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Yes, Joe, We DO Need AR-15s to Hunt Deer



They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. This picture is worth 1,000 anti-gun tears. (courtesy NSSF)

“B-b-b-b-but nobody needs an ‘assault rifle’ to hunt deer!”

Autumn has come back round at last, and if you listen carefully, you can hear the mating call of the great American Anti-Gunner echoing through the forest: “Bbbbut nobody needs an ‘assault rifle’ to hunt deer!” That is, if you can hear it over the thunder of all the AR-15s being used to lawfully and ethically hunt deer, pigs, coyotes and whatever other pests are hanging around side-eyeing your garden. Of course, you won’t be able to tell whether an AR is being used or not until you look at the gun, because it doesn’t fire any faster, louder, or more powerfully than any other semi-auto chambered in the same caliber. So the next time you hear the Anti-Gunner’s Autumn Mating Call, once you’ve declined the honor, you should go ahead and show them this NSSF article instead.



By Larry Keane

The time has come for President Joe Biden and the rest of the gun control politicians to pack up the worn-out line that “no one needs an AR-15 to hunt deer.”

Turns out, recreational target shooters and hunters do want Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs). That’s the family of AR-platform [semiautomatic] rifles that come in many calibers. According to the 2022 Ammunition Consumption Study by Winchester Ammunition, more than half of recreational shooters firing a centerfire rifle used an MSR. Of those who hunted with an MSR, 40 percent chose the MSR as their firearm of choice.

Ammo Consumption Study Results


Winchester Ammunition conducted a survey of 1,600 hunters and recreational shooters in the first quarter of 2022 to better learn which firearm recreational shooters and hunters were using. Turns out the most popular selling centerfire rifle in America is the rifle of choice.

That might come as a surprise for Capitol Hill lawmakers, especially for the 217 Members of Congress who voted to ban MSRs and some semiautomatic shotguns and handguns when they passed H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022. The argument made that MSRs serve no practical purpose for hunting is false.

It Will Hunt

Currently, 10 states restrict hunting with .223 or 5.56mm. Three of those states only allow shotguns, or straight-wall cartridges. New Jersey has an outright ban on MSRs. Even those states with caliber restrictions allow for MSRs that fire larger calibers. It’s not just deer, though, and not all in Washington, D.C., buy the line that AR-15s aren’t good for hunting.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy defended using an MSR for hunting hogs when asked by Vice News. “I’m law abiding, I’ve never done anything, I use it to kill feral pigs,” Sen. Cassidy said in a People Magazine report questioning lawmakers why Americans choose this rifle in the wake of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.  “The action of a criminal deprives me of my right,” he added about proposed bans.

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told CNN, “In my state, they use them to shoot prairie dogs and, you know, other types of varmints. And so I think there are legitimate reasons why people would want to have them.”

That might not mean much to Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) who held hearings to castigate MSR manufacturers. Nor would it earn consideration from Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) who ushered the bill through the U.S. House of Representatives to ban MSRs. No one expects Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to recognize the utility from her gated San Francisco estate.  South Dakotans, however, see it differently. Controlling varmints and predators is a necessity to ranchers.

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Colo.) would agree. He said of the AR-15, “It is the gun of choice for killing a fox, it is a gun that you control predators on your ranch, on your farm, on your property.”

The news that recreational target shooters and hunters are turning to the MSR as the rifle of choice is hardly a surprise to the firearm industry, recreational target shooters or hunters.

Built Better

Jordan Sillars, writing for MeatEater, the hunting brand made famous by Steve Rinella who hosts a Netflix series by the same name, listed off the pros and cons of hunting with MSRs. Among the many reasons for hunters to consider the rifle are the fact that it is semiautomatic, has low recoil that allows for quick follow-up shots, its modularity and is customizable, as well as lightweight and maneuverable. That’s important for hunters whether hunting from a box blind on a weekend or trekking into off-grid public lands.

Even when it comes to the .223/5.56mm cartridge, Sillars wrote in another piece that today’s modern ammunition deserves a second look where it’s legal for those who think it is diminutive.

