Category of guns that the AR Pattern has destroyed


By Luis Valdes

I remember growing up and seeing commercially designed and produced semiautomatics made specifically for hunting. Winchester, Remington, HK, Browning/FN, Benelli, Ruger, and others made them. There were semiautos replicating the styling lines of pump and bolt action hunting rifles.

All but Browning/FN and Benelli have dropped out of the market. The AR-15 and AR-10 have taken over and replaced them all. I recall seeing guns like those posted lining the racks of gun shops and big box retailers. I remember seeing them at ranges being sighted in for hunts. Hell, I remember seeing them being brought out for protection during the Miami Superbowl Riot and later for Hurricane Andrew.
It is interesting how the hunting rifle market after WWII went more and more towards the semiautomatic and then as the new millennial approached. The market shifted towards bolt actions. Of course, the rise in popularity of the AR pattern rifle immensely helped kill other designs. Even Remington jumped in on it with the R-25 (AR-10 pattern) rifle.

And went a step further to develop the .30 AR for a AR-15 pattern rifle.

But that was pushed to the wayside with better cartridges like the .300 Blackout and improvements to the .223 as a hunting load. But the AR pattern is gaining immense ground and I even built a AR for hunting.

It is so handy, even my wife loves it. 

It is just interesting seeing how the traditional hunting rifle manufacturers are either cranking out low cost production bolt actions with superb capabilities. Guns like the Savage Axis, Ruger American, Thompson Center Compass/Venture, Weatherby Vanguard 2/Howa 1500, and others are kicking butt and taking names in market shares at the moment. These are usually sub $400 easily found rifles that are chambered in a wide variety of cartridges and with very little to no work are Sub MOA capable.
The manufacturing sector right now is pumping out extremely capable and low cost bolt guns for the average buyer. For under $1,000. Anyone can have a rifle capable of being Sub MOA and able to hit targets 1,000 yards away if they want to. Rifles today doing what $5,000 build did twenty years ago.
Or they’re just flat out making AR pattern rifles like what Remington, Savage, Ruger, and others have done. Only Browning/FN and Benelli are still in the traditional Non-AR pattern rifle market. And only Browning/FN has actually updated their design with the new BAR Mk 3 DBM model.

Ruger did revamp the Mini-14 too and it is still a capable brush gun for hog hunting. But it isn’t as big of a change as what Browning/FN with the BAR.

 I believe Benelli and Browning/FN are still in the market due to the overall view of ARs by the gun hating community and they keep them in production as a way to hedge their bets on future legislation and as a way to tap closed markets like NY, CA, and others.


  1. I am surprised that you thought 30 Rem AR was kind of a blah cartridge. It didn’t have proper support, but in many ways, it’s really one of the best performing cartridges you can put in an AR-15.

    • True that. The much-vaunted 300 Blk is neither fish nor fowl because it’s an anemic .30-cal and although that’s beginning to change, when it first was released there were virtually no .30 bullets that would perform reliably at subsonic velocities. The .30 RAR makes no pretense to being suitable for subsonic use (and in truth bullet availability dramatically limits the 300s’s subsonic potential) but the RAR makes (for all practical purposes) the same muzzle energy as the .30-30 Win (which is no slouch as a whitetail gun). Except the RAR makes substantially better use of that ME than the .30-30 because it isn’t feeding from a tubular magazine. So a .30 RAR AR can use a bullet with a BC more suited to longer-range work, whereas the best tubular magazine lever guns can hope for is the Hornady flex-tip bullets in the Leverevolution round, which is a flawed solution at best.

      The only advantages of the 300 Blk over the .30 RAR are it uses the same bolt face as the .223 and you can stuff as many of them into the same mag as you can .223s Where the rubber meets the road, and especially if you aren’t a mall ninja who thinks they need to shoot subsonics out of their HD rifle and switch to supersonics to kill hogs with the same gun, the .30 Remington AR is a decidedly superior cartridge.

  2. Remington still makes a 750 semi-auto, and the 7600 Mennonite Machine Gun.

    More than the AR-10 taking the semi-auto hunting rifles out of the market, I think the cheap bolt-actions took the semi-autos out of the market. Making an accurate (precise) semi-auto is difficult, and when the economy bolt guns were generally laying down 2 MOA groups, the semi-autos were on-par.

    When the economy bolt guns got cheaper and more precise than the semi-autos, well… what was the reason to buy the semi-auto?

  3. I only have 2 bolt action rifles. A 1966 Stevens Arms Model 121 single shot .22 in short, long and long rifle my Father bought (I think was all of $20) in 1967 when I was 16 for varmints in the garden and my restored Enfield 1918 SMLE MKIII* with a 10 round magazine.
    Except for the shotgun, the rest are all AR platform. 6 in various calibers and one AR-10 .308/7.62X51.


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