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Old October 17, 2012, 01:43 PM   #1
603Country
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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.
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Old October 17, 2012, 02:06 PM   #2
Rebel9793
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I agree fully what you are saying, and I am one of those guys who shoots pigs with a .223, accept the only difference is I hunt orange groves where they are often, standing still inside of 200 yards. If I were to make shots like those, I would probably lean towards the .270cal. Oh, and next time your wife nags ya about missing, remind her that's why its called hunting, not killin
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Old October 17, 2012, 02:20 PM   #3
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I also use a .260 for much of my hunting. It is the perfect combination of low-recoil, high-energy, and accuracy. Put it this way - any pig you shoot in the neck/head is going to go down whether you are using a .223 or a 45/70. However, since neck/head shots don't always come along having something that will do the job with a chest shot really does come in handy. Personally, I'd leave the .223 at home - but that's just me.
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Old October 17, 2012, 02:52 PM   #4
Rebel9793
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I shoot the .223 for pigs because its quiet...well more so than a .270 or something along those lines. in the orange grove you can shoot 2-3 of them before they get the hint and take off. I know it sounds greedy to shoot more than one at a time, but I donate what wont fit in my freezer to my neighbors and the local food banks.
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Old October 17, 2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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My three rifle calibers that I own right now bigger than a 22LR are .223 , .270 , & 30-06. For the range and movement you describe I'd use my bolt action .270 since it is scoped for my normal whitetail hunting (2.5 to 7 power). It is a daylight only gun.

I've shot small to medium pigs at less than 100 yards with my .223 AR-15 (iron sights) mainly so I could have a faster second shot at an additional pig before they all scattered. They were mainly 60 yards or less. First pig dropped with a neck/ high shoulder shot. Had success with the faster second shot but the second shot placement was not as accurate, so I had to track the second pig for about 40 yards in brush. It was a one lung hit nearer to the diaphram. .223 just doesn't have the punch.

At night I use a Remington pump 30-06 and shoot them feeding over corn at 50 yards using a laser sight. They usually drop like a sack. Even a 400 pounder with a hit to both lungs and out the other side only ran 20 yards.

The main reason I shoot them is to slow their destruction of my fences. I wish they were all gone. With the 30-06 at night I'll take a butt shot and let it exit through the head or shoulder if that is all I'm presented with. Can't eat the old big ones! I think the 30-06 is lethal from any angle. None I have shot have survived.
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Old October 17, 2012, 03:51 PM   #6
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It would be nearly impossible to take a shot at a pig over 100yds away from a pig due to the type of terrain I'm in. So it's .223 all the way for me.

Lots of cows nearby so I am unlikely to take a shot that I might miss. Any doubt, and I will pass on the shot....

Those two parameters makes the .223 a perfect fit to my situation. I've used full sized 30 calibers and had bullet exits. (308, 303brit, 30-06) so I eliminated them as choices in my pig hunting repertoire.
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Old October 17, 2012, 04:12 PM   #7
Woody55
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For me, it depends.

I live and hunt in an area that's hardwood forrest. I rarely get to shoot at anything more than 50 yards away. In terms of hitting the pig, I think in terms of hitting a pie plate at that distance. My Winchester '94 (.30-30) and AR-15 are fine for that if the pig is stationary. If it is moving, I'm more like to hit it with the AR-15 that has an EOTech sight than the '94 which has iron sights. But I confess that moving makes it much more difficult because you have to miss all the trees - just tracking the target isn't enough; timing is an issue.

Another reason for the AR-15 is that these critters are nocturnal. If I'm going to ambush them, I can mount a light on the AR-15. (If someone wants to get me a thermal sight for Christmas, let me know and I'll give you my address).

As far as killing it goes, both these rounds work just fine for the pigs I typically see around here at those distances. While there is a genetic drift towards their imported Russian Boar ancestors, they aren't exactly heavily armored.

If I did hunt on the edge of someone's pasture, I'd lose the '94 if I was going to shoot past 100 yards and the AR-15 past 200 yards. It isn't that I don't think I'd kill them at that distance if I hit them in the right spot. I'm just not sure I'd hit them in the right spot. So past 200 yards, I'd switch to something with telescopic sights. For me, that's a .243 or a .308. Even so, a running target at 200 yards or more is not a sure thing for me.
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Old October 17, 2012, 11:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
The 223 is marginal pig medicine. It just is, and I don't care what bullet you shoot in it.
All calibers are marginal without proper placement, trajectory, and penetration. Some just give you more location options than others.

