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Firearm Actions - Firearms are commonly classified by action type. The action of a firearm is made up of
parts that load, unload, fire and eject the shotshell or cartridge. Actions are either singleshot or repeating.
Singleshot firearms must be reloaded every time the firearm is fired. Repeating firearms have extra cartridges or
shotshells ready in a magazine, cylinder or extra barrel. Below is a list of the common action types of firearms:
Bolt Action - Bolt action firearms operate like opening or closing a door bolt. The bolt solidly locks into the
breech, making for an accurate and dependable shot.
Lever Action - Lever action has a large metal lever located behind the trigger. This handle usually forms the
trigger guard as well.
Pump Action - Pump-action firearms are fast and smooth, allowing the shooter to re-cock the firearm without
taking his or her eye off the target. The pump action is also referred to as slide action or trombone action.
Semi-Automatic (Autoloading) Action - As each shot is manually fired, the case of the cartridge or
shotshell is ejected automatically and the chamber is automatically reloaded.
Break (Hinge) Action - The break-action firearm operates on the same principle as a door hinge. Simple to
load and unload, hinge action firearms are often hunter's first choice.
Revolver - Obtaining it's name from a revolving cylinder containing a number of cartridge chambers. One
chamber lines up with the barrel at a time as the firearm is fired. Revolving cylinders may rotate eiter clockwise
or counterclockwise, per the manufacturer. This type of action usually is found on handguns, but may also be
found on older rifles as well. Revolving actions are commonly referred to as either "Single Action" or "Double
Common Actions on Rifles - Singleshot rifles are usually your break or bolt-actions. Repeating rifles
include the bolt-action, lever-action, pump-action and semi-automatic types. Operating the lever, bolt or forestock
ejects the empty cartridge case, chambers a new round of ammo and cocks the gun.
Common Action on Shotguns - Shotguns use many of the same actions as rifles. Pump-action, semi-
automatic and bolt-action. They also use a break action as either a single barrel or double barrel. The double
barrel can be arranged horizontally (side by side) or vertically (over-under).
A safety is a device that blocks the action to prevent the firearm from shooting until the safety is released or
pushed to the off position. The safety is intended to prevent the firearm from being accidentally fired. Safeties
should never be relied upon totally to protect against an accidental shooting. These are mechanical devices that
are subject to failure from wear and other factors, which can cause it to fail when least expected. Also safeties
are capable of being bumped unknowingly from the safe position as well as accidentally catching on tree
branches or articles of clothing.
Slide or Tang Safety
Half-Cock or Hammer Safety
Never replace safe firearm handling by trusting the safety device located on a firearm. A safety is a mechanical device that can fail. Do not release safety until just before you shoot.
In repeating firearms, the magazine stores the ammunition that has not been discharged. Working with the
action, a cartridge is picked up from the magazine and placed in the chamber ready to be fired.
Sights are devices used to line up the muzzle with the shooter's eye making it easier to hit your target. Sights are
more critical on a firearm that fires a single projectile (rifle and handgun) than on a firearm that shoots a pattern
of shot (shotgun). Shotguns typically have a simple pointing bead, whereas rifles have an open aperture(peep),
or telescopic sight. Most handguns have an open sight, although some specialized handguns have a dot or a
Bead Sight - Simple round bead set into the top of the barrel near the muzzle of a shotgun. Some shotguns
have a second, smaller bead about halfway back on the barrel.
Open Sight - Combination of a bead or post front sight and notched rear sight. Simple and inexpensive, allows
for quick sighting. Open sights can be fixed or adjustable.
Aperture (Peep) Sight - Combination of a bead or post front sight and a round hole set on the rifles receiver
close to the eye of the shooter. To aim you center the rear peep or aperture sight and then bring the front sight
into the center hole. Aperture sights are more accurate and adjusted more easily than an open sight.
Telescopic Sight (Scope) - Small telescope mounted on the firearm. A scope gathers the light and brightens
the image magnifying the target. This does away with aligning the rear and front sights. The aiming device inside
the scope is called the reticle. To aim just look through the scope and line up the crosshairs, post, or dot with
your target. These sights are the most accurate, which makes them extremely popular for hunting.
Dot Sight - Small device which is mounted on your firearm. Dot sights use electronics or optical fibers to project
glowing dots or other marks on a lens in front of the shooter's eye. Some dot sights also maginfy like telescopic