A Rifle is a firearm with a rifled barrel which is designed to be fired from the shoulder.Barrel length is immaterial in classifying a firearm as rifle.However,US federal law requires rifles to have a minimum barrel lengths of 16 inches.The types of rifle commonly encountered are single shot,lever action,bolt action,pump action and auto loading.
Rifle as mentioned above is operated with two hands and is shot from the shoulder.It is designed to shoot a single bullet at a time.The main difference between a shotgun and a rifle is the ammunition it shoots.The shotgun ammunition is called a shell.The rifle ammunition is called a cartridge.Another difference between the two is that the inside of the rifle barrel has spiraled grooves cut into it that imparts a spin to the bullet before it exits the barrel much like a quarterback will put a spin on a football to make it fly straight.Some shotgun barrels that are designed to shot slugs are also cut with grooves in it to make the slug spin in the air stabilizing its flight path.
In a bolt action rifle,a handle projects from a bolt.Pulling back and pushing forward on this projection causes the bolt to extract and eject a cartridge case and then to insert a new cartridge while cocking the gun.The slide-action rifle uses the manual movement of a slide under and parallel to the barrel to open the action,extract and eject a cartridge,load a fresh cartridge and cock the weapon.
In auto-loading or semi-automatic rifles,the weapon fires,extracts,ejects,reloads,and cocks with each pull of the trigger using the force of gas pressure or recoil to operate the action.After each shot the trigger must be released and then pulled again to to repeat the cycle.Auto-loading rifles are commonly but incorrectly called automatic rifles.A fully automatic rifle is one that on pulling the trigger and firing the weapon utilizes the force of gas pressure or recoil to eject it.This cycle is repeated until all the ammunition is used or the trigger is rehearsed.Automatic weapons are generally used only by military and police organizations.While it is possible to alter some semi-automatic rifles to deliver automatic fire,unlike the impression given the media and some politicians,this is not a simple procedure.In fact,such conversions are uncommon.In the U.S.,deaths due to full automatic weapons (rifles and sub-machine gun) are extremely rare.Weapons fired in the full automatic mode are very difficult to control.In most instances,while the first shot may be on target,subsequent rounds fly high and to the right.
Assault Rifles - the term assault rifles refers to a rifle that is
2. Has a large capacity detachable
magazine (20 rounds or more)
3. Capable of full automatic fire
4. Fires an intermediate rifle
This term has been corrupted by the media and some politicians to include most self-loading weapons.They have also coined the meaningless term "assault pistol" which appears to refer to large,ugly-looking pistols having large capacity magazines (20 to 40 rounds) or to semi-automatic versions of sub-machine guns such as the Uzi.Assault pistols are with rare exception, cumbersome,difficult to shoot,inaccurate and cheaply made.They are usually acquired by individuals with little knowledge of firearms who associate the effectiveness of a weapon with ugliness.
Weapons that fire pistol ammunition are not by definition assault rifles nor are self-loading rifles with fixed magazines that were never intended for full automatic fire.The best example of the latter weapon is the SKS-45.While this weapon is an auto-loader and chambered for an intermediate-power cartridge, it has a fixed 10 round magazine and was never intended for full automatic fire.The weapon may be altered to accept a 30 round magazine.
There is a group of weapons that might be considered assault rifles if one eliminates the criteria of full automatic capability.This would include weapons such as the AK-47,MAK-90 and colt AR-15 sporter and M-16 assault rifles.
One of the common fallacies about assault rifles is that the wounds they produce are more severe than those due to ordinary centerfire rifles.In fact, the wounds are less severe than those produced by virtually all hunting rifles, even the Winchester M-94 (introduced in 1894) and its cartridge,the .30-30 (introduced in 1895)In dealing with rifles,the severity of the wound is determined by the amount of kinetic energy lost by a bullet in the body.The intermediate cartridges used in assault rifles possess significantly less kinetic energy than a regular centerfire rifle cartridge designed for hunting.In addition,since most ammunition used in these weapons is loaded with a full-metal jacketed bullet,the wound is even less severe than one might expect.