For many hunters, pursuing small game like rabbits or grouse is the perfect introduction to the sport of hunting. Most importantly, small game hunting is just plain fun. The best small game guns are designed specifically for hunting small game, and would be unsuitable for anything larger in size. Below we’ve put together a brief guide on how to choose the perfect gun for small game hunting.
Small, lightweight rimfire pistols are great options for the novice small game hunter. They are compact and can be carried in a holster, allowing the hunter to double-up and carry a high-powered rifle or shotgun for big game and bird hunting.
Different sizes of small game require different firearms, so carrying both a pistol and long gun is a great way to provide a hunter added flexibility. Some animals, like grouse, should not be hunted with rifles or shotguns, whereas a rimfire firearm wouldn’t be the best choice for a hunting rabbit or turkey.
There are an assortment of rimfire pistols that can be used for small game hunting. The Ruger Mark IV and the Browning Buck Mark are two semi-automatic rimfire pistols that are ideal for hunting small game. Smith & Wesson produces several high-quality revolver-style firearms chambered in the .22 Long Rifle that also work for small game hunting. Ruger offers a similar revolvers in .22 Long Rifle or .22 Winchester Magnum.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a hunter without at least one rimfire rifle in their collection. Rimfire rifles are great for hunting grouse, squirrels, and rabbits. The .22 Long Rifle caliber is definitely the most popular rimfire cartridge for hunters, but rounds like the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire or .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire are also very popular options.
Rimfire rifles offer many benefits, including affordability and ease of yse. Rimfire rifles are inexpensive, accurate weapons that are very lightweight and easy to carry. This makes them ideal for beginners. They also provide a less-destructive shot than a traditional shotgun. Rimfire rifles are also quieter than many rifles. Rimfire rifles are ideal for hunting small game.
However, hitting a moving target with a rimfire rifle can be challenging. In areas where game is plentiful, that won’t be a huge issue. Rimfire ammunition is very inexpensive, and even beginner hunters can easily fill their pot for less than a dollar’s worth of bullets.
Due to the growing popularity of rimfire rifles, many companies offer a large selection of rimfire options. One of the most popular rimfire rifles is the Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifle, with the Marlin Model 60 being a close second. If you’re looking for a child’s first rifle, Crickett makes an excellent single shot, bolt-action rimfire rifle designed specifically with children in mind.
Shotguns are a popular option for small game hunters. The 12-gauge is a first choice among shotgun owners, but for hunting small game, 16-gauge, 20-gauge, and .410 bore are often seen as better options.
When shooting at small, moving targets at close range, using rimfire rifles or pistols can be very ineffective (and dangerous). That’s where shotguns truly shine. Not only are they safer to shoot close range, they offer greater stopping power than rimfire alternatives for hunting small game.
There is a large selection of outstanding shotguns ideal for hunting small game. One of the most popular is the Remington Model 870, which comes chambered in 12-gauge and 20-gauge. The Mossberg 500 is another great shotgun for small game hunting. It comes chambered in 12-gauge, 16-gauge, 20-gauge, or .410 bore. Both the Remington Model 870 and Mossberg 500 are pump-action shotguns, but single-shot shotguns for small game hunting are available in 20-gauge and .410 bore models.
Small game hunting isn’t quite as popular as big game and trophy hunting, but it’s extremely fun and satisfying. Small game hunting is a great way for beginning hunters to learn the ins-and-outs of hunting. Small game firearms are inexpensive and plentiful, which means small game hunting is a great alternative to hunting big game.