Though there isn’t a clear cut AR that stands above the rest, there are several manufacturers that outperform their competitors. Ask most gun owners and they will attest to the qualities of certain brands over others. But everyone has their own favorites, which is part of the reason ARs are so damn popular. Something we all love about the AR is their variety. You can customize an AR to make it unrecognizable from the stock product.
Many people say that MIL-SPEC makes the AR. That seems to have adjusted to be more of a marketing ploy rather than an accurate representation of the firearm. There are some criteria and specs that you should look for when you want to find an AR-15 sale. Some of those might include: M4 feed ramps, a high pressure test, gas key that is appropriately staked, the chamber and bore are both chrome-lined, and they are chambered for the 5.56mm NATO. There are plenty of other factors that define quality, but these are a start in what to look for when selecting your ideal weapon. So based off of those criteria, along with general consensus on what makes an ideal AR-15, here is a list of five of the best AR-15 manufacturers on the market.
Since the company is known for initiating some common trends in the AR-15 world, it is only fitting to have them lead the list. Though not an overly old company, dating back to 1982, Barrett has made an impact on the industry. They are credited with making the first shoulder-fired .50 BMG rifle. They are also credited with taking industry standards for an AR-15, bringing all those specifications into their model, and producing some of the world’s best AR-15s.
Colt might have defined early specifications for what an AR should be. Often being at the forefront of technology, they continue to provide commercial grade AR-15s that are almost identical to the military M4. So when you read MIL-SPEC on a Colt AR, it’s a damn good chance that you are getting products worthy of our armed forces. Just because you’ve been doing something for a long time doesn’t mean you will consistently be good at it, but Colt defies that theory by producing industry-defining AR-15s.
Necessity is the mother of invention. And when you need high quality AR-15 parts and can’t get them, you start your own company to become a leading producer or top-tier AR-15 rifles and AR-15 accessories; at least, that’s what Marty Daniel did when he founded Daniel Defense. Their AR-15 line has become a staple of the market, impressing thousands of gun enthusiasts with their performance grade finishes. Additionally, Daniel Defense prides itself in crafting many other of their own parts in house. That means the sights, rails, stocks, and flash suppressors will often be made by the company providing the kickass AR.
Heckler and Koch
With origins dating back to supplying weapons to the German military in 1956, it is easy to see why H&K has become trusted with the MIL-SPEC standards most people want in their AR. The HK416 was the weapon that killed Osama Bin Laden. Tried and true weapons that are then crafted for the general public are what H&K excel at. The real ingenuity of their rifles comes from their proprietary gas system, which is based off of a pusher rod. Though often a little bit pricier than some of their counterparts, H&Ks are worth the cost.
Smith & Wesson
Another company that needs no introduction, Smith & Wesson has provided quality firearms for generations. Their AR-15s are no different. They are the dependable, quality rifles that we have come to expect from the S&W name. When you purchase a Smith and Wesson AR-15, you’ll also have access to many of the key details that weapon owners want in their typical AR. It’s hard to have a list of quality firearms without including a S&W.
Now that you know some of the brands, you’ll want to start looking for good gun deals. One of the best options is to purchase with online layaway. This option gives you the flexibility you need to pay for the AR as you build the capital for one. Many of the ARs on this list have a higher price tag than other firearms.
“Ya better say your prayers, ya flea-bitten varmint … I’m-a-gonna blow ya to smithereenies” From the wise words of Yosemite Sam to your author’s humble keyboard it's hard to find truer words. If you haven’t guessed it from my apparent affinity for Looney Tune’s quotes today we are talking about varmint hunting.
Courtesy Warner Brothers
Varmint hunting is unique in its own right. Most of the time varmint hunting isn’t necessarily done for meat, but for what’s basically pest control. Don’t get me wrong, some varmints are quite tasty… But many of them are complete and utter pests. They often breed so much, and so fast you must hunt them to just control their population.
Varmint hunting isn’t typically associated with the seriousness of deer, elk, moose, or bear hunting. It’s often more sought for the challenge than the trophy. Outside of the challenge many do it simply for pest control.
While varmint hunting may be a necessity, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. We’ve picked our top 5 favorite varmint and the calibers and guns perfect for blowing them to “smithereenies.”
Good ole’ tree rats, the bane of many a bird feeder. Squirrels are one of the few varmints that are nice and tasty. They can be gamey, but toss them into a stew or fry them in a cast iron pan and you’ll have a nice dinner. Squirrels can be a major pest for those in the countryside. They can chew their way into attics, destroy insulation, and leave a mess. They are nightmares in a barn, especially if you keep corn, horse feed, and similar feeds stored there.
He Looks a little squirelly - Courtesy US Fish and Wildlife
So, you gotta take ‘em out. Squirrels can be easily dealt with a 22 LR but I’ve always stuck to a shotgun for safety reasons. Since squirrels tend to keep to the trees I don’t want to be shooting rifles in the air and risk a miss. The old adage of what goes up must come down is important to remember. The 410 is my preference due to its small size and low recoil. You don’t need anything more powerful than a lightly loaded 410 and good point shooting skills. The 410 is strong enough to kill them, but weak enough where it won’t damage the squirrel past the point of edibility.
The Budget Gun
The classic budget shotgun has always been and likely always will be the single shot shotgun. The H&R Pardner series has been the go to choice for cheap, but well-made single shots for decades and I’d hate to break from tradition. This super lightweight shotgun is easy to point and is perfect for younger shooters. It has a 3-inch chamber, is hammer fired, and features classic wooden furniture. It’s also a sub 200-dollar gun.
The Fun Gun
The Mossberg 500 in 410 is hard to beat if you need to take multiple shots in a short amount of time. The pump action ensures you aren’t dealing with a finicky semi auto action, while providing 5 rounds of rapid fire potential. It’s easy to pump and dump on multiple squirrels and the ribbed barrel and bead sight keeps things simple. The gun has a 3-inch chamber, a 24 inch barrel, and a full choke. It might as well be called the squirrel blaster.
