how to choose a hunting rifle

How to Choose a Hunting Rifle

If you’re wondering which is the best gun for hunting, this guide on how to choose a hunting rifle is for you. Buyer beware: this is a loaded question with several answers. Identifying the right gun for you is going to depend on a few variables. Questions like, what are you hunting, do you need power or precision?

These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before heading out into the forest or desert to hunt some game. In addition to hunting rifles, we cover shotguns, crossbows, traditional bow and arrows, and even handguns, because they all can be used for hunting various game.

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Gun Types and Uses

choosing a rifle for hunting

There are many firearms available and even more ammunition to ensure you pick the right combination to take down your prey.


Rifles are available in many varieties and are called rifles because they have rifled barrels. Rifles can be used to take down small and large animals and are the preferred gun for accuracy. Centerfire rifles are usually used for small game, while Rimfire rifles will take down big game easier.

Many professional hunters recommend having a .22 caliber rifle in their collection due to its versatility. This is also an excellent gun for mature hunters as well.


Shotguns can also be used for large or small game, depending on what ammunition you use. Everything from deer and rabbits all the way up to bears and elk are options when using a shotgun.

Shotguns are great for fast animals and charging animals because of the blast of projectiles they fire. Shotguns are meant for shorter distances and are not as accurate as rifles for long shots. This is a plus for hunting season because the bullets from shotguns do not travel as far, so they are a better choice if you are in a semi-crowded hunting spot.


Handguns are becoming more and more popular with hunters as gun technology gets better. A handgun used for hunting is going to differ from a handgun for self-defense. Hunting handguns will usually have longer barrels and large sights. Overall they will be much larger.

Because a handgun is not held against your shoulder like a rifle or shotgun, it will not be accurate. What handguns lose in accuracy they make up for in versatility and impact. With a handgun, you can fire a very powerful cartridge easier than any other gun. This is ideal for rugged terrain.

Bangsticks and Harpoons

These are weapons used mainly in aquatic environments. Sharks, spearfishing, and gator hunting will be the only uses for this type of weapon. Bangsticks are meant to make contact with the animal in order for them to go off. These can be loaded with a wide range of ammo but usually use shotgun ammo.

Harpoons are projectiles fire from a gun underwater and are used for shark and fish hunting and are also used for aquatic defense. While these can be fired outside of the water, it is not recommended due to the short-range and inaccuracy out of water.     


This might sound surprising, but what ammunition you use is just as important as what gun you choose. The first and most important are size and type. Having the correct sized ammunition is big because misfires can happen, causing injury and even death.

Ammunition is also important because depending on what you are hunting, different rounds and calibers will be better for different animals. Whether using a shotgun or a rifle, you would not want to use the same bullet for a bear as you would for a rabbit, especially if you try to preserve as much of the meat or pelt as possible.  

Take Her to the Range!

When identifying the best hunting weapon for you, the gun range will be your best friend. Not only will you be able to get practice with your weapon, but you can use target ammo and save yourself some money. This ammo is cheaper than regular ammo and is used for practice but will still be comparable to the regular ammo you purchase.

Not only will you be able to get more comfortable and become a better shot, but the gun range will allow you to gain knowledge and experience from other hunters. In this case, knowledge is power, firepower. Tips and tricks of the hunting trade can be learned on the range, whether taking advice from the owner or simply networking with other hunters.


Depending on where you plan to hunt and what you plan to hunt, there is the perfect weapon out there for you. Identifying your perfect gun is going to reveal itself to you simply with knowledge. Knowledge of what guns are out there and their function and compatibility with the correct ammunition.

Knowing the proper ammunition and proper maintenance of your gun or guns is key to working best for you. Safety and comfort are all that are desired from weapon use. Keeping these basic principles in mind, there is no reason you can not go out there and find the perfect gun or guns for you. Now get hunting!

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