ARs for Hunting

The Pittsburg Tribune has a pretty good story on the increasing number of ARs showing up in the hands of hunters: AR-style rifles spurring some debate

(“Spurring some debate” is the unofficial middle name of the AR, by the way.)

There are still some states — just how many the NSSF hopes to determine via survey within a week or so — where it’s illegal to hunt with a semiautomatic rifle.

Pennsylvania is one of those.

“It’s not the AR styling per se. That really has nothing to do with it,” said Scott Tomlinson, law enforcement supervisor in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s southwest region office in Bolivar. “It has to do with the capacity for shooting multiple rounds.”

That issue is easily addressed with low-capacity magazines. I’ve never really understood that limitation. Is there fear that someone with a 30-round mag is going to mow down an entire herd of deer at once? Do they have tags for all those deer?

Even within the hunting community, some “traditionalist” hunters dislike the rifles. That’s led the NSSF to mount a campaign aimed at getting sportsmen to quit arguing amongst themselves.

Because it’s unusual for gun owners to argue amongst themselves.

You want to really see the fur fly? Call that 5-round low-cap hunting magazine a “clip”.


  1. Most states won’t allow anything above varmints to be hunted with .223. I assume they are using AR-10’s or some of those fancy intermediate cartridges like .260 or 6.8mm.

  2. I always found it strange that Pennsylvania wouldn’t allow semi-auto rifles for hunting. My parents still live there and a shooting range just opened up. It has some strange rule that you can only load 6 rounds in a handgun (taking revolvers into consideration… apparently not 7-10 shot revolvers though) and only 3 in a rifle. Someone explained to me that it was because if you could rapid fire you’d be more likely to shoot over the berm which didn’t make sense to me. either you are in control of your weapon or you aren’t. If you aren’t then you shouldn’t be at the range. I decided to never go there again.

  3. At first I was totally against the AR platform being used for hunting — but that was back before companies like Remington released ARs specific to hunting. I gradually got to the point where I wasn’t against it, but I had mixed feelings. But then I learned that with every advancement in firearms, people were against it being used for hunting. After WWI traditionalists were against bolt actions being used for hunting. They said it was unsporting. Then after WWII, they were against semi-autos being used for hunting. After learning this, I am now completely for the use of the AR for hunting. I have an FNAR I am using for the first time this season. I’m hoping that by next year I’ll have a Remington R-25, also.

    As for magazine capacity — it doesn’t matter if you have 3 rounds or 30 rounds, when hunting whitetails, the most you’re going to be able to shoot ethically is 2-3 shots, then the deer will be gone (And most likely you’re going to only get 1 shot, unless you wound the deer). After that it’s all on the ethics of the hunter.

  4. I remember an SNL video from the mid 90’s, probably from the first AWB, Where John Goodman was with the cast making fun of duck hunting with M16’s and AK47’s. It was of course meant to be absurd, and accuracy was not a concern. But the general joke was of course that they would be spraying and praying for maximum carnage.

    Obviously hunting with a mini gun mounted on a pickup is probably not very sporting, but why not use an AR or an AK as long as the hunter is using a small cap mag or in some way limiting it to make it more sporting?

    Me, I’d like to go fishing with an M 203.

  5. If it’s a question of how sporting it is, and “sporting” is a euphemism for “even match”, then you’re all way off the mark.

    You need to be getting kill shots with your homemade bow and arrow, clubbing varmints with your handmade stone axe, or catching fish with a pointy stick.

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