When you want to get into hunting, the type of firearm you choose is crucial for your success. Each hunter has their own preferences, so what you choose might not work for everyone. But the compatibility between your shooting skills and your firearm is essential when you are going after prey.
We put together this guide to help you identify the most important features a firearm should have so it will compliment your hunting skills!
Aspects to consider when you are choosing a firearm for hunting
Depending on your shooting needs and the type of hunting you might go after such as bird hunting or land hunting, the following features will help you choose the ideal firearm for you!
Choose the hunting weapon style that suits you best
Hunting guns come in all shapes and styles but there are a few big categories that you should be looking at first. The holy trinity of hunting firearms is rifles, shotguns, and handguns.
Rifles tend to be one of the best choices for those who want to shoot from a distance. The 22 rifle type tends to be the most popular for hunters that go after small animals. There are better rifle calibers available for bigger preys such as a .270 Winchester rifle that is ideal for bears or a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle that will help you take down animals with thicker skin. There is also a 7 mm Remington Magnum rifle which is considered an all-purpose type of weapon. You can also choose a .300 Winchester rifle if you are planning to hunt professionally.
When you choose your rifle, you absolutely want to invest in a rifle scope as well. Rifle scopes help you see your target clearer and they increase your chances to reach it. Finding the best rifle scope will depend greatly on your personal preferences as well as the time of the day you hunt at. There are different scopes that work in the morning light and afternoon light compared to those that work in the evening light. And you will have to try out several ones before you find the best option for you and your weapon.
A good shotgun could help you take down almost any type of bird but you can use such a weapon for hunting other types of animals as well. Shotguns come with different barrels compared to rifles. These barrels are thinner and smoother and it will not get the ammunition shoot in a straightway. This is why patterning your shotgun is essential as well for successful hunting.
The market offers different models of shotguns and you will notice that the patterning procedure is different for each one of them.
Unlike rifles and shotguns, handguns might not be the best choice for hunting, regardless of the prey you are going after. These guns require a smaller distance between you and your target which can be dangerous. Another risk with using handguns when you are hunting is that such a weapon might not be strong enough to kill your prey. But even with these aspects, some hunters are so familiar with using handguns that they venture into hunting experiments with them. So, it all comes down to your personal skills.
Other potential firearms you can consider
Besides the holy trinity of firearms, you can also choose an airgun or a muzzleloader. In terms of accuracy, airguns are very efficient and they are also quieter than other firearms. But if you use an airgun. You will have to reach your prey from the first shot or you will scare it away so these weapons are more appropriate for professionals. A great advantage of airguns is the fact that they are very adjustable weapons in terms of speed and accuracy so you can use them just the way you want to.
Muzzleloaders are single-shot firearms that are great for those who want to load their gunpowder and cartridge. But just like with airguns, you need a certain experience when you use a muzzleloader due to the loading mechanism. However, these weapons can be a great investment once you get used to them and you can get down almost any prey you want.
Decide on the mechanism you want your weapon to use
Each weapon has its own functioning mechanism and it is important to take this aspect into account when you make such an investment.
Single-shot or repeater
You will have to choose the action of your firearm which can be a single-shot or a repeater. If you choose a single-shot firearm, you will have to reload it after each shot. For long-range hunting single-shot, firearms can be a great choice but these types of weapons will not work for every type of hunting.
Repeaters are well-appreciated for shooting several times in a row without you having to reload them each time. These weapons are popular mainly because they are easier to use and they increase your chances of reaching your prey.
The caliber of your weapon will also decide the ammunition you use with it. You will choose the caliber according to the size of your prey so you will get a bigger caliber for a bigger prey and a smaller caliber for smaller prey. You want clean prey so the caliber plays a significant role in that.
Chokes are somewhat necessary especially for shotguns and they depend on the type of barrel the gun has. The right choke will help your pellets spread just as much as you need to get clean prey when you are hunting. When it comes to chokes, you can choose between four different types such as a cylinder, an improved cylinder, modified choke, and full choke. The performance of each choke will depend on your shooting distance as well.
You want a weapon that offers you a recoil you are comfortable with and not one that throws you off every time you shoot. With a recoil that is too heavy for you, there is a big chance of getting hurt. Finding the best recoil for you will require trying out several weapons until you see what you are comfortable with. But make sure to put your safety first when you take this aspect into consideration.
Research the best ammunition
Choosing the best weapon for hunting is not complete until you decide on the best ammunition as well. And when it comes to the type of ammo you want to use, there are many options on the market. But regardless of these options, you will have to consider the type of firearm you are using as not all types of ammunition are compatible with all firearms. You will also have to consider the distance between you are your prey and the overall shooting circumstances as well.
For instance, if you aim an animal at a long distance, you can choose a light ammunition type of bullet. Light ammo works great for long distances if there is no wind which can influence the trajectory of your shooting as well. Light ammo is a great choice for taking down animals with thin skin as well but they will not work just as well for thick skin ones.
If you want to take down an animal with thicker skin, you will need heavy ammunition. This type of ammo will not work for long distances but it will take the animal down faster and offer you a clean kill as well.
You can also choose hollow point ammo as it will expand when shot and help you take the prey down. At the other extreme, full metal ammunition will not expand when you shoot them and they are not suitable for hunting.
Birdshot ammo is ideal for not only birds but small animals in general. Thanks to the small pellets in this ammunition, you will take the prey down fast and with no suffering.
Buckshot is ideal for hunting turkey, geese, or other similar prey as they have bigger pellets compared to birdshot ammunition.
Be prepared to try out several firearms and ammunition before you find the ideal one for you. The final choice you make will depend on the shooting skills you have as beginners tend to prefer different weapons than experts. Plus, along with your hunting adventures, you might change your firearms several times in order to accommodate the shooting circumstances as best as possible.