March 20, 2015
By Keith Wood
Freighter loads of ink have been spilled on the topic of the right gun for deer or elk, but hogs are often marginalized as "me too" game when it comes to the outdoor media. So what should you put in the gun case when you're headed out to hunt hogs?
Choosing the right firearm for hunting wild pigs is hardly a "one size fits all" proposition. Hogs live in diverse habitats from the thick swamps of my native Florida to the steep hills of Hawaii and just about everywhere in between, save maybe the Rockies. The size of a hog can vary as much as the terrain they inhabit. The rifle I'd choose for a small meat sow is a far cry from what I'd shoulder to chase a heavyweight trophy boar.
Which hunting method you'll employ is the final, and perhaps most important, consideration. Sitting on a stand overlooking acres upon acres of irrigated crops calls for a vastly different choice of arms than trailing a pack of hog dogs through thick stands of palmettos. You wouldn't dog hunt with a long and heavy precision rifle any more successfully than you'd use a .45 Colt to take a shot at 400 yards.
Cartridge preference for hogs runs all over the map. Some "experts" act like feral pigs are North America's Cape buffalo and arm themselves accordingly. I've been around plenty of Florida cowboys who wouldn't think of shooting a hog with anything larger than a .22 Hornet. Common sense puts appropriate cartridges somewhere between the two extremes with an emphasis on bullet performance.
We've combed through the new product selections in each of three different categories and selected twelve hog-appropriate rifles, carbines, handguns, and shotguns to suit every conceivable hog hunting scenario. A few of these options are versatile tools suitable for a variety of hunting styles and locales, while others are more specialized and suited for unique situations.
Advanced Armament | Blackout Model 7 Carbine
Suppressors are legal for hunting
in much of the U.S. at this point, thanks to the good work of advocacy groups such as ASA
and NRA. With a subsonic cartridge like the 300 Blackout, the sound is muffled even further. Hog populations are exploding across much of the U.S., and culling is one means of keeping their numbers in balance.
A suppressor-equipped AAC Model 7
would be a great tool for thinning hog numbers without sending the entire herd running for cover. The 16-inch barrel is factory-threaded for a suppressor or suppressor-compatible muzzle brake, so mounting the can is fast and simple. Compact, accurate, quiet, and powerful enough to get the job done at close range, this would be an ideal culling setup.
Ambush Firearms | 6.8 SPCII
Marty Daniel has built one of the most trusted AR brands in the world with Daniel Defense, and the Ambush
line brings the same durability and quality to the hunting market. With a soft-recoiling mid-length gas system, a fully nitrided 18-inch cold hammer forged barrel, and an excellent Geissele SSA trigger, this is essentially a custom rifle in a factory box.
The 6.8 SPC
cartridge strikes an excellent balance between power, recoil, and trajectory and is a great general-purpose hog cartridge. Due to the light recoil of this carbine and the adjustable length-of-pull, this would be an ideal setup for youth hunters and smaller adults.
Blaser | R8 Professional Success
Europeans were hunting hogs before the first domestic pigs ever crossed the shores of the New World, so they know a thing or two about building a rifle for hunting boar. Most boar hunts on the Continent are driven affairs, so quick-handling rifles capable of rapid follow-up shots rule the roost. Semiautos aren't legal in much of Europe, so the fast-cylcing straight pull bolt action of the Blaser rules the market.
The R8 Professional Success
combines European looks with a synthetic stock and the capability to change calibers in minutes. Blaser barrels are available in every conceivable chambering so if there were one gun with which to hunt the hogs of the world, this would be it.
Century Arms | Catamount Fury
Our Dear Leader President Obama presided over the banning of the importation of Saiga brand semiauto shotguns by executive order last July. So what's a guy to do that's facing charging hordes of swine? Century Arms' Catamount Fury
is a 922r compliant, magazine-fed semiauto shotgun.
With screw-in chokes and a 10-round magazine, you can shoot a 3-Gun match on Saturday and chase hogs on Sunday with 2¾- or 3-inch shells. There's even a Picatinny rail on the receiver's top cover for mounting optics. Not to mention that the boys in camp will think you're a little more hardcore about killing pigs if you show up toting this beauty in your bag.
Mossberg | 535 Slugster
When the answer to your hog problem is a
massive chunk of lead or copper, a slug gun is the only way to go. Some areas mandate the use of shotguns, allegedly for safety reasons (we'll save that debate for another day), and the marketplace has responded with some excellent options. The 535 Slugster
has a 24-inch fluted and rifled barrel and a cantilever mount for optics.
