View Full Version : Thoughts on using a self-loader for pig hunting?

July 3, 2007, 10:09 PM
I'm looking to purchase my first rifle, with the eventual goal of using it for pig-hunting. While bolt-actions are far and away the most common style used for hunting, the idea of a self-loader is much more appealing to me. The options are much more limited, and so are the calibers available.

The Browning BAR in .270 seems like a good possibility; that round seems to be very popular here and on other hunting/firearms boards. Not to mention that it's a very pretty gun.

The Winchester Super X is similar, but is only available in .30-06, .300 Win Mag, .270 Mag and .300 Win Short Mag, which i suspect would be pretty heavy for me (I'm a little guy at 5'6"/125lbs)

Ruger mini-14/Ranch Rifles come in .223, 6.8 and 7.62x39, but those are light/ not all that great (flat-shooting) rounds,

And the Kel-Tec SU-16A/B/C looks good in .223; again, a light round, but it's got some pretty nice features like being able to store two magazines in the stock and a built-in bipod, and it's quite a bit cheaper than the others.

What are your thoughts? Am I being hair-brained? I understand the logic of starting off with a .22 and working up, but I have some discretionary money now, and after that I'll be on a tight budget until I finish school in three years.

Thanks in advance


Fat White Boy
July 3, 2007, 10:45 PM
If you really want an Auto Loader, the Browning is a very nice piece. The Winchester .270 is a great round for pigs. I use a Winchester Model 70 Bolt action for pigs with 130 Gr Corelokt ammo. Minimal recoil with superior accuracy and penetration.

July 3, 2007, 10:57 PM
You've got a variety of choices there for sporting autoloaders.

Browning BAR (excellent choice)

Remington 750 or 7400 or 742

Benelli R1

Winchester RX1

Calibers... .308, .270, .30-06, 7mm remmag; any of those would work well.. If you want to go a bit bigger, for big ol monster hogs, the BAR can be had in .338 win mag & .300 magnums, and the Rem 750 can be had in .35 Whelen.

Or, you could go with a semi-auto in .308 like an M14-type or similar; i.e. a so-called "battle rifle".

Or better yet, do what I did for my dedicated "big pig gun" - Remington 1187 "Sportsman's Deer" rifle - it's a fully rifled .729 caliber, (or 12 gauge "shotgun", if you will :) ), with a Leupold VX1, 1-4x20mm scope on top.

July 4, 2007, 11:02 AM
Hog hunting is probably THE best place for a semi. They are pests so shoot as many as you can. They travel in packs. Some will probably be running. They can be tough to drop. OK there's 4 good reasons for fast follow up shots, I'll stop there.

The 270 will certainly do the job although personally I'd choose the 308 because it's lighter. Look at the lightest BARs and consider using a ghost ring or peep sight to keep the weight down. I picture a fast swinging woods gun that will also reach out several hundred yards.

Since this is a first rifle it will get used alot. Consider getting a SKS also. Inexpensive, light recoil, Cal legal, useful for hog hunting with the better loads (154 wolf, 150 CorBon), cheap ammo to practice with. Trust me, even if you get the BAR, the SKS will get more use at the range. Did I say inexpensive and cheap ammo? Due to the budget being a bit tight and the fact that frequent practise is the best thing you can do to get ready for hunting I'd recommend geting the SKS first.

Have fun.

July 4, 2007, 11:20 AM
I think a Ruger 44 mag carbine would make a sweet all purpose walk around semi. A 1.5-5 or 2-7 power scope would be icing on the cake.

sneaky pete
July 4, 2007, 01:38 PM
OLd Sneaky here: I don't know where you live or plan to hunt, but my friends and I generally hunt in the S.E. states and 150 yds would be a really "Long" shot, One friend and his girlfriend hunt hogs in Fl., Ga., and the Carolinas and hunt with Bow & Arrow--like the Indians did. My advice if you plan to hunt in those areas is to get a Good Ol-full sized Ak-47. In my experiece Hogs die real easy, the AK has plenty of killing power and if your worried about serious multiple shots--get a couple of 30 roud mags. Plenty of surplus ammo availiable and both the weapon and ammo is cheep. I did leave the S.E. states a couple of years ago and went hunting in the Texas Hill Country and among other things I killed 2 pretty big Russian Boars. One with my AR15 with a brain shot @175 yds using a Sierra 69gr match king, and the other @ about 80 yds using a single shot pistol (Lone Eagle) in .357 Rem MAX(.357 super mag) with a 180gr Hornady SPP. And if necessary you can also use it to defend our castle when the next revoution comes. THANX--SNEAKY :cool:

July 4, 2007, 04:53 PM
AK is out in San Jose, but the SKS is an excellent choice. I've taken a couple of hogs in the 150lb range. The first was a broadside running shot at about 100 yds ... I shot 3 times as it crossed the meadow ... once in front of him (as a calibration shot :cool: :p ) and then twice in the boiler room. He didn't run more than 30 yds after the first hit. The second one I saw as the sun was setting and he was at about 400yds. I thought briefly about a: taking the 400 yd shot and b: just going home without taking any shot. I decided that I needed to at least TRY to sneak up on him. I closed the distance scooting through a mini-ravine to that same 100yd point and severed both carotid arteries with one shot. Never seen anything drop so perfectly and completely vertical like that one. I always use 125 Remington JSP's in mine.


