Basic Rifle Marksmanship
Basic Rifle Marksmanship by Mark Bunch – Survival Blog
For most of my life I have been a rifle shooter, competitor, and instructor. I have also carried a rifle in combat when people I didn’t know shot at me. I know a fair amount about the subject and would like to share some of the things I have learned about basic rifle marksmanship along the way. A man or woman with a quality rifle and the training to use it is a formidable combination indeed.
What are you going to use it for?
Just as with handguns, a prospective buyer needs to know what he/she is going to use a rifle for in order to choose the correct tool for the job. You generally get what you pay for in life, although there are some pretty good value priced rifles. There is also the option of buying a good quality used rifle from a pawn shop or gun dealer.
It is hard to imagine owning only one rifle, but I have in fact known men who did. A popular quote from long ago is: “Beware the man with only one rifle as he knows how to use it.” That is generally a true statement. But this certainly doesn’t mean that all people who own one rifle are adept at using it. Nor does it mean those with multiple rifles are not proficient.
Types of Rifles
There are just a few different types of rifles but countless thousands of variations of each with different stocks, sights, triggers, and in different calibers.
Black Powder/Muzzle Loaders
Black powder/muzzle loaders are great for civil war reenactments. They are a good option for those who cannot legally pass a background check, as they allow you a level of protection and ability to defend yourself/hunt if you are legally allowed to do so. I am not a big fan of this class of rifle, but I do own a couple of them just in case.
Lever Action Rifles
Lever action rifles helped win the west with the Winchester model 1873 likely being the most popular rifle of its era. Other models by Winchester, Savage, Henry and Marlin usually contained the year of their invention. Examples include the Marlin model 1881, Savage model 1895, et cetera. I have always been a big fan of lever action rifles. I am also a fan of being able to have a handgun and rifle chambered for the same cartridge. This has always appealed to me. Quality lever action rifles can be purchased from Henry, Winchester, Marlin, Cimarron, and Rossi in multiple calibers.
Bolt Action Rifles
Bolt action rifles can be had in pretty much every caliber in existence. These rifles have the distinction of being used in every instance where reliability and accuracy is paramount to survival. Police sharpshooters, military snipers, and long distance competitors all use high quality bolt action rifles and optics. Winchester, Remington, Savage, and Ruger all make fine bolt action rifles.
Semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15, AK-47, SKS, 10/22, M1A, M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, and to a lesser degree the Browning BAR and Remington 7400 auto loaders, are very popular. They can be obtained in pretty much any caliber you want to shoot, all the way from 22LR to .50 BMG.
Single Shot Break Open Rifles
Single shot break open rifles, such as the New England series of handy rifles, are great for young shooters and those looking for an inexpensive hunting rifle that will hold up for a lifetime of reliable use.
Combination rifles, such as the Savage models with an upper rifle barrel and lower shotgun barrel, are pretty common. Both Mossberg and Savage have made good quality, reliable, over under combo guns. I personally own a Savage with a .22 magnum upper barrel and a 20 gauge lower barrel. This is a great gun for my future wife, Nikki, for hunting small game and fowl.
Pump Action Rifles
Pump action rifles are pretty rare these days, but they are a good choice. They include rifles such as the Remington 7600. I have had a couple of these come through my gun shop, and I thought they were well made and a good choice for shooters.
Double rifles are typically used by African hunters or guides where everything you see wants to kill you. I had an uncle once who bought a .610 Nitro Express double rifle for what reason I will never know. I can proudly state that I shot that rifle exactly twice, which was once more than anyone else in my family ever shot the thing.