View Full Version : Help for a beginning pig hunter

San Francisquito Bill
March 2, 2001, 03:19 AM
Hi all,

I have been given the opportunity to go on a coyote and pig hunt on a private ranch here in California. I have never hunted anything but birds, and I am unsure of what to expect. I have a book on Boar hunting in California, and I have done searches in this forum, but I have some specific questions, and would appreciate any advice offered.

First, the guns;

I just purchased a Marlin .45-70 Guide Gun. I have long desired to do some pig hunting, and eventually some other medium to large game. I love the Guide gun, and I finally got the cash to afford it, so I picked it up. This is what I would like to use on the pig/boar during the trip. What would be y'alls advice as the the best ammunition for this gun. I have researched Garett, Buffalo Bore, and standard loads like the Winchester "partition", but I'm not sure. Would the standard loads be adequate? Would the Garett/Buffalo Bore be too much?

In addition to the Guide gun, I have a Springfield M1A that I could use. I'd have to fork over the money for the 5 round mags, but It'd work. If I were to bring this along, what load would you recommend? (I'll be using Balistic Tips in this gun for the coyotes--Anyone think this is a bad choice?)

Lastly for guns, I have a Witness 10mm that I am planning on using. Should I order hunting loads from Cor-Bon or just use FMJ for the penetration? Should I just use a 1911 with 230gr. FMJ's? (Both my Witness and my Springfield are totally reliable.)

And other misc. hunting stuff...

I am planning on bringing a light pack with some supplies such as a sweatshirt/jacket, some food, water, etc. What else should I consider? Again, I'm new to mammal hunting, though not to the outdoors. I don't want to show up with the kitchen sink, but I don't want to feel like an idiot because I failed to bring something obvious.

(To put this in the proper perspective, I got 4/5ths of the way to the duck club earlier this year for a hunt when I realized that I forgot my shotgun! I thought my dad had packed it, and he assumed that I would bring it. OOPS!! Luckily somebody brought a spare and we had a great hunt, but I felt pretty stupid, and took a fair amount of ribbing. I'd like to avoid that if possible.)

Thanks for the help everyone,


P.S.--As for the area, It's a ranch called "Bighorn", and from what I hear, the pigs aren't that "wild", so I don't think I'll have a problem using the guide gun within range. However, I've never been there and if anyone has info on this place, please let me know. Thanks again!

San Francisquito Bill
March 2, 2001, 03:21 AM
In case it isn't clear, this place is in California.

March 2, 2001, 12:56 PM
I've never been pig hunting either but I think your Guide Gun will serve you well.

I would much prefer my 10mm with Cor Bon Penetrators over my 45 if that is going to be your backup gun.

Just my $.02

I've seen pig and coyote hunting discussed here before so I'm sure you'll get more info soon. At the risk of making an obvious suggestion don't forget a good knife and a multi tool (Leatherman, Gerber, etc.)

Good luck!!!

March 2, 2001, 01:31 PM
I have been pig and deer hunting in central California for 35 years and can tell you pig hunting can be exciting. I have seen a 300# pig attack a hunter that was 400 yards from me. I had an associate get over a hundred stitches from trying to kill one with a knife. So that said you may find your game at 10 yds in the brush or 300 yards standing there looking at you. I have photos of friends with their hog in a loader bucket(9' long pig). Most of my experience with pigs is they have already seen you and are moving slowly away from you at 100 to 200 yards away. My boys and I use either .308 or 30-06 so we can reach out and hit them from one side of a ravine to the next. A scoped M1A would work well. I use 150gr Nosler BT for both the calibers. Any pistol round that will give you penetration is best. I use jacketed soft points in my .357. Good luck to us both during spring pig season! Bighorn sound familiar. Where is it located? MWT

March 2, 2001, 02:42 PM
Both the 45/70 and the 7.62 will kill a pig, but they are a little much for coyotes. Don get me wrong, they will kill a coyote, but they will most likely destroy the hide. If you are not gonna skin them, then you are set.

FMJ's and pointed soft points will give good penetration without expanding too much.

Good Luck.

March 2, 2001, 08:25 PM
My first hog here in Fla.[over 30 years a go] i used my 45acp my buddy asked me 3 questions canyou shoot & hit with that P.O.S.? can you run? and can you climb a tree fast? befor day was over he knew icould do all 3 .

March 2, 2001, 09:28 PM
I suggest the Remington 405 Grain softpoint in 45-70.

March 2, 2001, 11:58 PM
James you made my day! :)

San Francisquito Bill
March 3, 2001, 01:49 AM
James, that was great!

I guess Bighorn is near Norco.

I know that .308 is on the big side for Coyote, but from my understanding, the coyote is more of a pest-eradication type thing. I don't know who will do what with the hide.

Is the Ballistic Tip really good for pig? I am actually hoping to get a shot at a sow, hopefully 140-160 pounds or so. I am not really interested, nor can I afford a trophy boar. I just wanna eat!

Zorro, Why do you suggest that particular load? I have little experience with the .45-70, and was planning to use Winchester Partitions, but you may (and probably do) know more about this than I do.

Thanks for all the replies!


Johnny Guest
March 3, 2001, 03:08 AM

Unless you can be pretty sure of an ambush with a good rest and a head shot, I'd try something more solidly constructed than the Ballistic Tip on the hogs. Might look at the Remington 180 gr Express RNSP. I think that's what I'd use, if limited to factory ammo. Of course, this would also do for coyote, and would probably punch right through without undue damage to the pelt, if this a consideration.

There are a couple of other current strings about .30 cal bullets for hogs and deer--might take a look at those.

Almost any load should be good from your Guide Gun on the hogs. If you can only take one gun on the hunt, though, you might be at a disadvantage on coyotes with the .45-70. That is, if you will need to shoot across open areas at 'em. If you have a skilled varmint caller on your hunt, then it may be a completely different matter.

