Best Hunting Gear logo

Seven Tips for Choosing a Rifle for Beginners

People choose rifles for different reasons. You could be a regular citizen interested in buying your first firearm, a seasoned hunter, or a even gun collector.

Whatever the case, there is no standard rifle that suits everyone’s needs and preferences. The gun market offers so many styles and choices that picking a rifle can seem daunting. These seven tips will help you chose your perfect rifle for your lifestyle.

1. Assess Your Level of Experience

A smaller caliber like a .22 LR (Long Rifle) would be excellent since it’s affordable, easy to get, and a top choice for learning firearm basics and practicing informal shooting. You may get many other small calibers in the market if you search. However, none is as common and reasonably priced as the .22 LR. Due to the low power of this caliber’s rounds, many manufacturers offer inexpensive rifles in the caliber.

Also, as a beginner, you want a gun with extra safety features to limit the chances of accidents occurring. If you’re an intermediate or experienced shooter, you probably want a weapon with greater power and performance.

2. Establish the Rifle’s Intended Use

Knowing the purpose for acquiring your firearm is one of the biggest steps toward getting the right one. Do you need a rifle for hunting, long-range shooting, or target practice? Or you may be looking for a non-lethal self-defense weapon such as a PepperBall gun.

While different shooting purposes have different needs, most of these situations can benefit from a high-quality muzzle device that combats muzzle climb and allows you to stay on target.

purpose of owning a gun

3. Select a Shooting Action

Once you determine what you plan on using your rifle for, you must pick your preferred action type. The action controls things like how your firearm loads, fires, and ejects cartridges.

With a single-action rifle, you must manually eject every spent cartridge to free the chamber for a new one. A repeating rifle does this process automatically, using the fired bullet’s force to eject the shell and allow a new one in from the magazine.

Generally, those who want every single shot to count prefer single-action rifles. Repeating rifles are great for new shooters who want less pressure while taking the first shot. Single-shot alternatives include action types like falling-block, break-open, rolling-block, and trapdoor. Repeating ones include semi-automatic rifles, pump action, bolt action, and lever action. Some hands-on experience or advice from seasoned shooters is vital in selecting the appropriate action.

4. Choose a Caliber

When you know the purpose of the gun and have chosen an action type it narrows down the variety of calibers best suited for the job.

If your purpose is to hunt, you want a caliber that humanely takes down your target without doing too much damage to the meat. A .50 BMG may be fun to cycle but won’t leave you much to eat if you’re hunting small game like squirrels. Similarly, a .22LR used on a bear will make it angry and ready to charge.

When choosing a caliber, consider one that is designed for your intended purpose and review the ballistics to see whether it matches your type of shooting. A bullet that is designed to hit targets at 100 yards but drops 10 inches at 200 yards won’t serve you right if you intend to shoot past 300 yards.

The last consideration you must make when choosing a caliber is its availability and cost per round. Getting enough practice will be exceptionally expensive if every trigger pull costs you a dollar. Also consider where you can source your ammunition. For example, if your ammo is only available at one online store, that caliber may not be the best for a remote hunting trip if you cannot store it safely in an ammo can.

5. Consider Your Shooting Budget

You could have all the right specifications for your rifle. Sadly, without enough money, you’ll have to settle for less. Deciding the type of action and caliber will help you shorten your list of options.

From that list, you may want to check out various manufacturers of rifles in your chosen caliber. You might establish that the gun you want is out of your budget. You could compromise on the action type, caliber, or other components like material.

gun material

6. Pick Your Preferred Gun Material

You need to understand that poor quality and affordability are different things. A rifle’s stock and barrel materials form the basis for its quality. Most barrels are stainless steel or carbon fiber. Stainless steel resists rust, but well-cared-for carbon fiber is very durable as well.

Stocks are commonly made from polymer or wood. Both are excellent choices, but some wood species, like walnuts, will cost you more due to their durability. Your budget and preferences should guide you in choosing the barrel and stock materials.

7. Try Out the Fit and Feel of Your Gun

After running through all the specifications on this list, you can go to a gun store and test all the rifles that meet your criteria. You want to know the actual feel of the firearm in your hands and against your shoulders. Does it have a nice trigger? Is the stock a perfect fit? Does your eye align with the sight?

If the rifle is not a comfortable fit for you, then you should try something else. Although the stock, barrel, trigger, and other parts are replaceable, it does not make sense to customize a rifle that is too long or even too heavy for you to hold comfortably or will not enjoy shooting. Your local gun store will be able to help you find something you can hold more comfortably.

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right Gun for Your Needs

These steps will be sufficient for most people to select the perfect beginner rifle. Other considerations can include the gun’s visual appeal and color, the manufacturer’s warranty, and storage options to keep your gun secure when not in use.

Choosing a rifle is a personal choice. So take your time and choose a rifle that will best suits your lifestyle.

Leave a Comment