A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Centerfire Rifle

Choosing the right rifle can be an overwhelming task, especially for beginners. With numerous options and countless features, it’s normal to have questions as you try to understand the differences. Here’s a guide to assist you with understanding what a high-quality centerfire rifle is, the different types and their purposes.

What is a Centerfire Rifle?

man using Centerfire Rifle
source: petersenshunting.com

A centerfire rifle is a type of firearm that uses centerfire ammunition. These rifles have a primer located in the center of the cartridge base, unlike rimfire ones which ignite from the rim of the cartridge. This design allows for higher pressure, and consequently more powerful and accurate shots.

Advantages of Centerfire Rifles

These rifles offer several advantages that make them popular among shooters. Firstly they provide greater power and range compared to rimfire rifles, making them suitable for larger game and longer-distance shooting. This added power comes from the ability to withstand higher pressures due to the central primer ignition.

Additionally, centerfire cartridges are reloadable, allowing shooters to reuse casing by replacing the primer, powder and bullet. So, the cost-effective centerfire rifle is a great option for frequent shooters. Furthermore, the variety of these rifles and ammunition available caters to different shooting preferences and purposes. Whether you need one for hunting or target shooting, there is likely a centerfire option that meets your needs.

Types of Centerfire Rifles

different types of rifles
source: academy.com

When choosing one, it’s important to know the different types available. Each type has its own set of characteristics, features, advantages and ideal uses.

Bolt Action Rifles

These rifles are known for their simplicity, reliability and accuracy. They require the shooter to manually operate the bolt to chamber a round and load to the next round. This means that bolt-action rifles typically have fewer moving parts which contributes to their reliability and ease of maintenance. One of their primary advantages is their accuracy. The solid locking mechanisms make them a favourite among hunters and long-range shooters.

Lever Action Rifles

These rifles use a lever, typically located around the trigger guard, to chamber rounds and eject spent cartridges. This mechanism allows for relatively quick follow-up while maintaining a robust and reliable design. One of the significant advantages of lever action rifles is their speed. Additionally, they are generally well-balanced and easy to handle, making them suitable for shooting from various positions.

Semi-Automatic Rifles

Semi-automatic rifles automatically chamber the next round after firing, allowing for rapid follow-up shots. These rifles are popular among shooters who require quick, successive shots such as competitive shooting, or certain hunting scenarios. They offer the fastest rate of fire among the types, providing a significant advantage in dynamic shooting environments. They are also easy to use, as no manual operation is required.

Their Purpose

a man hunting in the woods with centerfire rifle
source: themeateater.com

Knowing what these rifles are used for will help you choose the right type, so we are going to name some common uses. For example, hunting. A sport enjoyed by many, so it’s only natural to want to have a rifle that will complement your hunting, especially if it can be paired with accessories like scopes. There are different types of hunting, so for smaller to medium animals both bolt-action and lever-action rifles are recommended, while for larger animals the bolt-ones are favoured due to their accuracy.

Semi-automatic rifles are versatile and can be used for various purposes like shooting sports due to their rapid rate of fire and ease of use. Some shooters also prefer them for hunting small to medium animals. Additionally, these can be suitable for home defence because of their ability to quickly fire multiple rounds.

Try Before You Buy

Before you decide on one of these rifles, it’s best to try them out. You can visit a shooting range as this is an excellent way to test various types of rifles. This hands-on experience can help you determine what feels comfortable and suits your needs. You can also talk to experienced shooters, who have been using rifles like this for years.

Their opinions and experiences can provide valuable information and help you narrow down your choices. Also, consider taking a training course. This can provide hands-on experience as well as education on different types of rifles, their operation and maintenance. This can be particularly beneficial for beginners who are unfamiliar with firearms.


Safety is paramount when handling any firearm, that’s why it’s important to be careful. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded, even if you’re sure it’s unloaded. This will help you avoid serious accidents. Never point the rifle at something you’re not willing to put a hole into, including yourself. And this goes without saying, but keep your rifles in a safe spot, away from children, where they cannot reach them. Safety is crucial, so make sure to follow all of these rules.

Choosing the right rifle involves understanding the different types available, and their purposes and considering personal preferences and intended use. Whether you opt for the bolt action, the lever action or the semi-automatic each type has its own set of advantages. Trying out different rifles before making a purchase can ensure you find the perfect fit. With the right knowledge, you can have an enjoyable experience.

Aiden Jones

Aiden Jones is an Australian student and a freelance writer. When not studying, Aiden spends time reading about different industrial equipment, information technology (computers and networking) and sports. With his elegant writing, Aiden enriches readers with his personal perspective and never steers away from the hard truth.