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Rifles are shoulder-fired firearms with a rifled barrel. They are the mainstay of the world’s military forces and are used by hunters, competition shooters, and for self defense. Rifles evolved from earlier muskets, but many still list muskets as rifles disregarding the lack of rifling in the barrel. Rifle barrels existed as far back as the 15th century, but were not popular due to the expense associated with rifling and fouling that occurred in rifled grooves.
As technology improved, rifles became more efficient. They grew in power, accuracy, and rate of fire. Lever-action rifles ruled the West and bolt-action rifles proved to be a friend to hunters and soldiers worldwide. Semi-automatic rifles changed the world and how warfare was waged and influenced the tactics that are used to this day.
Semi-automatic rifles are now some of the most popular for self defense, along with bolt actions for precision shooting and lever actions for brush hunting. The rifle is a platform that is continually evolving, growing, and changing.