Rifles are long guns designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves ("rifling") cut into the barrel walls. The mainstays of armed combat and hunting, rifles are characterized by long-range accuracy and effectiveness, but other factors, such as rate of fire, vary widely depending on the type. Rifles are categorized by the type of loading mechanism (or action) they use. They are made to fill a variety of purposes and most are very modular. Most zombie experts agree that rifles are the best firearms in a zombie outbreak.
Bolt-action RiflesEditBolt-action rifles are loaded by manual operation of the bolt to eject a spent cartridge from the chamber and load a new one. Bolt-action rifles typically have: excellent accuracy, a long effective range, and excellent stopping power, are easy to use and maintain, and are very sturdy and reliable. On the other hand, they have a low rate of fire (depending on the action e.g. Mauser 98 derived rifles have a "cock on opening" bolt which makes the rate of fire slower. On the other hand, the Lee-Enfield series rifles have a "cock on closing" bolt whilch allows for a higher rate of fire) and a small magazine capacity (typically 3-5 rounds, depending on caliber -- although some, like the Lee-Enfield and the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, have as many as ten), and are difficult to maneuver in close quarters due to their size and length. However, ex-military bolt-action rifles are useful in close quarters as a melee weapon thanks to the durable steel-backed wooden frame the rifle can be used to bash in skulls or as a spear when a bayonet is fitted. According to the Zombie Survival Guide, ex-military bolt-action rifles like the Mauser Kar98k, the Lee-Enfield, and the M1903 Springfield are ideal anti-zombie firearms.
Bolt-action rifles were standard-issue infantry weapons with the armed forces of many countries up until the 1950s when they began to be usurped by semi-automatic battle rifles. Bolt-action rifles continue to be popular with civilian shooters to this day, and modern designs are favored by military and police snipers for their superior accuracy. Bolt-action rifles are still being used by numerous countries as a second-line or reserve rifle for police and military units e.g. the Canadian Rangers. Ex-military bolt-action rifles are still being encountered in the hands of guerrilla forces in numerous conflicts around the world e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, India (with the Naxalite Maoist rebels and the Indian police making extensive use of the Lee-Enfield series rifles alongside more modern rifles e.g. L1A1 Self Loading Rifle and the AKM). In an number of countries where the legal ownership of all semi-automatic centrefire rifles among licenced, law-abiding firearm owners is heavily restricted and/or banned e.g. Australia and Great Britain; bolt-action rifles (along with lever-action and pump-action rifles) are the only legal alternative.
Lever-action RiflesEditLever-action rifles are loaded by manual operation of a lever located around the trigger guard area (often including the trigger guard itself). While lever-action rifles have long been popular with hunters and sporting shooters, they were not widely accepted by the military. One significant reason for this was that it is harder to fire a lever-action from the prone position (compared to a bolt-action rifle). Another is that lever-action rifles typically use a tubular magazine, which limits them from using stripper clips. Lever-action rifles generally have a significantly higher rate of fire than bolt-actions and a greater magazine capacity (the famous Winchester Model 1873, for example, has a magazine capacity of 15 rounds, and most modern lever-actions hold 6 or 7 rounds). In comparison to a bolt-action rifle, the disadvantages of a lever-action are a somewhat shorter effective range, slightly lower accuracy, and somewhat less stopping power due to most of them being chambered in a handgun caliber.
If one decides to arm themselves with a lever-action rifle, they should consider the more modern models on the firearms market like the Marlin 336, 444, 1895, 308MX and 338MX series rifles, the Mossberg 464, the Henry rifle, or the Winchester 1894 series rifles. Another modern lever-action rifle one can consider is Browning's BLR series lever-action rifles, which has a detachable box magazine instead of a tube magazine.
Pump-action rifles are a type of rifle that is manually operated by a pump handle at the fore end of the rifle. Pump-action rifles are a good "cross-over" firearm for people who are used to handling semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns in terms of operation and rate of fire. In some jurisdictions where the legal ownership of semi-auto rifles is heavily banned and restricted e.g. Australia, pump-action rifles are an ideal anti-zombie firearm alongside bolt-action and lever-action rifles.
