Buying a new hunting rifle is a serious investment.
A poor choice can seriously affect your future success.
These seven tips well help you make the right decision.
What rifles are legal in your hunting area?
The first step to purchasing any hunting rifle purchase is making sure it'll be legal for the game you chase. Here in Ohio, straight-walled firearm cartridges from .357-.50 caliber are legal for centerfire hunting rifles.
What distances will you normally be targeting game at?
If you're hunting in brush country, something with a little more punch is ideal. Now, if you're hunting out in the open country, your brush-busting, big-bore caliber rifle is going to fall short, so a flat-shooting rifle with a powerful scope would be more appropriate.
What calibers best fit your game?
While there have been instances of a lowly .22 Long Rifle cartridge dropping a bear, it's a fool's folly. You want to make sure the caliber of your rifle is appropriate for the kind of game you're hunting. If you have an interest in hunting bigger game, make sure you buy something that can get the job done. If you're looking to hunt smaller game, don't overdo it.
What calibers can you shoot without flinching?
Do you need a .458 Lott to drop a deer-sized game animal? No. Can you rifle from any regular hunting positions without flinching? Probably not. The good ol' .30-06 Government, .308 Winchester or .270 Winchester cartridges might be a better all-around picks.
What's your budget look like?
Do you have limited funds to spend on hunting? That's OK, as there are ways around that. You can still pick a quality rifle without the frills. Similarly, go ahead and look for something in an easy-to-find, cheaper caliber.
What type of action suits you best?
Many hunters only want bolt-action, lever-action or single-shot rifles for chasing game. Others prefer a "one-sound" semiautomatic rifle for fast follow-up shots. As long as it's legal in your area, the choice is yours. But I'd recommend going for whatever you shoot the most comfortably and accurately.
Synthetic or wood furniture? Stainless or blued steel?
Traditional hunters might decry any rifle other than a high-gloss wood stock and a blued action and barrel. Others might love a synthetic-stocked, stainless-steel-barreled rifle that sheds rain, snow and sleet without the extra maintenance. Many hunters are now trending toward the modern hunting rifles, such as the AR-15 variants. They're available in anything from .22 Long Rifle to the .50 Beowulf. They're indeed good rifles to hunt with, and tough as nails.
It all comes down to personal preference, though.
Do you like articles about the outdoors? Click here to view more articles by Eric Nestor. You can follow him @ericthewoodsman on Twitter, The Classic Woodsman on Facebook, and @theclassicwoodsman on Instagram. You can view more Nestor Photography photos at Nestor Photography.