What makes a good rifle for game-animal harvesting, wildlife population control, predator control, and wild hog management? (AKA-hunting)
I learned the hard way that a heavy 9.5-pound WWII U.S. M1 Garand (pictured above) is not good for walking around looking for feral hogs to cull: too heavy and way too big for carrying in swampy Florida. Another factor to consider is how many shots can you get off. During muzzleloader-hunting season for example, a .50 caliber muzzleloader doesn't give you a second shot, so, the shooter has to make the first one count. Unfortunately, I'm not that good a shot, particularly beyond 50 yards.
· The ideal rifle has to have the necessary punch to bring down a hog.
· It has to be lightweight which for me means less than 7 lbs.
· It has to have a short barrel, 16 or 20 inches, to limit overall length.
· It has to be semi-automatic, which means a bullet goes down range with each pull of the trigger giving me more than one attempt to hit something.
· Lastly, it must have an easy kick. Old shoulders lack the muscle and fat to absorb the recoil.
These requirements narrow the options significantly since there are few hunting rifles currently in production that don’t look like an AR-15 style rifle, which meets all the requirements. Overtime, manufacturers have switched over to producing the AR-15 style since they are so popular with hunters, plinkers, and law enforcement.
A Colt AR-15 with a 20-inch-barrel, weighs 6.5 lbs. and its overall length is 39.5 inches. For comparison purposes, the WWII M1 Garand’s overall length is 43.4 inches and weighs 9.5 pounds. (FYI, the Civil War Springfield Model 1861 weighed 9 pounds and is 56 inches long with a 40 inches barrel.)
Since I don't have an expensive Colt AR-15 or an AR-15 style rifle, I hunt with a WWII .30 caliber carbine, which weighs 5.5 pounds, is 35-inches in length, has little to no kick, and is semi-automatic. While the carbine works for me, many AR-15 style rifle also meet my requirements for the ideal rifle.
A Google search revealed there are three other types of hunting rifles besides the AR-15 style that are not semi-automatic. They are bolt action, pump, and lever action rifles. The bolt action requires the shooter to work the bolt to chamber a second round, which takes time allowing the game to scatter. Similarly, the lever action makes the shooter lose his/her sight picture while working the lever. In effect, with the bolt and lever, the shooter gets one shot, maybe two.
Many hunters prefer using AR-15 style rifles because of their versatility, accuracy, wide variety of available features, and multiple calibers. Collapsible stocks are convenient for hunters who pack their rifles into remote hunting locations or for “length of pull” adjustments to fit any size hunter.
Constructed with lightweight polymers and corrosion-resistant alloys makes these rifles preferred for hunting in moist environments with less concern about rusting or warping wood stocks. If a hunter misses with a first shot, the self-loading semi-automatic feature enables rapid follow-up shots against dangerous animals like feral pigs or rapidly moving animals like jackrabbits.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AR-15_style_rifle
The AR-15’s popular appeal as a hunting rifle is discussed in the following NBC News article:https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/america-s-rifle-why-so-many-people-love-ar-15-n831171
A Winchester Ammunition survey reported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) shows 60 percent of centerfire-rifle hunters use AR/AK-platform rifles on their hunts.
On August 4, 2022, NSSF notes, “Winchester Ammunition conducted a survey of 1,600 hunters and recreational shooters in the first quarter of 2022 to better learn which firearm recreational shooters and hunters were using. Turns out the most popular selling centerfire rifle in America is…the AR/AK-platform rifle, [which] is wildly popular among hunters. https://www.nssf.org/articles/winchester-ammunition-study-shows-target-shooters-hunters-choose-msrs/
Lastly, Colt’s AR-15 and the Army’s M-16 fire a small .223-inch (5.56mm) bullet (the piece of metal that leaves the barrel) which is only a little bigger than the lowly.22-inch bullet that shooters use to punch holes in paper targets. BTW, the .223 inch is also a very popular bullet for semi-automatic AR-15 style rifles and single-shot bold action rifles.
Before we go any further, let’s identify terminology. As shown in the picture below, a round consists of a bullet, the casing, and the primer. The term “cartridge” is often substituted for the word, “round.”
A modern round consists of the following: 1. bullet, as the projectile; 2. cartridge case, which holds all parts together; 3. propellant, for example gunpowder or cordite; 4. rim, which provides the extractor on the firearm a place to grip the casing to remove it from the chamber once fired; 5. primer, which ignites the propellant
The M1 fires a 30-06 (30 aught 6) or. 308-inch diameter bullet and 1.25-inch-long bullet. The overall length of the round is 3.34 inch (85 mm). The round is identified by the diameter of the bullet.
Some AR-15 style rifles fire a bullet that is .223 inch in diameter and .906 inches long. The overall length of the round is 2.26 inches (57 mm).
The picture below shows the .223 and .308/30-06 rounds side by side.
A .223 round fired from an AR-15 using a “55 grain” (grain means weight of bullet) and fired from a 20-inch barrel has a muzzle velocity of 3,240-foot pounds per second and travels at 2,209 mph.
A.308/30-06 round fired from an M1 using a 165-grain bullet has a muzzle velocity of 2,800-foot pounds per second and travels at 1,909 mph.
The lighter the bullet, the faster it goes, and the more damage it does.
“Although the bullet shot from a gun is light, it is shot out at a high velocity…the bullet traveling at high velocity…does the damage. Any object that is given the same momentum as a fired bullet can do just as much damage. For instance, speeding cars….” https://www.wtamu.edu/~cbaird/sq/2013/04/24/what-makes-guns-so-dangerous/
.22 cartridge and .223 cartridge. The diameter of the bullets are almost similar.
Hopefully, this blog will make “gun news” more interesting and meaningful.