The most common pump-action centrefire rifle on the firearms market today is the Remington Model 760, Model 7600 and Model 7615 series pump-action rifles and carbines. The Remington 760, 7600 and 7615 series rifles and carbines are popular with recreational hunters and target shooters in both North America (where the Remington 7600 is popular with deer hunters in both the USA and Canada e.g. Pennsylvania's gun laws prohibiting hunters from using semi-automatic rifles for deer hunting) and Australia (where the country's firearm laws prohibit the majority of licensed firearm owners from legally owning any semi-automatic long-arms and pump-action shotguns).
In addition to the Remington 7600/7615 series, pump-action versions of the AR-15 and the AK series rifles have been produced so that the firearms can get around the "Assault Weapons" legislation in a number of American states. On example is the DPMS Panther pump-action AR-15 rifle. Another example are the Romanian-made Cugir PAR series rifles (which are basically a pump-action rifle version of the AK series rifles). Another series of centrefire pump-action rifles that are an ideal anti-zombie firearm are the Browning Pump Rifle (BPR)/Dualis pump-action rifle. Another series of pump-action rifle one can consider adding to their anti-zombie arsenal is the new Troy Defense Pump Action Rifle.
Semi-automatic rifles are a type of rifle that fires a single bullet each time the trigger is pulled, automatically ejects the spent cartridge, chambers a fresh cartridge from its magazine, and is immediately ready to fire another shot. They may be operated by a number of mechanisms, all of which derive their power from the explosion of the powder in the cartridge that also fires the bullet. A semi-automatic rifle may be originally designed to be semi-automatic (such as the American M1 Garand or Russian SKS), or a civilian version of a military assault rifle design that lacks its fully-automatic fire mode. Semi-automatic rifles were first widely adopted by militaries during WW2, and briefly usurped bolt-action rifles before being replaced with select-fire automatic rifles such as the AK-47, M14, and M16.
Bullpup rifles are rifles that hold the magazine behind the trigger, in doing so they save room for the barrel. They are as short as a Carbine, yet have the accuracy and range of a longer barrel rifle. Due to the positioning of the ejection port, most bullpup weapons have the problem of throwing empty casings into a left handed shooter's face. This problem has been solved by placing the ejection port on the bottom of the weapon allowing the shell casings to safely fall to the floor. Examples of these weapons are the FN P90 and the FN F2000. One of the most recent bullpup rifles in development is the Barrett XM500, which was created to make a compact, more lighter version of the Barrett M82.
Depending on the user a bullpup rifle can be slower to reload due to the positioning of the magazine. However, this can to be solved by extensive practice with the weapon.
Automatic rifles, also known as "selective-fire rifles", or a variety of other terms, are a type of rifle that fire continuously for as long as the trigger is depressed. Automatic rifles were the logical next step from semi-automatic rifles, and automatic and semi-automatic rifle designs generally have a lot in common. Indeed, many semi-automatic rifles on the civilian market are simply semi-automatic-only versions of existing automatic rifle designs. Automatic rifles are divided into two sub-classes (depending mainly on their caliber): battle rifles and assault rifles.
Battle rifles utilize full-power rifle cartridges such as 7.62x51mm and can fire in either semi-automatic or fully automatic (the shooter can choose the firing mode with a selector switch), but use in automatic mode is generally discouraged because the recoil soon becomes very difficult to manage and wastes ammunition. Battle rifles are generally heavier and longer than assault rifles, have a somewhat smaller magazine capacity (Most battle rifles have a 20 round magazine, opposed to the assault rifle standard of 30) and another downside is the weight of the large 7.62x51mm ammunition (When the U.S. Army switched from the 7.62 M14 to the 5.56 M16, they found they could carry twice as much ammunition for the same weight). On the upside, the larger caliber means battle rifles are effective at longer ranges than assault rifles, and are more accurate and powerful. For these reasons, battle rifles are currently making something of a resurgence as 'designated marksman rifles' in hotspots such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Well-known battle rifle designs include the M14, FN FAL and H&K G3. Semi-automatic sniper rifles are often based on battle rifle designs (The Heckler & Koch PSG-1, for example, was developed from the G3).
