Are Hunting Rifles Semi-Automatic?

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I am a proud long time owner of a Browning BAR match which is a semi-automatic .308 for hunting, and I like it because of the numerous benefits it offers. A semi-automatic rifle is specifically essential for hunters, thanks to the fact that it auto-loads hence being more convenient for successive shots. So, back to our question: are hunting rifles semi-automatic? Well, hunting rifles exist in semi-automatic rifles, bolt-action rifles, lever-action rifles, and pump-action rifles. So, yes because there are semi-automatics, and no because hunting rifles come in different types.

Given that they exist in these different forms, it will only be fair for us to go through all these types of hunting rifles. If you need to know how the semi-automatic rifles, the fully automatic, the bolt-action and lever-action rifles work, then read along. Below, we have a break-down of some of these rifles, their advantages, disadvantages, and examples. Have a look.

Semi-Automatic Hunting Rifles

Semi-automatic hunting rifles will allow for an automatic ejection and re-chambering of a new round after each shot. However, you will have to manually release the trigger and re-cock the sear and hammer then pull it again to fire a new shot. If you keep holding the trigger at a firing position, the firearm will continuously fire until you release the trigger or your cartridges run out.  

A semi-automatic rifle will use blow-forward, gas, recoil, or blowback after the round has moved down the barrel to eject the spent cartridges. These types of rifles are efficiently fed by an en-bloc clip and an internal magazine, detachable magazine, or a combination of interior magazine and a stripper clip. A detachable magazine, however, is not as durable as an internal one is.

Examples of Semi-Automatic Hunting Rifles

Below are some examples of the semi-automatic hunting rifles that are ideal for hunting.

Savage Model 64

It is a semi-automatic rifle made by Savage Arms in Canada operating on simple blowback action. It is ideal for beginning shooters, hunters of small game and target shooters who wish to save some costs. Its accuracy and low price features have earned it one of the most popular hunting and target shooting rifles in the United States.

The rifle is available in the true left-handed version, which is ideal and helpful for new shooters. You secure a chance to focus on other important matters they have to learn about shooting a semi-automatic gun.

Berkut Rifle

A Berkut rifle fits into the family of semi-automatic, gas-operated hunting carbines that work perfectly to give you the best results on the hunting grounds. The rifle is designed by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau of Tula with particular specifications that make it a great gun. It is perfect for shooting both smaller and more great games, and it is available in different styles, such as thumb-hole and semi-pistol. 

Browning .22 Semi-Auto Rifle

It is also known as the semi-automatic 22 or SA 22 and was produced by John Browning in cooperation with FN Herstal. It is made from blued steel and walnut and releases the spent cartridges cases downwards. This downward release protects your eyes from glass and other flying particles when shooting.

Both adult and young shooters can use this rifle safely and enjoy maximum results. 

Break-Action Rifles

The bolt action rifles use a small metal handle sticking out of the rifle’s right side behind the chamber to facilitate easy cocking and shooting. All you need are some simple upward, downward, and forward movements to help you eject the used cartridge, load a new round, and close the chamber for shooting.

Since these types of rifles are easy to use, they are among the most produced guns globally. Their easy-to-use nature, accuracy, and durability market them even further into the rifle market. 

Examples of Break-Action Rifles

What are some of the break-action rifles you will get out there? Let us find out some below.

Savage Axis XP Bolt-Action Rifle

Regardless of your shooting abilities, the Savage Axis XP Bolt-Action rifle provides you with the best precision, affordability, and performance features. Its modern design brags of a smooth contour and a lightweight black synthetic stock for the perfect grip when firing. It uses a detachable box magazine, which makes reloading more accessible and promotes consistent shooting when hunting.

Winchester XPR Dark Earth Combo 30-06 Springfield Bolt-Action Rifle

This high rifle combines the accuracy, concept, and reliability of the iconic model 70 with modern manufacturing technology. This combination brings out the best in this Winchester Springfield Bolt-Action rifle for hunters at an affordable price. It uses the MOA trigger system, which is the most reliable three-level trigger system worldwide. 

