More and more hunters are taking up semi-automatic arms in the name of hunting. While the lever gun and the bolt-action rifle have ruled the deer woods uncontested for generations, a new breed of hunter is on the rise. One that accepts sporterized platforms, like the AR-15, into the fold.
Granted, sporting rifles make more sense in some scenarios than others. For example, some states, like Pennsylvania, don’t allow semi-automatic rifles for hunting. Otherwise, the fact that the AR-15 is available in so many capable chamberings (like .223 Rem and .300 Blackout) make it highly desirable for pursuing game species.
Sporting rifles also have the distinction of being equally capable of making rapid follow-up shots as they do of being long-range machines, two traits that most repeaters cannot handle with equal facility.
What this comes down to is a simple fact. The AR-15, variants, and similar sporting rifles can make highly practical hunting platforms, especially when paired with the right gun accessories.
Just what exactly you should choose will depend on the seasons you hunt, but consider tacking these onto your AR-15 this Fall and see how it can improve your experience afield.
Optics (depending on what you hunt)
There are two broad classes of optics that are going to apply to hunters, and just what you should choose will depend on what you hunt. Generally speaking, though, the best classes of optics for most hunters are scopes and reflex sights, specifically red dot sights.
Scopes are ideal for hunters pursuing large game, especially large game that will be taken at distances over 100 yards. A scope, when zeroed properly and used with familiar loads, will enable precise shot placement that will enable ethical kills. On the other end of the spectrum, small game hunters, such as those chasing foxes and squirrels, require equally precise (if not more precise shot place). For example, AR hunters chasing bushy tails with a .22 will need to make contact with a vital area that is about the size of a quarter. Good enough is not good enough, but a reliable scope can turn over clean shots, time and time again.
By contrast, red dot sights might be more practical for hunters chasing game through the very thick country with quick, reflexive shots and follow-up shots may be necessary. Close-country coyote hunters and hog hunters may need to make quick shots in succession, and the clear sight picture and low-light friendless of red dot sights are great for that.
For long-range hunters: a bipod (or shooting sticks)
For hunters that chase game on foot of great distances with the hope of getting perhaps a single shot at a far-off elk bull or a mountain goat need a stable shooting rest to operate from. A scope alone is necessary to connect with the vitals on far off game, but not sufficient for making the shot.
Anyone who routinely hunts large game over long distances with a sporting rifle should seriously consider a folding bipod. There are plenty of lightweight bipods out there that can easily attach the handguard or the sling mounts on an AR, which will fold up and out of the way until needed. They can also provide a stable shooting platform that’s necessary for taking long-distance shots.
Cover it up
Hunters that go after highly cautious species like predators would do well to cover up the telltale marks of their rifles. Gun camouflage is not a single gun accessory, but rather a collection of accessories or products that can help to break up the outline of your equipment so you can remain hidden.
There are stocks, grips, and handguards you can buy in a wide range of camo patterns that can easily be added to your rifle in order to make it less visible in the field. You can also add non-marking camo tape to other “glaring” areas of your rifle that remain easy to spot after you’ve made the adjustments.
A muzzle brake
To be clear: a muzzle brake is not really a good gun accessory for all hunters; it’s really only a good accessory for those whose cartridge pairings offer a lot of recoils, and for whom fast follow up shots are a must.
The benefit of a muzzle brake is that it will reduce recoil and that it will help keep muzzle jump down. That will make it easier for you to keep your muzzle trained on moving targets, enabling follow-up shots. The downside is that muzzle brakes vastly increase the report from the gun; small game hunters and long-distance shooters realistically don’t need them.
A brass catcher
An AR brass catcher like our brass goat is also a highly useful gun accessory for hunters. It will help you keep spent brass out of the field and with you, where it belongs, in keeping with the principles of leaving no trace and carrying in and carrying out.
Our Brass Goat, being made of extremely durable molded ABS resin, is one of the most practical choices, especially for hunters. While the mesh bag catchers might work at the range, they’ve been known to melt or even catch fire - and don’t even think about trying to get one of those mesh bags through the field. Brambles and twigs will stop you at the gate. The Brass Boat will slide through the brush as silently as you do, and won’t hang up on the brush.
Rail covers for any unused space
Finally, another valuable gun accessory for you to add to your hunting AR is a set of rail covers, especially if they can be added or removed easily. Rail covers will prevent the angles and corners of your rails space from getting tangled in the brush, will (sort of) prevent debris from getting inside your handguard and will be much more comfortable for you to handle. They’re about as boring as gun parts and accessories get, but they’re highly practical in the woods, fields, and swamps, especially if that rail space would be left open.
Contact Us for Gun Accessory Recommendations or for More Information
Have questions about our Brass Goat or any of the other gun accessories mentioned in this article? Give us a call at 1-833-MAGWELL or message us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until then, get out there, be safe and enjoy the Fall woods!