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Understanding Bolt, Semi-Auto, Lever, and Pump Actions Rifles

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

When visiting some of the best stores for gun parts & accessories, you’re likely to come across a variety of rifles. Buying your first one can be an overwhelming experience considering the array of options you’d have on the table. Buying a rifle is a significant investment, so it’s important to make the right decision.

Mainly, you’d find a bolt, semi-auto, lever and pump-action firearms dominating the rifle market. Understanding the difference between them is important to help in your rifle buying decision-making. Here is a comprehensive guide that’ll help you understand the different types of rifles.

Bolt Action

Bolt-action rifles are quite popular amongst gun enthusiasts. They’re mainly used for shooting sports, hunting and spending a day at the gun range. The gun operates like opening and closing a door bolt. Bolt actions are among the most accurate, reliable and precise rifles prevalent in the market. Single-shot bolt action rifles are recommended for new gun owners learning how to hold and shoot a firearm.


Semi-auto rifles are also known as autoloaders and work like semi-auto shotguns. They produce one shot with each pull of a trigger. People looking to go hunting or spend a day clay shooting usually prefer semi-auto rifles. The rifles differ from a fully automatic gun that fires continuously until no cartridges remain.

Lever Action

Lever action involves a lot of pushing and pulling when operating the rifle. Pushing the lever down and forwards pushes the bolt back. This locks the hammer back and opens up the breech. Once you pull the lever back to its original position, the blot is closed, and the round enters the chamber. Fire away from the cartridge and repeat the above method to operate the gun. Operating a lever-action rifle requires significant expertise. Therefore, they’re mainly used by gun experts.

Pump Action

Pump-action rifles operate in a fast and smooth manner. It allows you to reload the firearm without taking your eyes off the target. Pull the forestock back towards the trigger, which opens the action. Moving the forestock forward completes the action. Pump-action rifles are rare to be found, and you’d mainly find the action prevalent in shotguns.

Whatever rifle you choose, ensure that you do your research. Understanding the different types and their pros and cons will leave you in a better position to decide on the perfect rifle.

If you’re looking for the best gun parts & accessories store, check out the products at Saint Louis Tactical. They’re one of the best gun stores in St Louis County and are renowned for providing some of the best tactical accessories for rifles in St Louis. Make sure to check out their website for a complete range of rifles and other accessories, or contact for more information about their rifles and shipping options across the United States.

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