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The AR-15 has become one of the most popular firearms on the market.

Why? It’s:

  • Compact
  • Affordable
  • Customizable
  • Easy to maintain

So, while this deadly weapon was originally designed for combat, many hunters are welcoming its compact size and powerful precision into their ground blinds.

From coyotes to whitetail, from hogs to elk, the AR-15 has earned its place in the predator’s hall of fame.

Let’s take a look at the best practices you can adopt when using your AR-15 in the field to affordably and accurately take down any type of game.

Customize Carefully for Hunting

One of the most popular benefits of the AR-15 is its modularity. You can literally customize every component of your gun from the barrel to the trigger.

Here are some ways you can make that modularity work for you to get the most out of your AR while hunting.


Most AR users go with a standard .223 Remington barrel with 16, 18 or 20 inches of length.

To use your AR most effectively, you’ll want to choose a barrel that works best for the type of prey you’re after.

For faster, smaller varmints like coyote and ground squirrels, you’ll want to opt for a smaller barrel.

It’s lighter and easier to carry, but the trade-off is that it’s LOUD, has less velocity, and won’t hold up as well as a longer barrel because of the increased pressure on the gas venting system.

One exception is if you’re planning on using a suppressor. That would take care of the noise and make a shorter barrel preferable to minimize overall length.

A longer barrel, on the other hand, increases accuracy and has more penetrating power to take down larger game like deer and hogs, but will get much heavier on your shoulder.

AR-15’s can be chambered in lots of caliber options, but as a general rule, I use .223 Remington for coyotes, .300 AAC Blackout for deer, and 6.5 Grendel or .300 HAM’R for elk and bear.


Another huge benefit to hunting with an AR is that some states allow the use of a large 30-round magazine (always be sure to check if this is legal for your state)!

You can get just about any type of ammo you want in a fairly affordable package.

However, as a general rule, the heavier, longer bullets tend to shoot more reliably because of their faster twist rate.

The added weight means they’ll get deeper penetration into the animal, so you’ll want to go heavier for larger animals for the most humane kill.

Smaller, lighter ammo is more explosive out of the barrel, making it the perfect choice if your goal is to startle pests like coyotes.

Upper and Lower

The modularity of most uppers on an AR-15 are perfect for adding high-quality rails for all your accessories.

What’s better?

You can switch out your upper for a quick caliber change to fit the type of animal you’re after.

The serialized lower portion of your AR is what most law-makers consider the actual weapon, so be sure when you’re choosing your weapon to check the conditions created by your local and state government to be sure you’re operating within legal limits.

Handguard, Trigger and Sights

With an AR-15, you can get some of the most accurate shots of your life… if you choose the right hardware.

Here are some of the top ways I get exceptional accuracy from my rifle:

  • Use a free-floating handguard. This eliminates contact that could throw the bullet slightly off as it leaves the barrel.
  • Add a trigger with somewhere between two to three pounds of pull weight.
  • Avoid fixed tactical front sights. They’ll just get in the way of your higher-quality scope.
  • Get a good red-dot or laser sight like the Trijicon VCOG.

By carefully customizing your rifle, you’ll be taking down every animal in your sight with the best accuracy in the field.

AR-15 with rifle scope that is on the forest floor

Shop Sensibly

You can’t go wrong by following these tips to get the most out of hunting with your AR-15.

Now, check out some of my favorite products for AR hunting:

Because of its affordability, accuracy, customization options and ease of use, the AR-15 will always be my favorite hunting rifle.

Have you ever tried hunting with your AR-15? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below!

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