July 4, 2007, 05:16 PM
Those mini-14's are notoriously inaccurate and the Browning is a fairly heavy gun to carry around in your California hills. Is there some reason you want an automatic? I hog hunt quite a bit and I've never seen a hog stick around to give you an easy 2nd shot unless he was wounded. I use a lever action 30-30 and a pump 30-06. I can get off accurate 2nd shots just as fast as most guys with an auto. I say accurate because anybody can take an auto and just keep pulling the trigger. The point is to actually hit the target on your followup shots.

If you really want a good hog gun, I would advise you to expand your search parameters.

July 4, 2007, 07:24 PM
If you use an SKS or other rifle in 7.62x39mm, be sure to use softpoint hunting ammo 150 grains or more from Corbon or Wolf.

July 4, 2007, 07:28 PM
Always wanted to go on one of the Knife boar hunting trips ;) :eek:

July 4, 2007, 08:43 PM
An AR variant might be more useful than supposed. People often forget that these rifles are available in .308 Win, .458 SOCOM, .450 Bushmaster, and .50 Beowulf all of which pack considerably more punch than a .223 or 6.8. Also, have you considered a DSA FAL? these are available in .308, .243, and I think .270 (not entirely sure about the last one though).

July 4, 2007, 08:52 PM
An AR variant might be more useful than supposed. People often forget that these rifles are available in .308 Win, .458 SOCOM, .450 Bushmaster, and .50 Beowulf all of which pack considerably more punch than a .223 or 6.8. Also, have you considered a DSA FAL? these are available in .308, .243, and I think .270 (not entirely sure about the last one though).
I know all types of guns can fail, but alot of the larger caliber AR's seem to be a bit more finicky than some other platforms, at least IME. NBD for plinking,etc., other than a temporary aggravation, but if you've got a big boar close in, it could be a liability...
I think I'm about to go the M1A/M14 route for the same application, FWIW.


July 4, 2007, 10:21 PM
I'll occasionally use my .270 Sig SHR but more likely I prefer using my .45-70 Marlin 1895. Something about those California hogs, you hit them you want them to go down. The .45-70 will do that.

July 4, 2007, 10:35 PM
I used to use just a Bolt action on hogs. ( 300 Win) now I got smart and use a Ar15 with 55 Grain Blitzking handloads. The Hogs may get up, but they usually dont move more than a few yards, and you can go ahead and take out an entire family in about 14 seconds. My Ar recently came in very handy on about 9 or 10 of them.

July 5, 2007, 03:23 AM
One major reason for looking specifically at self-loaders is that I live in California, and there are a number of bills before our legislature that will limit or eliminate our ability to purchase auto-loading rifles, or at least make it much more difficult/complicated.

AK's are out, 11-round+ magazines are out, ARs require an owner to have a law degree to understand all the legal fine print to determine legal vs. felony...

Bolt actions aren't under any threat at the moment, so I can get one now or later.

So it's potentially "get one now, or never," depending on how the voting goes in the capital.

I talked to my buddy who has a long and happy relationship with firearms, and he's heavily suggesting I get a Springfield M1A; he likes the .308 round and 10-round mag (Vs the BAR's 3 or 4 round magazine), and the fact that they're used for competition shooting. However, the $1700 price tag is pretty imposing, and the 10-lb weight can't be fun to lug around.

Thank you all for your input, it's all good food for thought.

July 5, 2007, 04:34 AM
The Bar is a good choice. You should leave California as soon as possible.
Come down South where we still live free. You might as well be in Canada, England or New York City. No one should tell you what you can own.

