Difference Between Rifle and Shotgun

For many people, guns are an item to be scared of, but one can not deny their fascinating details. The science used in guns, their making, and their objectives can help in differentiating between different types of guns.


Science Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to science

1 / 10

Quartz crystals normally used in quartz clocks etc. is chemically

2 / 10

What is the S.I unit of frequency?

3 / 10

A passenger in a moving bus is thrown forward when the bus suddenly stops. This is explained

4 / 10

Which device is used for measuring air pressure?

5 / 10

The first link in all food chains is-

6 / 10

The filament of an electric bulb is made of

7 / 10

The purpose of choke in tube light is?

8 / 10

Name the metal which is easily cut by a simple knife?

9 / 10

DNA carries the instructions for an organism to grow. DNA stands for.....

10 / 10

What is laughing gas?

Your score is


Rifles and shotguns have a similar outlook, but their structure and usage are not the same.

Rifle vs Shotgun

The difference between a rifle and a shotgun is that a shotgun is lighter than a rifle. The rifle is developed to hit long-distance targets, but the shotgun is suitable for self-defence purposes.

A rifle fires only one bullet, but it reaches the target fast, whereas a shotgun can fire multiple pellets present in one shell.

Rifle vs Shotgun

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!

Rifles are firearms that are usually used in stationary targets. This type of gun is not fitted for self-protection.

However, targets that dwell far can easily be hit. The bullets of rifles are small and thus can travel towards their target very rapidly.

Shotguns are firearms that are long and best fit for self-defence. This smooth-textured bore gun can easily target things that are moving in the air.

For short-distance shots, a shotgun is an ideal pick. It can hit a target that is up to 50 yards away. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRifleShotgun
Weight The rifle appears to be heavier when compared to the shotgun.Comparatively, a shotgun is less heavy than a rifle.
Type of boreRifles have spiral bores.The bore of the shotgun is smooth.
Number of firesA rifle is capable of firing only one lead.A shotgun can fire small leads in dozens.
Range Rifles help in a long range.Shotguns come to be helpful in short-range.
UsageRifles mostly get used in firing at stationary targets.To shoot at moving prey in the air, shotguns are very useful. 
Target distance A rifle is capable of hitting a target 75 to 100 yards away.Shotguns have the capacity to hit targets up to 50 yards away.

What is Rifle?

A rifle is a long weapon that requires shoulder support. The name of it comes from its rifling feature.

It means the rifles’ grooves are designed to be cut into the shape of a barrel. These grooves help the bullets to come out with more force and precision.

Rifles are best suited when one needs to take a long-distance shot. A rifle is capable of hitting a target 75 to 100 yards away.

The distance that a rifle bullet can reach depends on the power of the rifle. Rifles mostly get used in firing at stationary targets.

Another important aspect of the rifle is that it can fire only one lead, so for self-defence, one can not possibly use it. The bullets of the rifles are designed to be small, so they can travel faster.

The older version of the rifle was the musket, and a musket used to hit imprecise fire. Later the rifle was modified to be operated in precise shooting and attempting to fire at individual targets.

Despite using hearing protection, the constant exposure to intense shooting noise of the rifle can lead to hearing loss.

What is Shotgun?

A shotgun is a weapon and needs shoulder support as it is long. The bore of the shotgun is not spiral but smooth.

The size of its bore ranges from 0.22 inches to 2 inches. The fire of a shotgun depends on the power of a fixed shell. 

A wide range of shotguns is available in the market. Some of them are – semi-automatic, fully automatic, pump-action and lever-action.

If you shoot one shot, the fire will contain dozens of small pellets. This gun is very popular among the people who carry weapons for self-protection.

However, it can only shoot targets that are 50 yards away. One can easily aim short distance targets using this firearm.

One can also use this gun to shoot at the moving prey in the air. This is the reason the shotgun is popular among hunters.

Being a gun for self-defence, many people assume that not much mastery is needed to use this weapon. But the reality is that the ability to aim at the target is a primary requirement to use it effectively.

Not only in personal defence, but the shotgun is widely used in the sports like trap shooting and sporting clays discs. 

Main Differences Between Rifle and Shotgun

  1. A rifle will always be heavier than a shotgun, and a shotgun is light in weight.
  2. Rifles can hit their target 75 to 100 yards away, while shotguns can only reach up to 50 yards.
  3. The bore of a rifle is spiral, but the shotgun always possesses smoothbore. 
  4. A rifle can be used in firing only one lead, but on the contrary, a shotgun can fire small leads in dozens.
  5. When it comes to long-range targets, rifles are very useful, and in short-range, shotguns appear to be more helpful.
  6. When it comes to shooting at stationary targets, rifles should get chosen, but to shoot at moving prey in the air, shotguns will work more effectively. 
  7. The shot of the rifle relies on a regulated declaration, while the shot of the shotgun counts on the energy provided by the fixed shell.
Difference Between Rifle and Shotgun
  1. https://europepmc.org/article/med/11400826
  2. https://journals.lww.com/jcraniofacialsurgery/fulltext/2005/09000/management_of_close_range,_high_energy_shotgun_and.11.aspx
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *