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20 Versatile Semi-Automatic Rifles

20 Versatile Semi-Automatic Rifles

Gun Shots Blogger John Haughey puts together his list of 20 versatile semi-automatic rifles that can be used for big-game hunting or target shooting.
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from rogerdee123 wrote 45 weeks 3 days ago

I have two ARs and also guns handed down by father and grandfather. I deer hunt with my dad's 30-06 bolt action or 30-30 lever action I was given as a graduation present. I like the AR's too but prefer not to hunt with them. It's a personal choice. What drives me up the wall is seeing guys with their AR's loaded with 20 or 30 rd mags and another mag or two in their pack. Also in recent years lots more rapid fire gunshots in the deer woods and this bothers me. For the guy in Arizona or Alaska who hunts and also need protection, OK I can understand you're needing a hi-capacity mag. Also for the one shot clean kill hunter with the AR, I have no problem with you hunting with an AR. But all these "hunters" spraying the woods with rapid fire and this is mostly using AR's or other military weapons, you're ruining the hunting environment as well as the image for the 'real hunters'. Also I hope these forums don't turn into political cat fights, bashing one political party or one president or another. We're all brothers and fellow hunters and and gun lovers too and there's room for all our opinions without going off the deep end and causing bad feelings among us. There are other forums for our political opinions.

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from Jean Jones wrote 1 year 2 weeks ago

I cant believe that in a hunting website post there are so many negative comments towards ar type rifles ,.. specially when done by supposed hunters. many old guys here have their style developed according to their experience and most of this single action rifles they so praise where used in the military before. Times are changing and you cant expect a young guy from this days to accept your old minds tastes. If you were raised in this age you would want an ar just as any other kid. They are not looking into the follow shot as you are they are just liking what belongs to this age. We are in the 21 century ,.. not in the 1970s . You should respect the right of others to hunt whith whatever they seem fit as you did in your time and stop commenting bad about this rifles, specially in a time where the democrats want to take all guns away. This was not an issue 30 years ago but it is now. Show some respect for democracy and liberty in the real sense of it as many of these young guys already have given their lives in the field in this recent conflicts. You are not only being unpatriotic. You are becoming democrats which is way worse. I think these democrats trolls are invading all media as the gays are doing in their propaganda to get this country to hell. Stop the nonsense. I am all for everyones right to hunt with whatever they like and feel good.Enough said.

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from handicapped hunter wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

hello guys been gone for awhile i got me a new ar 10 in three o eight i luv it havnt shot it yet mywife got it for xmas for me

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from bellamgs wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

just reading this. Was the editor asleep on this? pic 13 shows the mcmillin m-1a and they say its an ar. This rifle is not, an ar. it is a garand action. Just because you put a pic rail on a gun dosn't make it an ar. I personally own a rifle with a garand action and I prefer it to an AR. It's like an anvil. Its more durable than even an ak.

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from HandsomeHunter wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

All other reasons for choosing/not choosing an AR-style or other autoloader for hunting, let me run another reason by you guys.Living in Az, I can tell you that we can sometimes face "problems" the average hunter in let's say Montana or Kansas wouldn't dream of. I am not claiming that this happens to everyone but it does happen, especially to those of us that hunt southern Az. Once, while deer hunting south of Tucson with a Ruger No1 (singleshot rifle), I saw and was seen by 3 Mexican gentlemen. One was carrying a rifle, the other two carried heavy backpacks (drug mules). The guy pulling security began firing at me, forcing me to fire back but even though I enjoyed the advantage of owning the high ground, it was kind of hard to gain fire superiority with a single shot versus a semiauto AK variant.Another time, I was followed by 3 to 4 men during a night varmint hunt. Luckily, I had night vision and they did not,so I was able to go dark and let them walk past me, speaking spanish about the gringo they were going to shoot. Needless to say, I now hunt with an AR chambered in 223 and 6.5 depending on what I am offered and carry spare hi-cap mags, just in case along with a Glock 19 and a fully stocked blow-out kit. Mostly hunting alone, I have learned not to go out unprepared. Unfortunately, between the president, the media, and people in denial, most of the country doesn't know how bad things can get around the border. So, in other words, until you've taken a stroll around Patagonia Lake in southern Az,looking for Coues whitetails or quail hunting on the east-side of the Catalina Mountains, alone, don't criticize my selection of long guns. Adios amigo!

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from HandsomeHunter wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I am always shocked when I see the bias against Ar-style rifles by those who are becoming the minority in rifle ownership/hunting. Ar15 and Ar10 platforms are built in calibers more than adequate for all types of hunting with models available that will give many bolt actions a run for theirmoney if not top them. Of the boltguns that far outperform the ARs, howmany are owned by a shooter that can actually make use of the performance? It is like the average driver in a corvette, can he really make use of all that performance. So why criticze a fellow hunter's choice of gun? If you believe an AR puts someone at a disadvantage in the hunt, why do you criticize the hunter yet applaud a bow or muzzleloader hunter for taking the hard road?

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from Charles Brown wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

I appreciate this article. To be honest I am not a hunter; I am actually researching .308 home-defense rifles. But the information in the article is still relevant and I appreciated the line-up. I'm leaning towards the FNH FNAR since the 20" barrel version is a good buy (about $1050) at my local dealer. The 16" short barrel depicted in the article has gone allocated and is about $500 more so I will pass on that model. The FNAR doesn't have iron sights but I was thinking of using holographic sights for a home defense gun anyway. Thanks for the informative article.