sneaky pete
July 5, 2007, 06:34 AM
Old Sneaky here: Quite a while ago while extensively traveling up and down the East coast all the truckers on C B used to call Virginia "The Comminist State" because of some of the bizarre regulations in effect but it seems that title has moved to California. I was stationed @ 29 stumps in the Corps back in the 50's & 60's and you could walk into a store plop your money down and walk out with the firearm du jour and if memory serves right you could carry a loaded pistol in a holster in open sight and crime rates were very low (guess why ???). Now it seems that San Francisco and Los Angles are running the state--voting population. Yesterday I heard that San Francisco passed a law that forbid private citizens from owning handguns. I mean think about the news that comes out of L.A. or San Fran regularly on T.V. If something really weird happened to me and I was FORCED to move to California I guess I'd become a outlaw for owning an AK, AR-15 and several pistols with Hi-capacit magazines, BUT I'd still hunt hogs with the AK and take my chances. I mean what did I spend 30 years in the military-defending the Constitution and then have a bunch of (un-mentionables) trample my rights as designed by the founders of our country. THANX--SNEAKY
P.S. Sorry for the RANT

July 5, 2007, 09:39 AM

With a better understanding of your motivation, I don't think that you can beat the M1A or the SKS. The advantage of the SKS is that in CA you can legally use it as it was DESIGNED to be used ... with a stone-cold-reliable 10 rd fixed mag and stripper clips that let you load 10 more plenty quickly ... like it was designed ... and CA doesn't have a 5rd limit on mags when you are hunting, so you don't need to go find an after market mag like you might in some states.

The accuracy of an SKS will NOT match that of the M1A, but the reliability will ... easily. Those 10 round stripper clips also keep your extra ammunition quiet when you are sneaking up on that hog. It works well and you can buy a pickup full of 7.62x39 ammo with the leftover money ;)


PTR 91
July 5, 2007, 10:27 AM
SAIGA IN 308, I bet that would make a good hog rifle. The price won't break the bank either. If you don't know what a Saiga is it's pretty much a AK47 chambered in 308.

john in jax
July 5, 2007, 10:58 AM
Your cheapest options would probably be the Saiga .308 or a used Remington 7400 in the caliber of your choice (you can't go wrong with a .270, .308 or .30-06). There are 10rnd mags available for the Rem 7400.

The Browning is a good hunting rifle, and cheaper than the M1A . . . but if you even want even a hint of that assualt/battle rifle mystique then it probably isn't what you are looking for.

July 5, 2007, 11:28 AM
Using one for hunting is totally different than using one for target practice/plinking or anything else for that matter. The accuracy issue with that gun has to do with its thin barrel, and the way heat from multiple shots effects it. When hunting the first shot will be a "cold" shot making the Mini14 just as good as any I guess.

That said, the SKS and AK47 make good hog guns for stalking, if hunting with dogs a .30 Carbine loaded with Soft-Tip ammo is more than enough. My dad's favorite pig hunting gun was his old Marlin Midget Magnum chambered in .22WMR. Any high powered rifle could potentially hurt the dogs in allot of ways least of all with over penetration and blowing out their ear drums.

July 5, 2007, 11:45 AM
I had a bad experience with the Rem 7400, so I personally would not recomend one. It might have been the "one bad apple", but one was enough for me. If you do a search on this board, you will see a wide variety of opinions on the Rem semi-autos - some people love them and claim it is the owners fault they don't cycle, others (like me) don't like them based on bad experiences.

What kind of range are we talking for Cali hog hunting? My only hog experience was in Texas and it was more like shooting pheasants - you basically had to kick them out of brush piles and start shooting. It was billed as "spot and stalk", but there was no way to spot in the brush...

I would say get something that might get "outlawed" even if you get something different for hunting - 2 rifles are better than one ;)

July 5, 2007, 12:14 PM

That law actually says you cannot have a firearm within city limits, although you can LEGALLY own a pistol or semi-auto as long as it conforms to the established laws. You just can't have it in the city.

The exception is for those that require it for their jobs, and of course, the criminal element that doesn't give a donut hole about the laws anyway.

Coming from a family whose history is military and having served 6 years in the Corps (Semper Fi, BTW) it didn't hurt much when I left the Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia so I could finally buy an AR-15.


July 5, 2007, 01:12 PM
While the SKS is a fine rifle for most pig hunting, something in 308 might be a better choice in some parts of Kali.

Those hogs are smart and big - the only shot you might get is as he's scooting over a hill on the other side of a big draw. And, at 300 pounds for the big ones, 7.62x39 at 150 yards might be a bit light.

Most folk there don't mind leaving a wounded one to die as they are really pests, but it still bothers me.


July 5, 2007, 01:16 PM
Most folk

I think most folk prefer to keep suffering to a minimum even with vermin. Sadism and hunting are not mutually inclusive.

July 5, 2007, 01:27 PM
A RAA Saiga .308 is still legal in California as the older ones are banned by name...

July 6, 2007, 07:39 AM
My son and I plan to use our SKSs for hog hunting. They produce enough power to drop an pig, and are cheap. Mine has been breathed on a bit, and will reliably produce 2" groups. 10 rd mags allow plenty of follow up shots.

What's not to like?:D