Oh coyotes, they were one of the first animals I successfully hunted. They just happened to be hunting a friend's calves and terrorizing the chickens. This is common coyote behavior and they are spreading fast across the southeast United States. They are vicious scavengers that can even be a threat to young children and domestic animals. Coyotes breed very fast, and if you’re hunting them you want something that takes them down without issue. A wounded coyote can be a very dangerous animal. You want a round that can take them out without much effort.
Coyote Courtesy US Fish and Game
Coyotes are also pretty dang suspicious of humans and tend to be skittish. It’s a lot easier to hit them from a hundred yards and beyond than trying to get them in shotgun or rimfire range. Plus, it's a lot more challenging the further out you go. I like the 22-250 for popping coyotes. It has enough oomph to take a coyote down with a single shot to almost any part of the upper body. It’s also less affected by wind than similar cartridges. It’s flat nature and hard-hitting power makes it a great coyote round out to even 500 yards.
The Savage Axis series are renowned for their quality and affordable price. You aren’t getting a rifle neutered to save a few dimes. You are getting a very competent rifle equipped with a free-floating barrel, sling swivel studs, a steel magazine, and their silky smooth bolt action. The rifle is drilled and tapped for a scope mount and ready to terrorize the next coyote that has the unfortunate luck to meet you and your Savage.
Lever gun? More like lever fun. Okay I’ll put the lame marketing jokes away now. In all seriousness the Browning BLR is one of my favorite lever guns. Instead on using a tube to hold ammo they use a rotary magazine that allows the gun to use spitzer (IE pointy) based cartridges. The BLR’s lever action is smooth and rapid. The 22-250 is a short round so there isn’t a lot of movement necessary to work the action. This gives you a lightweight, easy shooting gun with the ability to cycle rounds rapidly if needed.
Prairie dogs hardly seem to be a pest, but just a hair of research tells you just how destructive these creatures can be. It’s not uncommon for large animals like cows and horses to stumble into a prairie dog den. This often results in an injured animal, and some serious vet bills, or having to put the animal down. Prairie dogs also breed faster than rabbits and spread almost like a disease across the land. Taking them down fast and hard is the name of the game.
Courtesy US Fish and Game
Prairies dogs are basically the same size of squirrels, but live on the ground. You won’t get too close without having them scatter to their den. Hitting them from a hundred yards off with a good rimfire rifle is the way to go. The 17 HMR is an ultra-modern rimfire round from the minds at Hornady. It’s flat shooting, fast as lightning, and smashes into prairie dogs with ease. 17 HMR offers much better ballistics than 22 LR and is a more modern choice with more modern hunting projectiles offered. It hits harder, shoots flatter, and flies faster than 22 LR ever will.
The Mossberg 817 is about a cheap of a 17 HMR as you can find. This bolt action repeating rifle comes in at under 200 dollars and for that price it's a steal. It has a short 14.25-inch length of pull and weighs only 4.8 pounds. This makes it an excellent youth rifle and a lightweight prairie dog reaper. It’s ready for a scope with its Weaver style scope bases. This magazine fed rifle has a unique pistol grip and stock combo and even comes with a forward picatinny rail for mounting a bipod.
I like lever guns, and the fact that Henry introduced one in 17 HMR wasn’t lost on me. The Henry Varmint Express holds 11 rounds of 17 HMR allowing you to load it on Sunday and shoot it all week long. The adjustable semi buckhorn rear sight and beaded front sight makes it easy to split prairie dogs down the middle. Also, I chose the octagonal barrel model because let’s face it, looks matter. Get your wild west fantasy on and send them varmint packing.
Rabbit is our second tasty treat on the list. Great for cooking in the crock pot or in a stew as flavoring. Rabbit are one of the easiest creatures I’ve ever hunted. Often, it’s as simple as walking, watching one run, and then picking it off when it stops ten feet later. Rabbit are like prairie dogs in the fact that they breed fast and can invade an area quickly. They love to destroy crops, and will eat a home garden to bits and pieces.
He Looks Rascally… Courtesy US Fish and Game
Rabbits are social creatures, and it’s not unusual to find them in groups of 2 or 3. You need an easy shooting, common caliber that’s small enough to avoid damaging the meat of a target. I like the 22 LR. There’s a few reasons, first it’s close range, so the long-range potential of the 17 HMR simply isn’t needed here. Second, the semi auto designs are affordable, widely available and reliable. The third reason is 22 LR is cheap, and easy to buy in bulk.
Well this one was incredibly easy. Of course, I am going to choose the Ruger 10/22 as my 22 LR rifle of choice. The Ruger 10/22 is a lightweight, easy shooting rifle that’s ubiquitous. You can build and accessorize the 10/22 to your heart's content. The rotary magazine and finely constructed action ensures reliability. In my opinion there really isn’t a finer semi-auto 22 LR rifle for plinking, target practice and hunting. Plus, it’s extremely affordable and comes in a variety of different configurations.
If the 10/22 is the finest semi auto 22 LR rifle I couldn’t possibly suggest another rifle right? So, I won’t and take an alternative route and suggest the Browning Buckmark Contour model. This semi auto 22 LR handgun is plenty accurate for popping rabbits, but using a handgun is always more challenging than a rifle. The Contour model is equipped with a scope rail across the top which is perfect for a red dot. The Browning Buckmark is an easy shooting and reliable little gun that gives a new edge to rabbit hunting.
Hogs aren’t traditionally treated as a varmint animal, but in the southeastern United States their behavior and the laws regarding hunting them are becoming more varmint orientated. The feral hog population is exploding in the South East and its moving north every year. States are deregulating the hunting of these animals and making it legal year-round to exterminate them. Feral hogs destroy everything, from crops to yards. They are aggressive and can easily harm people and domestic animals.
