The debate is moot. Regardless of what you think or how you feel about using semi-automatic guns for hunting, autoloaders and AR-style rifles are becoming more common in camps and virtually every major manufacturer is producing these guns in calibers heavy enough to drop deer, hogs and bears. Not to mention the fact that they're a blast on the range.
But what's the real difference between an AR and a semi-automatic rifle? It's seminal, and aesthetic. ARs were initially designed by ArmaLite Inc. -- hence the AR designation -- as civilian versions of military rifles, while the other semi-autos in this review were developed first and foremost as hunting or competitive shooting firearms. However, as ARs continue to grow in popularity as hunting rifles and semi-auto hunting rifle makers continue to borrow features from the AR world (synthetic stocks, detachable magazines) trying to separate the types of guns on a philosophical level is an exercise in futility. Both rifles fire a single bullet each time the trigger is pulled and they both automatically eject the spent cartridge and chamber in a new one. But from a technical standpoint, the two types of guns work off of a different platform and generally look different.
With that in mind, we round up 20 great semi-automatic rifles chambered in .30 RAR/6.8 SPC Spec II caliber cartridges and heavier. We cover ARs in slides 2-16 and autoloaders in slides 17-20. This is by no means a complete list. If we left your favorite gun out, make sure to add it in the comments section!