Before you ask yourself, “Can I hunt with an AR 15?” first, look at the numbers.
Over the last decade, many shooters began utilizing the AR-15 for hunting deer, elk, boar, and coyote. There are a couple of good reasons why we see this rise in using tactical rifles for hunting.
Undoubtedly, the AR 15 hunting rifle can become the ultimate in taking down big game with ease. You only need to customize and personalize it to your whim, focusing on aftermarket potential and accessories that can significantly affect your hunting.
In today’s guide, we’ll talk about hunting with AR 15 rifles, how to customize your AR 15 hunting setup, and tips and tricks when hunting certain animals.
Why Go Hunting With AR-15?
The reason why most hunters choose the AR 15 hunting rifle is because of the speed, maneuverability, and ease of use it offers.
Since it’s a semi-automatic rifle, it’s capable of easily hunting multiple targets, which might be very important, especially when hunting coyotes is in question.
Another reason the AR-15 is so popular among hunters is its sheer versatility and how easy it is to use it for multiple purposes. While most hunters can use it on the range, other rookies can use it for training and plinking.
What To Consider Before Hunting With AR-15?
When it comes to using your AR 15 for hunting, there are lots of things to consider in order to unlock its hunting potential fully. Here are four of them:
Distance: Finding out the right range for your AR-15 is very important. This depends on lots of factors, including the caliber and barrel length, not to mention the rifling and twist rate. It’s very important that you figure out what’s your ideal range when hunting specific animals.
Size: While we’re here, the animal’s overall size is very important, so consider it carefully. The .223 Wylde caliber can bring down most wolves, foxes, and coyotes, but when you’re hunting something bigger like elk and deer, it’s critical that you consider other options with better-stopping power and velocity.
Speed of the animal: Anticipating your prey’s location, speed, and direction is what brings dinner to the table. Most hunters believe this skill is only learned when you’ve missed your shot and lost sight of many potential targets. It’s something that should be learned after many years of trial and error. This is what separates good hunters from the greatest hunters.
AR-15 Setup for Hog Hunting
When it comes to hog hunting with AR 15 rifles, lots of hunters can achieve their goals with a simple platform. It’s nothing too fancy, but you’ll still need a good caliber.
Most importantly, you should have proper night sights because hogs are very easy to hunt during the night.
For a good AR 15 hog hunting session, we recommend you check out our vast collection of night vision sets. Remember to keep your range short.
AR-15 Setup for Hunting Deer
Using the AR 15 for deer hunting is the ultimate sport, but it requires a very calculated approach in picking out your caliber.
Deer hunting with an AR-15 rifle should be an enjoyable experience if you’re using a 6.5 Creedmoor caliber, but you can also achieve solid results with a .223 Wylde or Remington.
If you like hunting at closer ranges, the 5.56/.223 load is the right one for you, especially whitetail deer, elk, antelope, and others. A barrel with a heavy profile should do just fine.
AR-15 Setup for Hunting Coyote
Coyote hunting AR 15 platforms can work like a charm if you’re going for a shorter barrel like 16-inch ones or maybe even 18 inches.
When using the AR 15 for coyote hunting, you generally won’t need the bonus velocity from a heavy caliber. A .223 will do just fine.
Your AR 15 setup for coyote hunting should be similar to the one used for hunting hogs. An ideal AR-15 coyote hunting platform should have mid-range optics like red dots, night vision attire, and lots of patience.
When using your AR-15 for coyote hunting, always remember to be mindful not to make any noise because, in contrast to hogs, coyotes can hear much better when hunters are nearby.
AR-15 Setup for Hunting Elk
Slowly becoming popular for most hunters, hunting elk with an AR-15 rifle has always been the best choice, especially when the hunter is using a .223 caliber.
However, if you’re feeling generous enough to buy more expensive bullets and secure your meal on a plate, you should definitely go for the .308 Winchester load.
Contrasting the AR-15 with Hunting Rifles
One thing you should know about the AR-15 rifle when hunting is that the 5.56/223 isn’t suited for all distances.
While you can shoot accurately at most distances, you will need to practice your bullet calibers and implement them at various ranges.
Try swapping out some parts and try to experiment with different calibers at different ranges as much as possible.
That being said, the AR-15 rifle feels much different in contrast to other hunting rifles. For example, bolt action rifles have less capacity but better accuracy at long distances. AR-15 rifles are for shorter distances but offer better maneuverability and more follow-up shots.
Basic Recommendations For Hunting With AR-15
Here are some important recommendations for the AR-15 hunters.
The Best AR 15 Hunting Caliber
If you’re hunting big game or mid-game like elk and deer, there are lots of choices, but the absolute best is the 16-inch.223 Wylde 1:8 Stainless Diamond Fluted AR-15 barrel, and maybe the 18-inch .450 Bushmaster, if you want to shoot at longer ranges.
Time and time again, the .308 load has proved itself worthy of longer distances, not to mention the incredible versatility and power it offers.
Sights and Optics
All thanks to the Picatinny rail most AR-15 rifles have, it’s very easy to set yourself up for some sights and optics.
Most scope makers have design reticles for calibers like the .223, but we definitely suggest night vision choices for night hunting, like the Sig Sauer ECHO3 2-12x Thermal Reflex Sight.
The Northtac Assault Optic 1-4×28 LPVO Riflescope With Mil-Dot Reticle is one of the best sights if you’re looking for close-quarters to mid-range hunting, especially when hunting elk or coyote.
Red Dot Sights
Speaking of sights, there’s no hunting without the Sig Sauer ROMEO Red Dot Sight.
As one of the fastest ways to acquire your target, red dot sights have always been a number one choice. Keep in mind, that you have a limited range, so take into consideration your distances.
Finally, the last item is camo. But it shouldn’t be overlooked, even if it isn’t AR-15 related.
The camo pattern is a fantastic addition to your AR-15 attire. While lots of AR-15 patterns are either black, grey or tan, the camo pattern is just made for the forest hunter.
A great paint job will aid you in staying hidden while you wait for that deer to pass so you can get a clear shot. Don’t overlook the camo pattern. Besides, you can find it cheap!
Can You Hunt With an AR-15 Rifle?
While most people have asked the famous “Can you hunt with an AR 15?” question lots of times, it doesn’t take much to see why it’s such a popular hunters’ platform.
The answer is yes. You can hunt with an AR-15 rifle if you customize it to your liking. This means customizing it with proper scopes and red dot sights for your range, tweaking your caliber and barrel, and implementing the proper bullets.
Is It Legal to Hunt with an AR-15?
This is the question that needs to be asked.
In most states, it’s legal to hunt with an AR-15 rifle. However, you should be constantly aware of your state regulations and laws when it comes to hunting.
Please refer to this map and follow the guidelines for your state laws.
Can You Deer Hunt With an AR-15?
While the AR-15 rifle is good for smaller games like coyotes, the same gun will work for deer, elk, and other similar-sized animals.
Hunting deer is easy if you outfit the AR-15 with a decent caliber like the 5.56 NATO/. 223 Rem, or the 6.5 Grendel.
If we’re being honest, the AR-15 hunting rifle should be legal in every state. This is a great rifle that can definitely secure an ethical shot. Still, there should be regulations as fair and effective as they can get.
We hope that you’ve learned a lot about the AR-15 hunting setup and how it can be implemented to reach your hunting potential.
You definitely don’t need to spend a lot of money to achieve an excellent tactical approach to hunting with an AR-15 rifle.
Stay safe, shoot straight!