Example of a Feral Hog in Florida - US Fish and Wildlife
You need something potent to take them down and you have a number of choices. I like the 7.62x39mm. It’s a moderately powerful caliber that’s excellent for taking shots under 300 yards. There are plenty of different rifle options for the round. Its moderate recoil makes follow up shots possible, which is important because hogs rarely travel alone. You also may need that quick follow up shot if a hog decides to charge you.
Caliber 7.62 x 39
Confession time, I love CZs. CZ has a brilliant and subtle marketing tool that boils down to “Come for the famous pistols, stay for the fantastic rifles.” The CZ 527 Carbine is one fantastic rifle. It’s built for hunting and is one of the finest rifles out there for under a grand. The CZ 527 is a bolt action rifle, with an 18.5-inch barrel and a 5 round magazine. This is one of the few bolt action rifles that comes equipped with iron sights, and is still scope ready. It’s a great brush gun, and with its iron sights you can hit a close-range target fast and accurately.
I know AKs aren’t hunting rifles I get it. But listen to my logic. Hogs are an invading force and as hunters we are brave partisans who must resist the tyranny of the hog. Why not use a gun renowned for its presence in the hands of partisans throughout time? That same gun just so happens to be a great hog gun. Why? It’s fast shooting, accurate enough and perfect for dealing with angry hogs. The Arsenal SAM-7 is one of the most well-made AKs on the market and if you are going big, go really big. Just remember after shooting a hog with an AK it’s mandatory you hold your gun above your head and shout, “Wolverines!”
Hunting varmints is a blast, both literally and figuratively. Having the right gun and right gear makes it easy to be successful. Varmint hunting is a little less serious and to me more fun than deer hunting. It’s perfect for new hunters or someone tired of the deer blind. You are also providing a service to the environment by controlling the population of pests. So, Grab a Gun, grab some ammo, and get out there.
Choosing a hunting rifle is a lot like choosing a car. You are surrounded by options for each and every niche, and it can get a bit confusing. That’s not a bad thing because the more choices the better. A lot goes into choosing a hunting rifle, and it should be a decision you make consciously.
A good hunting rifle will last you your entire life, so think of it as an investment and not a purchase. To make things just a bit easier for you we’ve gathered our top five hunting rifles by category. These rifles are aimed at hunters in the Americas and to work within your average hunter’s budget.
You won’t find an H&H Drilling that costs as much as a car on this list. What you will find is five rifles from five distinct and common categories that are all top notch hunting rifles.
The Best Budget Hunting Rifle
Budgets are tight all over and working within a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise to succeed. Right now, the firearms industry is a buyer’s market and companies like Ruger are producing high-quality firearms at a good price.
One such rifle is the Ruger American Rifle Ranch in 300 Blackout. This light and handy rifle is remarkably affordable but doesn’t sacrifice quality. This lightweight rifle features a 16-inch barrel, comes with a scope rail, and a threaded barrel.
The 300 Blackout as a round is somewhat new but is perfect for a short barrel, lightweight carbine. Unlike the 223 the 300 Blackout won’t experience ballistic sacrifices from a 16-inch barrel. It’s made for short barrels and it’s also made to be suppressed. While most budget hunters aren’t looking to spend the extra money on a can this gun is the perfect host for one later on down the road.
The 300 Blackout round is versatile and can be loaded with supersonic, or subsonic loads. With subsonic ammo and the right can this gun would be exceptionally quiet.
300 Blackout has tons of appropriate hunting rounds available and is a good hunting round inside of 300 yards with supersonic loads. It also has very light recoil and is a great option for new shooters not accustomed to heavy recoiling rifles.
The rifle is made in America but remains remarkably affordable without having to cut corners. It uses a single piece three lug bolt designed to chuck brass fast and hard. You get plenty of scope clearance and topping it with something like the Nikon Monarch would be perfect.
The gun comes equipped with Ruger’s adjustable trigger system that lets the user adjust the trigger pull from 3 to 5 pounds. It also features a free-floating cold hammer forged barrel and Ruger’s own bedding system. It’s not just a cheap hunting rifle, it’s an excellent hunting rifle that just happens to be cheap.
Best Youth Hunting Rifle
One key to getting a young hunter comfortable with hunting is a weapon that fits them. A weapon they can control and handle, and confidently shoot. The Mossberg Patriot Youth Super Bantam is one of the best deer hunting rifles for young shooters, or for smaller shooters. The Mossberg Patriot Youth Super Bantam is a mouthful, so to keep things easier I’m just going to call it the Super Bantam.
Mossberg has been using Bantam to describe their smaller guns for some time and I finally looked into what a Bantam is. I was not disappointed. A Bantam is a small, but ferocious chicken that walks around with its chest puffed out. It’s a good name for Mossberg’s smaller rifles and shotguns.
The Super Bantam comes in a few calibers, but for youth hunting, I’m going to suggest the 243. The 243 is an outstanding medium game round that’s perfect for deer, hogs, and coyotes. It has very low recoil and popular enough you can choose a custom tuned load for your game of choice. It’s also a short action that’s easier to cycle.
The Super Bantam’s most defining feature and the reason it’s the best youth hunting rifle is the adjustable length of pull. You can easily shrink or grow the stock by adding a series of spacers to it. This allows you to adjust the length of pull for a young shooter and allows the rifle to grow as they do. The gun also features a compact 20-inch fluted barrel and altogether weighs less than 7 pounds.
The Super Bantam comes with Mossberg’s LBA adjustable trigger that allows you to adjust the trigger from 2 to 7 pounds. Although for a youth hunting I’d go with 5 or so pounds. The Super Bantam comes ready for a scope with a mounted scope base, and something like the Bushnell 3-9x would be a great fit. As a final note, we offer the always cool Kryptek camouflage model if the young shooter in your life want’s their rifle to stand out.
