You’ll find hundreds of models of rifles for sale at Omaha Outdoors: center fire and rimfire, semi-auto and bolt action. The variety of manufacturers represented – Marlin, Mossberg, Ruger, War Sport and many others – gives you a wealth of choices. You can also search the selection of rifles for sale by caliber: Whether you’re looking for a common caliber – .308 rifles for use on your next hunting trip, for example – or a fairly exotic caliber, such as a Creedmore 6.5, there’s a rifle to match. It’s also possible to search by price range or even color or finish. Still can’t narrow the selection down enough to make a choice right away? Use the wish list function on the web site to keep track of the top contenders. Get answers to your questions about any of these rifles by using our handy email form or by calling and talking to our knowledgeable representatives. We’re sure that you’ll want to buy a rifle online, once you see our selection.
A rifle is a shoulder-held firearm using a barrel that has been incised with several helical grooves (called “rifling”) which causes the projectile (bullet) to spin as it exits the muzzle. This spin gives the projectile stability, providing greater accuracy over longer distances than projectiles fired from smoothbore muskets. While the advantages of rifling were recognized as early as the 18th century, the technology did not come into common use (particularly among militaries) until the mid-19th century.
The earliest rifles were muzzle-loaded, following the same method used with muskets. With the introduction of self-contained metal cartridges in the middle of the 19th century, breech-loading rifles began to become more popular; the cartridge was inserted into the base (breech) of the barrel, rather than loading from the muzzle. The Remington Rolling Block and Sharps models are outstanding examples of early breech-loading rifles. Break-action rifles, using the same design as double-barrel breech-loaded shotguns, also came into use.
Since breech-loaded rifles were single shot, requiring re-loading after each round was fired, actions that would allow the rifle to be reloaded more quickly were soon designed and manufactured. There were obvious advantages in having multiple cartridges held internally in the rifle, but it was not until the development of the lever-action rifle that the mechanism for quickly loading these rounds into the firing chamber was found. The first widely adopted lever-action rifles were the Spencer Repeating Rifle (1860) and the Henry Rifle (also 1860). The Martini-Henry rifle became a standard firearm for British and colonial forces beginning in the 1870s, but, of course, it is the Winchester Model 1873 (and its subsequent models) that became the most famous – and popular – among civilians, particularly in the United States.
Bolt action rifles began to be developed later in the century. They were considered to be more accurate, more robust (with fewer operating parts than a lever action) and able to sustain a rapid rate of fire. The Lee-Enfield, introduced in 1889, was developed into the Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE), a bolt-action rifle that is still in service in some armed forces to this day. The Mosin-Nagant (1891) was adopted by the Russian Imperial Army and continued to be used by the Soviets through the end of World War II. Of all bolt actions, however, the Mauser 98 action is by far the most famous. Used by the German military, its action was actually copied by the United States Government for use in its Springfield Model 1903 rifle (for which the U.S. had to pay the German designers for patent infringement). A large number of models of rifles still use a bolt action to this day and are prized by competitive shooters and hunters.
Despite the increase rate of fire available from bolt action rifles, military necessity required even faster actions. This search led to the design of a semi-automatic or self-loading rifle (SLR) that would insert the next round into the firing chamber after the previous one was fired. The design of the self-loading rifle uses a portion of the gases created by the firing of one round, cycles it through tubes and uses the force to work the bolt, eject the fired shell and load the next cartridge. After extensive development and testing, the M1 Garand rifle was provided to the United States military in 1933, while by the early 1940s the Germans had introduced the Gewehr 41 and Gewehr 43. In all of these cases, the rounds were loaded either with a stripper clip (a full load of, usually, 5 rounds held together with a metal strip) or individually. Similar designs were created during this period which, in addition to the concept of self-loading, also had fixed internal magazines.
The detachable box magazine was the next development. This allows for faster re-loading, since an empty magazine can be ejected and a new one inserted more quickly than using a stripper clip. Many civilian semi-automatic self-loading rifles use detachable magazines. The most famous model – and the most popular – is the AR-15. It should be noted that the U.S. military’s M-16 was developed from the AR-15, not the other way around. With the adoption of the M-4 rifle by the U.S. military, civilian (semi-automatic only) models are also becoming very popular. Other very popular models are Ruger’s Mini-14 (which fires the .223 Remington cartridge), the Ruger 10/22 (firing the .22 Long Rifle rimfire) and the Springfield M1A (.308 Remington). These, and many other models like them, are semi-automatic rifles; it requires one separate pull of the trigger to fire each round. They are not fully-automatic “machine guns” or “assault rifles” and cannot be converted to fire in full-automatic mode.
Rifles can be – and are – chambered to fire a very large variety of calibers, from the diminutive .17 WMR rimfire to the massive .50 BMG cartridge. Of the hundreds of available calibers, however, some are more popular than others. The .22 LR rimfire round has long been, and remains, at the top of the list. The ammunition is relatively inexpensive and the recoil is light enough to allow it to be comfortably fired, yet it makes an effective round for hunting such small game as rabbits and squirrels. Since the AR-15 style of rifle is the single most popular model owned in the United States, the .223 Remington round (and its slightly more powerful version, 5.56 NATO) is also widely used; it is a light, fast round with enough terminal force to be used for hunting deer (whitetail and mule), antelope and small predators. The .300 BLK (Blackout), which is the civilian version of the 7.62x35mm round, is used in the increasingly popular civilian M-4 rifle. The .308 Remington (with the more powerful military 7.62 NATO) caliber is also a popular choice for hunting deer and elk. For more specialized hunting applications, there are many other choices. For long-distance shooting, the .25-06 is sometimes used. Large and dangerous game, such as bear and moose, are often hunted with the powerful 7mm-08 or .30-06 rounds, although some hunters prefer to use the much harder-hitting .300 Winchester Magnum, .375 Weatherby Magnum or similar calibers.
As with any other firearm, the choice of a rifle depends upon the purpose for which it will be used. For general plinking (casual target shooting) and small-game hunting, the Ruger 10/22 is by far the most popular rifle in the country. Firing the .22 LR rimfire round, the ammo is relatively cheap, the recoil is light and the rifle is very reliable. To introduce younger children to shooting, many parents choose a bolt-action rimfire rifle, such as the Henry H005 or the Savage Rascal series. Hunting rifles are usually chosen to match the caliber to the type of game being pursued, the conditions (thick woods, farmland or mountains) and the appeal of the action to the shooter; one person may decide to use a Winchester 94 lever-action in .30-30 to hunt whitetail deer in Michigan, while another may use a Ruger No. 1 single-shot in .30-06 to go after Bighorn sheep in Montana. For home protection, many people prefer to use a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine, such as one of the many versions of the AR-15, the M-4 or the Ruger Mini-14. At the same time, one rifle can fulfill several needs: The AR-15 can be seen on many outdoor gun ranges, in the woods during deer season and kept at home in the house.