New military-style hunting rifles are gaining in popularity

Discussion in 'Rifle Talk' started by shootingworld, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. shootingworld

    shootingworld Owner/Admin Staff Member

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    New military-style hunting rifles are gaining in hunting popularity, led by the St. Cloud company that manufactures them.
    By Chris Niskanen
    Updated: 10/25/2009 04:03:13 PM CDT
    I have always judged a good deer rifle based on its accuracy, weight and ability to humanely bring down a 200-pound whitetail.

    Last week, I shot such a rifle — in fact, I probably shot 80 rounds through it — but nothing about it bore any resemblance to the walnut-stocked, bolt-action rifle I'll use when the Minnesota deer season opens Nov. 7.

    It was an AR-style rifle that looks and shoots like the rifles carried by U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan or Iraq. The rifle I shot, of course, was a legal semi-automatic. It was built by the St. Cloud, Minn., company DPMS Firearms, whose rifles are gaining fast acceptance among some big-game hunters.

    The AR rifle I shot was the same gun available on the rack at Joe's Sporting Goods in Little Canada. My guide through the world of AR-style rifles was the store's gunsmith, Bob Everson, who custom makes high-end bolt-action rifles (but not AR rifles).

    Everson and I shot the DPMS rifle in the store's basement gun range. Joe's carries an ever-increasing selection of AR-style rifles, also called "black guns," and it was my curiosity that led Everson and me to test fire one in the store's shooting range.

    "Last fall, we couldn't keep these rifles in stock," said Everson, handing me the DPMS A-15 rifle in a .223 caliber with a nonmagnifying, Red Dot-type scope.

    "It's actually a simple, simple gun," Everson said, showing me how the rifle is put together with modular parts that are easily interchangeable

    with other similarly styled rifles.
    Complete story at http://www.twincities.com/ci_13629550?s ... st_viewed#
     
  2. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    Minnesota is allowing any centerfire rifle of .22 caliber or larger to be used for deer hunting this year.... a BIG mistake, in my estimation.

    Previously, a .243 was the smallest legal caliber - a much more sensible approach. The AR platform, though unconventional, makes a fine deer rifle, though - my problem is with the .223 caliber. My son started using an AR in 6.8 SPC last year... it's easily a 150 -200 yard deer rifle, which covers 99% of our hunting.

    I'll stick with my Ruger .44 lever action in the woods, and my .30-06 bolt action watching over the swamp.
     

  3. Captn66

    Captn66 Moderator

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    PA allows any centerfires to be used for deer regardless of caliber. I personally don't know anyone using a 223 although I'm sure they're out there. Maybe if they allowed semi auto rifles to be used we'd see more of it with the AR platforms. Hopefully WWB it turns out to be a non issue for you.
     
  4. bbanbury

    bbanbury Super Member

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    It's funny - we use a 223 to kill a man...most in the same weight range as the average deer we all shoot, but we're not comfortable with a 223 on deer. I'm not a fan of it myself - I even think a 243 is on the light side for larger deer. Florida swamp deer - o.k. Big Minn. buck-o-the woods, not really. I don't think the bullets in that cal. are constructed with deer in mind. i.e. I have to wonder how well they hold together if they hit rib or shoulder bone. An AR in 308 - now we're talking. :)
     
  5. Fronty Owner

    Fronty Owner Well-Known Member

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    Oklahoma allows .223 but with a 5 shot magazine capacity for deer hunting. the .223 with proper ammo selection is sufficient for hunting in the woods. I wouldn't hunt a field with it, but its much nicer to carry an AR around the woods than carrying my Savage in 7mm Rem Mag.

    Im a believer if get the tool for the job. A .223 with a heavy, hunting round in the woods will get the job done. surplus 55 gr FMJ ball ammo isn't a hunting round.
     
