Both hunting rifles and sniper rifles are kind of long guns used for shooting. A hunting rifle is designed for shooting at game animals on the ground or in the air. But the sniper rifles are usually ideal for taking out targets from a distance and providing stealthy kills.
The term “sniper” comes from the word “snipe.” A snipe is a game bird that sits along the ground and looks to spot prey from cover. Small animals and insects live in the grass, perfect for the snipe’s hunting.
Sniper rifles are typically made of high-quality aluminum, stainless steel, wood, and plastic. As a result, they have a lower rate of fire than the hunting rifles, which can reach up to 900 RPM or more with both types fired at full power. The sniper’s high-powered rounds also travel much farther downrange than the hunting rifle’s low-powered .22 LR or other cartridges.
The sniper rifle’s lightweight design and accurate fire can sometimes cause the target to become airborne simultaneously the bullet strikes. In addition, the target’s speed and direction can cause the bullet’s trajectory to shift as it flies, which is why the sniper rifle is also used for taking out distant targets.
Range and visibility
When firing from a distance, the sniper rifles provide a faster rate of fire while tracking targets with better accuracy. However, as the target’s distance increases, the sniper rifle becomes less accurate than the hunting rifle with its lower bullet velocity.
Military sniper rifles are employed in military sniping and police Criminal Investigation Division (CID) sniper investigations. It is vital to the military sniper’s success to consider all of the factors affecting bullet velocity, including the weather and utilization of high-quality ammunition. In addition, military snipers must rely on their rifle’s range and power to hide their presence from enemy soldiers monitoring their position, so they must use bullets with a high accuracy rate while providing a lethal outcome. A small margin of error can mean a big difference in survival.
Like the sniper rifles, these are used for taking down prey from a distance. However, they usually have a greater rate of fire than their sniper counterparts because of their use as an air-rifle or bolt action. In addition, the low-caliber rounds can be easily heard and tracked by game animals, which makes them great for hunting purposes compared to the sniper rifles’ supersonic ammunition.
Rate of Fire
The hunting rifle’s rate of fire is between 100 and 900 rounds per minute. Most hunting rifles have a magazine that holds 5 to 20 rounds and is loaded via magazine clips. The clip is inserted into the mag well, and the bolt cycles after each round fired. A hunting rifle’s high-powered ammunition can travel at speeds up to 2,000 feet per second (300 m/s) at as far as 300 meters (1,000 feet).
The hunting rifle’s long-range is ideal for taking out high-flying game birds, and it has less recoil than a sniper rifle. The .22 LR rounds are low velocity and weigh less than a single ounce. Because the rounds travel slow, One can easily track them to take out game animals with higher visibility downrange.
The range for a hunting rifle can be up to 400 meters, depending on the caliber. For example, a .22 LR round can travel up to 800 meters, which is only half the range of a sniper rifle’s .308 or .300 rounds. However, the bullet velocity for most hunting rifles is much lower than that of sniper rifles because of their heavier weight and, in some cases, slower rifling twist. Other factors that influence bullet velocity include:
- Powder and cartridge
- Barrel’s length and diameter
- Action type
- Scopes and optics
A hunting rifle has two types of action: bolt action and lever action. Both differ in how they cycle when firing. However, the lever-action is faster because it’s operated by pulling the handle, while the bolt action requires pulling the charging handle back before each shot. In addition, the lever-action rifles have a heavier trigger pull with a smaller range than their bolt-action counterparts.
Sniper Rifle and Hunting Rifle Comparisons
Like all long guns, the hunting rifle and sniper rifle take up a lot of space while transported in the shoulder sling or backpack. A 12-gauge shotgun weighs about 8 pounds (3 kilos), but a .22 LR hunting rifle weighs 9 pounds (4 kilos) or more. A .300 hunting rifle is heavier at about 15 pounds (6 kilos). Because of this, it’s harder to carry a long gun compared to a pistol.
The bullet velocity from a hunting rifle reaches up to 300 meters per second (990 feet per second), faster than sniper rifles’ supersonic ammunition. However, the bullet’s caliber and weight affect its speed. For example, .22 LR rounds have a slower velocity than more excellent rounds, such as .30-06 or even 9.3×62 mm. But the smaller caliber also makes these rounds less likely to do decent damage due to low mass.
