Best Semi-Auto Hunting Rifles

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Best Semi-Auto Hunting Rifles
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When the Canadian parliament announced a proposal late last year to ban a large category of semi-automatic rifles, critics characterized it as a direct attack on hunters–with good reason.

While bolt-action rifles are the most popular choice for big-game in North America, a smaller but faithful group of hunters have used auto-loaders for decades to take everything from moose to tree squirrels. If you’re looking to join their ranks, these are some of the best options on the used and new markets.

How to Pick a Semi-Auto Hunting Rifle

Accuracy is always among a rifle’s most important features, and semi-automatic rifles are no different. Semi-autos have a reputation for being less accurate than their bolt-action counterparts, and it’s true that, generally speaking, manufacturers have a more difficult time producing consistently accurate auto-loaders.

But semi-autos can be more than accurate enough for most hunting scenarios. You won’t be disappointed purchasing a new auto-loader from any of the manufacturers below. If you’re buying from the used market, see if the gun store will let you do some accuracy testing before the return period ends. If not, shoot at least three five-shot groups with four or five bullets of different weights. You should be able to find something that gives you 1-2-inch groups at 100 yards, which is accurate enough for good shots out to 300 yards or so.

Reliability is the next thing you should look for. Bolt-action rifles can fail in many ways, but semi-autos have more moving parts and are therefore more prone to failure. As with accuracy, it’s tough to know before purchasing whether your rifle will reliably cycle. But sticking with tried-and-true designs from reputable companies is a great place to start. Testing different brands of ammo and magazines (not to mention cleaning the action!) can also fix most reliability issues you might run into.

The other features you should look for mirror what you’d want to see in any other kind of rifle. Be sure the rifle isn’t too heavy to carry but is heavy enough to absorb recoil. A nice trigger is a plus, as is a comfortable and/or adjustable stock. A threaded barrel is necessary for attaching a suppressor or muzzle device, though you’ll want to make sure the action cycles with a suppressor.

Price is a dealer’s choice scenario. You can spend thousands of dollars on a new or collectable rifle, or you can spend $250 on a bargain bin 10/22. It’s totally up to you.

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Semi-Auto Hunting Rifles We Recommend

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