How to Select a Hunting Rifle: Everything You Need to Know

Hunting Rifle

In the United States, over 100 million people engage in hunting, fishing, and wildlife activities. If you want to take part in the exciting pastime of hunting, you’ll need to get a rifle. There are hundreds of different kinds of rifles, so how do you select a hunting rifle that will work for you?

Let’s break down all the different variables that go into getting the right rifle for your situation.

Where You Live

A lot of the variables that go into your hunting rifle will depend on where you live. This is because each state is free to develop its own regulations and laws dealing with hunting. There are also the types of animals to consider, which can vary from state to state. Make sure that you have read and understand regulations when it comes to hunting. Not every rifle is legal in every jurisdiction. There are restrictions based on the kind of animal that you are hunting. Larger animals need large rifles.

Not using a legal rifle can result in the loss of your weapon, vehicle, and your hunting license. This will be on top of the penalties assigned by the judge, like fines and restitution. In the world of hunting, laws are strict and enforced.

Your Prey Animal

Once you’re familiar with the laws where you live, you need to decide what you want to hunt. Even if a rifle is legal in your jurisdiction, it doesn’t mean that you should use it. There are so many options for rifles because each one is designed with a specific function in mind. For deer, as an example, you might want to try something that can reach out a good distance and deliver a kill shot. This would be a 30 caliber rifle, such as a 30.06 or .308, and also large 20 caliber rifles. The .270 and .243 are a good combination of power and ease of use.

If you’re hunting bears, moose, or other large game, a .243 or even a .270 may not be humane. They are also more limited in their accurate range when compared to the larger 30-caliber rifles. If you’re only going to get one rifle, you might think about going larger for more flexibility. If you’re hunting invasive or predatory animals, like wild hogs or coyotes, ARs are very popular. One good way to choose is to compare rifle prices. Accuracy is the most important thing when hunting, so make sure it’s a rifle you can afford to practice with.

The Terrain

Now that you know what prey animal you’re most interested in hunting, where are you going to be hunting at? The terrain and landscape of your hunting area can be important. It will dictate how far you will be shooting, as well as how many obstructions there will be in your way. Hunting in a forest, for instance, can be very difficult. Leaves and trees can be a real pain when you’re trying to take long-distance, accurate shots. In some cases, forested areas don’t allow for longer-range shots so shorter guns will suffice.

In this case, you’ll find many people using brush guns. These are often the famous lever action guns of the old west, modern versions. The calibers that are of interest here are many, but 30.30 and .45-70 are among the most popular. These guns hit hard, and they are accurate over 100 yards. In spite of this, you don’t want to try and take a mule deer with one at 300 yards. They aren’t practical for this purpose, which is why it’s important to know the terrain you’re hunting in.

Understand Ballistics

To select a hunting rifle that will work for your needs, you need to understand ballistics. This is the information about how far, how accurate, and how much power a bullet delivers. This will allow you to compare the hunting rifle features, ballistics, and prices.

When comparing ballistics, remember that there are some specialized rounds. These may appear to be far more desirable than other rounds, but that can come with some drawbacks. The 6.5 Creedmoor, for instance, is an excellent distance round, but it is expensive. There is also the issue of finding ammo for your weapon. Common calibers are easier to find and are cheaper to buy. That doesn’t rule out the more specialized calibers.

Educate yourself so that you don’t make a mistake that costs you later.

Be Careful of Tall Tales

If you’re entering the world of guns for the first time, beware of the tall tales. There are a lot of anecdotes and kernels of wisdom that are false. These are stories that have been spread among hunters and gun enthusiasts for decades or longer. You’ll hear these stories when discussing calibers and how effective bullets are at range. Most of the time, they are well-intentioned, but that doesn’t make these stories true. If you don’t understand something, consult with someone you trust or the scientific literature you can find.

Compare Optics

When it comes to hunting rifle accessories, nothing is as important as the optic you choose. This is because a lot of hunting occurs at long ranges, but even up close, an optic will make you more accurate. To get a clean, humane kill, you need to hit specific target areas on an animal. You will also want to learn how to boresight the optic or pay someone to do it for you. This will give you the most accuracy possible and is essential when taking long-range shots. Optics will tell you how much magnification they have, such as a 3x or a variable 3-9x.

When you see the inclusion of more than one number, it’s because the optic can provide more than one magnification. These types of optics are often more complicated and expensive. They can be handy if you intend to hunt in an area where there will be long and short-range opportunities. Long-range scopes can reach double digits like 10x or higher, while most regular optics will be between 3x and 9x. You will also want to research whether the optic fits on the rifle that you are looking at. Most of the time, this won’t be a problem, but it never hurts to double-check.

Other Rifle Furniture

When it comes to hunting rifles, there are a lot of options and aftermarket upgrades you can do. If you buy a rifle from a friend or relative, they may already have upgrades attached. Some of the more common attachments will be fit under the barrel, on what is known as the rail. Common upgrades for rifles include pistol grips, forward grips, and aftermarket triggers.

You can also find bolt groups and other internal components that will improve the rifle’s performance. Some of these attachments make the rifle superior for hunting as well as self-defense. If you want to check out a list of parts and their prices, check out Daniel Defense AR parts. In this case, you can also improve the aesthetic of your weapon while making it more effective.

Not Too Much or Too Little

Before you buy your hunting rifle, make sure to get some experience with rifles. You’ll want to know how hard they kick and how difficult the rifle is to handle. This will help you make a decision that will be the most comfortable and effective for you. Remember that you may be forced to carry the rifle long distances, depending on where you hunt. If you go after Elk, for instance, you may have to hike for miles. This makes the weight of the gun an important consideration, but only in some cases.

A rifle that is too light may have a harder kicking recoil or be difficult to control for follow-up shots. Your level of strength, size, and experience will all make your choice unique. Just because a rifle works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.

All Purpose Rifles

A good rule of thumb to remember is that there are certain rifle calibers that are always considered effective. These are often 30-caliber rifles, as you will hear that they are large enough to take down any game in North America. These are not always good all-purpose rifles. The reason for this is that they are high power and will penetrate through prey and keep traveling. This can make them less than optimal if you intend to also use your rifle for home defense.

Select a Hunting Rifle

If you keep all of this in mind, you will select a hunting rifle that is going to make you happy. It will feel right and will perform in accuracy and range the way you need. If you get a rifle that doesn’t work for you, you won’t be as keen on taking it out and using it. If you’re interested in rifles and other weapon-related topics, take a moment and check out our website for more information.

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