Forget about the mythical zombie apocalypse for a moment, and let’s focus on the real invasion currently in progress: the millions of feral hogs over-running our country. Some estimate hog populations have doubled in the last decade or so, and some put the total as high as 5 million feral hogs nationwide. Texas is home to at least 2 million of them—maybe more—and the prolific, smart and adaptable wild pigs keep spreading north and west across the continent.
Hogs, therefore, provide a far more abundant hunting opportunity than anything offered by the living dead.
More hunters than ever now have hog on the brain and are thinking about what it takes to bag one. Yes, any firearm of decent caliber and good accuracy can do the job. At the same time, though, a lot of hog hunting is done in rather specific field conditions, including the thick brush these wary porkers often hide in. So there may be some better choices of guns to consider for your next hog hunt. To help you in your quest to put that black hog down and place some fresh pork on the table, let’s take a quick survey of some of the latest hog hunting guns available to us.
ArmaLite re-introduced the AR10(T) three years ago (it was out of production from 2004 to 2010), sensing it would find a home with hog hunters. It did.
Arthur Steadman, ArmaLite’s Communications Director, said “the AR-10(T)s are selling like popcorn at the movies. The barrel is target grade to take down the hogs, its carbine length to keep down the weight and it's sleek so it doesn't get caught on brush.”
The rifle has a 16-inch stainless steel barrel and a free-floating black handguard, as well as a forged flattop upper receiver with Picatinny rail and forward assist. At 8.6 pounds, it’s solid enough to bounce around in your truck and come back for more, but is light enough to carry for extended periods.
The full-size HK45 Tactical uses an ergonomic grip design that includes changeable backstraps with molded finger grooves to instinctively position an operator’s hand for optimum shooting. The HK45 utilizes a 10-round steel magazine and has a Picatinny MIL-STD-1913 rail molded into its polymer frame for mounting lights and accessories.
The pistol also features H&K’s proprietary internal mechanical recoil reduction system, which employs a flat recoil spring in tandem with a polymer bushing sleeve to better harness the .45 ACP recoil. An O-ring on the threaded barrel means better slide-to-barrel lockup and enhanced accuracy. It comes with a choice of three frame colors—green, tan, or black. With empty magazine, the HK45 weighs just 1.82 pounds.
Don’t be fooled by the relatively tiny size—the Tavor packs all the punch of a full-length AR. Jonathan Owen, co-founder of Special Hog Weapons and Tactics (SHWAT) uses bullpups on his hunts and finds their ease of transport a huge plus.
“The Tavor gives the high-speed tactical hog hunter greatly added mobility and maneuverability,” Owen notes. “If you’re moving from field to field and in and out of vehicles, the bullpup design makes getting in and out of a vehicle faster and simpler. We often use four wheelers, where a 16-inch barreled AR can get in the way—not a problem with a bullpup Tavor.”
The Mil-Spec cold hammer forged barrel of the Tavor is encased into a high-impact strength polymer uni-body. Accuracy’s enhanced by a long stroke gas piston system.
Built on a skeletonized chassis using the new McMillan-style action, the XKaliber comes in at 25 pounds (un-scoped). King’s bills it as the lightest tactical .50-caliber on the market. The XKaliber has a 28-inch long, lighter contour Lija barrel tipped with a McMillan brake. The stock also folds for ease of transport.
King’s Arsenal CEO Jordan King is a long-time hog hunter and says he’s done sub-MOA grouping with the new rifle out to 800 yards.
“You can do a ‘minute of pig’ out to 800 yards, no problem, probably 1,000 yards,” said King. “We designed the rifle around the Hornady 750 grain AMax round, and it works better than we could have imagined. Just waiting for the opportunity and we’ll be taking out some hogs long, long distance for sure.”
The Elite Hunter is built around a stainless steel frame and slide and has a full-length guide rod. It comes with a fully adjustable rear sight and a green fiber optic front sight. Beavertail Grip safety and ambidextrous thumb safety come standard, and it is coated with a tough Ion Bond finish. The Elite Hunter weighs in at 41 ounces and comes with two nine-round magazines.
The Rio Grande has classic lever-action looks, with authentic buckhorn sights and beautiful Brazilian hardwood stock and fore end. The 20-inch barrel is handy in heavy cover, while the side ejection allows you to easily mount a scope. Cushioned recoil pad with a spacer is included, as well as scope mount base and a hammer extension. The Rio Grande weighs just 5.8 pounds and is available in blue or stainless steel finishes. And that John Wayne-looking large loop on the lever is an eye catcher, as well as functional.
This semi-auto rifle has an 18-inch barrel made of 4140 steel. A chromed gas key, bolt carrier and firing pin are housed inside a 7075 T6 aluminum receiver. Currently done up in a camouflage finish, a black model will also be available soon.
The M&P10 is the same size as its “little brother,” the M&P15, though it is heavier, weighing in at 8.1 pounds (the standard M&P15 weighs just 6.74 pounds).
Introduced last year, Savage’s Model 11/111 Hog Hunter sports a 20-inch barrel and a green synthetic stock made for hunting in all sorts of terrain and weather. Available in .223 Rem., .308 Win., and .338 Win., the end of the barrel is threaded and suppressor ready. Suppressor use is growing around the nation (currently some 39 states have made suppressors legal), and in many states, hog hunting is specifically allowed with suppressors.
With its carbine-length barrel, the Hog Hunter is a great bolt to hang in the back of your pickup truck window, too.
Why this rifle hasn’t gotten more attention from hunters is a bit of a mystery, though in a world awash with AR-style rifles, it may be that a lack of promotional effort has left this fine hog killer relatively in the dark.
I’ve actually used this rifle more than once. It’s a lot of fun to shoot, kills pigs up close and further away, has a two-stage creep-free trigger, and a Mauser-style bolt-action with dual-opposed lugs that works smooth and locks tight. It’s just 7 pounds, too. Available in .223 Rem., .243 Win., 7mm-08 Rem., and .308 Win.