view through riflescope and reticle

A Good Hunter Requires A Good Weapon: Check Out These 2021 Rifle Recommendations

Many things make a good hunter, and having the right hunting rifle is up there on the list.

Using the perfect rifle makes a massive difference in your hunting experience. So, lets take a closer look at some of the best hunting rifles of 2021.

But before that, let’s quickly go through some of the factors we considered when coming up with this list.

Hunting Rifles Buying Guide

Below is a list of things you should consider before buying a hunting rife:

1. Type Of Gun Stock

There are generally two types of rifle stocks to choose from: Synthetic and wooden stocks. Each comes with its own pros and cons, so it’s all a matter of picking your poison.

The advantage of synthetic stocks over wooden ones is they are usually lighter, so the rifle won’t be as cumbersome. Synthetic stocks are also more resistant to harsh hunting conditions.

wooden and synthetic rifle stock

Rifle stock can be wooden or synthetic and each has its own pros and cons.

On the flip side, the synthetic stocks are nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing as a nicely finished walnut stock.

And, while wooden stocks are usually more beautiful, they tend to be heavier and more sensitive to scratches, cracks, and discolorations.

So, you should consider how much value you put on the aesthetics of a hunting rifle before deciding.



2. Barrel Length

Shorter barrels are a favorite of most hunters since they usually make the rifle lighter and more maneuverable. On the other hand, longer barrels may make a gun cumbersome, but they typically provide better velocity. 

Some people would also argue that longer barrels are more powerful. 

weatherby vanguard rifle
Barrel length (like on this Weatherby Vanguard) can affect maneuverability, velocity and rifle weight.


3. Action

Lever and bolt action rifles are recommended to beginners and intermediate hunters. These guns are typically easier and safer to use. 

Seasoned hunters can afford the luxury of using semi-automatic rifles, which require more skill to operate. 

rifle action types
Here are the various rifle action types (photo credit: rcsdk12.org)


4. Weight

Weight is a crucial factor in rifle selection, since it directly affects your ability to operate the gun. Different people will have different preferences based on their level of fitness and other factors.

As we’ve already pointed out, the type of stock and length of the barrel you choose will also affect the overall weight of your gun.

If you want a lightweight rifle, look for something with a short barrel and synthetic stock. 





5. Scope Compatibility

Unless you are an experienced hunter with an acquired taste for the iron sight, a scope is an investment you cannot overlook. Scopes magnify the target to increase your precision.

There are many scopes to choose from. To ensure you are getting the right scope for your rifle, consider factors like reticle, magnification, size of lens, turrets, and the minutes of angle or MOA. 

You should know that scopes will add some weight to your rifle, and some of them may not work very well under certain weather conditions.



view through riflescope and reticle

There are many factors in choosing a scope for your rifle, such as reticle, MOA, lens size, etc.




2021 Rifle Recommendation

Below are our rifle recommendations for 2021:

1. Model 48 Mountain Carbon Rifle By Nosler

Model 48 Mountain Carbon Rifle By Nosler
The Nosler M48 Mountain rifle

The Nosler M48 Mountain rifle was first introduced in 2019. This rifle is made using lightweight materials for better handling while delivering exquisite performance, making it one of the best guns for hunting, and the 2021 version of the gun has seen an introduction of two new chamberings.

The rifle is built around the Nosler M48 action, integrated into a carbon-wrapped barrel for insane sub-MOA accuracy. 

The mountain hunter stock is finished in an elegant granite green, while the steel surfaces are covered in tungsten grey, giving your rifle long-term protection against harsh weather conditions.

The gun weighs only 6 pounds and is perfectly balanced for enhanced maneuverability. 





2. Weatherby Vanguard (Synthetic)

weatherby vanguard synthetic stock rifle
Weatherby Vanguard (synthetic) rifle

The Weatherby Vanguard is the affordable alternative to the famous Mark V from the same manufacturer. Don’t mistake its affordability for weak performance, though. The rifle guarantees considerable power coupled with sub-MOA accuracy for the ultimate target hunt down.

The rifle is built using lightweight polymer stock. The material does a great job of handling tough hunting surroundings and extreme weather to give you an excellent feel and performance for years to come.