  6. JPShelton

    JPShelton Well-Known Member

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    I'm not surprised at the popularity of the AR-15 platform in all forms of rifle shooting sport these days. I suspect that the "new blood" of shooting sport will be largely made up of people who got their first exposure to firearms through the military, rather than through their parents as I did. It's kind of hard to learn anything from a dad who doesn't live in the same house anymore. With the divorce rate being what it is, even in rural areas like where I live, dad is nowhere around to introduce kids to shooting. Heck, I'm 45 years old, but looking back on my high school days, I was one of the few kids in my graduating class who had both parents living in the same house. That was over 27 years ago. I don't think the divorce rate has improved. That is why I think the recreational shooter of the future is going to come from a military background. That shooter is likely to stick with what they're familiar with and have trusted their lives to. That for them is M-4 and thus the AR platform.

    As for the .223 being able to kill whitetails.... Been there, done that. As a California resident most of my life, I killed more blacktail deer with a .223 than any other caliber (about 20 deer, total). Here in Oklahoma, the .223 kills my local whitetails just as dead (very) just as fast (very). We have modern bullets for the .223 today that penetrate amazingly deep and do remarkable damage to an average deer's vitals -bullets like the Nosler 60 grain .224" Partition and even better, the Barnes 62 grain TSX. Heck, even the now old-timey Winchester 64 grain Power Points that I used back in the 80's to kill California coastal backtails do a good job. I've shot 9 whitetails with the .223 since moving to Oklahoma back in 2007 and they've all been "DRT" using the 62 grain TSX. That bulet has managed to compeletely pass through, every time. Tissue damage is , frankly, amazing. My .30-30 doesn't kill them any deader and neither does my .243.

    Most deer aren't shot at long range. Keep thr range reasonable, and stick a premium game bullet from a .223 where it needs to go, and you'll be hanging a deer from your meat pole in very short order.

    -JP
     
  7. GunPowder

    GunPowder Member

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    I got no problem with them, but am just worried that there could be too many starry round with any semi-auto rifle.
     
  8. Pat T

    Pat T Moderator

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    Gunpowder-

    Hello and welcome! I'm not sure I understand your post, are you concerned about having 30 rnd mags for hunting? Don't know about Georgia but I'm sure if the mental giants in the PGC deigned to allow us the use of semi-auto rifles to hunt with in PA there would be a mag limit, probably five.
     
  9. challenger

    challenger New Member

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    [quote="
    I have always judged a good deer rifle based on its accuracy, weight and ability to humanely bring down a 200-pound whitetail.

    It was an AR-style rifle that looks and shoots like the rifles carried by U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan or Iraq. The rifle I shot, of course, was a legal semi-automatic. It was built by the St. Cloud, Minn., company DPMS Firearms, whose rifles are gaining fast acceptance among some big-game hunters.


    "It's actually a simple, simple gun," Everson said, showing me how the rifle is put together with modular parts that are easily interchangeable

    with other similarly styled rifles.
    [/quote]

    That's all because it is worthy. You might spend some money but you know you can get in returned.
     
  10. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Active Member

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    After many years of looking at "standard" type weapons, it`s plain weird looking at military designed(frames) weapons being used in the woods. I guess time will a change that.
     
  11. mountainview

    mountainview Super Member

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    Just tossing in a few random thoughts, I don't really have a horse in this race.Seems like the usual progression from military to creative civilian use. AR's seem to be more popular in heavier cals than 223 but I still remember folks carrying 222's in the deer woods before the the 223 earned its current popularity. Then as now, it is the bloke behind the buttplate more than anything else that is important.
    - Mil surp guns as hunting rifles, think 30-06 which started life as a mil round and the Springfield which transformed us into a nation of bolt gun shooters
    - Mauser bolt rifles, appeared regularly after the Big Deuce in the woods and look at how many folks enjoy shooting them even today in mil drag or civilian dress
     
  12. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

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    Actually we use the 5.56 round to wound men. If we wanted a killing caliber we'd have one. As a retired infantrymen I can tell you that many of us were unhappy with the 5.56. It doesn't reach out far enough. Now, being hit with one is no picnic and that's for sure, but just as it often doesn't kill a man "cleanly" nor would it IMO on a deer.

    In addition one seldom needs more that one or two shots while hunting. We try to set up for just one, don't we. So, do we need, or want a semi-auto with 20 rounds? I'd load three, and figure on taking one. An AR in 308? As I recall the original AR-10 was a 7.62.