You will also enjoy the ergonomic textured grip surface that the lightweight stock of this rifle offers. With such a stock, you will not worry about the weather you will be working under. This rifle is fast growing into a legendary combination, which is an excellent work of the Winchester armorers.

CZ 550 American Safari Magnum Bolt Action-Rifle

It gives you perfect hunting results when you use it with a magnified optic. However, if you lack the magnified optics, you can use backup irons on the rifle immediately; you take it out of the box. Its American styled field grade Turkish Walnut stock features a high flat comb with a round forend, which doesn’t snag on brush and limbs.

Thanks to its round feed and controlled ejector, the rifle can be an excellent option for hunting massive and dangerous game.

Lever-Action Rifles

Lever-Action rifles were among the first designs to be associated with rifles. Loading and unloading the chamber is easy. With the help of a handle situated behind the trigger, you can easily pull the cartridge out of the adjacent barrel tube. You can later load the round into the chamber so you can fire it.

Their high cartridge capacity comes in handy when you want to achieve a consistent shooting when hunting. However, the rifles are somehow less accurate than other models and are more substantial, making them imperfect for carrying around.

Examples of Lever-Action Rifles

Here are some Lever-Action rifles you may expect to find in the market. 

Henry Rifle

Even though it was not the first lever-action rifle, it prides itself on being the first to climb high the commercial success ladder. The gun was in production from 1860 to 1866, and it managed to take the attention of every rifle enthusiast in the world then. Its 15-round tube magazine was so adequate that those who used it never hid their joy. The confederates even referred to it as ‘the gun you load on Sunday and shoot the whole week.’

Winchester 1886

Winchester came into play and kicked out the pistol cartridges taking the best of the market before Winchester 1886. The Winchester stood out for the cartridges it was chambered for, with many of them being used in single-shot rifles before. Most of these cartridges were unique, and you may not have heard about them before. They include the .40-82 Winchester and some common ones like .45-70. The rifle is designed for hunting buffalo or a T-Rex effectively.

Browning BLR

This Browning Model 81 BLR is an excellent depiction of what top-class engineering can achieve. It operates on a series of pinion racks and gears that would make you enjoy your shooting experience. It comes with a removable box magazine, making it easier to use pointed bullets and some of the best cartridges like .358 Winchester.  

Are They Worth it?

Advantages of using a Semi-Automatic Rifle in Hunting 

Using a semi-automatic rifle may not be your desired choice, but it sure has numerous advantages, mainly if you are using it for hunting. Some of these advantages include:

  • It is a self-loading rifle which helps to increase the number of effective shots fired from whichever range. It achieves this by minimizing the need to change the rifle’s aiming position when loading cartridges into the gun.
  • Semi-automatic rifles more than double the number of hits that a manually-loaded rifle can achieve at a close range. They also increase the number of hits by about 50% at longer distances, which means you have to be extremely accurate with your aiming.
  • Firing for an extended period is much more comfortable using a semi-automatic rifle than when using a manually loaded rifle. The manual loading process causes shooter fatigue, which you cannot have when using a semi-automatic rifle.

Disadvantages of using a Semi-Automatic Rifle in Hunting

Let’s have a look at the flip side of using a semi-automatic rifle, especially when hunting.

  • The self-loading mechanism may fail to reload bent or dirty cartridges, creating a clog in the system and delaying shots. This may, in turn, affect the effectiveness of the shots’ accuracy negatively.
  • Semi-automatic rifles are peculiarly susceptible to slam fire malfunctions, resulting from abrupt cartridge acceleration when self-loading.

Most Popular Rifle Accessories

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Final Verdict

You already know, by now, that all hunting rifles are not necessarily semi-automatic. Semi-automatic rifles work well for hunters, though, and you can tell that from their features. Some options also exist for you if you find out that semi-automatic rifles are not what you are looking for in a hunting rifle. All said, you could never go wrong with a semi-automatic hunting rifle in your hunting activities.

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