Popular Firearm Actions

Firearms have many parts. The firearm action is the group of parts involved in loading, firing, and unloading the firearm. Examples of firearm action parts include the firearm trigger, the firearm chamber, firearm safety, and the Firearm Hammer and Firing Pin. Depending on the action, there may be more, or fewer parts than previously mentioned–those are just some of the parts that make up the action of a firearm.

Bolt Action

Bolt Action Firearm The bolt action is very common and most often seen in rifles. Bolt action firearms can be either magazine-fed or single-shot manually fed. The action is very similar for the two, except that the magazine feeds the next cartridge into the chamber for the shooter.

Bolt Action Firearms are common and simple to use. Opening a bolt action firearm is as simple as pivoting the bolt upwards and pulling it backward, using the fixed handle.

Once the bolt action is open a cartridge can be placed into the chamber. If the firearm is magazine-fed, the magazine will feed a new round into the chamber automatically. Otherwise, the shooter must do it manually. Once the cartridge is in the chamber, the bolt is pushed forward and pivoted downward, back to its original position.

After firing the Bolt Action Firearm, the bolt is pivoted upwards and pulled back once again. The action will automatically eject the spent cartridge, at which point the firearm is ready for a new round to be loaded into the chamber, either manually by the shooter, or by the magazine.

Bolt action rifles are known for their accuracy and reliability. Jamming is extremely rare in manually-fed bolt-action firearms, and very rare in magazine-fed bolt-action firearms.

Break Action / Hinge Action

Break Hinge Action Shotgun One of the most straightforward firearm actions is the break action, also known as the Hinge Action. For this article, we will refer to this type of firearm action as the break action, not the Hinge Action.

The break action is often used in firearms in competitive shooting because it is very accurate and reliable. There are very few moving parts in a break action firearm. Break action firearms are often seen in single barrel shotguns and double-barrel shotguns. The firearm pictured is a double-barrel side-by-side 12-Gauge shotgun.

Using a break action firearm is very simple. The action release is usually on the top of the firearm behind the chamber. To open the action, merely push the action release sideways, and the firearm action should open.

Loading a break action firearm is very easy as well. Simply open the action using the Action Release, insert the ammunition into the chambers, and close the action.

After firing the firearm, open the action using the Action Release and remove the spent ammunition manually.

Pump Action

Pump Action Shotgun The Pump Action is more commonly seen in shotguns than in any other Type of Firearm.

Using a pump action shotgun is very simple as well. To load a pump action shotgun, the movable forestock is pulled towards the shooter, exposing the chamber. The shotgun shells are then loaded into the tubular magazine by pushing them in gently.

Once the magazine is full, the movable forestock is pushed forward back to its original position, which chambers one of the shotgun shells and cocks the firearm. The firearm is now ready to be fired.

After firing a shot, the shotgun’s movable forestock is once again pulled back toward the shooter, exposing the chamber and ejecting the spent shotgun shell. The forestock is then pushed forward to its original position, chambering the next shotgun shell.

These movements are repeated until the shotgun’s magazine is empty, at which time the shooter may load more shotgun shells into the tubular magazine.

The pump action is a very tried, tested and true firearm action. It is a very reliable action, and an experienced shooter can go through the pumping actions very quickly, and instinctively.

Lever Action

Lever Action Firearm The lever action isn’t as popular as the other actions. It is also not as reliable as other actions because there is a large number of moving parts in a lever action firearm. It is also cumbersome and difficult to use the kneeling and prone position. Lever action firearms can also be more difficult to store securely, as trigger locks do not properly disable many lever action firearms.

The cartridges or shells are loaded into the magazine through the loading gate, usually located on the side of the firearm. Using a lever action firearm does not have to be difficult, however. To open the action of a lever action firearm, pull the lever downward and away from the firearm, opening the action.

The lever is then lifted back into place, closing the action. The action has loaded a cartridge into the chamber, and the firearm is ready to discharge.

Once fired, the lever is opened and closed once again, ejecting the spent cartridge and feeding a new round into the chamber. The firearm is then discharged still. This process is repeated until the magazine is empty, at which point more cartridges can be fed into the loading gate.

The lever action firearm has a massive fan base and is often used in Cowboy Shooting, such as shooting from the hips.

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