View Full Version : Pig Hunting Calibers?

February 3, 2006, 11:01 PM
I have a TX pig hunt scheduled in March, and I'm taking two rifles. I'm pretty good with the first rifle which is a .270 Win and that is the rifle I'll use in the stands. I just recently purchased a Marlin 336 in .35 Rem and I want to use this rifle when I'm stalking the pigs. I haven't got much range time with the 35 but I'm grouping 1.5-2 inches at 50 yds with open sights and factory ammo shooting offhand. Has anyone used the 35 Remington on pigs? I have other rifles that I could use but are my decisons good so far with my two choices? This is my first pig hunt and I could use any suggestions.

February 3, 2006, 11:13 PM
Either will work fine. Pick the one that is most accurate in your hands and get to know their anatomy - their boiler room is further up toward their head than a deer's, and a smidge higher. I'd use the .270 though, with 150s-160s, if it was me.

February 3, 2006, 11:24 PM
If you are hunting feral hogs in Texas, either will do, and as to the 270, anything starting at 130 grains is more than plenty. If you are after russian boar, you might want to look at nosler partitions or something with more penetration.

February 5, 2006, 11:40 AM
I'm pretty good with the .270 I hunt everything up to Elk with it. I just thought the Marlin would be a better carry on the stalk. Plus I operate the lever much faster than the bolt for that second shot. I also thought that the bullet options above 200 grains would get better penetration on the pigs.

Rich Lucibella
February 5, 2006, 11:49 AM
Agreed that both calibers will get the job done. If you're a minimalist, the .270 will suffice for both scenarios. I'm not a minimalist. There is just something special and convenient about fist carry of an iron sighted lever gun in the field; I regularly take a scoped bolt action and iron sighted lever piece for hogs.

You have both rifles; you shoot 'em both well. If it's a hunt that you have any real money into, it'd be a real bummer to break an extractor on Morning 1, with no spare rifle in the truck. Bring the two...."because you can". ;)

February 6, 2006, 12:25 AM
Thanks Rich,

I got a great deal on the Marlin or I would probably be hunting with just the one rifle. I have a fondness for Lever guns, I previously owned two model 94 Winchesters in 30-30. I let other people who thought they needed them worse than me talk me out of them. This rifle had a scope on it but that was the first thing to go I like being proficient with Iron sights, and scopes just don't look right on most lever guns. I might put a tang peep on it in the near future.

I agree on taking two rifles to the field when hunting away from home. I've never had the rifle I'm hunting with fail me, but I've had to loan my spare to a buddy from time to time on the hunt. In fact I'll be taking my .338-06 on its first Elk hunt this fall but my .270 will be along for a back up.

February 6, 2006, 03:21 AM
I Have Killed 3 Wild Boar And Know That Either Caliber Would Be A Fine Choice. I Do Recomend The Lever Action Over The .270 If You Are Going To Be On The Ground More Whether Stalking Or Using Dogs. By Using The Lever Action With Open Sights You Will Be Able To Make Quicker Shots In The Event Of A Charge. If You Are Going To Be In Stands Use The .270 With A Scope. Again As Far As Calibers Both Are More Than Fine. As Far As My Kills Go I Have Shot 2 With A Winchester Model 94 In 30-30 And One With A Marlin 1895 In 45/70.
Good Luck And Enjoy Your Hunt.

Johnny Guest
February 6, 2006, 10:16 AM
taylorce1 - -
I also agree that either rifle can do a good job. My first two hogs were taken from a deer stand using a .257 Roberts with 100 gr. handloads. With good light, a steady rest, and range under 75 yards, I was able to plant the bullets pretty precisely in the neck and earhole, respectively. They were shots of convenience.

After seeing how BIG the hogs got, when I started hunting them on purpose, I used my .30'06 and 165 Sierra Game King bullets. Even using this larger, more powerful rifle and far heavier bullets, my next two hogs did NOT die on the spot. One went a hundred yards of so into very thick brush, which made for some rather tense tracking on hands and knees. Happily, he'd given up the ghost before we spotted him. The next one was a solid hit on a large (200 pounds?) sow. Two reliable witnesses and I all saw dust fly from her back and she still went away fast. We beat the bushes for an hour and never found a drop of blood.

Since you seem to like the idea of lever guns anyhow, I suggest your Marlin would be very good for anything below, say, 150 yards. The Remington 200 gr factory load goes about 2000 fps at the muzzle, and you can safely beter this with handloads. Speer's 220 gr. SP will go 1800 to 1900 fps with book loads. I'm beginning to subscribe to the theory that most hog hunters do better with with larger, slower bullets than light, high velocity ones. Feral hogs, especially the larger, older, ones, have extremely thick hides, covered with really tough hair, which is often caked with dried mud. I recently took a 250-pounder, and the wounds indicate the Speer 250 gr. .35 Whelen bullet was already expanding before it ever got into the chest.