Quote:
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.
Well that isn't a problem of the caliber then, but of the shooter and opportunity. It may not be the tool for you, but that doesn't mean it is a bad tool.
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Old October 18, 2012, 06:01 AM   #9
rickyrick
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I think in 603country's situation it is best to pass on the 223.

300-450 yards is a luxury many pig killers don't have. Under 100yds, I can profess that the .223 excels at killing pigs. There could be a pig 300yds away, and I wouldn't see it, I can hear them sometimes.
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Old October 18, 2012, 07:32 AM   #10
phil mcwilliam
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I don't have experience with the .260, but have hunted/culled many hundreds of wild pigs over nearly 30 years.
I used a 22-250 for a number of years. The 22-250 is flat shooting & accurate & will drop the largest pig with one shot if hit correctly. Even with running pigs I found a decent hit with the 22-250 was enough to anchor the pig for a quick follow up shot.
I've used mid calibers such as .243 which also work well, but for Texas heart shots on large pigs, I found the need for a follow up shot with a .243, much the same as needed with the 22-250.
Once you start on the 30 calibers such as .308 & 30-06, the pigs drop where they are shot even with Texas heart shots.
I recently bought a CZ .375 H&H which is fun to use on hogs, but interestingly enough the largest pigs I'VE seen were shot by a mate with a Sako .222, running head shots.
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Old October 18, 2012, 08:10 AM   #11
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This boar was taken down with my .308 rifle.

TR

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Old October 18, 2012, 03:23 PM   #12
603Country
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You guys have made sense of your 22 caliber cartridge selections for pigs, and I have shot pigs with my 223 and my 220, and done pretty well with them. I suppose that my specific needs are a bit different from yours, in that I hunt a more open area and have managed to make the pigs a bit gunshy. I'll see them up close sometimes, but I can't rely on that. Last year, after I had hunted them steadily, they found a little pocket on the edge of the woods that was almost exactly 325 yards from my closest box blind. Those pigs are pretty smart, and I guess they felt safe there. I shot a few of them with the 220, but it just wouldn't drop them, so I upgraded to that 260. With that, I dropped a few till they started avoiding that place too. So now my shots on pigs can vary anywhere from 30 yards to over 400, and rarely do they stand still. My 270 would work for that use, but I've really grown fond of the 260 for all-around hunting. It's a stout enough round that bullet placement isn't so critical on the pigs. It's good to have a little room for error when the shot is 300ish, with a south wind, and the pig is walking fast. I think they walk fast because they fear me, and fear me they should.
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Old October 18, 2012, 09:01 PM   #13
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I am not a great hog hunter. In all my days I have only been hog hunting twice. The first time I went I brought 2 rifles a marlin 45/70 anda marlin 357 magnum.

Every body gave me crap for bringing "too much gun" with the 45-70 so I went with the 357 magnum. It worked well but I dont know if I would use it in Texas. The hogs we shot in Oregon where usually less than 100 LBS. The largest one we shot that trip was about 115LBS.

I would like to some day go to texas to hunt hogs there. I think it would be a lot of fun.
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Old October 18, 2012, 09:51 PM   #14
fatwhiteboy
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You should come to California for pigs. The largest we have taken was 300 pounds, I have seen them over 400 pounds... I use either a .270 or .308 and carry a .338 Lapua Magnum in case I find an open long shot. Most shots are 100-300 yards...
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Old October 19, 2012, 01:04 AM   #15
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In your situation it sound like one of the Ar10's in 308 might be ideal.
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Old October 19, 2012, 10:39 AM   #16
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I have shot pigs with rifles ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime (22-250, 7X57, 30-30, 8mm Rem Mag, 375 H&H, and handguns all the way up to 45ACP). Any rifle that would be adequate for deer will kill pigs.
Quote:
All calibers are marginal without proper placement, trajectory, and penetration. Some just give you more location options than others.
I do believe that is one of the most insightful remarks I have ever seen here on TFL.
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Old October 19, 2012, 09:17 PM   #17
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Nice post, 603. Other than having tremendous killing power, the recoil is sublime. As I've gotten older, I've moved to mannerly cartridges. I've got a Ruger Compact and a Savage 16 and just love them. Even in the Compact, 100gr bullets are over 3000fps.
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Old October 20, 2012, 05:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
I've used full sized 30 calibers and had bullet exits. (308, 303brit, 30-06) so I eliminated them as choices in my pig hunting repertoire.
I have no problem with bullet exits....In fact I like to try 2 pigs(small type) with one shot whenever I can....180 grain 308 or 30-06 rounds do major damage.....

