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Author Topic: What calibers are available in the AR-15 platform for hunting?  (Read 6087 times)

Offline 00Scot

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I would like to build an AR upper strictly for hunting. It will be used to take mainly Coyotes and Bobcat at about 85%, Boar at about 10%, misc. small varmints at about 4% and maybe deer at 1%. The boar will be under 100lbs most of the time and up to 200 at the larger side. But almost all will fall into the 100lbs or less class.

I want this upper to be on the 15 platform and not the 10 platform. And I would prefer that it be able to use the standard AR-15 mags if possible. But that is not mandatory. I would like it to be at least a 6mm or larger.

So what are my caliber options. I haven't been into shooting for over 10 years so I am out of touch on what is out there for the AR-15 platform. I just saw something the other day about the AR30 caliber that was designed for Deer. Anyone know about this cartridge?

The availability of factory ammo is not a factor as I will be loading my own.

So what are all my options that use the AR-15 lower and be able to take the game I listed above? Other then the 223/5.56 nato.


(if this would be better posted in the hunting section please let me know and I will move it over there. I posted it here because the question is more about the caliber option and gun build then the hunting aspect. I just felt that knowing what the upper will be used for would be pertinent info)


Offline BuffaloBill

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The 450 Bushmaster isn't a long range cartridge; people consider it a 200yd-ish round for deer, pigs, etc.  But it is fun to shoot!  I have not hunted with it yet but is said to be a great wild bore cartridge.  There's a lot of discussion about it on 450bushmaster.com

I can say it pastes gallon jugs of water with some authority at 100yds!

Offline 00Scot

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Thank you,

I am looking for something that will handle out to 500 yards easily. 1000 would be nice. But at least out to 500 I would say is required for this project.


Offline highmaster82

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  • competitive highpower for 45 years
6.5 grenel,6.5 les baer, 6mmar(robert whitley) forget the 30ar for long range,why an ar15 the dpms lr308,260,243 is a lot more gun ,i have both ar and lr . for long range hunting ,no comparison,    BD

Offline 00Scot

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The reason I am looking for the AR-15 platform is because I already have the lower. If I went with the 10 platform I would be looking at a complete new rifle as opposed to only having to build or buy the upper. Cost is a concern for this project. Plus I'm not looking for anything in that large of a caliber as to need to use the 10 platform.

A stripped 15 lower is $100 a stripped 10 lower is $300 or more.

Offline shortgrass

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Sorry guy, 500-1000 performance costs $$$$$$.
Post count and I.Q. are two different things!


Offline 00Scot

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Sorry guy, 500-1000 performance costs $$$$$$.

Absolutely, it just doesn't have to cast as much  ;)

Offline Larryh128

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Why not use your 223? A Barnes 62gr TSX will kill any hog or deer made.
Guaranteed.

Offline 00Scot

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Why not use your 223? A Barnes 62gr TSX will kill any hog or deer made.
Guaranteed.

Are you speaking from experience on the hogs? On a head shot sure. But on a shoulder shot I wonder....

You think a 62gr TSX will drop a 200lb hog? I just wonder how much energy that little that 62gr bullet will still have once it makes it thru the thick Shoulder armor.

I have never shot a heavier solid out of either of my 223 or 22-250 so I have no personal experience.

Offline tenring

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I do not want an AR, but was talking to a gent at the range today.  He had Whitley build him one based on 6.5 Grendel, necked down to 6mm.  With 95 gr. Bergers and 28.5 grs. Varget, he was getting about 2,650 fps.

Offline rayjay

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For what an upper assy [ plus special magazines ] costs you can buy a complete bolt action rifle and a good optic. Then you can choose the ideal cartridge for the job instead of compromising so you can use the AR lower.
Ask lots of questions but question all the replies.

Offline 00Scot

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For what an upper assy [ plus special magazines ] costs you can buy a complete bolt action rifle and a good optic. Then you can choose the ideal cartridge for the job instead of compromising so you can use the AR lower.

I already have a rifle for the job in 22-250. As well as a 308. I just want to get more use out of my AR besides using it as a target rifle. Which is exactly what it has been ever since the ban. It is a Colt Match Target Competition 20" HBAR. It is a registered AW and as such I can only use "the lower" at a shooting range or on private land (of which I have zero access). I can either buy a new complete AR in the new caliber, or buy or build the upper in the new caliber then just put together a relatively inexpensive lower to use with both of my uppers. Then I would have 2 complete AR's. The only down side is the Colt lower could only be used at the range. But the other AR could be used anywhere.

Offline Litespeed

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Are you trying to find a cartridge that will fire from an AR platform and be capable of taking a 200 lb hog at 1000 yards?  Please give more specifications as to what animals you expect to shoot at what distances because that will pretty much define your needed ballistics.  If you are hunting the animals inside of 200 yards you may want to look at the .300 Whisper (I hesitate to call it an AAC Blackout but they are essentially the same).  You will be able to use your .223 magazines and since you reload already you probably already have the .308 bullets.  Brass is available in the form or reformed military brass everywhere and it's a great little cartridge.  It's only drawback is it certainly isn't a 1000 yd round and 500 is probably going to be it's limit.  I'm heading out to shoot mine for the first time tomorrow.

Offline Larryh128

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You will be amazed at what that Barnes 62gr TSX does. I can shoot them completely thru both shoulders of a LARGE deer so I believe it will kill a 200# hog as well. I would be surprised if you recovered a bullet. 25.2 grs of Varget with a CCI 200 is a good AR load at 2900 fps. Accurate & deadly. Laurie had a post a while back on sooting to 1000 yds with the 223. You should be able to dig that up. You need a 1-8 twist to run the 62gr Barnes, but I would assume that you already have that. This is the little train that could.

Offline 00Scot

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Are you trying to find a cartridge that will fire from an AR platform and be capable of taking a 200 lb hog at 1000 yards?  Please give more specifications as to what animals you expect to shoot at what distances because that will pretty much define your needed ballistics. 

My apologies, I thought I did that in the original post. I neglected to put the range in. Most of the game will by Coyote with the occasional hog in the 75lb to 125lb range. With the very slight possibility of coming across one that tops 200lbs. All ranges will be under 500 yards.


 

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