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Rifle, handgun and shotgun bores

Why are some long guns called rifles? The drawing above shows the bore of a rifle or handgun barrel and a shotgun barrel. The spiral grooves inside the rifle barrel are called rifling. Rifles get their name from the rifling inside the barrels. The rifling inside a rifle barrel makes bullets spin. Spinning helps bullets fly accurately, point first, toward the target.

All modern rifles have rifling in the barrel. Modern handguns also have rifling in the barrel.

Most shotgun barrels do not have rifling in the barrels.