The Most Modern Hunting Rifle
If price isn’t a major concern, and you really want to top out on modern features the Savage Model 10 FCP-SR is the rifle for you. While this rifle is designed for tactical use at its heart it is a bolt action 308, which has long been a fantastic choice for hunting. The Model 10 FCP-SR combines a number of desirable features to produce an extremely accurate and modern rifle.
The 308 Winchester has long been a choice for hunters looking for a powerful and versatile cartridge. It offers excellent ballistics at ranges up to 800 yards and is one of the more powerful short action cartridges out there. It’s potent and has no issues taking most North American game. One of the biggest benefits of going 308 lies in its popularity. Because of its popularity, you have ammo loadings for just about anything.
The Model 10 FCP-SR is rocking a free floated 24-inch barrel that takes the perfect length for a 308 Winchester. Its long enough to take advantage of the powerful cartridge, but far from unwieldy. The barrel is also threaded for either a recoil reducing or flash suppressing muzzle device or a sound suppressor.
The rifle has a honker of a bolt handle that’s easy to manipulate when wearing gloves, which may be a consideration for my northern brethren. The Savage Model 10 FCP-SR is outfitted with two front sling swivels, which looks odd but serves a purpose. It allows you to mount a bipod to the forward sling mount, and still utilize a sling on the rear mount.
The Savage is ready for a scope and a nice long range capable scope from a reputable company like Leupold would be perfect. You’ll be stacking deer out at quite a distance with a good bipod and scope setup. Additionally, the rifle features Savage’s accutrigger that’s one of the best on the market. It’s so light, with very little movement for it to break. It really helps reduce and calm flinch, especially when buck fever sets in.
The Best Long Range Hunting Rifle
If you told me, you wanted to hit an animal at long range I could suggest to you any number of different rounds. We could go with the 300 Win Mag or the 338 Winchester Magnum, but you may say you it in a short action and in a lightweight platform. After much soul searching I’d go with the 6.5 Creedmoor. The round is easy, but what rifle? Well, I’d mix a new round with a classic rifle, the Remington 700.
The Remington 700 is the flagship of Remington’s rifles and is well respected across the world. This bolt action rifle comes it dozens of different calibers and tons of different variations. I prefer the SPS or Special Purpose Synthetic. It’s lighter, and the synthetic stock is better suited for dealing with the cruel beast we call nature.
The Remington 700 SPS in 6.5 Creedmoor is more than capable of reaching out and touching a target. The round stays supersonic past 1,200 yards and the long and svelte 6.5mm round has a nice ballistic coefficient. It’s accurate and takes some time to run out of steam. It can humanely take game at long ranges. The Remington rifle is also well suited for long range shooting, and it’s the choice of the Marine Corps Scout Snipers.
The gun features a 24-inch barrel for exceptional accuracy and to maximize the 6.5 Creedmoor’s velocity. The rifle is drilled and tapped for scope mounts and you’ll want something tuned for ballistic drop, with a mil or moa dot reticle for bullet drop. Something like the Bushnell Legend in 4.5-14x would be perfect.
The rifle is outfitted with the X Mark Pro adjustable trigger and comes set at 3.5 pounds from the factory. What’s really cool about this trigger is that it’s externally adjustable. There is no need for a gunsmith to adjust your trigger. Although 3.5 pounds seems just about perfect for me.
Overall, it’s a light and handy little rifle that’s great for taking those long-range shots. The 6.5 Creedmoor round is somewhat new, but have proven popular enough to have a few different hunting loads available. It’s an excellent combination of gun and round.
The Best Brush Hunter
The 30-30 is an American classic. It’s likely killed more deer than any other round in the United States. The 30-30 is most commonly found in lever action rifles like the Henry listed here. The combination of the round and the lever action platform makes a very potent brush hunting combo.
Brush hunting is typically hunting that occurs in thickets, often on the ground. Brush hunting is unpredictable and the ranges can vary between shotgun range and rifle range in just a few minutes. You need a gun that points quickly like a shotgun but has the extra range of a rifle. The Henry Lever Action 30-30 is that gun.
The open iron sights make it quick and easy to get on target for close range shooting and are dynamic enough to allow a shooter to hit targets at 200 yards. The sights are adjustable and are a semi-buckhorn design. This means the rear sight has a wide set of ‘ears’ for close range shooting and a more precise smaller notch for long range shooting. The gun also has a brass beaded front sight that’s easy to see and reflects light for low light shooting. The Henry lever action is also drilled and tapped for a scope rail. I’d mix a little bit of new with old world and go with a miniature red dot sight personally.
The Henry’s short 20-inch barrel keeps the weapon lightweight and maneuverable in thick brush and makes it easy to move over long distances without getting fatigued. The rifle weighs only 7 pounds and has an overall length of only 39 inches.
The Henry’s smooth lever action allows the shooter to make rapid follow up shots to compensate for a miss or to even take multiple animals. The 30-30 round isn’t a long range cartridge, but within its effective range, it’s a hammer. It hits hard, and with the right ammo will expand rapidly and put an animal down quickly. What you lose in range you make up for with moderate recoil, which goes back to the ability to make rapid follow up shots.
Henry’s lever guns look as good as they function. The American walnut stock and rich bluing are certainly a throwback to simpler times and simpler rifles.
Over and Out
These are my favorite hunting rifles and I stand behind each selection. The big question is for our readers, do you agree? Disagree? Tell us why and let us know. We all always like to hear from you. What’s your top five hunting rifles?
It’s nothing new for a company to introduce a rifle cartridge, tons of them try it and like restaurants 90% fail in the first year. What is exciting is when a round has so much potential in less than a decade it changes the entire rifle game. The 6.5 Creedmoor was one of those rounds. It came to life in 2008 from a little ammo company we know and love called Hornady.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a rifle round that can be chambered in short action and semi-automatic rifles like the AR 10. It’s a direct competitor to the classic 308 Winchester. The 308 has been in the service of sportsman since the 1950s. It’s also a short action rifle round that is the AR 10’s original caliber. For the longest time, it was the king of full powered short action rifle rounds.
