What conversion kit is best for hunting?
We are only a few months away from the 2021 hunting season opener, and the way people have been buying guns over the last year I’d be willing to bet there are some new Desert Tech rifle owners that are planning on taking their new SRS or MDRX hunting. With that in mind, today we’ll pull out the ol’ cartridge debate subject and perhaps make a few recommendations for those new to the subject.
What are you hunting?
Caliber choice depends greatly on what animal you are after. Shooting rabbits is more of a 223 type of activity, while hunting elk is more along a 338 endeavor. So deciding exactly what your after is the first step in deciding on a caliber and or conversion kit for your rifle.
The general size and weight of an animal is a good benchmark when deciding. If an animal is likely to weigh in under one-hundred pounds, then you are probably fine using a 223 conversion in your rifle. Animals such as small rodents and marsupials are easily taken, perhaps even to excess. Larger animals such as coyotes, hogs and even deer can also be taken handily, just make sure you’ve got enough energy for the largest likely scenario. If the animals you intend to pursue tend to be a bit more frisky, then you may want to step up to something with a little more pep such as the 6.5CM or 308. It’s probably better to have a little too much energy than too little.
Animals that weigh in between one to three-hundred pounds are more than likely going to need more than a 223. And that extra sauce that larger cartridges offer may come in handy. Most people that hunt in North America, hunt deer at one time or another, which fit solidly in this weight class. Whether you are shooting an SRS or an MDRX, a 308 or 6.5CM conversion kit is pretty standard and would be more than enough gun for most any deer hunting scenario. There are those who like to carry big horsepower into the woods, and for those folks there are bigger options like the 300WM or a 7 RM for example, there are even bigger still options if you plan on going even heavier.
Elk are one of my favorite animals to hunt, and they weigh significantly more than three-hundred pounds. For most everything elk sized or similar, you may want to try something in the “even bigger” category. Large brown bears, moose, or anything comparable would warrant some of the bigger caliber conversion kits available such as the 300NM or 338 LM. That’s not to say you couldn’t take them with something a bit smaller if that’s all you have.
Which rifle platform?
Some of us enjoy the luxury of owning several Desert Tech rifle platforms, which is nice to have the option. Its important to keep that in mind when figuring out your next hunting rifle hardware. The MDRX for example wont shoot some of the larger and magnum cartridges mentioned above, but what it does shoot might be just enough. For example, you can certainly take a big black bear, caribou or elk with a 308, so if it fits your budget and skillset then run whatcha got.
The SRS and HTI both offer a larger cartridge and caliber conversion selection, so if you intend on hunting something big or particularly far away, you may want to go with one of them over the MDRX. I have hunted with the SRS for years, with everything from 223 up to 338, it is a great platform to make accurate shots on animals with. The advent of the SRS A2 put the SRS on a diet, making it better still for those wanting to take it into the backcountry. The new SRS A2 conversion kits are lighter than the older generation SRS conversion kits, and with other options like the 7RM and 300NM you can definitely up your game using your older SRS. If the HTI is your choice for hunting, I’ll just assume your needs are known best by you, and move along with my discussion.
Now its time for my favorites, the conversion kits and rifle setups I use and would recommend to others. As I mentioned above, its best to prepare for the most likely scenario you expect to encounter. Most of us hunt deer at one time or another, so lets get into that one. If I was to take my MDRX deer hunting it would surely be setup with the twenty-inch 6.5CM conversion kit in it. I’d for sure include a Mantis Bipod and either my favorite 1-8 LPVO scope or something like a 2-20 depending on the terrain we are hunting and the anticipated shot distances.
For a larger hunt like an elk or moose hunt, you can bet I would be carrying an SRS A2 with my 300 Norma Magnum conversion kit. Shooting 225 grain bullets would be plenty for animals that size even at some significant distances. My SRS currently has a 5-25 on it but a 3-18 would also be a good choice for a hunt like this.
Most of the hunting I do takes place close to home, and chasing small animals like marmots, rabbits and squirrels. And for that I need nothing more than my MDRX with a 223 conversion kit in it. Shooting 75 grain bullets from the 7 twist barrel gives the MDRX a pretty good envelope, and hammers little varmints as far away as I need to shoot at them. Even with my 1-8 scope, I’ve been able to wack a few prairie dogs at ranges most wouldn’t bother to try.
One of the beauties of shooting a Desert Tech rifle is the ability to adapt your rifle to whatever specific errand you adopt at any given time. You should also check out our blog post about custom conversion kits. If hunting season is a good enough excuse for you to try something new, then embrace this attribute, and get a new caliber or conversion kit. Our ancestors might have hunted with sharp sticks and smoke poles, we get to use tomorrows weapons.