Stocking Stuffers: 2022’s Budget-Friendly Gifts for Hunters
Another year quickly passing by means not only are fall hunting seasons in full swing but it’s also the time for holiday shopping preparations. Though we also put together a dream-book list of guns and optics, this one is for the more frugal and realistic among us. Here’s a selection of affordable, practical, useable gear for modern hunters from $5 to $400.
Affordable Rifle Scopes
Many hunters use their rigs a week or two each year and don’t want to spend many hundreds on a scope that will get the job done. That said, buying a $20 rifle scope will almost always end in major disappointment. Luckily, since you're a savvy shopper, have plenty of budget-friendly optics that will more than suffice. Look at options like the Leupold VX-Freedom, Burris Fullfield, SIG Sauer Whiskey3, Simmons Whitetail Classic, and Bushnell Trophy. The majority of these carry lengthy or lifetime warranties, offer clear glass, and all the features deer hunters need.
Ammo & More Ammo
If the loved one in your life is a shooter, they’ll never complain if you buy them quality ammunition. All you need to know is the caliber, and you’re sure to win. That’s truer now than ever, as hunters and shooters struggle to find ammunition in stock both online and on store shelves. Here are a few can’t-miss selections. Pick almost any type of rimfire rounds for small game hunters. Federal Premium Hammer Down for those with lever guns. Hornady Precision Hunter for longer-range hunters. Hevi Shot for Waterfowling shotgunners, and general rifle hunting rounds from the likes of proven powerhouses like Nosler, Federal, Hornady, Weatherby, Sierra, Remington, and Norma. All we know is that if anybody dropped a box of these rounds in our Christmas stocking, we’d be pumped.
This one is a special for the holiday season, and it oozes hunting festivities. The shirt is a soft cotton-poly blend that feels like your favorite worn t-shirt. The guns, bullets, deer, and targeted gingerbread characters are unique, to say the least. Grab this, or any of the other many GDC branded lifestyle apparel choices for a unique addition to your shooter’s Xmas loot.
Gun socks are inexpensive “insurance” for firearms, whether hunting, collecting, or traveling. By definition, a gun sock – or knit sleeve – is a simple, stretchy covering built specifically for firearms. The firearm slips inside and is protected by the moisture-wicking, breathable, oil-impregnated fibers. They work well for multiple purposes: protecting safe queens from dings, transporting guns to the range or hunting land, or packing for travel. This represents the cheapest stocking stuffer of all, with prices ranging from $5 to $20. Make no mistake, however, gun socks are no replacement for regular firearms maintenance and proper storage.
If you know your shooter pretty well, you may know they could stand a few upgrades in their basic equipment. We’ve seen more than a fair share of scoped rifles, handguns, and even slug guns come in with damaged or cheap scopes and rings. While we included a few higher-end optics in our recent Xmas 2022 Guns + Gear Wish List, most folks overlook the lowly scope rings. But the truth of the matter is that the rings and bases form the connection between that optic and the firearm. Faulty or low-quality rings can be the culprit for poor shooting results. So, if you’ve noticed the hunter in your life in need of a little upgrade, snag them some new scope rings. Of course, you’ll have to know the diameter of their scope – most commonly either 1-inch or 30mm – as well as the height or objective diameter.
Every hunter worth his or her salt needs a quality blade to take afield. From game processing to camp chores and everything in between, knives earn their keep in the wild. We’ve covered some favored options in the past, but this year, we’ve been checking out a number of options from the Guns.com Vault.
The Kabar Little Finn is ideal for small game and bird hunters with its slim profile and 3-5/8-inch blade. The stacked-leather handle and leather sheath round out a compact package.
For dual-purpose outdoors folks, the Havalon Talon line caught our attention. It’s one of a growing number of replaceable blade knives on the market. We’ve found the “Fish” version to do well not only on fileting fish but removing silver skin from wild game, and even gutting/skinning with the interchangeable blade styles.
Lastly, perhaps the most complete bladed gift is the Browning Outdoorsman Survival Kit. The packable waterproof case contains an assist-opening liner lock with G10 scales, wire saw with pull rings, combination fire starter/compass/whistle, and a flashlight.
Just as important as ear pro – even for hunters – is eye protection. While cheap glasses will do in a pinch, why not splurge on some quality shades that excel not only on the range but as all-around sunglasses, too. The Magpul Pivots have become fast faves with their blend of practical features, good looks, and comfort. The impact-resistant lenses are polarized and oleophobic. If the Pivot isn’t quite your style, Magpul offers numerous models sure to fit any face type and shooting style. Plus, they come packed in a cool Magpul hard case reminiscent of their magazine design.