The barrel is 24 inches long for non-magnum and 240 Wby Mag, which is just enough for most hunters. 

It weighs 6.75 pounds. 




3. Impulse Big Game Rifle By Savage

Impulse Big Game Rifle By Savage
Impulse Big Game Rifle By Savage Arms

This is without a doubt the most innovative hunting rifle we’ve come across in 2021.

It may look like a regular bolt action gun, but there is nothing regular about the speed of the follow-up shots it provides.

Savage has utilized the Hexlock straight-pull action to reduce the time it takes to make subsequent shots. This makes the Impulse Big Game one of the most instinctive hunting rifles on the market.

The rifle is built with a medium-contour fluted barrel to balance the weight. It’s available in different mags, including the .243Win, .300 Win Mag, .308 Win, and .300 WSM fed through a flush-fit detachable box mag. A sleek hazel green cerakote covers the metal surfaces.

At 8.8 pounds, the Impulse Big Game is heavier than the two rifles discussed above. However, its ingenious design achieves a remarkable balance that makes operating the gun feel effortless.



4. Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle

Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle
Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle

The Ruger Mini-14 Ranch rifle is an excellent option for anyone looking for a versatile semi-automatic gun. The action is based on the M1 Garand and the M14, but it is scaled down to make the gun easier to handle and use.

There are multiple calibers to choose from here, including the .300 blackout and the .223 Remington. It comes with an intuitive iron sight, but there is also the option of mounting a scope.



You’ll also love the fact that the ejector is designed to throw cases in a downward trajectory, to keep them from hitting the scope. 

The Ruger Mini-14 features a steel barrel and receiver with a blue finishing and a hardwood stock with a ventilated handguard on the fore-end. 

The rifle weighs just 7 pounds. Ruger scope rings are included.



5. Remington Model 700 SPS Varmint

Remington Model 700 SPS Varmint
Remington Model 700 SPS Varmint

Remington 700 SPS Varmint is a budget-friendly hunting rifle that performs well where it matters the most. Besides predator and varmint shooting, the gun is also great for long-range tactical shooting

This rifle comes with a non-reflective barrel and receiver for perfect concealment and a blind mag to increase reliability. The fore-end of the contoured barrel is ventilated for better heat dissipation. It’s also drilled for easy scope mounting. The Model 700 SPS Varmint weighs around 8.5 pounds. 



Conclusion

That’s pretty much it for the best hunting rifles for 2021. These guns tick all the boxes from accuracy and power to durability, and that’s why they are highly recommended to both beginners and seasoned hunters

rifle pointed downrange

Hunting Season: 7 Tips to Improve Your Shooting Accuracy

When hunting season comes, you know that a lot of people are going to come out and play.

After all, the hobby of hunting isn’t just about being one with nature, it’s being able to take out your prey with skill and precision.

There are many skills needed to become what’s considered a good hunter, but the fundamental skill that everyone should have is… a good aim.

hunter shooting rifle

Becoming a better hunter includes improving your shot accuracy, which involves practice, time and patience.

Aside from natural survival skills, having a steady hand and a sharp eye is a must if you want to be a good hunter.

For some, it’s not easy to be a good shot with a hunting rifle. But, the good news is that it’s a skill that can be mastered and developed over time.

It’s important to note that increasing your accuracy does take a lot of time, patience, and of course, practice.

Hopefully, the tips below are more than enough to increase your aim by a good margin.



Practice, Practice, And Practice

Some people are good shots naturally, but others have to work to get the good aim they want to have.

If you feel as if your aim needs more improvement, it’s a must that you practice more.

Go to the shooting range to practice your aim regularly. Start with static (stationary) targets and then move on to moving targets later.

If you want to simulate the feel of hunting, go outdoors and set up targets yourself. Just make sure that you are practicing in a secluded area and only point the gun in a safe direction.

target showing through rifle scope

Practice shooting static targets before progressing to moving targets.




Abide By MOA

A lot of people think that good aim is about steady hands and a good eye.

In reality, it’s a lot about science and mathematics.

