Vermont Hunter Safety Course


Chapter 1:

Know Your Rifles and Shotguns

Rifle and Shotgun Parts.


Both rifles and shotguns feature a long barrel, and each is usually braced against the hunter's shoulder when fired. Each of these types of firearms consists of most or all of the following parts.

1. Stock


Supports the action and the barrel of a firearm and is made out of either wood or synthetic material. The stock may be a single piece or two pieces, depending on the manufacturer.


2. Action


Consists of a series of parts that load, fire and eject a cartridge or shot shell from a firearm.


3. Sight


An alignment device to help aim a firearm. Three of the common styles of sights include optical, aperture and open sights. The illustration above shows a telescopic (optical) sight.


4. Barrel and Muzzle

Barrel & Muzzle

The barrel is the tube-shaped part of a firearm through which ammunition is fired. The muzzle is the opening at the end of the barrel whter the projectile exits, on its way to the target.


5. Trigger and Trigger Guard

Trigger & Trigger Guard

When squeezed, the trigger releases the firing pin to hit the primer on a firearm's cartridge or shotshell, igniting the powder and sending the projectile(s) down the barrel to exit at the muzzle. The trigger guard protects the trigger.


6. Magazine


A storage device for cartridges or shot shells featured on most firearms. Without your magazine, your rifle or shotgun will be limited to a single shot. There are two types of magazines: Box Tubular. They are available as either a detachable or fixed part. A detachable magazine can be removed from a firearm, whereas a fixed magazine cannot.