Is the Single Shot Rifle Still Relevant Today

March 20, 2019
Is the Single Shot Rifle Still Relevant Today

It seems that rifles such as the single-shot break action rifle are being relegated to the cupboard, only to be taken out when a youngster learns how to shoot. The question needs to be asked, is that really all a single shot rifle is good for?
Many shooters feel that a gun isn’t really a gun unless it can fire 15 to 30 rounds in a few minutes and tend to look down on those who advocate for the single-shot instead of automatic or repeating arms. Has quantity become the standard by which rifles are judged?

What Is a Single Shot?

A single shot rifle is one that is only capable of firing one shot before needing to be reloaded. A single shot rifle features many different calibers, in both rimfire and centerfire. These rifles had competed with repeaters such as the lever-action Henry repeating rifles and pump actions until the advent of the bolt action rifle.
There are two main types of single-shot rifles, the break-action, and the falling block action. With break actions, a button or lever is pressed, and the gun folds just in front of the trigger. A falling-block action has a solid metal breechblock that slides forward and back and is moved with a lever. These largely went out with the bolt action and better firing pin technology.

Benefits of a Single Shot Rifle

Benefits of a Single Shot Rifle

Many of the advantages to a single shot rifle can be found in the patience needed to use it well, and the skills that are developed to make a kill. An impatient shooter will not get far using a single-shot rifle, and will definitely miss having a second shot. Having only one shot forces the shooter to slow down, take their time, and do their best to ensure they’re shooting correctly.
Another thing, one that makes these rifles so popular for young and beginning shooters, is to instruct them in the basics of correct firearm handling. It’s simpler to teach them about safety, aiming, and shooting techniques because they don’t have to worry about how many shots are left. It is either loaded and dangerous or unloaded and relatively safe.
Single-shot rifles are generally lighter, shorter, and easier to maneuver than a repeating rifle because there was no need to include moving parts. Another popular feature is that with a simple barrel change, you can switch the caliber of your rifle. They are also effective over long ranges.
These rifles are relatively inexpensive, and often have an extended hunting season in many states. That alone makes the rifles popular with more experienced shooters.


The one major disadvantage is, of course, having only one shot. If the first shot is missed and the animal is still alive, it will require tracking the animal to ensure it’s not left injured in the wild. A second shot can prevent that from happening.


A single-shot rifle is a great training tool for the proper use and handling of firearms, for children and adults. The skills learned can then be applied to all other firearms, and many experienced shooters will still take a single shot with them on hunts.
The budget-conscious and those who wish to work on traits like patience, stalking, and accuracy will find this an excellent rifle to have. Considering the types of single actions available, you may prefer to look at a single shot break action rifle for sale when making your selection.

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