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from GodisLove wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

Living in southeast Alaska, I can tell you the semi autos have their place. I do alpine hikes and other hunts over very rugged terrain and being able to have something with a more tactical design is very useful. Glacier rivers, steep mountains and thick brsuh demand a more versatile hunting weapon than can be used in the worst weather conditions possbile. But the biggest reason for a semi auto would be protection, I need something that will stop bears, and fast. I usually lug around my big revolver but it would be nice to have the combination of my hunting rifle and protection gun in one. Though they may not be the pratical gun everywhere, Semi autos in the big game caliber are useful in the islands of Southeast Alaska. God bless.

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from Tim Tate wrote 1 year 36 weeks ago

I also saw the AR comments. I love my AR-15 for hunting deer inside of 300 yards. 1 in 7" twist and 70gr Barnes triple shocks dropped two in their tracks last season. I also really like my R-25 in 308, but it is a little heavy (close to 11# with the scope).

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from Bob Hansen wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Hi...

Well, I gotta say that most of those models...and their prices...didn't impress me at all...!!

The BAR seemed okay though, as did two others.

I'm more from the old school...give me a .35, or even an .30 M1 Carbine. Put a 20 or 30 round clip in the M1 (you could, back then) and you were all ready for targets or varments. Even had good luck deer hunting with the carbine...one at 300 yards.

Was one of the most favored guns I ever owned.

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from Ruger Dude wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I got an R25 recently. I really like it. I saw the comment about not agreeing or understanding why we would use an AR to hunt. I have reasons. #1 I like it. #2 if it shoots true and does a clean kill, who cares if it ain't what my grandpaw used. I also don't ride a mule.

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from pittrehab wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I bought the Remington 750 woodmaster last Aug. for a hunt out west. From day one I had problems with it dry firing. It cost me two monster bucks. I sent it back to Remington Feb. 17th and got it back June 19th. They replaced the receiver. I am no longer a life long Remington fan...

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from 270REM wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I used to hunt with only a remington 700 for whitetail until the HOGS.I hunt four different properties,two have pigs,two do not.Two properties I still only use the 700 bolt gun durring gun season,but on the other two I use my AR in a 6.8 SPC.The 6.8 is plenty for deer and pigs.I have had as many as 12 pigs on me at once so the extra magazine cappacity is nice.Also one property has a few packs of cayotes arround.

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from Lee Nancie Bryant wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

The Benelli R1 with ComforTech® is currently available in .30-06, .300 Win. Mag., and the latest addition—the .338 Winchester Magnum.

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from Josey wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Where's Ruger Mini 14 and Mini 30 and Mini 6.8SPC?

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from Bergy wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

now days you can pick up a ar-15 for 800 out door and i see no problem hunting with one because no mater what gun a person uses hunting ethics are how you are raised , one shot one kill should be the head rule not the law .you can never change greed or stupid

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from hornd wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Now I see why they call it "Overkill". There has to be a psychological effect knowing followup shots are only a trigger pull away. I like making the 1st shot count, therefore I use a bolt. A tack driving T/C or Savage is less than $500 but most of the tactical rifles are $1000 or more. Ethically I see a 223 fired downrange as a 223, regardless of what it came out of. I never get in my car and think of it as a death trap either, but it's probably the #1 killer of ppl my age.

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from bendigo78 wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

Almost every weapon used to hunt deer was used by the military and law enforcement first. I grew up deer hunting with bolt guns and have grown bored with them in that role. For the last 7 years I've fielded my AR10/AR15's only for deer hunting. My 61 year old father has built and been using an AR10 hunting for the last 3 years. That said the AR10 platform is heavy and awkward for hunting purposes but most are just as accurate as their bolt action counterparts.

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from Kody wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Hope you guys could understand my last comments. I just read them and now realize it is a good thing it is Friday because I need to rest up over the weekend. I am actual pretty literate, I am just too tired some days to demonstrate any control of the language. Sorry about that.

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from Kody wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Hanger18, brother we are on the same page. If you show up in a farmer yard looking foe permission to hunt with an assault rifles on your shoulder, they will not be impressed. What are they manufacturers trying to do? Sell guns to grown up kids who are tiring of their video games and want the real thing. That is fine at the range but spare the animals and don't make a jack ass by showing up in the field to attack whitetail or mule deer with guns that were designed for the military.

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from hanger18 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

66 and shooting/hunting since 11. Only time I ever needed more than a bolt, an 870 or a 1911 was in Viet Nam. Now use a 10-22 for fun & small critters, 870 for birds, 1911 carry, 30-30 lever for everything else. Oh, I forgot.. have a PWS MK216 in 7.62 NATO for tactical use. We'll all standup for anyones right to shoot what ever they want. That said, IMHO, semi-autos are for killing people and targets, not animals. But... if you have to own only one for both deer and bad guys, the MK216 is better for me than any of the twenty listed.