Which is better? We go to science for that.
The 308 Win and it’s military cousin the 7.62 NATO, have long been the choice of military and police tactical shooters. It hits hard and has excellent penetration. It’s great in a semi-auto or bolt action platform. The round was originally designed to be a battle rifle cartridge and not a Sniper rifle cartridge.
The 6.5 Creedmoor was designed for long-range shooting by ballisticians with over 50 years more data and science than the 308 Win. It’s a round loved by 1,000-yard bench rest shooters and has been for a reason.
The 6.5 Creedmoor has considerably less drop, and out to a thousand yard, it outperforms the 308 significantly. At 1,000 yards the 308 on average has in excess of 300 inches of drop and has a velocity of around 1,500 feet per second when loaded with a 150-grain projectile. The 6.5 Creedmoor experiences less than 300 inches of drop and the heaviest rounds are still hitting 1,600 feet per second.
On average the Supersonic range of the 6.5 Creedmoor is further than the 308 Winchester by 200 feet.
Sectional density comes from a calculation that compares a bullet’s diameter and its weight. The higher the sectional density the better the round is. Sectional density is important when it comes to considering a rounds ability to penetrate. This is going to be a consideration for hunters who need to stop a living target.
Sectional density is calculated by dividing the bullet’s weight in pounds by its diameter in inches. So if you took a 308 round and a 6.5 round of the same weight the 6.5 would have a higher sectional density due to its diameter.
For example, a 150 grain 7.62 round has a sectional density of .226
A 150 grain 6.5 mm round has a sectional density of .307.
This means the 6.5 mm round is going to outperform the 308 when it comes to penetration. This is going to be incredibly important when it comes to penetrating an animal.
Ballistic coefficient, or BC, is a measure of how a bullet cuts through the air. Essentially it’s a rating based on how streamlined the bullet is and how it resists air drag. When comparing BC’s the higher the BC the better. A high BC means the round is more streamlined and resists the effects of air drag. A high BC also means a projectile is more resistant to wind drift, maintains a higher velocity.
The higher the BC the flatter the trajectory will be. This means less bullet drop and a more predictable drop pattern. This is invaluable to know when shooting at long ranges and the flatter the trajectory the easier it is to hit a target. Without digging too deep into the science of BC we can show the difference between 308 and 6.5 CM.
Let’s look at Hornady’s Match Loads:
The 308 Win Match 178 grain boat tail hollow point has a BC of.530
The 6.5 CM Match 140-grain boat tail hollow point has a BC of .580
You see this trend throughout a wide variety of loads. When you compare like with like you see the 6.5 always wins in BC.
Rifle and Ammo Selection
The science behind ammunition is fun and as a wanna be ballistician I find it equal parts fascinating and confusing. Now inside of 500 yards you aren't likely to notice much difference between the two rounds unless you are a competition shooter. Even then it’s minimal. The 6.5 Creedmoor has proven to be ballistically the better round. Will that be a major concern for shooters inside 500 yards?
Unlikely. What will affect you is your ability to choose a particular rifle. Rifle choice is one of the most important considerations for any shooter. At this point rifles in 308 are not only more common, but they are significantly cheaper on average. This isn’t always the case, a Remington 700 SPS in 6.5 Creedmoor is about the same price as the same gun in 308.
However, if I wanted an AR 10 in 6.5 Creedmoor I’d have to be willing to spend significantly more money. Also if I was shopping for a budget rifle I’m more likely to find it in 308 than 6.5 Creedmoor.
Luckily, it’s easy to find 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, and even reloading components. When you compare similar quality 308 and 6.5 rounds the prices are quite similar, often within a few cents of each other. The major advantage 308 shooters have is 7.62x51mm NATO rounds. These FMJ loads are for the military but there is plenty of civilian runoff that turns into cheap plinking ammo. There is also international support for the 7.62 NATO which is also for sale on the open market. This drives prices down for plinking ammo significantly.
308 wins the logistic war...for now.
Is the 308 Dead?
This may seem like I'm just bashing the 308 but I'm really not. Realistically the 6.5 Creedmoor is the better round. This doesn’t mean we need to dump 308 in the trash and buy 6.5’s. It just means the firearms world is constantly improving. The 308 Winchester isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
What say you people of the gun? Are you a 308er who likes to tell 6.5 CM to get off your lawn? Or are you a 6.5 CM fan who wants to leave 308 in a nursing home? Or are you simply a lover of all things that go boom?
Let us know!
You may have had a heated debate on this topic with a hunting buddy: What’s the best caliber for big game hunting? Everyone has an opinion on it. The truth is that there is not one right answer. So much is based on personal preference and what type of game you are hunting that selecting just one is nearly impossible. But that does not mean that certain rifle calibers are not better than others; in fact, quite the opposite is true.
There are a few that are more capable than the rest when it comes to your best option for hunting calibers suited for big game. Before you check out the latest semi-automatic rifles for sale, do yourself a favor and look at these bullet caliber options that many hunters agree are preferable for larger game.
.338 Winchester Magnum
What is more representative of big game hunting than Alaskan wildlife? A widely used bullet for hunting moose and grizzlies is the .338 Winchester Magnum. Nearly everyone who has done any sort of large game hunting in North America has used this ammunition at some point. These rounds can take out big game, but they are also generally associated with a large recoil and can be more expensive than some of the other rounds on the list. Don’t let that deter you, however. If you need to take down big game in the States, the .338 will get the job done.