Assault rifles are similar to battle rifles, but chambered in intermediate calibers such as 7.62x39mm and 5.56x45mm. The lighter ammunition allows assault rifle users to carry more ammunition, and results in somewhat increased magazine capacity (30 rounds is the norm), reduced recoil and reduced weight. The downsides are somewhat reduced accuracy, range and stopping power; note, however, that some calibers (like the 5.56 NATO) can replicate the tissue damage of a larger full power round though tumbling and, more importantly, fragmentation. Well-known assault rifle designs include the AK-family ( AK-47, AKM, erroneously called AK47, known also for its durability, and its many descendants and knock-offs), the AR-15 family (including the military M16), the FN FNC, the H&K G36, SA80 and the Steyr AUG . Due to their combination of firepower, relatively high rate of fire, and good accuracy within the ranges infantry engagements are typically fought at (less than 300 meters), select-fire assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons of armies around the world.
List of common riflesEdit
- AR-15 - Civilian variant of the M16 family (USA). Prone to jamming/reliability issues. These are not advised because in sandy conditions almost half the bullets jam. Chambered either in 5.56 x 45mm NATO or .223.
- M16/M4 Carbine - Very user friendly, plethora of attachments/add-ons/interchangable parts, uncomplicated to field strip with experience. Can be prone to reliability issues. For the same reason as the ar-15 do not use these. Chambered in 5.56 NATO.
- AK family (AK-47, AK-74, AK-102, AK-108, among others) - Very durable, hardly jams (anything will jam if not taken care of) and has less parts than the M16. Also includes any semi-automatic variants produced for civilians(USA).
- Remington 700 - Highly popular bolt action rifle among military, law enforcement, and civilians for use as a sniper or hunting rifle.
- Winchester Model 70 - Simmilar to Remington's rifle, in use with military, police, and citizens (USA)
- Ruger 10/22 - Semi-automatic rifle known for its dedicated fanbase and plethora of aftermarket parts which can turn the rifle into a sniper or an MG42 style weapon. Cheap, reliable, and highly availible it has seen massive sucess for use as a plinking rifle. Chambered in .22 Long Rifle which still has enough power to destroy a zombies skull and brain. (USA)
- SKS - Semi automatic rifle of Russian origin that is extremely popular through the world. Seen in hands of American sport shooters and many other countries. With aftermarket parts, it can be turned into a sporterized or "tacticool" rifle. Chambered in 7.62 x 39mm.
- SA80 - The L85 is the standard issue service rifle of the British Armed Forces. It is a bullpup, selective-fire assault rifle firing 5.56x45mm rounds. Not cheap or widely available, but very accurate.
- Mauser Karabiner 98k - WWII German bolt-action infantry rifle chambered in 7.92x57mm. Highly popular and accurate rifle among firearm owners.
- Lee-Enfield series rifles - Classic British bolt-action infantry rifle chambered in .303 British. Highly reliable, accurate, and renown for it's smooth bolt action. Capable of achieving a high rate of fire (15-30 rounds/minute) due to the rifle's "cock on closing" bolt-action and 10-round magazine.
- Springfield M1903 - Famous American bolt-action infantry rifle chambered in .30-06 Springfield. Highly accurate but can prove unwieldy to the inexperienced shooter.
- Mosin-Nagant - Famous Russian/Soviet series of bolt-action rifles and carbines chambered in 7.62x54R. Mosin-Nagants are a rugged and reliable bolt-action rifle that's also very affordable due to the massive influx of rifles from the former Soviet Union on the surplus gun market in recent times.
- M1 Garand - Classic US military rifle of the Second World War and the Korean War. Chambered in .30-06 Springfield.