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from Woodland Nome wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I could list a bunch of high powered rifles I'd love to own. I don't own one and I'll prob only own one hopefully two. I've shot some rifles in different actions and weighing there sight pictures out after a shot, the semi auto wins. These rifles ,no. Not going to argue if a follow up shot is needed. I think there is a long way to go with the semi auto style. Some are Almost there.What I,d like to see before I was to buy one is the look of the last 5 rifles and the capacity of the first few in the larger calibers. .338,300win mag,30-06. I'd like to look down my barrel and see some nice hard sights.I would want something that didn't jam As of now that would prob be the Benneli R-1 with 5,10, and 30 round clips. Oh ya they don't make that rifle yet.

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from Smitty18 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Personally i would never buy or use one of these ugly things ever. I am a bolt and pump kinda guy. The only use i see for these that i would be ok with is targets and people who are not invited into a house.

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from Hunter55 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I am an avid coyote hunter, and I use a R-15 with a leupold mark 2 mounted on top. I would dare anyone who predator calls as much as I do to use this weapon. It is great for follow up shots and multiple animals. Having those extra rounds and not having to come off target to run the bolt is a huge advantage. As far as deer hunting, there is really no reason to ever have to shoot more than once, and I enjoy pulling out my old bolt guns for deer season. However if someone wants to hunt whatever with an AR style weapon that is there choice and living in a 'free country' I see no problem with that!

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from Jan Pavelka wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Are we Hunters or Butchers? I am 66 old and hunting for food for last 40 years .Don't care about the trophy's before i go hunting i make sure my gun is sigh in and I will use only 3 rounds for all day hunting, This is my way of life to give game some change . And to i was 48 and my eyes went to i have to get glasses i don't even use a scope .I was hunting i Colorado ,Arizona ,Utah ,and Florida .i have Bushmaster 223 but use it only on range don't see the point to to take it hunting don't have nothing against a semi autos ,and i think this should be use legal for disable people. Like a Crossbow in Bow hunting season. My best gun is Remington 22,250 for predators ,and 30.6 for deer .My all round gun is Ruge300 Winchester magnum M 77MII Stainless all season 300 winchester magnum for rest of the gig game and my back up is 500 S&W with 375 gr ammo. I hunt because I enjoy it and I will stay with the bold action gun only for hunt ,in 70,s i shot more coyotes with the 22 cal Remington Nylon 66 it was great gun and even this was semi auto i newer need 2 or more shots on one live target, Coyotes or rabbits .Keep it clean and simple.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

If the cartridge chosen is adequate for what the person is hunting I don't care if it is an AR style or conventional semi auto. We are all hunters afterall. They aren't for me because I am a bolt action shooter and appreciate walnut and blued steel.

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from marksman wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

By my finger count I only see 7 or 8 different rifles pictured. The rest are all just manufacturer variants of the same weapon base. As a former member of the US military I to am very familiar with the AR base guns, as well as FN and Springfield Armory guns among many others.
Over the past couple hundred years there are many fine firearms that were first designed for the troops but evolved into hunting rifles. It is only natural that the AR base gun goes through this evolution also.
If we all, as hunters, outdoorsmen and women, want to improve our declining image in majority of the non-hunting or worse the anti-hunting persons eye, tame down the "battlefield look" of the "modern hunting rifle". There are few of the guns that are fairly toned down, but several look like they were just taken from the front lines with more tactical mount rails, extended magazines, flash hiders, etc, etc than I would have ever needed. All we are doing is going big game hunting, not raiding some Taliban camp in the Middle East.
I have read all the posts and there are a lot of good points by made by all. Sometimes in order to see the whole picture we have to look and think through the eyes and minds of others.

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from rocco89815 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

To be honest, I'm not against the rising popularity of these AR's, but I don't see -any- advantages over the tried-and-true semi-autos and bolts we grew up with. Follow-up shots? My BAR has 4 at the ready, and a true woodsman shouldn't need more than one. Accuracy? My M77 knocks silver dollars down all day long at 300 yards, which is a distance I only attempt at the range, not in the field. Lightweight? I've got a hand-me-down Mauser that hasn't missed in over 30 years and weighs about 8 pounds. I can understand a varminter using an R-15 or R-25, or anything very similar when the gunning gets hot. But why are these AR's so tactical? I want practical. We're hunters, not Seal Team Six. Maybe I'm just old school. Don't get me wrong, I'll defend to my death everyone's right to these guns, but these black rifles will never have a place in my hunting camp.

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from JM1993 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Personally I would never use an AR type rifle hunting, but I do not see anything wrong with someone else using one.

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from Cycloid wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

The anti-black gun argument is absurd.

You can substitute the word “AR” for the word “scope” or “arrow”, or “musket ball” and pretty quickly understand why you are traveling down the slippery slope. This is America. I can hunt with a bow, a muzzleloader, or a modern firearm. Just like everyone of you, I can shoot my .300 Win Mag reliably out to 500 yards and fill my freezer every year. Personally, I don’t enjoy that kind of hunting. We don’t hunt because of some MOA metric or because the price of our weapon. We hunt because we enjoy it. It’s each hunter’s responsibility to understand the limitations of their ability and their weapon’s ability. Beyond that, who cares if I shoot an SKS or an 1863 Springfield. Go out and enjoy the sport the way you'll enjoy it most.

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from illinoisburt wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Have to agree with MountainMan6 and buckmeister2, would not spend the extra $$ for subpar hunting performance when there are tons of superior bolt guns for lots less. Seems to me most rifle and ammo articles these days are touting the latest and greatest new magnum 1000+ yard supergun. On second though let's not get started on the caliber issue, the 223 for deer thing has been overdone already. Suffice to say that the AR's are pushing their design limits to shoot what we all used to considered minimum cartridges.

