Shotgun vs. Rifle for Hunting
In America, a significant number of people engage in hunting. However, it can never be better if you do not use the right tools for this exciting activity. Shotguns and rifles are among the common firearms for hunting.
In our article, we shall focus on a shotgun vs. rifle for hunting. It reflects on several aspects such as the legal aspect, factors to consider, and the best firearm you should use for hunting.
Shotguns for Hunting
Hunting with shotguns has a long history. It a long firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, and each shot fired has numerous pellets. It is highly considered as a short-range firearm since it hit targets less than 50 yards away.
As time goes by, hunters have embraced the use of rifles due to their versatility and reliability. Conversely, shotgun manufacturers also improved shotguns for efficiency. Among the notably advanced shotguns for hunters included the Mossberg 500.
Shotguns are considered effective for hunting birds and other big animals, such as deer. You can hardly miss a target at a close range. Besides, shotguns have a great impact on a deer due to power a shotgun slug. However, for longer distances, you use rifles. Hunting with a shotgun is an American tradition.
Rifles for Hunting
A hunting rifle is a gun fired from a shoulder level and has a long grooved barrel that causes the bullet spin. It results in increased accuracy over long distances. Just like shotguns, there are many options of rifles to choose from, mainly designed for hunting.
Most of the rifle hunting in the U.S uses the bolt-action technology that has been in existence for such a long period. Rifles are very effective for hunting long ranges. However, it’s highly discouraged to use rifles for bird hunting.
Among the standard rifles for hunting include LSI Howa Hogue Gameking and the Ruger Precision Rifle Gen 3.
Shotgun vs. Rifle: Legality
Is hunting legal in the U.S? Yes, Federal laws allow hunting in the U.S.A. However, it is not only controlled by national levels but also by local states. State regulations vary depending on where you live.
As a licensed hunter, you should clearly understand the type of firearm you use for hunting; otherwise, your hunting might be considered as an act of poaching.
According to the highlighted provisions on rifles and handguns, it is unlawful to hunt game mammals with:
- full-automated firearms
- semi-automatic rifles with magazine capacity exceeding 5 cartridges
- .22 caliber rimfire
- Metal-jacket bullets
- Infrared, laser, sights, and night visions that project a beam to the target.
However, you can use semi-automatic rifles and .22 caliber rimfire while hunting western squirrels.
On the other hand, there are provisions for shotguns. Shotguns with rifled barrels are considered shotguns when used for hunting game mammals. However, the centrefire rifles or shotguns have to be weapons for them to fit under this category.
Importantly, it is necessary for anyone interested in hunting to understand the provisions by state laws within your area clearly. For instance, it is legal to hunt with AR rifles in Pennsylvania and California, but you have to follow the guideline provided. In states such as Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, shotguns are very popular, but you should use 20 gauge or 12 gauge. However, in some states, more than a 10 gauge is illegal. State regulations vary.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hunting with Shotguns
Shotguns are common and legal for hunting in most states within the U.S
The accuracy level is lower compared to a rifle
Simplicity and ease of use
Shotguns are only capable of short ranges.
You can easily modify shotgun to adapt all kinds of hunting including birds and big game
They have a low ammunition capacity
The slug size of a shotgun is very powerful for hunting compared to that an ammo of a rifle
Shotguns have a heavy recoil
Shotguns are cheap
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hunting with Rifles
Rifles have the highest level of accuracy while hunting
From a legal perspective, some areas restrict use rifles for hunting
A rifle’s ammo can go more than 300 yards. They have a more extended range
Despite the long-range, there is a high risk of causing unexpected accidents after firing
High ammunition capacity
It needs a lot of practice and shooting skills
Availability of many rifle options with varying cartridge sizes and ammunition types
Shotguns vs. Rifles: What are the Factors to Consider while choosing a Firearm for Hunting?
- Local legal requirements. Choose the appropriate custom firearm
- What kind of environment are you hunting? If you are hunting revolves around thick bushy areas, then go for shotguns and vice versa.
- Range of hunting. If you prefer shooting at close range, then consider shotguns, and if you like longer ranges, then rifles will work for you.
- Kind of wild animals you are hunting. Consider rifles if you are to hunt large animals while shotguns will be better for birds.
- Comfort while using the firearm
From the above comparison of shotgun vs. rifles for hunting, it is evident each of the firearms is reliable in one way or another. After taking consideration and assessment of the above factors, then you can select what suits you.
Enjoy your hunting