Is the AR-15 Good for Hunting?
With the growing popularity of the AR15, you may have wondered at some point: is the AR15 good for hunting? With more people buying and owning this firearm than ever before, this question is becoming more and more common. Hunters are wondering if the AR15 can function as both a home defense firearm and a hunting rifle, and for good reason!
Let’s take a deeper dive into the AR15 platform, and why it just might make the perfect addition to your hunting firearms for certain situations and animals. Let’s start with what makes the AR15 a great firearm to own and hunt with!
It’s no surprise why so many people love the AR15. It is easily the most versatile firearm out on the market today. It is extremely easy to use, and the controls and accessories allow you to set it up to accommodate any size of the shooter, regardless of their experience. From the lightweight and easy-to-use platform to things like the adjustable stock and variety of accessories, these guns can be set up to tackle just about any situation you can think of.
For example, if you have a smaller or shorter shooter, you can bring the stock in closer and lose some unnecessary weight with a lightweight handguard. For bigger shooters who can handle more weight, you may choose to add a grip to the front for more stability, a larger scope, or heavier adjustable stock for more comfort. Even if you are not hunting, this versatility and ability to accept a wide range of accessories make the AR15 a great firearm for beginners to learn on.
The AR15 platform can handle a wide variety of different calibers, allowing you even more versatility than ever before. This number gets even larger if you consider the larger AR10 platform. If the standard 5.56 or .223 is a little light for your needs, you can always buy or build an AR in a different caliber! Some popular options include things like 243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 300 Winchester, and 308 Winchester. Of course, there are also plenty of smaller calibers that you can use to target small game and varmints. Choosing between a variety of different calibers is just one more example of just how versatile and amazing the AR15 platform can be, and why more and more hunters are choosing it for hunting.
Ease of Use
One of the greatest benefits of an AR15 is just how easy it is to use. A person who has never shot a firearm before can learn on this platform in no time, and be confident in using it in very little time. The controls are very simple and easy to reach, and the overall rifle functions very easily when compared to other rifles. A beginner does not have to worry about working a bolt, and the safety is a simple lever. With just a few simple buttons, they can use an AR15 with no trouble at all!
Magazine Capacity and Follow Up Shots
Your regular AR15 comes equipped with a standard 30 round magazine and an AR10 can hold 20 rounds. Comparing this to any other hunting rifle and you can see that they are capable of holding a substantially larger amount of rounds that do not affect the weight too much. While some states do have magazine and round count restrictions, there are companies out there that make smaller capacity magazines (such as 5 and 10 rounders) that will still give you plenty of rounds to hunt with.
With this many rounds to hunt with as well as the semi-automatic nature of an AR also means that you get very quick follow-up shots. While we all hope for clean, one-shot kills when hunting, follow-up shots are often necessary. The faster that you can efficiently put down an animal, the better. This ensures that the animal does not get away wounded and that they are not unnecessarily suffering. Although follow-up shots are not always needed, when they are, you can rest assured that your AR will afford you to be as quick and efficient as possible.
Accessories to Make the AR15 Ready for a Hunt
While an AR15 can make for an excellent hunting firearm, there are a few different accessories that you can add to one to make it even more ideal. Let’s go over a few necessary gear items that will make your AR15 a perfect hunting firearm!
Scope and Sights
Once you have your AR15, you are going to need a scope in order to accurately shoot longer distances. While choosing the right scope can be as complicated (or even more so) than buying the actual gun, you need to take your time and choose the right scope for your needs. The first thing to think about is your preferred hunting style and the terrain you will be hunting in. For long-range and wide-open shots, you will want something with more magnification. For thicker areas where encounters will be much closer, you may want something smaller and lighter weight.
Another thing to consider is the amount of eye relief that a scope offers. This refers to the distance between your eye and the scope when you are using it. This is a preference that will vary from person to person, so it pays to test out a few different scopes to see what is the most comfortable for you. The great thing about an AR-platform firearm is that different scopes and sights can be used with it and are easily swapped out, so you can test out a few different types in order to find that perfect scope for your needs.
Just as a scope is essential to a hunting firearm, a sling is an often overlooked gear item that is quite essential. An AR15 sling will help you comfortably carry your gun to and from your hunting spots, as well as keep it safe and secure. There are many types of AR15 slings, and they come in different materials as well. An AR15 leather sling may be very different from an AR15 strap sling, so again it pays to try a few different ones out to see what you like best!
Hunting with a sling is easily the best way to get your AR15 around, and a hunting gun sling is an essential item to get before your hunt. While often overlooked, it will take a good time out hunting and make it a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Otherwise, you are forced to carry your gun in your hands or over your shoulder, both of which can be tiresome and sometimes even dangerous. The barrel should always be pointed in a safe direction, and when carrying it with a sling you know it will always be pointed up and in a safe direction. You can also use a hunting sling in order to stabilize your shot if you are forced to shoot offhand or standing up.
Another overlooked gear item for AR15’s is a good bipod that is attached to the firearm. Most AR15 owners do not have bipods on their weapons as they are not very useful for self or home -defense, but they are essential for hunting situations. When you are out hunting, you will be able to get much more solid and accurate shooting positions when you have a bipod to aid you. A good bipod will allow you to shoot from the ground in a prone position, which is easily the most solid and accurate shooting position with any gun. It can also be set up on trees, rocks, or stumps in order to get a good rest and can give you some elevation. Even the worst shooters will greatly benefit from the use of a bipod and will see much more accurate shots while hunting!
Like we mentioned before, the standard capacity magazines for AR15 platform rifles are quite a bit, and sometimes they are not even legal. Luckily many companies offer smaller magazines that are designed for hunting. Not only will these be legal in a larger number of states, but they also make the gun lighter and easier to shoot with. With a large 30 round magazine, it can be very difficult to lay down prone in order to shoot because the magazine makes contact with the ground. With a shorter, flush magazine that holds 5 or 10 rounds, you can avoid this problem while still having plenty of rounds at the ready. If you plan on hunting with an AR15, try picking up a few smaller magazines!
So is the AR15 good for hunting? While it depends on who you are asking, the AR15 can definitely make for an excellent hunting rifle. From large game like whitetail deer, wild hogs, bears, and even elk to the smaller game like rabbits, squirrels, and coyotes, an AR15 can be set up to successfully tackle whatever situation you plan to encounter.