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from illinoisburt wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

The semiauto rifle trend is not exactly new. If not for the importation ban of 1994, the SKS may very well have become the everyman deer rifle. It was one of the highest volume rifles sold in US prior to legal restrictions. They were cheap (well under $100 new), reliable, and powerful enough to maybe 150 yards for deer with US hunting ammo. It did not hurt that imported military surplus ammo was $40 for 500 round cases.

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from MountainMan6 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I know this isn't going to be popular, but buckmeister2 said it better than I've ever heard. We need to accept these guns into our hunting culture because they are under constant attack by anti-gunners. Acceptance doesn't make them good hunting guns. I know that we need lots of pictures of people hunting with these guns, and promote them for that purpose for their own good and for the good of all of us who love guns, just not necessarily THESE guns for hunting. I get it, I will buy one, tell people I hunt with it, whatever it takes to support the cause, I'm on board. But between us, why? Why on Earth would you hunt with one of these? For predators, trying to hit a running coyote at 200 yards, trying to nail him before he goes over the hill, sure. But you can't tell me, all of you who have hunted since you were kids, that there isn't something that just looks wrong with a picture of a guy sitting there holding a big, beautiful whitetail buck and one of these rifles in the picture. That was my little rant, but back to what buckmeister said, why one of these over a normal gun? More expensive, more caliber restrictions, and less performance... For example, on the Stag Arms Hunter description, it says "It's acceptably accurate up to 250 yards." ACCEPTABLY ACCURATE UP TO 250 YARDS? OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!!! Where can I get one? What the heck? The rest of this website and magazine these days is devoted almost entirely to MOA talk, 1000 yard ranges, etc, etc, but now we're supposed to buy ths $1000 rifle that is acceptably accurate up to 250 yards. A T/C Venture guarantees MOA accuracy and is $500. Why? Why would you want to hunt with one of these rifles instead of an A-Bolt, 700, 70, Vanguard, 77, etc, etc? Follow-up shots? Brother, if one of your primary concerns with a deer rifle is follow-up shots, you need to work on your hunting and shooting skills, instead of just throwing money at the problem. Again, I'm all for these guns, and if PRETENDING to hunt with them, helps their and in return our, cause, I'll take a dozen. But come on...

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from DV_Scout wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I recently started shooting the new 7.62x40WT (.223 Rem necked up to .30 cal) with 110gr Barnes TTSX and 125gr Sierra Pro Hunter bullets. It has proven itself to be a very effective round on deer and hogs, and shoots sub-MOA. It is just under 7 lbs, 9 lbs loaded and scoped. Recoil is non-existent and follow-up shots are immediate.

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from warriorjock wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

retired scout sniper i hunt with a smith and wesson mp15 m4 i6 in heavy barrel yes its a copy of my spotters weapon have taken two bucks 1 shot each 5.56 /223 caliper partition soft points its light use legal 5 shot clip. i dont worry about getting the wood wet on my bolt guns.also took deer with my saiga ak47 clone 7.62/39 same ballistics as a 30/30 winchester.. my favorite military bolt gun is a mosin nagant 7.62/54 180 grain soft point drops them where they stand..semper fi PS still love my 270

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from Lynn Adams wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Many,I feel, good reasons for semi/AR based hunting rifles. My younger daughter lost all her fingers on her left hand in an accident. She cannot grip a conventional bolt rifle with her left hand in order to work a bolt or pump rifle. The light weight plus action of an ar is workable for her. Another good reason is a quick aimed second shot. Double tap, if you will in mil speak. As I age, I find conventional bolt rifles harder to carry and shoulder, the auto action takes the kick out of the shot, and the weight is easier on my arithtic joints. Having used an AR in the service I like them and I bought one. Now to get our state to allow their hunting use.

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from Cycloid wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I like the article, but John Haughey missed a couple great rifles. The HK 91/ G3 clones are solid performers (PTR at about $1,000 is the top shelf in this category if you don’t want to part with $3,000 for an original HK). The Rock River LAR-8 are good and take the very widely available (and inexpensive) FAL magazines. The SKS/AK variants in 7.62x39 are good for anything up to deer (I can’t recommend the cartridge for elk or dangerous game, although it’s probably been used). Of the .308 class semi-automatic rifles, I like the FAL the most… and it’s probably the most underpriced performer in the 7.62x51 (.308) class. While DSA makes the top shelf rifle ($1,000 to $2,500), you can pick up an (relatively) inexpensive Century for around $600. The only thing cheaper is the Russian Saiga .308 starting around $500.

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from trapper vic wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

This is definately a guy thing. Just look at the selection of AR style rifles. The manufacturer who can come up with the coolest looking military stlye wins. If you collect guns (not a one gun for every thing type), Then you probably have 1 or 2 of these. Whether you hunt, target shoot or just like to display it!

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from buckmeister2 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

If we put aside the "looks" completely, then I cannot see why any of the semi-military weapons would be chosen over the conventional semi-auto rifles reviewed. If used solely for hunting purposes, they are a waste of money. Averaging more than twice as expensive, restictive (mostly inferior) chamberings, and poorer accuracy overall (with obvious exceptions). So, if hunting is the only use of the weapon, why buy the mil-style rifle?