7mm Remington Magnum
Do you desire to hunt exotic big game from regions of Africa? Perhaps impala, nyala, kudu or other animals that are not seen in the States? If so, then the 7mm Magnum is the caliber for you. Commonly associated with a flat trajectory and consistency in hitting long range shots, there are numerous reasons why the 7mm is ideal for big game hunts. Stellar ballistic coefficients, above average velocities, and mid-range bullet weights help make the 7mm Magnum the right choice for the open plains and other African terrains may find yourself hunting in.
Another caliber found in many rifle magazines throughout Africa is the .30-06. Though not often used at the distances that the 7mm Remington Magnum is, the .30-06 Remington is more than capable of taking down your prey at a few hundred yards. One of the smaller bullets on this list, it has plenty of power to be useful against most species you would be hunting. These controlled expansion rounds keep the hide of the animal intact while still deliver lethal force. With a long history of usage, the .30-06 is an old favorite for many hunters that continues to show its worth out in the field.
What could be a better seal of approval than that of the United States Military? The .308 is the civilian equivalent to what the armed forces use, the 7.62x51mm NATO. Bringing that kind of power in your ammunition to hunting expeditions means when you find your target, you don’t need to worry that you did not bring enough firepower. It is ideal for the most common big game in North America such as deer, black bears, and elk. Easily accessible and easy to fire, this could be the round you need for most hunts in North America.
Though there are plenty of calibers to choose from – anything between a .22 caliber and a 50 cal – there are some that are more equal than others in the world of big game hunting. In addition to the ammunition, it’s a good idea to have high-powered rifle scopes at your disposal. All the ammo in the world will not do you a bit of good if you cannot see the target you are aiming for.
Now that you know a little more about the caliber you will need, you can go scope out the latest bolt action rifles or other firearms to make your hunt successful. Make sure that the rifles you own or buy are compatible with the ammunition you need. While the options presented here are not the only ones available, they are some of the best for big game hunting.
When it comes to distance shooting, there is no substitution for a long-range rifle. The ability to hit a target from distances over 1,000 yards might seem like an impossibility to the unskilled marksman, but with the right training and firearm, people can accurately achieve this feat. Granted, the amount of knowledge required to assess how to shoot at this distance is far greater than for firing short distances. Being able to read wind, assess air pressure, factor in elevation fluctuation, and gauge humidity are all skills you will want to hone as you start target shooting over great distances.
As important as being able to accurately read and interpret those factors is, your bullets are not going to end up anywhere near the target if you do not have the right firearm to make the shot. That doesn’t mean you should go out and buy every rifle you see that says it can shoot at those distances. A little information on some of the better ones available will help you determine which rifle is best for you. All shooters are different; some prefer a bolt-action rifle, while others like to use assault rifles. If you are looking for bolt-action reviews, you come to the right place. Here are five long-range rifles that can help you make the shots you need on the range or during the hunt.
We’ll start with this bolt-action rifle from Winchester. The XPR has borrowed ideas from several other Winchester models to help make its manufacturing process more effective, which equates to you spending less money on the firearm. The reduced price tag doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting a quality weapon. The XPR remains an accurate and durable bolt-action for hunters to take out in the field knowing it has what it takes to get the job accomplished. Not only that, but it will be able to take the punishment you are going to put it through on your adventures. Ideal in most conditions, the polymer stock is crafted for excellent grip in damp conditions. Weighing in at approximately seven pounds, the XPR is a powerful weapon that is able to take down its prey from vast distances.
List price: just over $400.
Savage rifles come by their name honestly. These firearms are true brutes out on the field, and the 12LRP is no different. Another bolt-action rifle, they feature a black synthetic stock and grip. The 26” barrel will have you staring down targets from great distances with ease. Many owners agree that this is one of the most accurate weapons they keep in their safe. Though it can always be modified, this Savage shoots just as well as weapons that cost 3x the money.
List price: just over $900.
Remington 700 SPS
It’s hard to create a rifle list without including a Remington. And for the price, few rival this 700 Special Purpose Synthetic. The 20” heavy barrel is one of the best tactical rifles on the market. It can be outfitted with accessories to modify it to your specific needs. All the adjustments and customizations you can easily do to this weapon make each one truly unique to its owner. Great for hunting, it is designed to handle a wide variety of muzzle breaks and suppressors. It’s hard to find a more versatile .308 out there.
List price: about $550.
Remington 700 VTR
One Remington just isn’t enough. That’s why we’re including the Remington 700 VTR on the list to give you some selection from the popular brand. Like other Remingtons, this rifle is extremely customizable and dependable. A smaller caliber than the last model we looked at, this bolt-action varmint tactical rifle will have you pinpointing targets over distances other rifles cannot. The type of hunting you prefer to do will help you determine which of the two is right for you. You’ll want to take a close look at this one for smaller game.
List price: around $650.
This might be the most versatile weapon on the list. The Thompson Dimension has the Locking Optimized Components™ (LOC™) System that makes it able to change Dimension™ components and calibers while out in the field, allowing you to adjust to several varieties of game. No matter what you are hunting, you can easily switch components with this rifle to make sure you are ready to take down what’s in front of you.
Price point: This Thompson is affordably priced at around $525.
When you want to do some long-range shooting or long-range hunting, one of these rifles is sure to help you reliably (and affordably) hit your target.
Many people might go down to their local gun store or a neighborhood gun show and assume that each and every weapon there is ready to be taken home. Whether it be bolt action rifles or a lever action shotgun, you think that you can fill out some paperwork and take it home with you. If you buy a secondhand weapon, you can run into the issue of purchasing a weapon that has been modified to standards not adhering to those set down by the government of the United States. Before you go out searching for rifles and shotguns for sale, let’s take a look at one of the most important things you ought to know before making any firearm purchase: the length of the gun.
