How to Choose a Hunting Rifle for Women: A Must-Read Guide

Guest Contributor // July 5

If you’re a woman looking to get into hunting, you might be in the market for a rifle that suits your needs best. There are a few things to consider when picking one out.

Aside from the usual size, weight, bullet, and scope considerations, you’ll also have to keep in mind what you’re trying to hunt. Not every rifle can hunt big or small game equally well.

In this guide, you’ll learn more about choosing a good hunting rifle for women and find answers to a few hunting-related questions.

How to Choose Hunting Rifles for Women

Why Do I Need to Choose a Rifle Specifically for Hunting?

Getting a rifle specifically for hunting is crucial because it will have certain characteristics and features that you won’t be able to find on other types of rifles.

For example, according to Shooting Mystery, if you’re trying to use a long-range marksmanship scope and sniper rifle for hunting, you’ll be more prone to losing prey at standard engagement distances. 

This is because the rifle and reticle aren’t optimized for that.

On the other hand, hunting rifles are built to have the perfect balance between maneuverability, accuracy, and ease of use, allowing users to develop and maximize their hunting skills.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Hunting Rifle for Women

Here are a few factors you should consider when choosing a hunting rifle as a woman. Some factors may vary depending on what you hunt and your physical size and strength.

Size and Weight

The first thing to consider when buying any gun is how big and heavy it is. This will change the situations you’ll be able to use it.

For hunting, you’ll want a light enough rifle that you won’t be too bothered carrying it around when out hunting but heavy enough to be stable when shooting.

If you’re on the smaller side, you’ll want a hunting rifle that isn’t too heavy because then you’ll have a harder time tracking faster-moving targets and game like rabbits.

If you get a rifle that’s too big, you’ll likely have a hard time carrying it around, eating your endurance and making aiming and controlled firing more difficult.

Bullet Caliber and What You’re Shooting

Another consideration you’ll need to think about when buying a hunting rifle is the bullet or cartridge size. This can also affect the size and weight of the rifle you plan on buying.

If you’re hunting larger game like elephants, cape buffalo, or brown bears, you’ll need a round with more stopping power like the .308 Winchester or the 6.5 Creedmoor round.

On the other hand, if you’re shooting smaller game like rabbits, quails, or turkeys, you’ll want a lower-caliber round like the .223 Remington that won’t completely obliterate your target.

Getting a round too large might result in lower yields because the animal has a large hole in it. Choosing one too small might result in needing many shots to take it down, which isn’t humane.

Choosing a caliber that provides a balance of stopping power and does as little flesh damage as possible is thus vital to consider.


A crucial part of any rifle is the optic that comes with it. This becomes even more important when hunting because your target will be moving and elusive instead of stationary like the ones at a gun range.

If you’re going to be shooting in thick and dense woods at closer range, you should consider a close-range scope, a reflex sight, or a holographic sight.

These options are much lighter, can get you on target faster, and have unlimited eye relief, meaning you won’t have to put your eye so close to the sight to see clearly.

However, a longer-range hunting scope is ideal if you plan to do more long-range hunting. It will also have a thick reticle to help you clearly find your target but come with a higher zoom level for farther engagement distances.

Ease of Use

The rule of thumb is that smaller and lighter hunting rifles are much easier to manage than bigger and heavier ones with long-range scopes.

If you’re a smaller lady that can’t carry a larger rifle, you’ll want to stick to smaller ones that you can carry more consistently. These usually come in a smaller caliber, like a .223 Remington.

You’ll also have to decide between a semi-automatic or bolt-action rifle. Semi-autos have larger magazines and can fire quickly, while bolt actions are usually more accurate, reliable, and cheaper.

Frequently Asked Questions

You might have related questions after learning more about the important factors to consider when buying a hunting rifle as a woman. Here are answers to the most commonly asked ones.

What Is the Most Common Rifle Caliber Round to Hunt With?

The most common rifle calibers are the .22 LR and the 30-30 Winchester. Both are on opposite sides of size and stopping power.

The .22 LR or Long Rifle is a smaller caliber round that is great for hunting varmints and small game while the 30-30 Winchester is a larger caliber round that can take down larger game like deer.

What Rifle Is Best for Self-Defense for Women?

The best rifle for self-defense is a compact AR-15 platform rifle. It’s small and lightweight but provides enough stopping power to down most adversaries.

While you can also use a compact AR-15 for hunting close-range targets, it won’t be effective when you start pushing the range far out. Consider switching out the barrel for a longer one if you’re going to take it on a hunt.

Should I Use a Pistol?

Pistols are a great sidearm while hunting and are used more as a backup self-defense weapon when your primary weapon has run out of ammunition.

Imagine you’re hunting using a heavy long-range bolt action rifle and have just run out of ammo. A mountain lion then starts coming toward you.

It’s better to be prepared with a pistol to pull out and defend yourself rather than having to reload a heavy bolt action rifle that’s cumbersome at close quarters.

Final Verdict

Getting a hunting rifle as a woman requires making similar considerations to men. However, weight and ease of use will play much more prominent roles in your purchase decision.

Whatever hunting rifle you choose, always remember to have a backup self-defense pistol ready for when the unthinkable happens, and you need to act quickly.

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