- M14/M1A - Updated version of the American M1 Garand with a 20-round detachable box magazine, chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO/.308 Winchester, and (with some rifles) capable of full automatic fire. The M1A is the semi-automatic, civilian version of the M14 rifle and is popular with civilian rifle shooters in the US, Canada, and other countries where semi-automatic rifles are legal.
- Ruger Mini-14/Mini-30 - A civilian off-shoot of the popular M14/M1A Battle Rifle. Availible in .223/5.56 and 7.62x39 calibers.
- Winchester Model 1894 lever-action rifle
- Marlin Model 336/444/1895 series lever-action rifle
- Remington Model 760/7600/7615 series pump-action rifle
Sniper rifles are intended to engage targets at greater distances than a standard soldier's rifle and/or with greater accuracy. Sniper rifles are usually defined as rifles capable of sub-MOA (minute of arc) performance at 100yrds and/or the ability to accurately hit a point target (man sized target) at 600+ yards (those with range <600yrds are usually defined as designated marksman rifles). Nevertheless, these are not hard and fast rules. They are more difficult to use effectively than one might suppose, and using them at extreme distance requires much practice and training. Many factors such as wind, bullet drop, altitude, air temperature, and even the earth's rotation (for particularly long shots) must be factored in when making shots at long distance. Examples used by armies around the world are the AWM, M24, M40, PSG1, M21, and the M110. Features such as action, barrel style, magazine capacity, and stock style and material vary greatly among rifles.
While some might see the sniper rifle's accuracy as a great tool against zombies, that is not always the case. Even if someone is trained to properly use one, engaging a zombie is much more difficult than training targets. Military and police snipers are trained to hit an enemy's chest to either penetrate their heart or hit another vital organ to cause death or severely would them; they are purposely trained to avoid the temptation to try and make a headshot. If the sniper can aim several inches higher, they will find out why this lessen was taught - hitting an enemy's head at long ranges is difficult. Sniper rifles have effective and maximum ranges at which they can be expected to hit a point, or at least near it. When shooting a head, the couple of inches a bullet can miss means missing the target completely. Combine this with the movements it makes when lumbering towards something, and trying to shoot a zombie with a sniper rifle dramatically reduces its range. Suppressors can usually be attached to most sniper rifles that can make the shot silent at the range of the target. Even so, an impact into a zombie head and it falling to the ground will be heard by others if the area is quiet. This can be exploited to draw in and kill other zombies as they gather and slow down to inspect the area.
Anti Materiel riflesEdit
Anti Materiel rifles (AM rifles) are high powered sniper rifles used against enemy objects (as opposed to personnel) that smaller caliber rifles can't penetrate. They are usually chambered in high calibers such as .50 BMG.
Anti Materiel rifles first saw combat in World War I. They were used against enemy vehicles, tanks. They were powerful, but other weapons such as bazookas were more effective. (bazookas weren't invented until WWII.) Modern anti materiel rifles are typically semi automatic. They have a low magazine capacity, typically 5 to 10 rounds, and are heavy and cumbersome. These drawbacks make them inpractical for use in a zombie apocalypse and can't be used indoors. The high power rounds also allow for over penetration. You may use it for taking down many zombies at once, but heights of zombies vary, so multiple headshots in one shot are difficult. At the long ranges they are capable of, the bullets usually drift enough to miss a man-sized target, let alone a head, where hitting a part of a vehicle would still have been acceptable. At shorter ranges the large bullets would seemingly cause a head to explode, but the same end result could be accomplished using a smaller and lighter scoped rifle with smaller and lighter roundss. However, extremely powerful bullets (such as the aforementioned .50 BMG) can quite literally rip off limbs and blow a body open with a single shot, easily disabling a zombie; the rounds also produce significant hydrostatic shock and have potential to cause remote brain damage. These rifles can be used effectively against heavily armed bandits (ex. tanks, jeeps and helicopters.) Types of AM rifles are the American M82A1, the British AS50, and the old Russian PTRD. Another good one is the World War 2 Boys anti tank rifle chambered in the rare .55 Boys cartridge.