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from rocco89815 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

To be honest, I'm not against the rising popularity of these AR's, but I don't see -any- advantages over the tried-and-true semi-autos and bolts we grew up with. Follow-up shots? My BAR has 4 at the ready, and a true woodsman shouldn't need more than one. Accuracy? My M77 knocks silver dollars down all day long at 300 yards, which is a distance I only attempt at the range, not in the field. Lightweight? I've got a hand-me-down Mauser that hasn't missed in over 30 years and weighs about 8 pounds. I can understand a varminter using an R-15 or R-25, or anything very similar when the gunning gets hot. But why are these AR's so tactical? I want practical. We're hunters, not Seal Team Six. Maybe I'm just old school. Don't get me wrong, I'll defend to my death everyone's right to these guns, but these black rifles will never have a place in my hunting camp.

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from illinoisburt wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Have to agree with MountainMan6 and buckmeister2, would not spend the extra $$ for subpar hunting performance when there are tons of superior bolt guns for lots less. Seems to me most rifle and ammo articles these days are touting the latest and greatest new magnum 1000+ yard supergun. On second though let's not get started on the caliber issue, the 223 for deer thing has been overdone already. Suffice to say that the AR's are pushing their design limits to shoot what we all used to considered minimum cartridges.

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from Jan Pavelka wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Are we Hunters or Butchers? I am 66 old and hunting for food for last 40 years .Don't care about the trophy's before i go hunting i make sure my gun is sigh in and I will use only 3 rounds for all day hunting, This is my way of life to give game some change . And to i was 48 and my eyes went to i have to get glasses i don't even use a scope .I was hunting i Colorado ,Arizona ,Utah ,and Florida .i have Bushmaster 223 but use it only on range don't see the point to to take it hunting don't have nothing against a semi autos ,and i think this should be use legal for disable people. Like a Crossbow in Bow hunting season. My best gun is Remington 22,250 for predators ,and 30.6 for deer .My all round gun is Ruge300 Winchester magnum M 77MII Stainless all season 300 winchester magnum for rest of the gig game and my back up is 500 S&W with 375 gr ammo. I hunt because I enjoy it and I will stay with the bold action gun only for hunt ,in 70,s i shot more coyotes with the 22 cal Remington Nylon 66 it was great gun and even this was semi auto i newer need 2 or more shots on one live target, Coyotes or rabbits .Keep it clean and simple.

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from Hunter55 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I am an avid coyote hunter, and I use a R-15 with a leupold mark 2 mounted on top. I would dare anyone who predator calls as much as I do to use this weapon. It is great for follow up shots and multiple animals. Having those extra rounds and not having to come off target to run the bolt is a huge advantage. As far as deer hunting, there is really no reason to ever have to shoot more than once, and I enjoy pulling out my old bolt guns for deer season. However if someone wants to hunt whatever with an AR style weapon that is there choice and living in a 'free country' I see no problem with that!

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from Kody wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Hanger18, brother we are on the same page. If you show up in a farmer yard looking foe permission to hunt with an assault rifles on your shoulder, they will not be impressed. What are they manufacturers trying to do? Sell guns to grown up kids who are tiring of their video games and want the real thing. That is fine at the range but spare the animals and don't make a jack ass by showing up in the field to attack whitetail or mule deer with guns that were designed for the military.

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from warriorjock wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

retired scout sniper i hunt with a smith and wesson mp15 m4 i6 in heavy barrel yes its a copy of my spotters weapon have taken two bucks 1 shot each 5.56 /223 caliper partition soft points its light use legal 5 shot clip. i dont worry about getting the wood wet on my bolt guns.also took deer with my saiga ak47 clone 7.62/39 same ballistics as a 30/30 winchester.. my favorite military bolt gun is a mosin nagant 7.62/54 180 grain soft point drops them where they stand..semper fi PS still love my 270

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from MountainMan6 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I know this isn't going to be popular, but buckmeister2 said it better than I've ever heard. We need to accept these guns into our hunting culture because they are under constant attack by anti-gunners. Acceptance doesn't make them good hunting guns. I know that we need lots of pictures of people hunting with these guns, and promote them for that purpose for their own good and for the good of all of us who love guns, just not necessarily THESE guns for hunting. I get it, I will buy one, tell people I hunt with it, whatever it takes to support the cause, I'm on board. But between us, why? Why on Earth would you hunt with one of these? For predators, trying to hit a running coyote at 200 yards, trying to nail him before he goes over the hill, sure. But you can't tell me, all of you who have hunted since you were kids, that there isn't something that just looks wrong with a picture of a guy sitting there holding a big, beautiful whitetail buck and one of these rifles in the picture. That was my little rant, but back to what buckmeister said, why one of these over a normal gun? More expensive, more caliber restrictions, and less performance... For example, on the Stag Arms Hunter description, it says "It's acceptably accurate up to 250 yards." ACCEPTABLY ACCURATE UP TO 250 YARDS? OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!!! Where can I get one? What the heck? The rest of this website and magazine these days is devoted almost entirely to MOA talk, 1000 yard ranges, etc, etc, but now we're supposed to buy ths $1000 rifle that is acceptably accurate up to 250 yards. A T/C Venture guarantees MOA accuracy and is $500. Why? Why would you want to hunt with one of these rifles instead of an A-Bolt, 700, 70, Vanguard, 77, etc, etc? Follow-up shots? Brother, if one of your primary concerns with a deer rifle is follow-up shots, you need to work on your hunting and shooting skills, instead of just throwing money at the problem. Again, I'm all for these guns, and if PRETENDING to hunt with them, helps their and in return our, cause, I'll take a dozen. But come on...

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from marksman wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

By my finger count I only see 7 or 8 different rifles pictured. The rest are all just manufacturer variants of the same weapon base. As a former member of the US military I to am very familiar with the AR base guns, as well as FN and Springfield Armory guns among many others.
Over the past couple hundred years there are many fine firearms that were first designed for the troops but evolved into hunting rifles. It is only natural that the AR base gun goes through this evolution also.
If we all, as hunters, outdoorsmen and women, want to improve our declining image in majority of the non-hunting or worse the anti-hunting persons eye, tame down the "battlefield look" of the "modern hunting rifle". There are few of the guns that are fairly toned down, but several look like they were just taken from the front lines with more tactical mount rails, extended magazines, flash hiders, etc, etc than I would have ever needed. All we are doing is going big game hunting, not raiding some Taliban camp in the Middle East.
I have read all the posts and there are a lot of good points by made by all. Sometimes in order to see the whole picture we have to look and think through the eyes and minds of others.

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from Smitty18 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Personally i would never buy or use one of these ugly things ever. I am a bolt and pump kinda guy. The only use i see for these that i would be ok with is targets and people who are not invited into a house.

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from Woodland Nome wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I could list a bunch of high powered rifles I'd love to own. I don't own one and I'll prob only own one hopefully two. I've shot some rifles in different actions and weighing there sight pictures out after a shot, the semi auto wins. These rifles ,no. Not going to argue if a follow up shot is needed. I think there is a long way to go with the semi auto style. Some are Almost there.What I,d like to see before I was to buy one is the look of the last 5 rifles and the capacity of the first few in the larger calibers. .338,300win mag,30-06. I'd like to look down my barrel and see some nice hard sights.I would want something that didn't jam As of now that would prob be the Benneli R-1 with 5,10, and 30 round clips. Oh ya they don't make that rifle yet.

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from hanger18 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

66 and shooting/hunting since 11. Only time I ever needed more than a bolt, an 870 or a 1911 was in Viet Nam. Now use a 10-22 for fun & small critters, 870 for birds, 1911 carry, 30-30 lever for everything else. Oh, I forgot.. have a PWS MK216 in 7.62 NATO for tactical use. We'll all standup for anyones right to shoot what ever they want. That said, IMHO, semi-autos are for killing people and targets, not animals. But... if you have to own only one for both deer and bad guys, the MK216 is better for me than any of the twenty listed.

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from Bergy wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

now days you can pick up a ar-15 for 800 out door and i see no problem hunting with one because no mater what gun a person uses hunting ethics are how you are raised , one shot one kill should be the head rule not the law .you can never change greed or stupid

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from pittrehab wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I bought the Remington 750 woodmaster last Aug. for a hunt out west. From day one I had problems with it dry firing. It cost me two monster bucks. I sent it back to Remington Feb. 17th and got it back June 19th. They replaced the receiver. I am no longer a life long Remington fan...

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from Bob Hansen wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Hi...

Well, I gotta say that most of those models...and their prices...didn't impress me at all...!!

The BAR seemed okay though, as did two others.

I'm more from the old school...give me a .35, or even an .30 M1 Carbine. Put a 20 or 30 round clip in the M1 (you could, back then) and you were all ready for targets or varments. Even had good luck deer hunting with the carbine...one at 300 yards.

Was one of the most favored guns I ever owned.

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from GodisLove wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

Living in southeast Alaska, I can tell you the semi autos have their place. I do alpine hikes and other hunts over very rugged terrain and being able to have something with a more tactical design is very useful. Glacier rivers, steep mountains and thick brsuh demand a more versatile hunting weapon than can be used in the worst weather conditions possbile. But the biggest reason for a semi auto would be protection, I need something that will stop bears, and fast. I usually lug around my big revolver but it would be nice to have the combination of my hunting rifle and protection gun in one. Though they may not be the pratical gun everywhere, Semi autos in the big game caliber are useful in the islands of Southeast Alaska. God bless.

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from handicapped hunter wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

hello guys been gone for awhile i got me a new ar 10 in three o eight i luv it havnt shot it yet mywife got it for xmas for me

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from Kody wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Hope you guys could understand my last comments. I just read them and now realize it is a good thing it is Friday because I need to rest up over the weekend. I am actual pretty literate, I am just too tired some days to demonstrate any control of the language. Sorry about that.

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from bendigo78 wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

Almost every weapon used to hunt deer was used by the military and law enforcement first. I grew up deer hunting with bolt guns and have grown bored with them in that role. For the last 7 years I've fielded my AR10/AR15's only for deer hunting. My 61 year old father has built and been using an AR10 hunting for the last 3 years. That said the AR10 platform is heavy and awkward for hunting purposes but most are just as accurate as their bolt action counterparts.

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from Josey wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Where's Ruger Mini 14 and Mini 30 and Mini 6.8SPC?

