HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base
Module 01 - HUNTING BASICS
Hunter; this is Firearm. Firearm; this is hunter. You’re going to be great friends. This section will show you the ‘ins and outs’ of your firearm so you’ll be able to handle it safely and correctly.
WHAT IS A RIFLE?
A rifle is a firearm with a long barrel, a rifled bore and a stock that’s designed to fit against the shooter’s shoulder. To aim a rifle, the shooter must align the sights or use a scope. To shoot a rifle, the shooter must pull the trigger carefully to avoid disturbing the sight alignment—rifle shooting is all about precision and accuracy.
Rifle bores have spiraled grooves inside the barrel called rifling. The rifling causes the bullet to spin when fired, increasing its accuracy and range—like a football throw. This type of firearm is designed to fire one projectile at a time, at stationary targets and is commonly used for hunting large game animals and targets at longer ranges.
WHAT IS A SHOTGUN?
A shotgun is a firearm with a long barrel, a smooth bore and a stock that’s designed to fit against the shooter’s shoulder. Shotguns are designed to fire either a shell containing multiple pellets (this is called shot) or a single projectile (called a slug). Shotguns have a shorter shooting range than rifles do, so they’re commonly used for hunting turkey, small game and game birds in flight. However, if a slug is used instead of shot, a shotgun can also be used for hunting large game animals.
WHAT IS A HANDGUN?
A handgun is a short-barreled firearm. Like rifles, handguns usually have a rifled bore for increased shooting accuracy. Their design allows them to be aimed and fired using one hand OR using both hands. However, if you’re in an area where it’s legal to hunt with a handgun, a caliber large enough to drop game will require a two-handed grip and shooting stance. Keep in mind that extra care must be taken to control a handgun due to the shorter barrel length and understand that it’s illegal to hunt with handguns in many jurisdictions.