Many people are happy walking to one of the big box stores, buying their favorite rifle, and going hunting. However, for some, building their own custom rifle for hog hunting or deer hunting is the way to go. For anyone enthusiastic about hunting, the lure of assembling a truly custom-build rifle is as much a part of the hunting experience as being out in the woods.
If you’re new, the process of planning and building a custom hunting rifle can be quite overwhelming. To understand what it takes to build a rifle for the hunting season, it’s important first to understand the different aspects of building a rifle that meets both your needs and the required quality standards.
Know What You Need for Your Hunting Rifle
When you’re out there hog hunting in the woods or stalking your prey in the open, you want a hunting rifle suited to your sport your way. So, before you even start buying custom build parts, you have to consider some basic factors:
- Consider the rifle’s weight: Depending on what specifically you’ll be hunting and where, you might want a heavier or lighter rifle.
- Plan for Shooting Distances: Longer barrels provide better accuracy over distance, so keep that in mind. If you’ll be shooting long-distance, you’re going to need a good scope that will allow you to line up a great shot at 350 yards or more.
- Figure Out the Action: “Action” refers to the manner in which a round is chambered. Choose between bold, lever, or semi-auto. The sign of a great hunting rifle is its ability to eject cartridges and chamber a round without the risk of jamming.
- Determine Chambering or Caliber: This will either enhance or hinder your hunting experience. Make sure to select the right caliber for your rifle. Otherwise, you’ll waste money, either by using ammo that’s more expensive than you need, or ammo that’s not up to the task, meaning you’ll need to make more shots to score a kill.
- Remember Recoil: Although less important than the other factors, it’s good to think about the recoil of your rifle, especially if you’re new to deer or hog hunting. You might want to find a rifle that easily compensates for recoil. However, in most cases, you’ll be shooting one round at a time, so recoil should be manageable. In any scenario, however, you’ll definitely want to get some good practice in on the range before you go out in the wild.
Get Ready with the Right Tools
The first obvious thing you’ll need to do when building your custom hunting rifle is to buy all the parts you need to complete your build. If you’re building an AR-15 or AR .308 hunting rifle, perhaps the easiest option is to buy a completed upper and lower receiver and pin them together, which would take under a minute. But in this case, we’re talking about building a hunting rifle from scratch. Here’s what you need to do:
- Get the right multi-tool, like the Multiplatform or Universal AR-15/AR-9/.308/AR-10 Jigs that are optimized to be used with a handheld router for completing your lower receiver. (A router in this context is a specialized wrench like the DPMS multi-tool for mounting your rifle barrel nut and completing other jobs.)
- Get a nylon and brass hammer, an alignment pin tool, an extra-large bench lock, an action block and lower vise block set, roll pin punch set, general purpose torque wrench, a 5/32” center punch, pivot pin detent installation tool, and a scope ring torque wrench.
- Get custom AR upper and lower receiver parts and basic AR rifle kit gun parts that are unique to your builder kit. Add an all-purpose or hunting AR riflescope for your custom build.
These essential tools will make your deer or hog hunting rifle build more fun and make your gunsmithing tasks much cleaner and precise.
Pick Your Barrel Carefully and Ensure Proper Assembly
Screw your barrel nut onto the receiver to fasten them together. Having the correct barrel for your hunting rifle is critical for accuracy. For instance, you could opt for a .223 Wylde chamber that is designed to handle both .223 civilian and 5.56 military ammo safely and accurately. Take into account the shape of the chambers and cartridges you use. After this, secure your AR-15 upper receiver with a vise block without damaging it and insert the barrel nut so that it aligns.
With proper nut and receiver hole alignment, you can now fit the gas tube into the gas block, which has to fit exactly over a gas port in the rifle barrel. It’s important to note that fitting the gas block is perhaps the most challenging part of AR custom hunting rifle building. Do it wrong and you’ll have no gases getting back to the action to cycle the bolt, meaning you wind up with only a single shot. After this, tighten the screws, check the fit, and pin the forward assist in place.
Get Your Upper Assembly Right
At this point, you should be nearly done with your upper assembly. Next, you’re going to install the handguard. A free-floated handguard is a good selection for a hunting rifle as it helps you shoot more accurately. After this, you should now install the bolt and then the trigger guard, which is quite straightforward. Simply follow the installation guidelines provided with the kit. Depending on your custom build needs, you can opt for complete or stripped uppers.
Lower Receiver Assembly
The lower receiver for your deer or hog hunting rifle, whether complete (fully assembled with a trigger, safety and mag release) or stripped (just the receiver piece) must be shipped through authorized FFL holders, and will require the same paperwork as buying a rifle. All other AR hunting rifle parts can be bought online and be shipped directly to your home. (You can get around this by buying one of our 80% complete lower receivers and completing the machine work yourself, which also adds further customizability to your build.)
If you’ve opted to buy a lower receiver kit to complete your hunting rifle, it’s advisable to understand how to put all the small pieces together, including the rear takedown pin, the safety or selector, and the trigger. There are small pins and springs that you should take care not to lose. The safety goes in first, followed by the trigger which is held in place by two pins. A Wilson combat trigger for your custom hunting rifle is a great pick for a crisp, light, target-style pull.
Know how to pull out the takedown pins correctly. The rear pin is for opening up the rifle for cleaning and the front pin is used when you want your upper to come off. With the rear takedown pin in place, it’s time to install the bolt buffer tube that securely holds the spring that returns the bolt to battery. Make sure to tighten the bolt buffer tube using the multi-tool and then slide the stock into place. Your stock and buffer tube should be compatible.
Enjoy the Finished Hunting Rifle
Finally, tap in the rear retaining pin that usually holds the upper and lower receivers together. Your deer or hog hunting rifle is now done, ready for the magazine, sights and then testing at the range. Choose the right sized magazine for your hunting rifle and snap it in and also get yourself a perfect hunting scope for long-range accuracy.
There is no doubt that shooting your own hunting rifle is a satisfying feeling. If you’re looking to buy 80% lowers, lower jigs, uppers, built kits, or other tools for your hog hunting or deer hunting rifle, shop here at 5D Tactical. We’re one of the most trusted sellers of AR-15 and AR-.308 custom build parts and kits online. Browse our selection today or contact us with any questions!