I fully agree that "tradition" and "looks" really DEMAND iron sights on a lever action. You mention possibly mounting a tang sight on your 336. These are pretty nifty, all right, epecially for cowboy action shooting. For hunting use, though, I strongly prefer the receiver mount ghost ring sight. They are always in position, super rapid to acquire, and just about bulletproof if you get the right one. My Marlin .45-70 wears the older Ashley Outdoors sight with matching front. The same sight is now offered by XS. I also hear good things about the Wild West Guns ghost ring, but haven't examined one.

Best of luck on your hawg hunt.

February 6, 2006, 10:23 AM
Those caps on each starting letter are driving me nuts.

I'd carry the lever for a stalk and the 270 for a stand. The way you hunt will determine the speed at which you must react. A shot behing the ear with the 270 will ensure no meat is wasted, but a moving target would be hit in the boiler room if I were taking the shot and I'd use the lever for that task.

I'd recommend not shoting right next to a tank. They tend to "twitch" their way into deep water and require you to get a john boat and drag the body back to land. Funny to watch, but not so fun to do (I was watching.) That did rid the body of most of the ticks, however.

BTW...I'd shoot a sow if you have a choice.

Rich Lucibella
February 6, 2006, 10:35 AM
Those caps on each starting letter are driving me nuts.
Though it was just me. :eek:

February 6, 2006, 02:19 PM
I had my .358 loaded to .35 Rem ballistics for medical reasons. A 200gr bullet @2200fps.

I popped a big sow with it last week. I hit her on the point of the shoulder, she was facing me.

The bullet exited the off side through the guts. So no problem on penetration the problem was all operator error and poor shot placement.

The hog ran about 10 yards and fell over kicking. By the time we got to the scene of the crime there was nothing there except a copious amount of blood where the hog had laid down and then left a generous blood trail for our tracking pleasure.

We followed it for about 2 hours. We found where she'd gone down numerous times leaving pools of blood and chunks of flesh and other "clock" works.

We jumped her out of the bottom of a brush choked draw once at less than 20 feet but couldn't see her, only hear her crashing through the underbrush.

Finally after much careful tracking she pretty much dried up as hogs often do, climbed out of the canyon into the next draw and we lost her.

Make no mistake about it. Hogs are TOUGH. Hunting them from a stand is one thing. Getting down in the mud and hunting them on your own two hind legs is a whole other thing.

I figure from the blood sign that this hog took a bullet through the on shoulder and it probably got one lung before exiting the gut. A one lunged hog can go for one heck of a long time. This isn't the first hog I've ever lost and it won't be the last but I've come to find over the years that I prefer bigger diameter rounds such as the .350's, .338's, .45-70's ETC. They'll all lay down if properly hit in the shoulder on a broadside shot. The problem is the way I hunt them they are seldom standing still and more often than not aren't broadside.

I shot another hog last week with a .308 win and a 165 gr interlocked Hornandy. I hit her perfectly on the shoulder the bullet went through both lungs and the top of the heart. She managed about 200 yards in thick cover before dying also giving me some more blood tracking practice. Bigger diameter heavier bullets do seem to knock them down with more authority given similar shot placement. And are without question a better choice for bad angle shots.

MAN do I miss my dog. If Kubi had been there either of these ordeals would have been over in about 3 seconds. May he rest in peace.

February 7, 2006, 08:30 AM
Thanks for the info guys, and JG I'll consider the ghost rings. I have a friend who has them on his .45-70 and swears by them. I'm also happy I wasn't too far off on my thinking on the two rifles I chose.

I did a little research on pig hunting and the two guys articles I liked the best both used .35's. One was a .358 Win Model 88 which I would love to find and the other was a .350 Rem Mag Model 600. This led me to the purchase of the 336, I was looking at .30-30's but people wanted more for them than the .35 Rem. So I left the store roughly $150 lighter with a good shooter in my hand and dreams of dead pigs in my eyes.

H&H by the way what .358 do you shoot?

February 7, 2006, 08:42 AM
Both guns would be fine. Hog's are not as hard to hunt as one would think. I have killed several with a bow, you may want to try that next.

February 7, 2006, 10:33 AM

I have a Winchester pre 64 featherweight M-70 topped with ghost rings.

February 7, 2006, 03:53 PM
best hog thumper out there is the .50 Beowulf.

Suprised no one has mentioned it.

February 9, 2006, 04:45 PM
I'm sure the 50 Beowulf is great on pigs. I have an AR to keep practiced up for the Army Reserves, but other than that I don't use the AR much. I like the feel of a good rifle in wood better than the synthetic of the AR.