Pig hunting, and thoughts on caliber
The weather was great yesterday, for hunting anyway, so I went for the 223 but then thought that I might see some big pigs, so I went to the gunsafe for the 220 Swift, but finally did what I did last year and grabbed the Ruger Compact 260 instead and I went to my favorite blind. So...sitting in my stand, with a good book and a nice breeze I saw about 10 or 12 black pigs at around 450 yards over on my hay pasture. They were moving fast, probably after having eaten all the corn at the feeder over that way, so I let them go. Maybe I'd do 450 if they were standing still, but they weren't. A bit later here comes a big boar heading south. I was late seeing him (nose in the book). He was about 100 yards off and moving at a pretty fast walk or trot. I got the scope on him just as he went into the dip at my back pond. I shot at what I could see, and I think I shot over him or maybe nicked him high on the back. I was mad at myself, and later even my wife got on my case..."ya missed him?...ya need to shoot all the darn pigs!"
Many many threads on the forum discuss the perfect caliber for hogs. Lots of guys lean toward the 223, making the case that they are neck shooters or that they shoot em behind the ear. If, for just a second, we ignore the fact that I just flat missed yesterday, the facts are that those pigs were all moving too fast (or too fast and too far away) to do any fancy effective shooting with a 22 caiber bullet. It seems that when I see pigs, there's a high probability that they are 300 to 400 yards out and rarely are they ever standing still. Maybe if I shot pigs only over corn from feeders, a 223 would be fine, but that doesn't happen too much for me. I like my 223, but I'm coming back to the belief that it just isn't enough medicine for most of the pig shooting situations that I find myself in. That 260, with 100 grain or 120 grain Nosler BT's will flat lay waste to a pig, whereas the 223 and the 220 are marginal for that use. Yell at me if you want to, but when I shoot a pig I want to walk over and view the deceased. The 260 gives me that happy moment, and I have not tracked the first hog shot with the 260. Not one. Not even one. Dead on the spot.
The 223 is marginal pig medicine. It just is, and I don't care what bullet you shoot in it. It'd be fine if all you got were neck shots, and maybe you do, but I just don't get many opportunities for neck shots.