targets, and the type of ammunition used.

Rifle

The rifle has a long barrel with rifling and thick walls to withstand high pressures. Rifling puts a spiral spin on a bullet fired from a rifle, increasing accuracy and distance. Rifles are typically used for firing at stationary targets. The bore of a rifle barrel is made for only one specific caliber of ammunition. GET THE BEST FIREARM ONLINE

Shotgun

The shotgun has a long barrel and usually has a smooth bore to reduce friction. The barrel’s walls are thinner due to reduced pressures. If a shotgun is designed to fire slugs, it might have a rifled barrel. Shotguns are typically used for shooting at moving targets in the air. The bore of a shotgun barrel is made for only one specific gauge of ammunition.

Handgun

The handgun has a short barrel with rifling and thick walls to withstand high pressures. Because of the short barrel, extra care must be taken to control the muzzle of a handgun. Like the rifle, rifling in the handgun puts a spiral spin on a bullet when fired, increasing accuracy and distance. Handguns are typically used for firing at stationary targets. The bore of a handgun barrel is usually made for only one specific caliber of ammunition.

Glossary

Caliber

Diameter of the bore of a rifle or handgun as measured from land to opposite land on rifled barrels and the designation for the size of ammunition for different bores Rifling Spiral grooves cut into the bore of a firearm barrel together with the lands—the ridges of metal between the grooves;

rifling

makes a bullet spin in flight, increasing accuracy and distance.. GET THE BEST FIREARM ONLINE

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