You Can Hunt Almost Anything on the Planet With Just These 4 Guns

For many of us, firearms are nothing more than tools that serve a specific hunting purpose. We don't yearn for the sense of accomplishment that comes with collecting a variety of historically significant rifles or an arsenal of tactical weaponry. We have a job that requires specific hardware, and our gun shopping is usually intended to only meet those needs. What if, instead of spending all your money buying new hunting guns, you could just spend that money on additional hunting time instead? If we're speaking your language, this list is for you.

Let the record show, however, I'm not the kind of guy who will ever try to talk you out of buying a new gun. But let's face it: guns cost a lot of money. Well, if you own just the four hunting guns on this list, you can hunt any animal in the world under virtually any circumstances.

Pretty simple, right? That's right: with the following collection of just four hunting guns, you can ethically take any animal from squirrels to elephants. So if you can find a way to afford each of these firearms, you'll never have to purchase a firearm again (unless you just want to).

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Remington Model 870 12-Gauge Shotgun

Remington 870


A good hunting shotgun is an integral piece of any hunter's firearm collection. In addition to being a great home-defense weapon, a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun like the Remington Model 870 (or the Mossberg 500, if that's more your cup of tea) with a 3-inch chamber is an excellent choice for hunting, too.

Not only is the Remington Model 870 very reasonably priced and extremely reliable, but it's super versatile. If you purchase a 3-inch model with interchangeable choke tubes, you can use both 2 3/4-inch and 3-inch shells to hunt basically any type of bird: doves, quail, chukars, grouse, pheasants, turkeys, ducks, geese, etc.

The Remington 870 is also a perfect choice for hunting small game, such as rabbits and squirrels. And, if you load it with buckshot, it can serve as a deadly hunting shotgun for big game, like deer and feral hogs, at close range. A buckshot-loaded 12-gauge is a go-to choice for those who like to execute deer drives or those who live in states that allow the use of dogs on deer hunts.

Finally, you can also easily change out the barrel and install a rifled barrel with better sights, which will offer you a fantastic slug gun that can reach out to those big game animals at longer ranges.

While a shotgun is very powerful and versatile, it does have a couple major shortcomings, chiefly a limited effective range. However, the next firearms on this list will bridge the gap for you.

Ruger 10/22 Rifle

ruger 10/22


Although there's a little bit of overlap in capabilities between the Ruger 10/22 and a good hunting shotgun, the 10/22 is still a solid addition to any collection of hunting guns and has some important advantages over a shotgun. First of all, it offers you more range. But it's also generally smaller and lighter than a shotgun—as is the ammunition—and it's far quieter than a 12-gauge. In that same vein, there are also subsonic rounds available for the .22, which are ideal for people who don't want to make too much noise when hunting or shooting. It certainly isn't silent by any means, but a suppressed .22 rifle shooting subsonic rounds is shockingly quiet.

Finally, it's also just a good idea in general to keep some kind of .22-caliber gun in your collection for the sheer practicality, especially when it comes to storage and practice. It's gone up in price in recent years and can sometimes be difficult to find, but .22 LR is still the cheapest ammo around these days. This means you can have a blast out at the range without breaking the bank. Similarly, you can stock up for multiple hunting seasons to come, saving yourself a bunch of trips for a few years. And, with the rounds being smaller, the ammo doesn't occupy a giant chunk of your safe or closet.

When it comes to .22 rifles, it can be hard to sift through the best choices available as there are simply so many. But, while there are a bunch of high-quality, bolt-action, single-shot and semi-auto .22-caliber rifles with strong reputations, the Ruger 10/22 has cemented itself as an American fan favorite. Small, lightweight and very reliable, the semi-automatic 10/22 is great for small game and varmint hunting.

Some hunters might be tempted to substitute a more powerful varmint rifle in a cartridge like .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, or .204 Ruger in place of the Ruger 10/22. There's not necessarily anything wrong making that switch (it is your gun collection after all), but while those cartridges are more powerful and have a longer effective range than the .22 LR, they're also much more expensive and louder, too.

So, just make sure to weigh all the pros and cons.

Remington Model 700 in .30-06 Springfield

Remington 700 .30-06


There are plenty of rifles out there that are suitable for deer hunting, and just as many calibers that could fill this role in your collection. However, with a good .30-06 hunting rifle, one can hunt the vast majority of big game in the world. Where a .270 Winchester might feel too light for some game animals and a .300 Winchester Magnum might feel a little strong, a .30-06 falls right in the sweet spot of versatility.

In terms of the rifle, the Remington Model 700 is a perfect choice for a hunter who wants a practical and versatile, yet still reasonably priced hunting rifle. After all, there's a reason it's the most popular hunting rifle in the United States: it's accurate, affordable, reliable, and easy to use.

Some hunters are understandably hesitant about purchasing a Remington Model 700 after the recall of some Remington 700 rifles and the announcement the company filed for bankruptcy. So, it's fine if you don't feel comfortable using this particular firearm, and there are fortunately a bunch of other good choices out there for someone who wants a nice .30-06 hunting rifle. In fact, there are so many solid choices, it's actually really tough to label any one of them as "the best .30-06 rifle."

Just to name a few, the Savage 110, the Browning X-Bolt, the Winchester Model 70, and the Ruger Hawkeye have all earned a reputation for reliability among hunters. But, regardless of the exact .30-06 hunting rifle you choose, you'll have the ability to take an incredibly wide variety of game animals like mule and whitetail deer, pronghorn, black bear, feral hogs, elk, mountain goat, sheep, moose, sheep, zebra, kudu, zebra, eland, red deer, and dozens of other species.

Though the exact definition of long-range hunting varies from person to person, in the hands of a skilled marksman, a quality .30-06 hunting rifle is also capable of excellent accuracy from incredible distances. In fact, 300-400-yard shots (perhaps even more with the right finger on the trigger) are well within the capabilities of this rifle.

Another advantage of the .30-06 is that there are a wide variety of bullet types and weights available on the market. While most .30-06 bullets are in the 150-180-grain weight range, it is possible to find them as light at 110-grain and as heavy as 220-grain, making the caliber incredibly versatile for big-game hunting.

CZ-550 American Safari Magnum in .375 H&H Magnum

CZ 550


While many hunters will never have a need for anything larger than the .30-06, the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum is a must-have for anyone thinking about hunting large or dangerous game and wants a gun they can trust. This cartridge is significantly more powerful than the .30-06, but still has a manageable amount of recoil. A hunter armed with a .375 H&H is capable of taking down even the biggest, toughest animals in the world like cape buffalo and elephants in Africa or brown bears in Alaska.

However, a .375 H&H bolt-action rifle is useful on many other species of game, too. While the .30-06 Springfield will absolutely work for hunting moose, elk, caribou, red stag, or similar-sized animals, the larger .375 H&H has much more stopping power and offers a little more room for error. That said, it still isn't "too much gun" for those animals.

In fact, a .375 H&H rifle shooting non-expanding bullets is a very popular choice for hunting the Tiny 10 species of pygmy antelope because it'll ethically take these small and delicate animals, but cause surprisingly little damage to their hides. The same is true for many species of African plains game, like impalas or zebras, when using a controlled-expansion bullet.

If you only could take one hunting rifle to Africa to pursue the widest possible range of game, a bolt-action .375 H&H would be my recommendation.

Like what you see? You can read more great articles by John McAdams on the Big Game Hunting BlogLearn more about the Alberta bear hunts Big Game Hunting Adventures offers on their web site or follow them on Facebook & YouTube.