The AR15 has gotten a bad reputation in the past for looking like an assault rifle. Regardless it remains an extremely popular firearm and a common sight at the shooting range. And increasingly, people and governments are waking up to the fact that it’s not just good for targets and home defense — it makes an incredibly useful hunting rifle.
So if you’ve got an AR15 collecting dust in your closet, and you hunt in an enlightened jurisdiction, it’s time to break it out, clean it up and customize it for the next hunting season. Read on to learn how you can you use an AR15 for hunting.
Customization is key
The biggest perk when it comes to using an AR as a hunting rifle is the fact that it’s easily one of the most customizable guns on the market today. You can modify, replace and customize nearly every part of the weapon.
For hunting, there are four components you should consider:
You can switch your AR15’s barrel between 16, 18 and 20 inch options, though 20 inches is likely your best bet for hunting. The longer barrel provides more accuracy and overall velocity. The trade off is that it can be a bit heavier in the hand, something to be aware of if you’re carting your hardware over long distances. And sometimes a smaller barrel has its benefits for the quarry and environment (see below).
- Upper receiver
A stripped upper receiver is the ultimate tool for customization. It’s essentially the shell of the top half of the weapon, allowing you to add your own barrel, forend and bolt/bolt carrier. You can buy it fully assembled as well, but the stripped version makes it easier to build the perfect hunting rifle.