Why rifles?

Articles I have written prior to this one have focused mostly on handguns.  So what's so special about rifles?  Before I knew anything about firearms, I wondered why someone would want a long, heavy rifle when a handgun did the same job - that is, fire bullets. 

Of course, that question was one borne of ignorance.  Hollywood mythology led me to believe that all bullets were immediately deadly, for one thing.  This leads me to reason #1 for why one would choose a rifle:

1. Rifles can fire very powerful ammunition.

Rifles are capable of firing much more powerful rounds than a handgun.  This is due to several factors, including the strength of rifle actions, the weight of rifles (to dampen recoil), and the longer barrels of rifles (capable of utilizing greater powder charges).  Rifles can be used to hunt large game which would be unwise to shoot with a handgun.  Note, however, that rifles are too powerful to use for home defense because of over-penetration concerns.

2. Rifles are very accurate.

The longer barrel of rifles gives you a longer sighting plane (the distance between the sights), which will help you make more accurate shots. You can also put a scope on most rifles, which will help with longer distance shots.  The more powerful rounds used in rifles will also travel much further than the average handgun round.


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