You may have heard about MOA but what is MOA and why isn’t it so popular among the best hunters? Is it really necessary to learn more about it?

rifle pointing down hillside

MOA stands for “minutes of angles,” and is equal to 1/60th degrees.

In regards to shooting, MOA means minutes of angles. For a marksman’s vocabulary, 1 minute equals 1/60th degrees in an angle.

Measuring your range by minutes may seem counterintuitive as 1/60th of degrees seems too small. However, with bullets going as fast as they can, calculating minutes can make a huge difference.



To put it simply, MOA helps you measure the bullet drop.

Thanks to gravity, everything that comes out of your gun drops eventually. If the target is further, you can expect bullet drop to play a huge factor in your successful shot.

The formula to calculate for bullet drop is:

Target distance (yards) / (divide by) 100 = inches per 1 MOA at that distance.

If you master this simple math above, you’ll be able to measure your shots better, thus allowing you to significantly improve your aim.



Check Your Equipment

Sometimes, it’s not just your skills that are a problem, it’s your equipment too.

Any hunter will tell you that investing in the right rifle and scope is a must if you want to get good shots while out hunting. It’s not always about buying the most expensive tools too.

hunting rifle on tripod

Be sure to do your homework and choose a rifle scope that is versatile and will be a good fit for your specific type of hunting.

Before you buy a rifle, read a lot of reviews about it. Check for important factors such as its weight, grip, and overall feel. Don’t be afraid to ask your local gun store about which guns are the best for hunting as they’ll most likely suggest the best models for you.

As for the scope, make sure to get one that’s versatile. This refers to a scope that can provide a good view from various ranges. Keep in mind that some scopes are best partnered with certain guns so again, complete your due research about guns and scopes before you make a purchase.




Control Your Breathing

It may not seem like much but your breathing does affect your aim to a degree. As you aim, your body moves – your arms and shoulders included. While minimal, the movement is enough to affect your accuracy while taking aim. As such, it’s important that you practice controlling your breathing.

Ideally, you should hold your breath while aiming and while you are taking a shot. When you are still aiming down, relax and stay calm. Take slow and deep breaths so that your heart rate doesn’t get too affected.

closeup picture of a gun trigger

Controlling your breathing before pulling the trigger is a critical component of shooting accuracy.

Hold Your Gun Properly

Rifles release a lot of backward force when they are fired. Those new to firing a gun are often caught off guard by exactly how powerful the firearm recoils after being fired.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid this recoil, but you can control it effectively with proper gun handling.

For starters, make sure to rest the stock of the rifle on your shoulders firmly. This somewhat controls the force as the bullet is fired. As for the trigger, make sure to squeeze it tightly and use the force on your wrist and fingers as well. 




Avoid Going For Quick And Small Targets First

If you are having trouble with your aim, it’s likely that you just aren’t accustomed to it yet.

So, don’t rush your hunting journey. Don’t go for small and quick targets first. If you force yourself in hunting them, you’ll have no time to practice your aim.

Go for larger and easy targets first. Practice your aim with them and as you get better, move on to more complex prey.

Hunting is a journey that you should never rush.



Relax

Hunting shouldn’t be a stressful hobby. In fact, it’s something that relaxes a lot of people.

While hunting, it is imperative that you stay calm and collected as this can help improve your aim significantly. This may sound cliche’, but practice being one with nature when you are out hunting.

Immerse yourself with your surroundings and focus on your target. Don’t let other factors distract you as these can throw you off your aim as well. Hunting isn’t just about good aim, it’s also about keeping calm as you stalk and take down your prey.

wooden box tower stand

While getting improving your shooting accuracy is a rewarding accomplishment, don’t forget to enjoy the simple pleasures of hunting.



Final thoughts

Improving your aim is not that difficult, as long as you know what you need to do to make it better. These tips are practical ways to do so.

Perhaps the best tip we can give you is to be patient. The journey to becoming better may seem long, but it’s well worth it in the end.

pile of hogs with night vision rifle and scope on top

Night Vision vs Thermal Imaging for night hunting | What’s the difference?