Both types of ammunition are available in a variety of bullet designs. For example, the hunting rifle’s .22 LR rounds have a long and slender nose, perfect for shooting empty bottles or cans. The sniper rifle’s .308 rounds have a heavier round shape that can easily track animals in heavily vegetated areas. In contrast, its .300 bullets have a flatter trajectory that is ideal for long-range shots.
Barrels and rifling
The hunting rifle’s barrels are longer for more incredible velocity, which also influences accuracy. In addition, its rifling can vary from four to eight twists per inch (1:30 to 1:12 twist ratio), depending on the type of game animal. The sniper rifle’s shorter barrels have a more precise velocity and can have one or two twists per inch.
Scopes and optics
The sniper rifle’s scope features an optical telescopic sight for shooting longer distances. It also has a larger objective lens to increase the amount of light that reaches the reticle, which is helpful in low-light conditions. In addition, the sniper scope can be adjusted within a couple of MOA (minute of angle) to near-zero magnification when firing at long distances for increased accuracy.
Most hunting rifles are less accurate than their sniper counterparts because of their smaller caliber and shorter barrel. However, that can quickly compensate for the hunting rifle’s lower bullet velocity using a more extensive scope and longer barrel. For example, as the .300 became more popular, it became one of the most accurate sporting rounds in the world. That is because it has a heavier bullet with more mass for greater consistent accuracy in long-range shots.
Can you use a sniper rifle for hunting?
You should avoid using a sniper rifle for hunting, even if you’re an experienced shooter and know how to use it. One reason is that the scope’s magnification can hinder your target’s visibility as you try to track a moving animal downrange. In addition, most sniper rifles’ muzzle velocities are too fast for game animals.
In addition, most hunting rifles are chambered in .308 or .30-06 rounds. They are powerful enough to kill game animals at long range without a scope. However, there are a few hunting rifles available for those .308/.30-06 rounds. For example, the .300 Win Mag has shorter cartridges and lighter bullets with a slower muzzle velocity that doesn’t pose a problem for game animals’ slower movement. Even though the .300 is larger than the .22 LR, you shouldn’t try using it for hunting because it’s classified as armor-piercing ammunition and can kill a person if fired improperly.
What is the best type of hunting rifle?
The right rifle depends on your part: a .22 LR can help you track small game in wooded areas (i.e., squirrels), a .308 can be used for deer and game, and you can use a .30-06 for big games, such as wild boar or bear. However, each rifle has its pros and cons to consider in terms of recoil and barrel length. For example, a .308 makes for less recoil than other rifles because it shoots heavier rounds (.308 caliber). In addition, its muzzle velocity is the same as the .308, which is suitable for hunting.
If you don’t have enough money to buy a whole new rifle, consider purchasing ammunition in smaller calibers. For example, you can shoot .22 LR rounds for small games and switch to .223/5.56 mm or 7.62 × 51 mm NATO rounds for larger game targets without buying a whole new rifle.
What cartridges are available for a hunting rifle?
The most popular cartridge types include .22 LR, .223/5.56 mm, and 7.62 × 51 mm NATO, all of which are available in various bullet weights. For example, the .308/7.62 × 51 mm NATO rounds have a particular boat tail shape to make them more aerodynamic and accurate during long-range shots. In addition, the .300 Win Mag has more energy than ordinary cartridges because it’s more extensive with a flatter trajectory.
How do I load ammunition?
Hunting rifles are usually equipped with a magazine, which has several cartridges that you can insert. You’re supposed to load 5 to 6 ammo clips when shooting with a bolt-action rifle. But for semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15 series, you should only load hold-open action slides when not firing (i.e., after pulling the trigger) because they can jam if you put too many rounds into the receiver (piston).
How do rifles benefit hunting?
For starters, you can easily track down small animals with a simple vision or laser rangefinder. Then you can follow their tracks in the woods or wooded areas in your backyard to hunt them.
A hunting rifle’s caliber usually carries more energy than other types of ammunition, which allows you to make a small wound and kill an animal quicker. It also has a longer barrel for better accuracy and speed.
Can you modify sniper rifles for hunting?
It depends on the type of modification you’re trying to achieve. For example, you can improve a sniper rifle’s sights for more accuracy in long-range shots. In addition, you can also install a low-profile scope with a smaller objective lens and more extended eye relief, so it doesn’t hit the scopes of your friends when they look through it during target practice.
Other modifications include changing out the stock and barrel (receiver). You also can put other accessories like bipods, flashlights, and more on your rifle to be more beneficial for hunting. For example, you can install low-profile bipods so you could be discreet when stalking games.
