Hunting is one of the most popular sports that has become a tradition in most of the western world. It holds a sense of pride for most of the shooters who carry out the legacy of their ancestors. This is something that is passed down through generations and people use it as a medium of connecting with their family.
Whether it is a part of one’s family tradition or just a pastime, every hunter wants to own the best hunting firearm he can find in the market. But being the best does not mean having only the best features. Rather it is about creating a good companionship with the firearm the hunter is using.
As a result, every hunter boards on the journey of finding his personal favorite hunting firearm at least once in his lifetime. And this brings us to the question of what points we should check before choosing a firearm for hunting. Today we have taken the quest of finding the answer to this question.
For that we will make a list of the things we need to check in order to find the perfect hunting weapon and discuss why they are important. The following points are the things you need to keep in mind before purchasing a firearm for hunting.
Knowing The Hunting Firearm Laws
Before purchasing any firearm for hunting purposes, the first and foremost point is to check the firearm laws in the particular state you will choose for hunting. In North America, each state has its personal firearm law and you will be surprised to find that a specific rifle that is legal in one state can be illegal in another.
That’s why you need to check if the weapon you want to buy is allowed in your region or not. Also, make sure you are purchasing the firearm from an authorized shop to avoid getting any stolen weapon. This way you won’t be penalized for having an illegal firearm in your possession.
Taking A Hunting Safety Class
Once you know what kind of firearm regulations you need to follow in your state, the next thing you need to do is take the N.R.P Hunting Safety course and get certified. This is a course taught in North America including Canada where the hunters learn how to lower the risk of injury during hunting. The course content includes firearm handling and safety, marksmanship, wildlife management, tree stand safety, water safety and more related topics.
After completing the course you have to sit for an examination and acquire 80% grade in order to get the certificate. Without the hunting safety card you cannot get firearm licenses and tags. Furthermore, using a weapon without this certificate will get you a penalty fine. But more than getting the fine, taking the course is important for your own safety.
Selecting The Right Type Of Firearm For Hunting
Once you get certified, you are now free to try out different types of firearms to get an idea about which firearm will suit you more. There are several kinds of weapons you will find in the market such as rifles, shotguns, air guns, muzzleloaders and handguns. Different firearms are good for different targets. Therefore, it will also depend on the game you are aiming for.
For instance, choosing a rifle will help you target larger animals like deer and elk. Whereas, shotguns are more versatile and can be used for aiming smaller animals and birds. In case you are confused about what type of firearm you want for hunting just decide where your priorities lie and choose accordingly.
Choosing The Specific Ammunition
Choosing the right ammunition will also depend on the type of animals you want to target. Every cartridge has a specific velocity that is perfect for a certain category of animals. For example, the more powerful cartridges will give a perfect kill but also have the risk of damaging the body. Whereas, less powerful bullets will make the animal suffer more while dying.
It is important to choose the perfect cartridges for a particular animal to get the perfect shot. Calibers such as .30/60 Springfield, 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester are great for hunting large animals like deers, elk and moose. Hence, go for the ammunition that will perfectly fit your hunting game.
Handling The Recoil
Another point to take into account before purchasing a firearm is to consider the amount of recoiling for each weapon. Recoil simply means the reactive momentum that is caused by firing indicating the push you feel in the backward motion after firing. This amount is significantly important because a powerful recoil can disrupt your hunting experience. The recoil amount of a firearm is directly connected to its weight and design and it is measured in pounds of force.
Just because strong recoiling can affect your hunting ability, it does not mean that you can bargain with the quality of the weapon. That’s why you need to choose a firearm that has a moderate amount of recoil with a powerful performance. For this reason, make sure your weapon recoils between 10 to 15 fps which will create a bearable rap on your shoulder instead of a harsh push.
Mounting The Perfect Accessory
Here rifle actions actually mean the mechanical, physical and functional features of the firearms that are important to consider when choosing them for hunting purposes. These actions allow the shooters to take accurate shots with a high probability of success. You also need to check the types of actions the weapon supports. For instance, a rifle with single-shot action will let you take one shot at a time. These kinds of rifles are more compact than other firearms.
Besides, the single-shot action rifles also have several styles, mechanisms such as rolling-block, falling-block, trapdoor and break-open. These are good but you need to pay more attention to your aim as you only get one shot each time. If you are a beginner, we will recommend you going for a repeater rifle with bolt-action, lever-action, pump-action and automatic action that will give you more freedom with your shots.
Mounting The Perfect Accessory
Last but not least, after completing all the checklist above you can also venture for different weapon accessories such as scopes, red dot sights, holographic sights etc. These optical devices will be an added benefit for your hunting excaventure. But before choosing one for your firearm make sure you have the right device that supports your weapon in every positive way. In case of scopes and sights, check their magnification, eye relief, reticle, durability and weight before purchasing one.
What is the most accurate hunting caliber?
The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges are considered to be the most accurate hunting caliber because of its weight which is perfect to buck the wind drift better than bullets like .222 Remington.
What guns do most hunters use?
There are several hunting firearms currently available in the market. However, the 12-Gauge Shotguns and .22 Long Rifles are two of the most popular hunting guns acknowledged by the professional hunters.
What is the initial age limit for taking N.R.P hunting safety course?
In the United States, different states have different age limits to be qualified for the N.R.P hunting safety course. However, the general age limit seems to be starting from 9 years old in Oklahoma to 17 years old in some States like New York. Whereas in Washington there is no preferable age limit to take this course.
To sum up, the points mentioned above are the prerequisites you will need to go through before you purchase a firearm for hunting. The first and most important point to take into account is learning about the hunting and firearm laws of the state you are staying. Since there are issues like stolen and illegal weapon supplies, it is better to research about the authorized shops before buying the weapon. Also, for the cause of your safety it is necessary to acquire the hunting safety card before you move to the further stage.
Finally, weighing all the pros and cons of different hunting rifles, the cartridges and external devices will help you choose the perfect firearm that will enhance your hunting experience. All you need to do is follow the above mentioned points and you are all set for your hunting weapon.
Hi, I’m Brent Hansford. A writer turned hunter & now sharing my love for the sport through writing. As I practically breathe weapons, I firmly believe I’m capable of providing you with new knowledge about firearms and hunting. My mission is to help more people get better at hunting & master the weapons. Let me help with unleashing the beast within you!