There are many things to keep in mind when you consider shotgun and rifle lengths in the United States. You want to keep these in mind because you want to stay within the laws of the country. Other areas around the world have different regulations than the U.S., and sometimes what is acceptable or unacceptable there is not the case here. This includes both the overall lengths and the barrel lengths. A major reason that these regulations are in place is to help classify the type of firearm. By enforcing and standardizing these measurements, there is a particular category that all weapons will fall into. Most often this is used to make the distinction between short barreled shotguns (SBS) and short barreled rifles (SBR).
The law has regulated that a shotgun barrel length must be at least 18” long, while the entire gun must be at least 26”. A specific procedure must be used to define the actual barrel length. The barrel measurements are taken by closing the bolt and running a tape measure down the barrel to the face of the closed bolt. If you are unsure of where the closed bolt is, you can run a rod down the barrel until it stops, make a mark on the rod, and then measure the rod once you pull it back out of the barrel. The ATF uses micrometers to measure the length of the barrel.
Many factory length barrels start at 18½” to make sure that they meet these regulations on their shotguns. Keep in mind that when you purchase a new weapon and it says 22” barrel, there is a possibility that it is only a 21½” barrel, because manufacturers will round up. For rifles, that number decreases to only a 16” barrel. The length of the weapon must still be at least 26”. This becomes a little tricky for rifles that can fold the stock in. If the weapon can be fired while the stock is folded, then the length of the weapon when folded must be at least 26”. If the weapon becomes incapable of firing once the stock is folded, then the weapon can be less than 26” and still classified as a rifle.
As a side note, to check if a barrel has been shortened, simply take a dime and see if it will fit down the barrel. If the choke is still there, the dime will catch at the end of the barrel. If the choke has been sawed off, the dime will be able to continue down the barrel unimpeded. For those of you wanting to perform modifications modifications, it’s a good idea to keep your shotgun barrels to at least 18 ½” to give yourself a little leeway.
If you do decide to shorten your weapon, be aware that you will need to register it as an SBS or SBR, which comes with a $200 tax stamp. So if you have a weapon that is only worth about $100-$150, you are going to pay that additional cost just to make it legal. If you don’t do that, you can get into some complications that aren’t worth your time or the headache associated with them.
When you want to find some of the best lever action rifles or semi-automatic rifles, your best bet is to search for firearms online. Sites such as GrabAGun.com offer many brands that come manufactured to U.S. standards. You will not have to question whether or not you bought a weapon secondhand that you will have to pay an additional charge on just so you can legally own it.
When you buy guns online with GrabAGun.com you have the opportunity to find such items as the Mossberg 500. This tactical pump-action shotgun is a prime example of some of the quality shotguns for sale that they offer. They have many rifles and shotguns that can accommodate a variety of uses, whether it be home defense, hunting, or sport shooting. They also offer a wide variety of accessories to help outfit your Mossberg the way you want so you don’t need to try your hand at home weapon modification. When you buy guns online, especially with GrabAGun.com, you have all of the information in front of you on the website, so there is little confusion as to what you are buying. So when you want to purchase your next rifle or shotgun, keep these standards in mind, and trust a retailer like GrabAGun.com to be your source for your next firearm.
One of the most common rifles on the market needs no introduction. The AR – short for its original manufacturer ArmaLite – has been a staple of rifles around the world for decades. Though initially considered to be a flop, a lot has changed since its inception. It is now popular internationally, and for good reason.
Because of this popularity, the AR10 and AR15 have numerous myths and facts that surround them. Sometimes, it is hard to differentiate between what is true and what is not. So to help keep you focused on what is important (or interesting) and also true about an AR, here are seven things you need to know before buying an AR.
- 1. ARs are completely customizable.
One of the most exciting aspects of owning an AR is the ability to outfit your weapon to your precise specifications. The barrel, stock, grip, receiver, and handguard can all be replaced to make your rifle unique. To add another layer of customization, the receiver is often split into an upper and lower section to allow for even more ways to adjust your AR to your personal taste.
- 2. They make excellent hunting rifles.
Think about some aspects of a weapon you would like to have when hunting. Light so it does not slow you down. Rugged and durable so it can endure harsh conditions. Most importantly, accuracy, so you will go home with the prized kill more often than not. ARs are ideal for hunting small game like coyotes and other feral animals.
- 3. Law enforcement utilizes their defensive capabilities.
Police use some of the most advanced weaponry available to help keep our communities safe. The AR continually makes the list of arms that officers carry. Weapons that are used for that level of defense and security should be optimal for home defense weaponry as well.
- 4. They come in a range of calibers
The range of calibers for an AR are numerous. Because of the different sizes of barrels, the functions of the weapon are even more diverse. Sport shooting, home defense, and a wide variety of hunting can all be performed with an AR and its generous range of calibers. This also means that different types of bullets will be used, depending on the caliber of your weapon.
- 5. The AR is a semi-automatic version of the M16
The M16 has been one of the most common weapons used by U.S. armed forces since its inception. The M16 is a fully automatic weapon that keeps soldiers of the United States military safe. The AR is modelled off of the M16 as a rifle to help private citizens feel safe and protected.
- 6. Sport/target shooting is a common pastime with an AR
Sport shooting often requires your weapon to be accurate and lightweight, two characteristics that the AR offers. For rifle competitions, the AR is more often than not the weapon of choice and typically the rifle that wins the event. Most marksmen would agree that the AR is a vital weapon for anyone wanting to get involved with sport shooting.
- 7. There are multiple versions of the AR
The two most common ARs are the AR10 and the AR15. Each have variations in their capabilities, and both are useful and versatile rifles. Analyzing your needs will help determine which type of AR will best work for you. Consider how you want to use your next rifle, then gauge the pros and cons of the ARs that fit those needs.
With the extreme versatility of the AR, it is an ideal rifle to purchase for all types of gun owners. It still sits atop the list of modern sporting rifles due to its extreme flexibility as a weapon. This list gives you an introduction to why the AR is so popular. It also gives you an understanding of how the AR can be utilized in your arsenal. Continue to research your state’s laws and the different types of ARs available, and you will be able to find the rifle that works best for you.