Is a custom-made hunting rifle better than a rifle from a manufacturer?
It depends on your preference. A custom-made hunting rifle is better if you know what you want it to resemble. For example, if you need a long-range shooting rifle with a black matte finish, you can have it made for your specifications.
In addition, custom-made rifles are usually more expensive than those that come factory-made from manufacturers because of the sheer number of materials and parts involved in their construction. However, you might not need the long barrel for a custom-made rifle. If you plan to place your rifle in a case or gun safe for storage, you should consider a shorter one because it’s easier to move around in tight spaces.
What qualifies as a sniper rifle?
A sniper rifle is a scoped rifle that has a scope designed for shooting long-range shots. It can be either a bolt-action or semi-automatic that has an adjustable telescopic buttstock, such as the M24 “Sniper Weapon System,” and an adjustable stock usually made of polymer SR25 series Accuracy International. They’re the most accurate rifles for long-range shots because they’re equipped with a larger barrel and longer sight radius than all other types of hunting rifles.
Sniper rifles usually have a fixed barrel but can remove some. However, it would be best if you left the barrel because it’s fixed to reduce movement that could affect your accuracy. But if you do remove the barrel, it should be cleaned thoroughly to ensure its accuracy.
Do I need a permit to modify a sniper rifle for hunting?
Generally, you won’t need a permit to modify your rifle as long as what you’re doing is legal and doesn’t pose any danger to people or wildlife. However, if you’re planning to modify a bolt-action rifle, it would be best to open the action instead of removing the gun barrel because this is considered forgery.
Can I use a scope for hunting?
It depends on your preference. If you have limited funds, then a rifle scope can be helpful when shooting at long distances. First, you can turn on the rifle’s optical rangefinder. After that, adjust the reticle crosshairs to the distance you’re shooting at, then make the final adjustments to the scope. Then you can shoot your target. A scope, however, is the best option when hunting because its magnification level is too high for smaller game targets.
For example, you can use a red-dot scope for target practice and a simple scope for hunting because of its simplicity. But if you already have a scoped rifle, it will be better to leave it with the manufacturer because they make them more accurate and durable.
How do I go about customizing my sniper rifle?
You have to ask yourself what modifications you need or want in a custom hunting rifle. For example, if you plan to use your rifle for long-range shooting at the range, then you should consider putting a low-profile scope on it. In addition, you should adjust the rifle’s length of pull and cheekpiece for more comfort when aiming and firing it.
If you’re planning to use your sniper rifle for hunting animals, you have to ask yourself what type of material (i.e., polymer) would be more beneficial for your specific needs. For example, you can customize your sniper rifle with a synthetic-stocked rifle for more comfort and durability.
Do I need a permit to use my modified sniper rifle?
If you’re a professional hunter or a member of an organized shooting club, you don’t need to register with the police. However, if you are not in any of these professions, then the answer is yes.
You will require a particular permit from the police (i.e., Arizona) to buy and carry a sniper rifle in some states. If your state doesn’t require this permit, then you’re allowed to use your rifle without registering it with the police as long as it’s not modified to be automatic.
Hunt for a Good Rifle
These two types of rifles are great for taking out prey from a distance, but the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference. The hunting rifle is better for taking out games and provides a faster rate of fire, while one can use the sniper rifle to take out targets at long distances and carry more ammunition.
In addition, you have to decide if you want to use a scope for your rifle. A scope can magnify distant objects and help you make precise shots on targets, but it is more expensive than scoped rifles. However, if you’re planning long-range shots and hunting games like deer, deer with an extensive range of movement will require the use of a scope to find targets from far away. On the other hand, if you’re shooting for fun, then scopes aren’t necessary. A scope can be dangerous and may affect your accuracy.
Lastly, you have to decide if you prefer to modify your rifle or buy it from a manufacturer. Rifle modifications can be beneficial for various purposes, but it would be best to modify your rifle in the same caliber as the weapon itself. For example, if you bought an M24 long-range sniper rifle in .308 Winchester, then only buy a barrel with this specific caliber. That is because it ensures that the modified weapon is consistent with its purpose and always maintains consistent accuracy and agility. However, if you have a bolt-action rifle in .308 Winchester, it’s better to buy a smaller barrel. In addition, it ensures that your modifications are compatible with the weapon’s internal functions.
To wrap it up, you have to consider what type of rifle you want and what modifications you need. Ultimately, you should be able to decide on a hunting rifle or a sniper rifle.