I am also not a fan of the 223 for pigs....Like Double Naught said...

Quote:
Some just give you more location options than others.


My last outing got 5 pigs with 5 shots(all in the same bunch) out of a Remington 742 carbine..30-06..180 grain bullets.....One round per pig..but if they had been in a tight bunch..might have gotten more.....Oh..I do miss every once in a while on running pigs..but not on my best day could I hit 5 running pigs with a 223 and lay them out....
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Old October 20, 2012, 07:17 AM   #19
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603 Country

I read that you already own a .270 Winchester. I think it would be perfect for the Hunt You just described. I would learn that rifles trajectory out to 400 yards and use it to get rid of some Hogs.
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Old October 20, 2012, 11:27 AM   #20
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You have to understand Keg, that I am a pig killer, not so much a hog hunter..... My goal is to kill economically with no collateral damage. I have many times, shot pigs within feet of cows. I once shot under a cow to get to a pig. I will not attempt this with a .30 cal lol. Traps are great ballistic testing centers. I've even seen 45colt punch out of a pig.

Open, long or safe shots on larger pigs, specially in the east, or swamps, the bigger the better I say. West Texas rolling plains pigs ain't so tough.
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Old October 20, 2012, 03:29 PM   #21
603Country
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TxHunter, I do on occasion take out the 270 for pigs. At one time that was what I normally took to the woods. But, for some reason that I can no longer remember, I started taking the Ruger 77 Compact in 260 with me. I had bought the rifle for my wife, but she isn't that serious about pig shooting. In very short order, I had decided that I really really liked that little light and handy Ruger Compact and I liked the caliber. I started loading the Nosler 120 gr Ballistic Tip and using it on coyotes and Pigs and then I started using it on deer also. There was no real problem with the 120 grainer, but I could see that it didn't have the same trajectory as my 270. Sighted in at 200, the 270 dropped 7, 20, and 40 inches at 300, 400, and 500 yards respectively. I've been using that 270 for so long that I think in terms of that trajectory, and the 260 didn't have that trajectory and I was having to actually think about where to aim on those long pig shots. So...I transitioned to the 100 grain Ballistic Tip and now have about the same trajectory as the 270. Less thinking required by me under "see pig, must shoot quick" situations. I don't yet have much pig shooting data with the smaller bullet, but that should change pretty quick now that the mornings are cooler.

Probably if I was back in Louisiana and hunting the big bucks that are roughly twice the body weight of the deer roaming my place, I'd go back to the 270. Maybe. The thing is that the 270 is my Sako Lightweight Hunter, which isn't that awfully light weight, but it's been tuned up and bedded and it's just the most amazing rifle I own. If I absolutely HAD to make a 400 yard shot I'd pick up the Sako. But that little Ruger in 260 is almost as good and so light and easy to handle and carry. Tough decisions, but GeauxTide understands like I do that the 260 is almost a perfect caliber for many uses.
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Old October 20, 2012, 04:14 PM   #22
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603 Country

I understand about the Handiness of Your Ruger Compact. I hunt Deer and Hog with a Ruger Frontier .308 with a Leupold VX 2 3X9X40 Mounted over the Reciever. Shimmed But Pad for Leingth of Pull. Even developed my own 180 grain load for use on Big Boar Hogs. It works well and I love it.
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Old October 20, 2012, 06:56 PM   #23
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603 country....I also like shorter..lightweight carbine length guns......
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Old October 20, 2012, 08:49 PM   #24
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I've shot and killed pigs with everything from 22 shorts out of a daringer to 45/70's. Is the larger cal better? Prolly. But what do I care I just want the mess makers dead. I wouldnt be above throwing rocks.
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Old October 21, 2012, 07:01 PM   #25
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I'd say that the 30-06 is a pretty good choice for hogs. The choice in.bullet weights are versitile.
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