Firearms Perfect for Every Hunt
By Mary Beth Wallace
If you’re a devoted outdoorsman, chances are you own several (maybe even a dozen) shotguns, rifles, and other firearms. When it comes to hunting birds, rodents, and even larger game, however, you can get the job done with just five guns – and we’ve listed them here. The next time you head to the woods, make sure these tools are in your arsenal for the best chance for success!
Due to its adaptability, the 12-gauge shotgun earns the top spot for must-have guns. (Fun fact: It’s the most popular gauge in the world.) With the exception of Western big game, you can use this shotgun for virtually any hunting pursuit in North America; that said, the 12-gauge is most frequently used on small game – think rabbits and squirrels – as well as birds including turkey, dove, quail, ducks, and geese. Check out the Remington 870 or the Mossberg 500 if you’re in the market for a quality shotgun.
.22 Caliber Rifle
If a .22 rifle was your first gun, you’re not alone. This versatile firearm is lightweight, inexpensive, relatively quiet to shoot, and has minimal recoil – making it a popular choice for recreational shooting and small-game hunting. Everything from rabbits and squirrels to raccoons and skunks can be taken down with a .22 rifle at short to medium ranges. Cartridges like .22 Winchester Rimfire Magnum and .22 Long Rifle are commonly used with this type of gun.
Bolt-Action Deer Rifle
Did you know that the white-tailed deer is the most hunted big-game animal in North America? Here in the South, deer hunting is a time-honored institution, and you’ll need a bolt-action rifle that can deliver. A few options that are well loved for both their accuracy and accessibility are the .270 Winchester, 7mm Remington, and .30-06 Springfield.
As a hunter, you’ll likely encounter times when you have to take a long-range shot, whether due to the terrain or other factors. You most often see this when hunting in the American West for elk, sheep, pronghorn, and various deer species. In these instances, you need a firearm that is up for the task – and a long-range rifle, like a .300 Winchester Magnum, can certainly fit the bill.
Big Bore Rifle
This isn’t your everyday rifle – big game calls for big guns, after all. With a big bore rifle in hand, you can take down some of the largest and toughest animals around, such as bear, buffalo, and moose. For most hunters, these types of hunting expeditions will be few and far between, but when they do occur, it’s crucial to be properly armed. The .458 Winchester can be used worldwide for hunting big game, as can the .416 Rigby – designed specifically for dangerous game in Africa and India.