A successful hunt depends on several factors, but your hunting rifle is one of the vital factors. Every good rifle hunter understands that choosing a hunting rifle that fits your style and the game you intend to kill is more than going to a rifle store to pick one that appeals to you.
If you’re heading to buy your first hunting rifle, here are five tips to help you make the right choice.
1. Do your Research
Before buying your first rifle, you need to do adequate research and read reviews on hunting rifles before going to the shop. You can decide which models you prefer and read about them for streamlined research.
Check manufacturer’s websites and different online forums, including other information sources, to understand the dynamics of the rifles you want to buy. You can also talk to a trusted gunsmith or a friend knowledgeable about guns for their opinion.
2. Select the Right Hunting Rifle Cartridge
Big games usually need guns in special hunting collections. Rifle cartridges, also called bullets, are central to every hunting trip and rifle. Every gun has specific cartridges it can shoot, and you have to factor in whether you would be shooting a big game.
Since you’re new to hunting, you may want a basic hunting setup. A gun designed to shoot a .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, or .30-06 Springfield is a good option. Most people hunting for varmints and small game opt for an essential .223 or .22 Remington but ensure your cartridge is powerful enough to get a game in one shot.
3. Choose an Action Plan
The rifle action removes fired cartridges and loads new ones. In hunting rifles, the action can either fire single or repeated shots. Your preference will determine which action type you choose. Rifles with single bullets are better for some hunters, but others prefer rifles with repeating shots to reduce pressu re. However, repeating shots is more suitable for new hunters.
The option for single-shot rifles includes trapdoor, rolling block, falling back, and break-open. Automatic rifles, pump-action, lever-action, and bolt-action are common repeating shots options.
4. Check the materials
Hunting rifles are available at a wide range of prices. This may be good if you are on a budget, but you need to know how to differentiate between the good, affordable rifles from the plain options.
Buying a rifle is an investment for your hunting experience, and you don’t want to waste your time and resources getting the wrong one.
Most rifles are made with carbon steel or stainless steel. Carbon steel rifles are usually cheaper but rust faster than stainless steel. However, if you regularly maintain your carbon steel rifle, it should last longer.
For stock, your options are fiberglass or wood. These are good options, provided you maintain them properly. Wood stock requires keenness to cho ose a good one. Other stocks available are made with materials such as walnut. And though walnut stocks are durable, they are more expensive.
5. Invest in Rifle Optics
Many hunters choose good rifles but do not budget for a rifle scope. While budgeting for your hunting rifle, do not forget to budget for optics if you want to have a fully functional rifle.
Rifle optics are usually between 50 – 100% of the amount spent on the rifle. If you have a scope, ensure you mount, site, and get comfortable with it before going hunting.
Being a good hunter is more than choosing a hunting location and hauling your weapons to the desired location. You need to carefully invest in your essentials to have a successful hunt. A rifle is every hunter’s best friend during hunting, and you have to get the perfect one that suits your style.