From Bear to Bull – How to Choose a Proper Rifle

By  //  April 27, 2021

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Planning to go on a hunting trip with the boys? Bringing the right equipment is essential. Since this is a hunting expedition, choosing the best rifle to carry along with you will make a huge difference in the amount of fun you’ll be having.

If you’re one of the classic lovers who already own an M1A, just slap on an M1A scope mount and you’re good to go. They’re just so well-built that you can go hunting straight out of the box! 

Don’t have a rifle yet? Let’s discuss the factors that can affect your choice.

Things to consider when picking a rifle

1.    How much are you willing to dish out?

When deciding to buy something as pricey as a gun, you’d probably want to get just one. Save yourself from having to get licenses and different ammo for various guns. Aside from saving you some money, it will save you time mastering just one rifle. 

Having a dedicated gun means you can be extremely good at shooting with it. Building muscle memory is very convenient because you need fast reflexes during hunting.

Get yourself a versatile gun that can be adjusted to do what you need it to do. Spend a bit more on a quality rifle, like the M1A, that will last a long time. It will save you tons in the long run.

2.    What type of game are you planning to catch?

If you already have a .22 gun but you’re aiming for deer, ditch it. It’s not enough to kill a deer with one shot; that’s why US federal hunting laws forbid it. You’ll need to get a higher caliber rifle to do the job.

When hunting for big game, like deer or bull, you’ll need a gun of the .30 caliber or higher. The choice of hunting enthusiasts in this range is the historical .308 caliber M1A rifle. This big boy can get you a bull that’s 600 yards away. Load it up with .300 Winchester Magnum cartridges and it will pack a punch, but still stay easy to handle that accuracy remains quite high.

Then you’d think, the bigger the better, right? Why not just bring the most powerful gun there is? That isn’t always true, though.

Yes, you’ll probably be able to hunt any big game that comes your way. However, you also have to keep in mind the wildlife present in the hunting grounds you’re on. You probably won’t need a .375 cartridge that’s enough to down an elephant that doesn’t live in the US. All that power comes at a cost; which is the next thing you have to think about.

3.    How much weight can you carry?

The bigger the gun, the heavier it is. Shooting a .375 means you’ll be able to kill anything it hits. However, you’ll be lugging an 11-pound rifle, plus ammo and other camping gear, for miles and miles and all for nothing if you’re not hunting elephants. You’ll be tired even before the hunting begins.

Hiking for hours is also a huge part of the experience. That is why a lot of hunters choose to carry a lighter rifle. Years of hunting in the wilderness have taught them that. An excellent choice is the .308 M1A SOCOM model, which just weighs around 8.8 pounds but is enough to kill even grizzly bears. It also sports a shorter barrel coming in at 16.25 inches, which makes it maneuverable during hikes.

4.    How much recoil can you handle?

The only advantage that can be said for heavier guns is that they can absorb more recoil. The gun takes most of the impact, leaving your shoulders bruise-free. 

If you opt for the lighter rifles, expect to get a bit of a pounding on your shoulder. Though, once you get used to your gun’s recoil action, it probably won’t bother you as much. 

You can also just buy a recoil pad to help you out.

5.    What bullet will you need?

Heavier slugs will give you more accuracy when firing. When hunting deer, 150 to 165-grain bullets will suffice.

For a bigger game like bears and elk, a 180-grain bullet is better.

 If you own an M1A, good for you! It’s easy to get ammo that’s commonly produced because it’s a 7.62x51mm NATO round. You can also load up with a .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge. They’re cheaper than others in the market.

The bullets for the M1A are also frangible, meaning they explode into tiny fragments upon hitting the target. This causes massive bleeding which kills the game easily. 

6.    Should I invest in a scope mount?

The short answer is yes.

If you’re using a rifle for hunting, one of the most important things to equip it with is a high-quality scope. Without a reliable scope, your rifle could just be useless and a waste of money. 

You’ll be surprised by how much they cost, though. Be ready to spend around 300 bucks for a brand new one. Doesn’t that tell you just how significant a rifle scope is? 

An excellent scope will provide you with better vision and accuracy. Pair that with an M1A that works well at a range of 600 yards, and you can confidently shoot at any target a very long distance away. 

How to Choose the One

There is a huge variety of firearms out there, it can be quite overwhelming. To zero in on the right one for you, just pick based on your preferences and the tips we’ve discussed here.

Once you have about 2-3 options to choose from, it’s time to do some research. Read up on the availability and user reviews.

Another smart step you can do is to go visit a firing range to try them out. Get the feel of each rifle first before committing to buying one. When you find the right balance of comfort, power, and accuracy, then that’s it!

If you don’t want to go through all that, you can also just opt for the classic M1A. You can never go wrong with it.

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