The stock uses a removable comb so that your eye will line up with the scope just right. With six rounds of 12-gauge slugs at your disposal, running out of ammo shouldn't be an issue. The entire package is hydro-dipped in Realtree Xtra camo so you can avoid the embarrassment of your shotgun not matching your iPhone case.
Patriot Ordnance | P308
When it comes to AR reliability, one company stands at the top of the mountain: POF-USA
. Designed and constantly innovated by an aerospace engineer, these piston-driven rifles and carbines have withstood endless torture tests.The P308 can be had with a 14.5-inch 5R-rifled barrel with a permanent muzzle brake that brings it to an NFA-legal 16 inches.
The result is a gun that's as handy as it gets. All of the metal parts are either black nitrided, Cerakoated, or finished in Robar NP3, which means that corrosion won't be a factor on your hunt.
Rock River Arms | LAR-458 Beast
If you're one who thinks the .223 is a varmint round unsuitable for big game, the .458 SOCOM should satisfy your bullet mass fetish. With a short overall length ideal for hunting hogs in thick brush, the Rock River Beast
holds eight rounds of ammo with the frontal area and bullet weight to fell any hog on the planet.
There are very few swine issues imaginable that eight 300-grain Barnes TSXs can't sort out. Combine that with the pinned and welded RRA Beast muzzle brake on the end of the 14.5-inch chrome bull barrel and this is just about the perfect hog stomper for any occasion.
Ruger | Blackhawk .45 Colt
Chasing hogs with catch dogs is one of the most exciting traditions of the Deep South. If you've never tried it, imagine running as fast as you can through the thickest patch of woods around, trying to get to the hog before he kills or wounds a prized canine. Needless to say, a compact and lightweight firearm is a must for this kind of chase. Ruger's 5.5-inch Stainless Bisley Blackhawk
is a 'distributor exclusive ' model sold to retailers through Williams Shooters Supply.
The .45 Colt can be loaded with tremendous power in the overbuilt Ruger, and the Bisley grip is as good as it gets for a heavy-recoiling sixgun. Unlike the 7.5-inch-barreled catalogued Bisley, this Ruger can ride your hip all day in a traditional holster until it's time to do business.
Ruger | Hawkeye Predator Rifle
Not all hogs inhabit the thick cover that many envision. Plenty of boar hunts take place in the wide-open terrain of places like Texas, Oklahoma, and California. Hunting hogs over long senderos, rolling hills, and open countryside, like any game in such environments, demands a rifle that is chambered in a flat-shooting cartridge.
The Ruger Hawkeye Predator rifle
chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor would be a fantastic choice for hogs in open country. Built from stainless steel and laminated wood, this rifle weighs in at just over eight pounds, which is ideal for a rifle that may be called on to take some long shots. The Creedmoor gives hunters the trajectory of a .300 Winchester Magnum with mild recoil and plenty of lethality.
Savage | Model 111 Hog Hunter
Savage has a reputation for affordable accuracy and produces this model
specifically for hogs. Available in .223, .308, and .338 Winchester Magnum, this synthetic-stocked rifle features iron sights, a blind internal magazine, over-sized bolt handle, and even a medium-contour threaded barrel. With a 20-inch barrel, this rifle maintains a trim overall length while providing plenty of reach if it's needed.
This means you can chase hogs through the brush behind dogs with this rifle or turn it loose at long ranges. At the lowest pricepoint of this bunch, it's affordable enough to pick up for a starter hog gun before you decide to drop some serious coin on a much more expensive upgrade.
Smith & Wesson | 460XVR
Handguns for hog hunting run from very
practical to very extreme, this being the latter. Available from Smith & Wesson's Performance Center, this 10.5-inch-barreled .460 S&W Magnum
is a handgun in name only. Equipped with a sling because it's too big to carry otherwise, this handgun's long barrel produces impressive ballistics.
If you're looking for a handgun that is large, powerful, and out of the ordinary, this is for you. Hunters have taken dangerous game and the biggest of big game all over the world with this Performance Center masterpiece, so any hog that you encounter at very short to medium range will fall easily with a well-placed shot from the 460XVR.
Smith & Wesson | M&P10
There's not much hunting in the Lower 48 that you can't do with an 18-inch-barreled .308 Winchester, and this S&W
gives you the versatility of a semiauto. Depending on one's choice of optic, this carbine is suitable for anything from long shots in open fields to close-range shooting in dense thickets. Ammunition choices for the .308 are virtually endless, which provides a real advantage when it comes to selecting the right load for your needs.
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.