AR15 Hunter Cartridges to Watch – The Criteria

Originally, we here at AR15 Hunter were going to make a “Top Five Cartridges to Watch for 2015”, which was going to include a short snippet about each of the cartridges, along with some images.  But as we began working on the article, we realized that there was so much more to say about these cartridges, and if we were telling you to watch for them this year, then why were we giving so little information?  That doesn’t make sense, and frankly, it was starting to feel like one of those new web blurbs that popped up on Buzz Feed.  You know, lacking in real information and a waste of time.  That doesn’t fly around here, so we have chosen to do thorough articles on each cartridge and (if time permits), a future range and hunt report, showing why these are the cartridges to watch in 2015.

As a caveat, let me state that some of these cartridges may be based on, or derived from other wildcat cartridges from the past.  However, part of the reason they are on this list, is because someone has taken the cartridge to the next level.  This means, any AR15 hunter can get online and find components to create their own rifle that shoots the cartridge, without having to own a machine shop in their basement.  Also, the cartridges that have “factory” made ammunition, readily available for purchase, get put at the top of the list.  This is not a diss to the folks who reload, but not everyone wants to reload.

Here is our criteria for choosing one of the cartridges to watch in 2015 (while a cartridge does not need to have all five listed below, it is preferred):

1)  Readily Available Rifle Build Components:

In order to make the list, there needs to be rifle components readily available to build an AR15.   Small to medium sized companies supporting a product is great, but it needs to be at a level where hunters and shooters can acquire quality parts easily, in order to complete their builds.

2)  “Factory” Available Ammunition and Reloading Equipment:

A company that loads ammunition must supply the cartridge to the general public in one, or more, bullet offerings.  Some people insist that “factory” ammunition has to be made by one of the large ammo companies.  We disagree.  There are many companies that supply high-quality ammunition to hunters and shooters, so to discount their impact on our industry would be remiss.

3)  Accuracy Must be Evident:

An inaccurate cartridge is useless.    Therefore, the cartridge must be proven out as accurate (preferably by us at AR15 Hunter).  Because some cartridges will be for big game, or shot at shorter ranges, this qualification is subjective by the type of game intended for its use.

4)  Documented Success in the Field:

Even accurate cartridges can perform poorly on game.  This is generally a function of the bullet being shot.  However, in order to qualify in this category, we still require proof of success in the field by users of the cartridge.  Pictures, video and first-hand experiences told online by users of the cartridge are all acceptable forms of proof for this category.

5)  A Growing Following of Hunters Who Use The Cartridge:

No one wants to buy into a dying cartridge.  Therefore, in order to qualify for this category, we must see evidence of a growing market for the cartridge being reviewed for inclusion.  This is easily shown by forum users, search results and a general buzz that takes place when hunters and shooters are excited about a cartridge.

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Stay-tuned to AR15 Hunter while we roll out our AR15 Hunter Cartridges to Watch in 2015.

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Eric Mayer

I am a 51 year old die-hard hunter located in SW Idaho, who has been hunting since age 13.I have hunted in almost every county in California, as well as in Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and even parts of Canada!
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