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Thread: hunting with AR type rifle?

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    Default hunting with AR type rifle?

    Do any of you hunt big game with an AR type rifle? If so, how do you like it? They are common in .308 which is a caliber I'm considering in a new rifle. I grew to like the ARs during my time in the military and could see some advantages of hunting with them, however all of the big game I've ever taken was with a bolt action. I know that semi-auto supposedly lacks some of the accuracy of a bolt action. Other than that, what are your thoughts?

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I like the AR platform as long as the right caliber is used for the right animal. I suggest a 20 round mag instead of the 30 since it is shorter and easier to lay over a backpack or something similar. An AR in 5.56 is great for brush jumping deer!
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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    It works good in the AR15 sized platform. The AR-10 sized platform is a big heavy pig in my opinion.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I know that hunting with AR derivatives is getting more common these days and the manufacturers are attempting to market them in that role. As long as its an appropriate cartridge for the game you're pursuing- there's nothing really "wrong" with it. Accuracy is mostly individual rifles firing individual ammo but the AR platforms are generally made with acceptable accuracy for big game hunting.

    That said- they're not for me for a couple of reasons. First, the .308 based rifles are just too heavy for my taste with more handling drawbacks than perceived advantages. Second, for the cost of an AR-10 you can buy a number of VERY nice .308 bolt actions that (at least to me) fit my style and method of hunting better and depending on who's you buy maybe more than one.

    The .223 type rifles are personally more applicable to predator calling sorts of activities and I've used them in the past in that role. Some folks will use them on deer or caribou and modern ammo makes them better in that regard, but ultimately I just prefer bolt actions.
    Last edited by hodgeman; 02-10-2012 at 18:27. Reason: spelling
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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I got into ARs for winter hunting on a snogo. Now I got one for the kid to use. 6.8spc. Hoping to get her to shoot a Musk Ox this winter. The AR-15 platform is somewhat limited on calibers with some decent punch. We did some hunting for bou with the 6.8. New cals seem to crop up regularly but with little or very expensive industry support.................reload only.
    The -10 platform has higher power cals but the gun is generally on the heavy side. Hopefully a good 284 or 30 cal will come out that will work in the -15 platform.
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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    my AR is a .223 and my son dropped 2 caribou with it this fall, no problems and we've shot several others with it as well. i don't dabble in the wildcat uppers for it, they ain't cheap but with some shoppin' around or perhaps putting an AR10 together yourself you might get a sweet little gun for some alaskan hunting. i haven't done ballistics on the AR10 possiblities but the .338 Federal comes to mind...?
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    I build AR's for fun and profit. A lot of folks are using 6.8 and the Grendel for deer as well as the newer 300 Blackout. All three of these are good rounds under 300 yds. With good quality bullets, the .223/5.56 is a killer as well and then there are the 45 and 50 cal rounds whihc are close to the .45/70 and the WSSM based rounds that are very efficient.

    The AR-10 is a little clunky and heavy for caliber compared to the average bolt gun and you can have nice Sako or 2 Tikkas for the price. They are available in some very fine .308 derivatives from the .243 to .358 Win.

    Accuracy is directly tied to the quality of the barrel. Good barrels like on any other gun will shoot good. I have build with Kreiger and Shillen barrels and they are always sub-MOA and usually closer to 1/2 MOA with the right loads. I have 1/4" shooter in 204 Ruger and one that is almost that good in 20 Practical and lots of 1/2" .223's out there. My 16" .308 Armalite AR-10 will shoot military stuff at MOA and tailored reloads at 3/4"...but then it is a $3K rifle.

    That said...I hunt with TC Encore, Contender and the common bolt gun but if I ever get into a firefight with a moose...I'd rather have an AR!
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    Yeah I was, and still am leaning pretty heavily towards a bolt-action rifle. If cost was similar, I might end up with a .308 AR-10. I used to have an AR-15 in .223 but sold it a while back. It wasn't legal to hunt with a semi-auto in PA or I would've killed some deer with it. As of now, it's hard to argue with having 2 bolt-action rifles in different calibers vs. 1 AR-10 for the same money.