If you are planning to hunt at night, you will need a thermal or night vision scope to be able to acquire the target successfully. But, while both of these devices will allow you to see at night, there are differences between the two.

Each has its own dedicated application, and each has pros and cons.

Let’s take a look at the differences, so that you can easily choose the best option for you.

You need to know the basic difference between thermal scopes and night vision scopes so you can choose the one that’s perfect for your hunting situation. Hopefully, the following section will make the differences between the two clear. So, keep reading!

Thermal Scopes And How They Work

The word “thermal” refers to anything related to temperature or heat.

Thermal scopes detect the heat or temperature of the target and use the radiation to generate the image.

thermal image of coyote

Thermal scopes detect the heat of a target and use radiation to generate the image.

The image can be generated in black and white or various colors depending on the device. The image will becomes lighter or darker with the increase or decrease of its radiation. Therefore, warm objects look brighter through the scope.


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Pros and Cons of Thermal Scopes

Thermal scopes have pros and cons just like any other.

Unlike night vision devices, thermal scopes can be used both in the day and at night. And, because they use radiation or heat source to render the image, you can easily detect objects even if they are hiding or camouflaged.

hogs through a thermal scope

Some thermal scopes render images in colors.

In addition, thermal scopes can cover a larger distance than night vision scopes.

On the down side, during extreme cold, thermal scopes become blind.

Additionally, thermal scopes are heavier and more expensive than night vision scopes.



How Night Vision Scopes Work

Night vision scopes work quite differently than thermal scopes. Some night vision scopes render images in a green hue and rely heavily on a light source to render them. The light source can be ambient, like that of the moon, the stars, or the surroundings.

If there is no light at all, the infrared illuminator (IR) is used to generate light. Luckily, the IR is not visible to the naked eye. Therefore, your prey will not be alerted.


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Pros And Cons Of Night Vision Scopes

Night vision scopes are lighter and also less pricey than thermal scopes. They are available in various models and generations. Therefore, you can easily choose one according to your budget and requirements.

You can go for a basic night vision scope if you are a beginner. If you are a pro hunter, you could go with one of the high-end night vision scopes.

full moon

Night vision scopes rely on a light source like the moon or stars.

Since night vision scopes rely on an available light source, an unfavorable environment can affect the visibility. For example, in the fog, rain, snow, and dust, night vision devices are not as effective.

Additionally, night vision scopes can’t cover long distances as well as thermal scopes can.



Night Vision VS Thermal Scopes For Hunting

While hunting at night, you need to identify the target as your desired game animal, otherwise, you may end up shooting something else. And the choice between night vision and thermal scopes depends on the shooting environment.

thermal image of coyote hunters with coyote

Thermal scopes can detect animals from long distances, but could be confusing for hunters if there are other moving targets in the field of view.

Thermal Scopes

Thermal scopes can easily detect animals or moving objects from a long distance whether it is day or night. Their detection is better than night vision scopes. Even in the roughest weather, they can help you see (except in extreme cold).

However, one thing to keep in mind is that thermal scopes render images in black and white, or in shades of multiple colors, which may be confusing for hunters and shooters if there are other moving objects in the target area. If this is not going to be an issue for you, then a thermal scope would work fine.


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Night Vision Scopes

Night vision scopes can render higher-resolution images than thermal scopes. They use ambient light sources or the IR to help you see in the dark.

Through night vision scopes, you can easily detect your targeted game even if there are other moving objects since, you are getting almost the actual image.

However, during rough weather, night vision scopes can be blind. You also will not be able to find your prey if it is camouflaged or hiding behind an obstacle.

hogs killed using night vision scopes

If there is no available ambient light, night vision scope users need an infrared illuminator to be able to view in the dark.

Night vision devices are light-sensitive and can be damaged with bright light exposure.

In short, thermal scopes are good for detection and can be used in almost all conditions. On the other hand, night vision scopes are to be used at night and can render better images.




Conclusion

Both thermal and night vision scopes are great in their respective applications. You should choose one depending on your hunting environment.

When buying, remember the pros and cons of each device and choose wisely.

Whichever option you choose, good luck with your night hunting!

[Images used with permission: Jason Brooks and Infected Outdoors.]