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AR upper for hunting
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April 27, 2017
6:58 pm
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jkgruet
Albuquerque, NM 87111

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I’ve only been hunting for a few years, and also am not an expert on rifles.  (Most of my shooting has been handguns until fairly recently.)  I’m thinking of a hunting upper for an AR, and figure this forum might be a good place to get some advice.  (I might post in another forum later, but I always liked the people here, so will try here first.)

I’ve been javelina hunting for the past few years, using a .270 with 110 gr bullets.  That’s worked fairly well overall, although some might say it’s a bit overkill.  This coming season, my adult son plans to go javelina hunting with me as well.  He has always been sensitive to loud noises (he’s a professional musician), and I want this to be a good experience for him.  

I’ve been thinking about another upper for my AR, and figure this might be a good time to assemble one for the main purpose of hunting javelina-sized game.  I also think that this forum might be a good place to get advice–some of the long-timers here can probably be considered experts, or nearly so.

Here are some of my initial thoughts and concerns.  ALL are open for discussion.

– Caliber:  5.56 most likely (would consider others:  cost & availability factors)
– Barrel:  18″ or 20″??, threaded, free floating  (more stability and accuracy?)
– Barrel twist:  1:8 or 1:9  (heavier bullets)
– Scope:  approx. 3-10 x ~40
        – Concerned about eye relief
        – Concerned about access to charging handle
        – Probably Picatinny rail mount
        – Concerned about my old eyes!
– Sling:  two-point, snap at front (have and have used)
– Handguard:  ???

What else should I consider or be thinking about?

May 8, 2017
7:17 am
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wyflyguy
Albuquerque, NM

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My first thought was that it may not be legal to hunt with that caliber.  However, I just checked the regulations and that caliber will work in New Mexico.  Several states have rules in place that make it so the smallest caliber you can legally hunt with is something along the lines of a .243  But if you’re mainly hunter here in NM, you’re probably fine there (and cheaper).  Just make sure you get some ammo that is not full metal jacket (has to be soft tipped or hollow point).

I think I’d stick with an 18″ barrel unless you’re planning on shooting several hundred yards away.  Less weight to haul around that way.

That type of scope should do plenty well for those same ranges.

Good luck and let us know what you come up with.

 

Lastly, I always carry a set of foam ear plugs with me when hunting javelina.  That may be an option for your son.  Also, make sure when you are ready to shoot that you give him enough warning to either put them in or cover his ears.

May 10, 2017
9:53 pm
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jkgruet
Albuquerque, NM 87111

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Thanks much, wyflyguy.   Good check on the caliber.  I went last year (unsuccessfully) with a .223 which was not well configured for hunting,  but checked the restrictions first.  

I almost always hunt with ear protection–last year for both elk and javelina, with electronic muffs so I could hear as well.   My son was along, but didn’t have javelina tags, so he carried a .22 and was able to get a jack rabbit, which my wife did up quite nicely in a coniglio “Giaccamo” cacciatore.  He also wore ear plugs the entire time. 

I’ve continued to do research since posting.  Currently .300 BLK is at the top, with either a 16″ or 18″ barrel.  The latter have been difficult to find.  Still need a good idea on how to mount a scope at a reasonable height above the barrel and still have good access to the charging handle.   Adequate eye relief also remains a concern. 

Again, thanks much.  Glad another Albuquerquean is still active on the list.

May 11, 2017
7:09 am
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wyflyguy
Albuquerque, NM

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I think that .300 BLK would be a fun one to have.  I think the most utility comes when you turn it into a short barreled rifle with a suppressor, which is (my understanding) how it was developed to be for the military.  That may be why a longer barrel is tough to find.  I don’t believe they are ideal for long distances, but you’re not likely to be shooting a javelina far enough away to make that an issue.

BTW, it is nice to see you around still as well.  I believe we share the same employer.  I discovered this thanks to some previous comments you made here along with a good internal directory.  🙂

May 12, 2017
12:44 am
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jkgruet
Albuquerque, NM 87111

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R

wyflyguy said
I think that .300 BLK would be a fun one to have.  I think the most utility comes when you turn it into a short barreled rifle with a suppressor, which is (my understanding) how it was developed to be for the military.  That may be why a longer barrel is tough to find.  I don’t believe they are ideal for long distances, but you’re not likely to be shooting a javelina far enough away to make that an issue.

BTW, it is nice to see you around still as well.  I believe we share the same employer.  I discovered this thanks to some previous comments you made here along with a good internal directory.  🙂 

Tomorrow’s my Friday off, but I may be in for awhile.  Shoot me an email and perhaps we can get together for lunch sometime.

I’m starting to settle on a .300 BLK with a 16″ threaded barrel.  Would need to order soon to have a chance to use it during javelina season next February.  (Struck out in the lottery for anything else.  🙁   )

May 12, 2017
12:51 am
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jkgruet
Albuquerque, NM 87111

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BTW, a significant concern is mounting the scope and the ability to access the charging handle.   I a quick mod last year of my wife’s AR, we raised the scope a centimeter or so.  Had we not done so, it would’ve been very difficult to pull the charging handle.  However, raising the scope had its own problems.  In any event, the eye relief problem never got solved.

So many parameters and trade-offs!

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