A complete compendium of rifles and shotguns through the ages. 

A “rifled” firearm is one in which the projectile is made to spin as it travels up the bore. The term “rifle,” however, was originally applied to muskets to differentiate them from the earlier smoothbore weapons and is used today to designate the infantryman's personal weapon, fired from the shoulder or the hip, or, in some modern weapons, from a bipod. The rifle has also been used by sportsmen to kill larger game and was also used as a working tool by cowboys and trappers during the period of Western Expansion. 

It progressed from being a muzzle-loader to a breechloading, bolt-operated weapon, then to a semi-automatic weapon, and finally to a lightweight “assault rifle.” The emphasis throughout these developments has been in increasing the rate of fire, reducing the weight and making the weapons more accurate, simpler to fire, more reliable, and easier to maintain. 

The shotgun is a smoothbore weapon originally developed as a hunting device for killing fast moving, flying or running prey. Loaded with shot (many small projectiles) the chances of hitting a moving target was greatly enhanced. Like the rifle, the shotgun has undergone similar progression from muzzle-loader to breechloader, bolt action, and finally semi-automatic mode. The weapon has also seen military use in trench warfare and special operations as well as riot suppression by the police. 

The Illustrated Catalog of Rifles and Shotguns shows the reader over 500 longarms of all types form the early flintlocks of the revolutionary period, the percussion cap rifles and repeaters of the Civil War, the famous rifles and shotguns of the Wild West, the standard infantry rifles of two World Wars, to the present day with Assault Rifles, and combat shotguns, together with state-of-the-art sporting rifles and shotguns. Each entry has a color photo along with a description and a technical specification. It is arranged in alphabetical order within five historical periods: Historic, Civil War, The Frontier, Two World Wars, and Modern, plus a separate comprehensive Shotgun section.