Good hunting!


San Francisquito Bill
March 4, 2001, 04:20 AM

Yea--that's what I thought, but someone posted that they use Nosler BT (Ballistic Tip?) for pigs earlier in this thread (Unless they meant Boat-Tail)and that suprised me. I figured that 150-180 grain soft point or X-Bullet, preferably on the heavier side would be more appropriate (at least for large pigs--Smaller pigs might require less, I guess).

As for the gun issue--I will be able to take a few guns, actually. I can use a gun for the 'yotes, and another for piggin'. I think I'm gonna use the M1A for the Coyotes just to shoot it at something other than paper. I am pretty good with the open sights out to 75-100 yards offhand, and probably 150 to 200 yards sitting to prone. farther would be a stretch, as I've never shot seriously at any distance further than 200 yards.

I looked in our distributors catalog, and I can get good prices on Cor-bon ammunition, including 10mm. Would the 180gr. bonded soft point or 200gr. Penetrator (FMJ-I think)be better for the pig?

I think that I'm gonna get the Cor-Bon 350gr. bonded soft point for my guide gun, but I'm still up in the air about my "long range" pig load. I think I'll probably end up with my Springfield .308. I figure a 150-165 or so grain partition or barnes X-bullet would work--any other ideas? (Remember--I'm hoping to find a 140-160 pound meat pig--not a trophy.)

Once I get there and see the layout, talk to the guys, etc. I'll decide what is more practical to take (guide gun or longer range gun) If it is possible, I'd like to use the Guide Gun, but my chances may simply involve shots that are too far for me to count on that gun.

I'm really getting excited about this trip. Even if I don't get one it will be a great learning experience and a first step. Thanks for the help so far!

Art Eatman
March 4, 2001, 10:41 AM
Since hogs generally are heavier boned than a deer, with thicker hides, I'd select a bullet for penetration and "controlled expansion". About any 180-grain 30-caliber load oughta do. Your idea of a 165-grain BarnesX is plenty good, but factory 180s are always available, SFAIK, and probably cheaper...

Guessing, I'd think that any non-hollow-point .45-70 load would work. Ross Seyfried has reported on numerous large-animal kills with such as the .454 Casull, and he recommends bullets with large meplats. Non-HP loads for the pressure-range of a Guide Gun would fill the bill.

I'd definitely prefer the 10mm to the .45ACP. Ammo type? I'm not sure it would make a difference--can you hit while half-panicked?:)


Johnny Guest
March 4, 2001, 06:00 PM
SF Bill--

It seems I'm following Art Eatman from topic to topic, saying, "I agree," and, "That shore is rat, Boss." Dunno why that is.

It happens he's already said about what I'd have said about the rifles and load stuff.

As to the pistol, your 10mm amounts to almost a semi-auto .41 magnum, with the right loads. And I'd certainly pick the heaviest full-jacket load I could control, just for penetration. Much as I love the .45 ACP cartridge, I'd choose the 10mm, considering the "gristle armor" on the front end of a big hawg. They tend to come head low, so the bullet needs to strike eye socket, or penetrate forehead, or bash through the shoulders, hoping for a spinal hit. None of these tasks require any expansion, and it is really a detriment for this purpose.

Not ignoring your request for input on gear and accessories--I just don't know the terrain or the climate you can expect. Certainly, dress for or carry clothing for the worst weather you might encounter. Anywhere, any time, I'd want a sturdy knife, compass, matches, a quart of water, a length of line or paracord, and a little first aid stuff. NOT Band Aids and aspirin, but a small and a medium Carlisle battle dressing--easy to use and very effective if something goes sour.

Have a great hunt!

San Francisquito Bill
March 5, 2001, 02:49 AM
"Not ignoring your request for input on gear and accessories--I just don't know the terrain or the climate you can expect."

That's OK Johnny, neither do I!

March 5, 2001, 01:47 PM
Are you going with others? Someone who knows how to field dress and skin a pig? There are books, videos and some info on the web on this. You will need a knife, some rope, a deer bag, and some way to get the pig back to camp. Some stitch the cavity back up if they are going to drag it for a ways(use a gunny sack needle). Also consider how you will transport it home. Before the hunt you should check around and find a game processor in your area. I got a place that does mine for $.50/# and vaccuum packs and freezes it for pickup. Also consider a freight pack to get it out if you are going aways from your vehicle. A camera would be nice and you will need a canteen, map of the ranch and a compass. Don't forget a flashlight and a daypack as well as something to carry this all in. MWT

San Francisquito Bill
March 5, 2001, 04:18 PM

Yes, I'll be going with several others, who have varying levels of experience, from beginner like me to having hunted pig several times over. It was brought up that if I bring my big cooler, for $25 bucks, they will clean the pig and pack it into my cooler. I will check on a game processor (butcher?).

The camera is a great point. I usually forget that! I will also get a map and put all your suggestions in my daypack.

I have some questions to ask now about the hunt. I'll find out the terrain, how far we will travel from the vehicle, and how initial game care will be conducted.

Thanks again for the replies!

Calif Hunter
March 5, 2001, 06:03 PM
I may be a litle late on this topic, but my opinion is that any good 180 gr bullet will work fine from your .308, particularly if you are after an eating pig and not a big boar. I used to use the 180 gr. Nosler solid base in a .300 Win Mag, and it took down many a pig, including some big boys. Just about any load in the .45-70 will work, too, if the range isn't too far. (More a matter of bullet drop than power!) Personally, I would plan on the .308 for morning or evening spot-hunting and use the .45-70 for later-in-the-day brush hunting. Just my 2 cents!
I would not suggest full-metal jacket bullets. They are illegal for hunting in California.