automatic rifle

noun
a type of light machine gun capable of firing automatically or in single shots.
Also called automatic, machine rifle.


Origin:
1875–80

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

automatic rifle

rifle that utilizes either its recoil or a portion of the gas propelling the projectile to remove the spent cartridge case, load a new cartridge, and cock the weapon to fire again. Automatic rifles (and pistols) are called autoloaders and are actually semiautomatic, since they customarily fire only one shot at each pull of the trigger. Full automatic fire-that is, firing repeatedly as long as the trigger is held down until the magazine is exhausted-is achieved by the assault rifle and the submachine gun (qq.v.). In the assault rifle, fully automatic fire can be substituted for one-shot fire simply by flicking a switch on the weapon. Likewise, a semiautomatic rifle needs only an adjustment (a simple procedure, for a gunsmith) to convert it to full automatic functioning. Most modern infantry rifles are assault rifles and have full automatic-fire capabilities.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The owner emerged onto the bridge platform bearing an automatic rifle.
He allegedly fired an automatic rifle at onlookers who gathered at the crash
  site, killing two and injuring two.
Then came the six shooter, the automatic rifle, and the automatic shotgun.
Batty then fired two rounds through the wall of the trailer from a
  semi-automatic rifle he had inside.
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