It has been suspected by many that this is how the politicians will re-name our hunting rifles in order to make them sound evil to the uninitiated. Just like making up a new meaning for the term 'assault rifle'.
It's just a matter of semantics but, politics aside, the meaning to different shooters might depend on where they live. If I lived and hunted in an area full of forested hills and mountains, a hunting rifle might mean a 30-30 or a slug gun. To someone who lived out in the wide open spaces of the west, a hunting rifle might be one that will hold sub-MOA groups at 400 yards and beyond. To the guy from the forest, that other gun is a sniper rifle. To the westerner, it's a hunting rifle.
A rose by any other name....