Hunting Weapon Choices


Choosing the right weapon and ammunition for hunting can make the experience much more enjoyable, as well as boost your odds for success. When selecting a rifle, you should consider how it fits, the sights, how heavy it is, plus its action and caliber. A properly fitting weapon will help you fire a more accurate shot. A stock that is too long will get caught in your armpit if your wearing a thick jacket. If the stock is too short the scope may strike your eyebrow, giving you what's known as "scope bite."

Stock lengths can vary greatly among the different rifle models. A gunsmith can easily change the length of the stock for you if needed. Another downfall to an inproper fit is the amount of drop you will encounter. When you have your cheek pressed firmly against the stock of the weapon, your shooting eye should line up with the sites. Too much drop will prevent you from placing your cheek against the stock, and the recoil could cause the stock to slam against your cheekbone.

If hunting in heavy brush where you must use short sights for your weapon, you should buy a low power scope or a peep sight that has a large aperture. Either one can be aimed quickly and very accurately. Variable power scopes within the ranges of 1.5x to 7x are ideal for this purpose. Open sights, which are the standard on most rifles are difficult to line up.


Shotguns and slugs are commonly used for deer hunting in densely populated areas, many states don't allow rifle hunting. Some of of southern states permit you to use shotguns with buckshot. The ideal shotgun for deer hunting is one that has a rifled barrel and special sights. Rifled barrels shoot slugs more accurately than do smoothbores. Rifling causes the slugs to spin and stabilize, allowing shots at deer up to 100 yards away. Slug guns and ammunition are available in all of the popular guages. The 12 gauge is the most widely used. You should NEVER use anything less than a 20 gauge for deer.


If using a muzzleloader for hunting you better make that first shot count or you'll be out of luck. Most muzzleloaders can only fire one shot, and take too long to reload, but some are accurate to about 125 yards. Many states have muzzleloader hunting seasons, which allow you to extend your time on the field. Hunters can choose between caplocks and flintlocks. Many hunters prefer flintlocks, but caplocks are less likely to misfire. Most hunters prefer the .50 or .54 calibers. With muzzleloaders, you have your choice of round balls, conical bullets and pistol bullets. Check with your state laws, many states only allow the round balls for muzzleloading.


The handgun, while not always the most accurate and powerful choice of weapon, does present a challenge for hunters. You must be an expert marksman and should realize the limitations of handguns when deer hunting. The best handguns to use are the long-barreled bolt action or break action single shots that are chambered for rifle cartridges such as the .30-30 and .35 Remington. Becoming an expert pistol shot requires a great deal of practice and patience. To improve the accuracy of your

handgun, you should consider purchasing a 1x to 4x scope if it is legal in your area.


Bowhunting, while certainly not the easiest method of hunting, provide longer seasons for deer hunting. It is a real challenge for a hunter to bring down a trophy kill with a bow and arrow. The most commonly used bow today is the compound bow. Compounds use cams and pulleys to provide more power and speed to the arrows. A bows draw weight must meet your state's legal minimum. This is usually in the range of 35 to 45 pounds, but you may want to check to be safe. Despite the popularity of compound bows, several hunters still prefer to use the traditional bow. The traditional bow, which of course doesn't deliver as much power, is a real challenge.

Hunting Tips

By: John Dee

About the Author:

John Dee is a writer for