    As for the firefights, I hear you, but don't think it's the moose you have to worry about!

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    Member highestview's Avatar
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    I love AR's but I've never been comfortable with the idea of them when hunting from a safety perspective. The ultimate hunting scenario is one perfectly placed shot. With an AR, a live round goes into the chamber after that shot. I've just never been comfortable with that. Too easy to fall, slip, get careless after the initial shot. There's very few Alaskan hunting situations I can think of that would REQUIRE semi-automatic fire. Thats not to say there isn't some. Just my experience.

    If you have one, use it for caribou, sure. Just be careful if you have to take your shot standing on a fourwheeler rack. I'd say it's more important to be concerned with the safety of your hunting partners than with the taking of game. A semi auto just adds one more element to the mix of gun safety.

    If are considering buying, I'd consider something else. Just my opinion. AR's just arent very practical for big game hunting here. They certainly aren't necessary. There's a lot of options that work better.
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    http://losokcustomarms.com/pages/valkyr.php Nice rifle in some decent loads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by highestview View Post
    I love AR's but I've never been comfortable with the idea of them when hunting from a safety perspective. The ultimate hunting scenario is one perfectly placed shot. With an AR, a live round goes into the chamber after that shot. I've just never been comfortable with that...
    I think this is more of a training/mental hurdle for most people. It falls right in line with folks not being comfortable carrying a Glock with a round chambered because of the 'no safety' argument. It took me a bit to overcome it but now its not a big deal. Not saying its wrong, just fielding a thought...

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    Member highestview's Avatar
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    I know. It certainly cant be unacceptably risky considering it's what our military uses in the field. Difference is, those guys often need to fire 30+ rounds very quickly. Since I dont think I will ever truly need that in Alaskan hunting scenarios, I would rather eliminate that one factor. I'm also clumsy, I could see myself tripping after taking a kill shot and setting a round off.
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    For colder temperatures, I'm not fond of all of the exposed steel and prefer something with less metal.

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    They are certainly available in caliber's good for a number of animals, but if you plan on hunting outside of Alaska be warned that some states do not allow weapons holding more than 5 rounds to be used during deer or other large game seasons. I love my AR-s but don't plan on hunting with them- that said the 6.8 seems like a great deer/caribou round.

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    Member blasterak's Avatar
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    I killed a black bear with an AR in 6.8spc, did a great job with a great wound channel. I like my AR's but for most big game hunting situations i'd rather have my bolt gun. I do like the AR platform for predator hunting, hard to beat for that. Also would be great for winter hunting on a snowmachine like martentrapper said, compact and easy to carry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wet eNuf View Post
    For colder temperatures, I'm not fond of all of the exposed steel and prefer something with less metal.
    You talking bolt gun or AR variant?

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    I'm having one built now by a forum member, can't wait to use it for predator hunting off a snogo. Will also get some use thinning out the sea otter population.
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    I was just curious about how many people in AK were hunting with ARs. I am as much of a proponent of "one shot, one kill" as anyone, so my draw to the AR is not based on being able to get more lead down range in a hurry. I am just comfortable with the setup of the ARs. However, I've killed all my deer with a bolt-action .243 and am very comfortable with that also. I realize that for some of the bigger game here, I'll need more firepower, and that's what I'm looking for. I will be buying a bolt-action 30-06 or .308, but I think that in the future, ARs might be more competitive with bolt-actions for hunting rifle purposes. We'll see though. Thanks for the input guys.

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlingitwarrior View Post
    I'm having one built now by a forum member, can't wait to use it for predator hunting off a snogo. Will also get some use thinning out the sea otter population.
    I need to start using mine for that as well.

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    I need to start using mine for that as well.
    Otters or predators?
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