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from Ruger Dude wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I got an R25 recently. I really like it. I saw the comment about not agreeing or understanding why we would use an AR to hunt. I have reasons. #1 I like it. #2 if it shoots true and does a clean kill, who cares if it ain't what my grandpaw used. I also don't ride a mule.

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from Tim Tate wrote 1 year 36 weeks ago

I also saw the AR comments. I love my AR-15 for hunting deer inside of 300 yards. 1 in 7" twist and 70gr Barnes triple shocks dropped two in their tracks last season. I also really like my R-25 in 308, but it is a little heavy (close to 11# with the scope).

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from HandsomeHunter wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I am always shocked when I see the bias against Ar-style rifles by those who are becoming the minority in rifle ownership/hunting. Ar15 and Ar10 platforms are built in calibers more than adequate for all types of hunting with models available that will give many bolt actions a run for theirmoney if not top them. Of the boltguns that far outperform the ARs, howmany are owned by a shooter that can actually make use of the performance? It is like the average driver in a corvette, can he really make use of all that performance. So why criticze a fellow hunter's choice of gun? If you believe an AR puts someone at a disadvantage in the hunt, why do you criticize the hunter yet applaud a bow or muzzleloader hunter for taking the hard road?

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from rogerdee123 wrote 45 weeks 3 days ago

I have two ARs and also guns handed down by father and grandfather. I deer hunt with my dad's 30-06 bolt action or 30-30 lever action I was given as a graduation present. I like the AR's too but prefer not to hunt with them. It's a personal choice. What drives me up the wall is seeing guys with their AR's loaded with 20 or 30 rd mags and another mag or two in their pack. Also in recent years lots more rapid fire gunshots in the deer woods and this bothers me. For the guy in Arizona or Alaska who hunts and also need protection, OK I can understand you're needing a hi-capacity mag. Also for the one shot clean kill hunter with the AR, I have no problem with you hunting with an AR. But all these "hunters" spraying the woods with rapid fire and this is mostly using AR's or other military weapons, you're ruining the hunting environment as well as the image for the 'real hunters'. Also I hope these forums don't turn into political cat fights, bashing one political party or one president or another. We're all brothers and fellow hunters and and gun lovers too and there's room for all our opinions without going off the deep end and causing bad feelings among us. There are other forums for our political opinions.

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from trapper vic wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

This is definately a guy thing. Just look at the selection of AR style rifles. The manufacturer who can come up with the coolest looking military stlye wins. If you collect guns (not a one gun for every thing type), Then you probably have 1 or 2 of these. Whether you hunt, target shoot or just like to display it!

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from Cycloid wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I like the article, but John Haughey missed a couple great rifles. The HK 91/ G3 clones are solid performers (PTR at about $1,000 is the top shelf in this category if you don’t want to part with $3,000 for an original HK). The Rock River LAR-8 are good and take the very widely available (and inexpensive) FAL magazines. The SKS/AK variants in 7.62x39 are good for anything up to deer (I can’t recommend the cartridge for elk or dangerous game, although it’s probably been used). Of the .308 class semi-automatic rifles, I like the FAL the most… and it’s probably the most underpriced performer in the 7.62x51 (.308) class. While DSA makes the top shelf rifle ($1,000 to $2,500), you can pick up an (relatively) inexpensive Century for around $600. The only thing cheaper is the Russian Saiga .308 starting around $500.

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from Cycloid wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

The anti-black gun argument is absurd.

You can substitute the word “AR” for the word “scope” or “arrow”, or “musket ball” and pretty quickly understand why you are traveling down the slippery slope. This is America. I can hunt with a bow, a muzzleloader, or a modern firearm. Just like everyone of you, I can shoot my .300 Win Mag reliably out to 500 yards and fill my freezer every year. Personally, I don’t enjoy that kind of hunting. We don’t hunt because of some MOA metric or because the price of our weapon. We hunt because we enjoy it. It’s each hunter’s responsibility to understand the limitations of their ability and their weapon’s ability. Beyond that, who cares if I shoot an SKS or an 1863 Springfield. Go out and enjoy the sport the way you'll enjoy it most.

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from JM1993 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Personally I would never use an AR type rifle hunting, but I do not see anything wrong with someone else using one.

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from hornd wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Now I see why they call it "Overkill". There has to be a psychological effect knowing followup shots are only a trigger pull away. I like making the 1st shot count, therefore I use a bolt. A tack driving T/C or Savage is less than $500 but most of the tactical rifles are $1000 or more. Ethically I see a 223 fired downrange as a 223, regardless of what it came out of. I never get in my car and think of it as a death trap either, but it's probably the #1 killer of ppl my age.