“Bullet design has come a long way since your granddaddy decided a whitetail gun was .30-06 or bust,” he wrote.

In fact, Rinella, who normally hunts with large caliber bolt-action rifles, said time shooting the MSR helped him improve marksmanship. “Without the distraction of getting my molars loosened, and thanks to steady repetition, I was able to learn a thing or two about bad habits that I wasn’t even aware of,” he said.

Politicians railing against MSRs might argue that recreational target shooters and hunters could use other rifles to do the same thing. The numbers, though, don’t lie. The MSR is filling their need – and the Second Amendment gives them the right to choose the firearm that meets their needs. It is not for the government to decide.



  1. Jons_On

    September 30, 2022 at 10:44 am

    The MSR or AR-15 is a bit small to hunt game like deer but it is great for other types of game. The fact that Joke Biden doesn’t get is that the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It’s about having a private force to keep our country safe from enemies both foreign and domestic. The way that the president has been talking lately tells me that he and his party may very well be that domestic enemy. His party hates the Constitution. They hate the fact that the population can own guns that if it came to it could be used against him and his party. They don’t want to take your guns away to keep you safe. They want to take them away to keep themselves safe.

  2. Steven

    September 30, 2022 at 10:36 am

    As a Texas rancher I have a feral hog problem. One of my tools to deal with this is an AR-15 with a day/night scope. When a sounder comes into a pasture I want to go full “Winchester” on them. A bolt gun can’t do it.

    The AR-15 is an amazing product and has some desirable characteristics in common with the computer you are reading this on, provided you have a PC. It is manufactured by multiple companies and the parts are mostly interchangeable; if your manufacturer goes under you can still get parts from all the others. You can also customize it to meet your needs. Name another product that can do all this. If there were a car like that it would be the most popular one out there.

  3. KevinC

    September 30, 2022 at 9:01 am

    Just an add-on to what others have said here already.
    Sniveling Joe’s correct …to a point. Nobody needs an assault rifle to hunt deer, or any other animal. The AR-15 is NOT such a weapon, however, an M16 does fall under that umbrella term though, which many civilians do NOT possess. The AR is a great rifle to do many things with, and one of them can be for hunting.

  4. DW

    September 30, 2022 at 8:37 am

    “Want” isn’t the same as “need” You dumb cunts. Speaking as a bush Guide, your love and fetishizing of this riddle is fucking inane, weird, and idiotic. Get a grip.

    Plus, if you need “Follow up shots” then you’re a) a terrible marksman and b) shouldn’t have been taking that shot anyway so shouldn’t be allowed to hunt anyway.

    • KC Jailer

      September 30, 2022 at 11:29 am

      Sounds like you need to get a grip, if you’re that wrapped up in people “fetishing riddles”. Maybe you should stick to guiding Bushes…

  5. bill knight

    September 29, 2022 at 10:00 am

    Good Thing we The People are Protected by a “Bill of Rights” and have to Justify our “Needs” to No Man!

  6. William G Munson

    September 29, 2022 at 8:45 am

    Joe Biden why do Police have them to Shoot People why of couase not for their Protection yes well we want them for out Protection too

  7. RLD Montana 454

    September 29, 2022 at 8:42 am

    No we don’t all need AR 15s to hunt deer . We should all have AR 10s to hunt deer . FJB

    • bill knight

      September 29, 2022 at 10:03 am

      I have a 350 Legend ar15 for taking deer inside 200yds. Perfect for the ranges encountered in S.E. United States. If I hunt in the wide open states my ar10 will do just fine there

    • GreatGrandpa

      October 13, 2022 at 1:53 pm

      MSR’s AR 15 to hunt varmints n vermin, unless using heavy grain bullets with expansion tips. AR10 to hunt medium to large game with heavy grain expansion tips. But, with proper placement a AR15 can be used to harvest deer.

  8. David Johnson

    September 29, 2022 at 8:37 am

    You don’t “need” a limousine to drive around town either. It isn’t, and never has been about need. Our Constitution contains a Bill of Rights. Try as I might, I have yet to locate a Bill of Needs within it.

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