The Best Hunting AR-15 Components
The venerable AR-15 platform no longer squarely fits into the category of “weapon of war.” For many across the nation, the AR-15 has become a tool for harvesting valuable game animals, protecting crops and livestock from invasion or pest species, and has even been employed in some areas of the country to combat the rising invasive population of wild hogs that ruin valuable food crops for many Americans. Having a reliable AR-15 is more than just picking the right kind of ammo or buying the most expensive brand. Depending on what you’re doing and where or what you’re shooting from, your AR-15 could look completely different than the next guys. This one one of the many reasons I love this type of hunting rifle. Here some of my picks for the most universally accepted best components for your hunting AR-15 rifle.
Table of Contents
1. Geissele SSA-E Super Semi Automatic Enhanced Trigger Group
One of the best components you can add to your hunting AR-15 Rifle is going to be a nice solid trigger. For hunting purposes, I really like the consistency and predictable nature of a two-stage trigger. Two-stage triggers allow you to get a solid takeup on your trigger pull before letting a shot loose which would lead to greater accuracy downrange. The Geissele SSA-E Super Sem Automatic Enhanced Trigger group features a 2.3-pound first stage with a 1.2-pound crisp and clean break. The Geissele SSA-E will work in both AR-15 and AR-10 style rifles and retails for $240.00
Pros/Legendary quality and reliability, light and crisp second stage with a clear take-up
Bottom Line/An essential upgrade for those who like to take precise stabilized shots
2. Magpul MOE Enhanced Trigger Guard
If you’re an avid hunter, your hunting trips will often take you to places where the weather isn’t always perfect or balmy. As a result, hunting with gloves becomes a necessity and the AR-15 platform isn’t always well known for having the most finger clearance with heavy winter gloves. The Magpul MOE enhanced trigger guard kit gives you additional clearance for use with heavy winter gloves and won’t add unnecessary weight, bulk, or even cost to your hunting AR-15. These can be routinely found for less than $10 when they are on sale.
Pros/Affordable and allows you to use your AR-15 with heavy winter gloves
Bottom Line/Great added value for little cost!
3. PROOF Research LR-308 308 Winchester Carbon Fiber Barrel
The barrel is honestly the core of your rifle and those of you who like to hunt hogs or larger game with a 308 AR-15 rifle (AR-10) will be hard-pressed to find a better barrel manufacturer than PROOF Research. PROOF Research’s barrels are manufactured and engineered for maximum thermal performance meaning each shot you take should be at the ideal temperature to keep your follow up shots as accurate as possible. If you want to take any questions about your AR’s accuracy out of the equation, upgrade your barrel!
Pros/Extremely high quality barrels well known for their accuracy
Bottom Line/Probably a good second or possibly first upgrade to increase the accuracy potential of your platform
4. Midwest Industries Slim Line Free Float M-LOK Handguard Rail
A good handguard is another great upgrade for your AR-15 platform for a number of reasons. Free float handguards will isolate a major point of contact between you and the rifle in order to prevent you from flexing the barrel when you’re prepping for your shot. Another great reason to have a free-float handguard has to do with the increased versatility that it gives you. With an M-LOK handguard you can add bipods, lights, lasers, and even night vision clip-on equipment so you can adapt your favorite hunting AR-15 to any situation and any prey.
Pros/Adds a great amount of versatility to your platform and is very affordable
Bottom Line/Great for adapting your rifle to fit the needs of the hunt
5. Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Applications Push Button
Last on our list is one that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves but is probably one of the most useful items to have with you while hunting. A good sling is more than just a weapon retention device. A good sling can also aid in accuracy potential when you’re shooting off-hand or from an unsupported position with an AR-15 rifle. The Blue Force Gear Vickers sling is affordable, durable, combat-proven, and when properly fitted can be used to stabilize your rifle before taking a shot which could mean the difference between filling a tag or going home empty-handed again.
Pros/Provides you with weapon retention and a more stable unsupported shooting position
Cons/Can get caught in trees and deer stands
Bottom Line/An essential item for most shooting applications
Why the AR-15 platform makes for a great hunting rifle
Some people have their minds made up about the AR platform well before they ever do any research, try one out or even hold onto one. If you listen to some news outlets, they’d have you believe that if you own one, it will one day leap from your gun cabinet and go off on a mass shooting spree. The truth is, AR-platform rifles are one of the most adaptable rifles out there and yes, they do make excellent hunting rifles. Here are some points to consider.
The AR platform is easily the most adjustable hunting rifle out there. It can be used for hunters of all sizes.
Felt recoil is minimal, even with larger caliber rifles, like the AR-10 platform.
You can easily switch calibers while still using the same platform just by swapping out the upper portion.
The design is inherently accurate, making it an appealing choice for hunting. Accuracy inspires confidence.
The adaptability is a big plus, in that you can use several uppers with the same platform and have the perfect hunting rifle for multiple species and conditions.
This AR is outfitted with a suppressor. Contrary to popular belief, a suppressor does NOT make the rifle silent. It simply reduces the sound of the shot down to a level that doesn’t damage your hearing, making it a great safety measure.
Is it legal to hunt with an AR-15?
This is a question that is best answered by checking up on your local laws and regulations. Although it might seem perfectly normal to be able to hunt with a center fire rifle like an AR-15 or an AR-10, some states have put prohibitions on hunting with specific rifles. The AR-15 is actually becoming one of the most popular hunting rifles in the country and works perfectly for things like taking out pest animals preying on livestock.
What Animals can be hunted with .223/5.56?
Everything from small game like rabbits, hares, and coyotes can be easily hunted with an AR-15 without issue. However, if you’ve got the right ammunition and are a good shot, it’s completely possible to take down American Whitetail with a .223 caliber rifle at distances out to about 150 yards or so. For larger game animals or if you’re unsure if you’ll be able to get the perfect shot, the AR-10 might be a better platform to work from if you want the same manual of arms.
What gas system length is best for a Hunting Rifle?
Reliability is key for AR-15 Hunting rifles. A carbine length gas system is dead nuts reliable with standard mil-spec components but the recoil will be much sharper than on a mid-length gas system. Mid-length gas systems are seeing some what of a comeback and I think it is in part to the soft-shooting nature of mid-length gas AR rifles. Obviously, you’ll want to optimize your gas system for the type of ammunition and length of the barrel you’ll be using. The last thing you want during a hog hunt is to be fooling around with your rifle because it won’t cycle because of a temperature change. Make sure you run your rifle in a variety of conditions and test it with the ammo you intend to hunt with so you don’t wind up having a bad and unsuccessful hunt.
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