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The Complete Guide to Choosing Hunting Rifles: Everything to Know

Did you know that there are an estimated 11.5 million hunters in the United States of America? If you’re looking to join their ranks, then it’s important that you know what to look for when you start choosing hunting rifles to purchase.

There is a litany of options for rifles, from bolt-actions and lever-actions to rimfire and magnums. The most important thing is finding a rifle that feels comfortable to you and that meets all of your needs.

The good news is that you’ve found the right place to learn all about choosing the right hunting rifle and hunting rifle manufacturer for your needs. Keep reading to learn everything you’ll need to purchase the right hunting rifle today!

Understand the Types of Hunting Rifles

Once you start exploring your options for the types of hunting rifles, you might become overwhelmed. There are some rifles that will work great for hunting multiple types of animals, while others are specialized for hunting certain types of game.

There are also hunting rifle features that change what you need to do in order to operate them safely. The three most common types of hunting rifles are bolt-action rifles, lever-action rifles, and semi-automatic rifles.

A bolt-action rifle will require you to work a bolt in order to chamber the next round after you fire a shot at your target. They’re among the most popular options for hunting because they’re reliable and easy to use.

Lever-action rifles have also gained serious popularity with hunters over the years. If you prefer a traditional approach to hunting game, then you’ll love what your lever-action rifle will do for you.

Semi-automatic rifles are the most advanced option if you’re choosing hunting rifles. They offer better accuracy and the ability to fire more rounds in a short amount of time. All three options are great if you’re looking to start hunting sooner than later.

Know the Game You Want to Hunt

It’s also important that you have a strong idea of the types of game that you want to hunt when choosing hunting rifles. The animals that you’re hunting will play a big role in determining the caliber of rounds that you need.

If you plan on hunting small game like squirrels, rabbits, or birds, then you’ll want to go with a smaller caliber. Small caliber rounds will carry enough force to kill the game that you’re hunting without decimating it. A larger round will prevent you from getting intact meat and furs.

Hunting for elk or deer requires a larger round since you’re hunting for larger and stronger animals. A small round will inflict minimal damage to these large animals and will result in a frustrating hunting experience.

The best way to narrow your options for rifles is to think about the largest animal that you plan on hunting. Make sure that the caliber of round that you plan to use is large enough to take down that animal. From there, start shopping and looking at your hunting rifle manufacturer options.

Find the Right Stock

The stock of your rifle has a much larger impact on your accuracy and hunting experience than you might think at first glance. Similar to the actions of hunting rifles, you have multiple options when it comes to gun stocks.

The most common type of gun stock on the market for hunting rifles is the fixed stock. You can’t remove or adjust these stocks, and they’re often found on bolt-action rifles. They offer benefits for your shooting accuracy. They’re also the most durable option, making them great if you plan on hunting on rugged or rough terrain.

Folding stocks are another viable option when you start shopping for new hunting rifles. These stocks make it much easier to carry and transport your rifle, though you sacrifice a bit of stability when aiming and firing. The lever-action rifle is most often associated with the folding stock.

The last gun stock option that you should consider is the detachable stock. They’re the most flexible option, and they remove from the rifle, which makes everything much easier to pack and transport. They’re common on semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15. They’re also customizable with a number of things that you can replace with Magpul accessories.

Choose the Best Caliber

The number of options that you have to choose from when it comes to the rifle’s caliber is seemingly limitless. You need to put some serious consideration into the caliber that you choose because different calibers offer different levels of stopping power and accuracy.

A rifle that is firing a larger caliber will provide better accuracy over longer distances, though you’ll need to accept the trade-off of dealing with more recoil when you pull the trigger. If you’re not new to firearms then that might not bother you, but it’s best to start smaller if you’re a beginner.

If you’re new to firearms and hunting, then a smaller caliber will serve you well. The three main calibers that you should know about are centerfire, rimfire, and magnum.

Rimfire calibers are great if you want less recoil when firing since they’re a smaller round with less gunpowder. Centerfire rounds are a step up from rimfire rounds, but they’re more difficult to control recoil with when firing at your target.

Your last option is a magnum caliber round for your hunting rifle. These rounds are the best option if you plan on hunting some seriously large game with your hunting rifle. They offer the most stopping power, but they’re also the most difficult type of round to control.

Determine the Best Action

You also have some big choices to make when it comes to the action of the rifle. The action is the way in which you reload the rifle after you take a shot. Some rifles are single-shot rifles that require you to reload them after each shot that you take. These rifles are simple to learn how to use, but they also tend to require a lot of work if you miss your first shot and need to take a second.

Lever-action rifles are great if you want to reload at a rapid rate. It’s a great choice if you’re new to rifles and you don’t quite have your aim figured out. If you miss a shot, all you’ll need to do is work the lever and the rifle is ready to go again.

Pump-action rifles are your other choice when it comes to rifle action. These rifles require you to work a pump that will chamber a new round for you after you’ve taken a shot. They’re a great choice if you plan on hunting big game like elk or deer.

Find the Right Barrel Length

An overlooked part of choosing hunting rifles is the barrel length of the rifle. The two biggest factors that the barrel length causes are the weight of the rifle and the accuracy of the rifle. The longer your rifle’s barrel is, the more it will weigh but the more accurate it will fire.

If you see yourself hunting in rough terrain like the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, then your best bet is a shorter barrel. Rifles with shorter barrels are much easier to carry around with you if you’re hiking through rough terrain, and they still offer ample accuracy.

Short barrels are most common on lever-action and pump-action rifles, while medium-length barrels are common on bolt-action rifles. Long barrels are a great choice if you’re going with a single-shot rifle and you need the highest level of accuracy with each shot. If you’re new to hunting, then you’re better off going with a short barrel.

Get the Right Sights

Having the right stock and barrel for your needs is one thing, but it’s all useless if you don’t have sights that will help you hit the target time and time again. There are many options out there, ranging from open sights to massive scopes.

Open sights are your basic form of aiming when you’re hunting with a rifle. They weigh next to nothing, and they’ll allow you to have reasonable accuracy.

If accuracy is the most important thing to you, then it’s worth investing in a large and powerful scope for your hunting rifle. They’re a bit tricky to learn how to use, but they’ll make a huge difference when you’re aiming at your target.

Start Choosing Hunting Rifles Today

You’re probably shocked to see all of the things that you need to consider before you pull the trigger (pun intended!) on a certain hunting rifle manufacturer.

Choosing hunting rifles requires you to think about the action that you want, the sights that you need, and the barrel length that is best. You should also make sure that you get the right caliber of round for the game you plan on hunting.

For more exciting and informative articles like this one, make sure you check out the rest of our blog!

Written by Mia

Hey Everyone! This is Mia Shannon from Taxes. I'm 28 years old a professional blogger and writer. I've been blogging and writing for 10 years. Here I talk about various topics such as Fashion, Beauty, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, and Home Hacks, etc. Read my latest stories.

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