The red, white, and blue have branded many of the household names on the firearms industry. The weapons our police forces and servicemen use typically carry one of their logos. Guns made in America can be found on every shooting range, out in the field, or for home defense. Rifles, shotguns, and handguns are all made somewhere, and more often than not, when you purchase a new firearm you are joining the ranks of those who buy American guns. In fact, gun sales have exceeded the previous year’s sales every year since 2010, and the demand for U.S. weapons has only increased.
So what are a few of the gun brands that are made here in America? That’s a good question – and one that is easily answered. Though there are more than just these companies that manufacture arms in the U.S., these are the five most famous American-made firearms companies today:
The largest company on this list is Strum Ruger. Ruger gun production in the United States is over 1.1 million per year. Of those, they offer over 400 different variations of more than thirty different weapons. The majority of their sales are in handguns, though they do boast high numbers in rifles. Since their beginning in 1949, Ruger has always crafted dependable, identifiable firearms.
This Madison, North Carolina company has grown into an international hunting and sports shooting behemoth. The oldest gun manufacturer in the United States hasn’t kept their trademark an American secret. Though some of the companies on this list boast more sales domestically than Remington guns, Remington has the edge on the global market, reaching nearly $1 billion in annual sales. Remington is well-known for their rifles and shotguns, and they also produce quality handguns for their clientele.
- Smith & Wesson
Another well-known producer of firearms that was homegrown here in the United States is Smith & Wesson. Smith & Wesson guns have been in the hands of Americans since 1852. The western frontier’s rugged, outlaw lifestyle necessitated many Americans to carry their firearms during those days. S&W also played a vital role in the American Civil War, which helped propel the brand into the giant it is today. They boast over a half a billion dollars in sales around the world and continue to be a popular brand of USA-made guns.
This iconic handgun can be found all over the globe, though nearly two-thirds of its sales take place on US soil. Glock guns are almost a culture icon, carried by police, armed forces, rap artists, and millions of other Americans. Glock started to perfect its polymer guns in the 1980s after its founder Gaston Glock turned his 18 years of working with polymers towards developing firearms. The company has since become the leading handgun manufacturer in the United States, with approximately 700,000 new weapons made each year.
- SIG Sauer
Another staple of American-made guns is SIG Sauer. SIG Sauer guns originated in the 1850s from a combination of Swiss and German engineering styles. SIG flourished in America due to its simple design and effective accuracy. Today, SIG Sauer remains efficient and practical in its design and manufacturing of over 650,000 weapons annually. It continues to be a large supplier of the Swiss army, though they moved their base of operations to the USA after the turn of the century. Though currently American-made, the SIG Sauer continues to use its Swiss and German roots to remain a global arms powerhouse, with nearly half a billion dollars in revenue each year.
Firearms have a rich and diverse history in America. There are millions of proud gun owners around the country that might not have even realized they were supporting domestic products. On the range, out in the field, or in the line of duty, American-made weapons are getting the job done.
Are you one of the of millions of people who use American-made firearms? Check out your arsenal. See how many of your weapons are manufactured in the USA. If you need to add a few, GrabAGun has many American-made guns ready to bolster your weapons closet.
So you are interested in buying your first firearm, and you feel ready to learn how to use it responsibly. But what kind of gun do you need? If you are looking for a rifle for hunting because you want to be closer to nature, or you just love the outdoors and want to learn more about firearms, learning more about your options available to you for your first firearm is your first step. As you research the types of guns available to you, pay attention to the type of ammunition they use, the way they feel in your hands, and how comfortable shooting it may be.
Whether you are interested in learning how to hunt or shoot targets, you’ll need to learn about the different types of rifles available to you before you can decide what you need to buy. Guns are categorized according to many different features, but one way to easily differentiate among them is to know the mechanics behind the way it fires. Read on to find out more about different types of rifles you could consider as you begin your firearm search.
A semi-automatic rifle fires a single round when the trigger is pulled. That’s different from the way a fully automatic weapon works, which continuously fires rounds while the trigger is held. Semi-automatic weapons are larger in size and have a longer barrel. Semi-automatic weapons are often used for home defense.
A bolt action firearm is different from a semi-automatic or fully automatic weapon because it works manually, which means you open and close the barrel by hand. A small handle on the side of the gun can be opened to release the bullet and the casing, or shell. Most bolt action firearms are rifles, but the phrase “bolt action” refers to the way the gun works, which means that it may also be a handgun or any other type of firearm that is not a rifle.
Lever action firearms are manually operated as well. Cartridges are loaded into a compartment on the bottom of the gun, near the trigger and trigger guard. The ammunition goes into an area with a lever (hence the name). As with bolt action guns, most are rifles, but some are pistols or shotguns.
Single shot firearms are named as such because they hold only a single round of ammunition. This is one of the oldest designs of a firearm, and the simple design is still popular among gun enthusiasts today.
Guns that have multiple chambers for ammunition are called revolving cylinder guns. The most well-known and recognizable type of gun with a revolving cylinder is a handgun where the chamber snaps out of the side and rotates. However, there are other types of firearms that have revolving cylinders as well.
Now that you have a basic overview of the types of firearms that are available, you’ll want to know what to research next. Think about your purpose for purchasing a gun, and focus on that. Do you want to hunt, protect yourself, just shoot targets for fun? Then, consider looking into the types of accessories you might want to use. That can help you get a better idea of how you see yourself as a hunter, target shooter, or firearm enthusiast. Do you think you will want to use a stand? Or perhaps you simply want to be able to carry it with you for protection.
Envisioning yourself owning the firearm is the best way to answer questions about what you want. But whatever it is you are looking for – accessories, parts, ammunition, gear, or the gun itself – GrabAGun has you covered.