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from HandsomeHunter wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

All other reasons for choosing/not choosing an AR-style or other autoloader for hunting, let me run another reason by you guys.Living in Az, I can tell you that we can sometimes face "problems" the average hunter in let's say Montana or Kansas wouldn't dream of. I am not claiming that this happens to everyone but it does happen, especially to those of us that hunt southern Az. Once, while deer hunting south of Tucson with a Ruger No1 (singleshot rifle), I saw and was seen by 3 Mexican gentlemen. One was carrying a rifle, the other two carried heavy backpacks (drug mules). The guy pulling security began firing at me, forcing me to fire back but even though I enjoyed the advantage of owning the high ground, it was kind of hard to gain fire superiority with a single shot versus a semiauto AK variant.Another time, I was followed by 3 to 4 men during a night varmint hunt. Luckily, I had night vision and they did not,so I was able to go dark and let them walk past me, speaking spanish about the gringo they were going to shoot. Needless to say, I now hunt with an AR chambered in 223 and 6.5 depending on what I am offered and carry spare hi-cap mags, just in case along with a Glock 19 and a fully stocked blow-out kit. Mostly hunting alone, I have learned not to go out unprepared. Unfortunately, between the president, the media, and people in denial, most of the country doesn't know how bad things can get around the border. So, in other words, until you've taken a stroll around Patagonia Lake in southern Az,looking for Coues whitetails or quail hunting on the east-side of the Catalina Mountains, alone, don't criticize my selection of long guns. Adios amigo!

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from buckmeister2 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

If we put aside the "looks" completely, then I cannot see why any of the semi-military weapons would be chosen over the conventional semi-auto rifles reviewed. If used solely for hunting purposes, they are a waste of money. Averaging more than twice as expensive, restictive (mostly inferior) chamberings, and poorer accuracy overall (with obvious exceptions). So, if hunting is the only use of the weapon, why buy the mil-style rifle?

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from Lynn Adams wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Many,I feel, good reasons for semi/AR based hunting rifles. My younger daughter lost all her fingers on her left hand in an accident. She cannot grip a conventional bolt rifle with her left hand in order to work a bolt or pump rifle. The light weight plus action of an ar is workable for her. Another good reason is a quick aimed second shot. Double tap, if you will in mil speak. As I age, I find conventional bolt rifles harder to carry and shoulder, the auto action takes the kick out of the shot, and the weight is easier on my arithtic joints. Having used an AR in the service I like them and I bought one. Now to get our state to allow their hunting use.

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from DV_Scout wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I recently started shooting the new 7.62x40WT (.223 Rem necked up to .30 cal) with 110gr Barnes TTSX and 125gr Sierra Pro Hunter bullets. It has proven itself to be a very effective round on deer and hogs, and shoots sub-MOA. It is just under 7 lbs, 9 lbs loaded and scoped. Recoil is non-existent and follow-up shots are immediate.

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from illinoisburt wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

The semiauto rifle trend is not exactly new. If not for the importation ban of 1994, the SKS may very well have become the everyman deer rifle. It was one of the highest volume rifles sold in US prior to legal restrictions. They were cheap (well under $100 new), reliable, and powerful enough to maybe 150 yards for deer with US hunting ammo. It did not hurt that imported military surplus ammo was $40 for 500 round cases.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

If the cartridge chosen is adequate for what the person is hunting I don't care if it is an AR style or conventional semi auto. We are all hunters afterall. They aren't for me because I am a bolt action shooter and appreciate walnut and blued steel.

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from Lee Nancie Bryant wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

The Benelli R1 with ComforTech® is currently available in .30-06, .300 Win. Mag., and the latest addition—the .338 Winchester Magnum.

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from 270REM wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I used to hunt with only a remington 700 for whitetail until the HOGS.I hunt four different properties,two have pigs,two do not.Two properties I still only use the 700 bolt gun durring gun season,but on the other two I use my AR in a 6.8 SPC.The 6.8 is plenty for deer and pigs.I have had as many as 12 pigs on me at once so the extra magazine cappacity is nice.Also one property has a few packs of cayotes arround.

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from Charles Brown wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

I appreciate this article. To be honest I am not a hunter; I am actually researching .308 home-defense rifles. But the information in the article is still relevant and I appreciated the line-up. I'm leaning towards the FNH FNAR since the 20" barrel version is a good buy (about $1050) at my local dealer. The 16" short barrel depicted in the article has gone allocated and is about $500 more so I will pass on that model. The FNAR doesn't have iron sights but I was thinking of using holographic sights for a home defense gun anyway. Thanks for the informative article.

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from Jean Jones wrote 1 year 2 weeks ago

I cant believe that in a hunting website post there are so many negative comments towards ar type rifles ,.. specially when done by supposed hunters. many old guys here have their style developed according to their experience and most of this single action rifles they so praise where used in the military before. Times are changing and you cant expect a young guy from this days to accept your old minds tastes. If you were raised in this age you would want an ar just as any other kid. They are not looking into the follow shot as you are they are just liking what belongs to this age. We are in the 21 century ,.. not in the 1970s . You should respect the right of others to hunt whith whatever they seem fit as you did in your time and stop commenting bad about this rifles, specially in a time where the democrats want to take all guns away. This was not an issue 30 years ago but it is now. Show some respect for democracy and liberty in the real sense of it as many of these young guys already have given their lives in the field in this recent conflicts. You are not only being unpatriotic. You are becoming democrats which is way worse. I think these democrats trolls are invading all media as the gays are doing in their propaganda to get this country to hell. Stop the nonsense. I am all for everyones right to hunt with whatever they like and feel good.Enough said.

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from bellamgs wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

just reading this. Was the editor asleep on this? pic 13 shows the mcmillin m-1a and they say its an ar. This rifle is not, an ar. it is a garand action. Just because you put a pic rail on a gun dosn't make it an ar. I personally own a rifle with a garand action and I prefer it to an AR. It's like an anvil. Its more durable than even an ak.

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