The AR-15 rifle is a popular choice for self defense and shooting sports, but in recent years, the rifle is being embraced by a new demographic: hunters.
A standard AR rifle, that is, the civilian equivalent of the US military’s M16/M4 rifles, will generally perform sufficiently as-is for hunters, but just a few adjustments could make it a perfect hunting AR-15. In 2008, Remington released its own version of the AR-15 rifle called the “R-15”. I consider it the first AR style rifle branded specifically for hunters. Remington added all the ideal features to turn the standard AR-15 into a great hunting rifle.
Hunters have two options when buying an AR-15. They can either buy a hunting branded AR-15, such as the R-15, or they can buy custom parts for an AR-15 to suit their hunting needs. I will briefly identify some of the most important characteristics I appreciate in my own hunting AR-15s?
A fixed stock is important because it will insure a consistent shooting simply because there is less moving parts compared to an adjustable stock.
Hunting AR-15 barrels are typically heavier and thicker than regular AR-15 barrels. Most hunting barrels also feature a recessed crown at the tip of barrel, which allows the expanding gasses (from firing a round) to escape more uniformly from of the barrel, improving accuracy. Another difference of hunting AR-15 rifles is they typically have a 20 inch, or longer, barrel instead of the mil-spec 16” barrel.
My ideal hunting AR-15 would have a picatinny rail for mounting scopes/sights, preferably, a long picatinny rail that extends onto the barrel to give me a more options for where I want to position a scope/sight. Hunters also need precise sights, so they may be likely to opt for quality telescopic sights.
Many hunting AR-15s will have a crisp single stage trigger, which removes any “slop” during the pull. However, some hunters, like myself, prefer a two stage trigger because the pull is a bit smoother.
Last but, not least: camouflage. Okay, yeah, maybe it is the least important element of a hunting AR-15 hunting rifle, but it is the most distinctive trait. Gun manufacturers typically give their hunting rifles a camo finish, which seems to serve the purpose of helping customers to identify the firearm as a hunting rifle, more than anything else.
If you decide to build your own AR-15 hunting rifle, remember that none of these features are necessarily crucial for hunting, but they ought to help improve accuracy and comfort when using your AR-15. Also the features mentioned here are just a few of the most important parts, to me, on a hunting AR-15. There are plenty more customizable parts for ARs that may work even better for you. Most importantly, build your rifle for your own hunting needs. It’s your rifle after all. Make it how you like it.
Featured image courtesy of rifleshooter.com