By: Jeff LaRue
I have given this a lot of thought and research, and I have shot a lot of pigs with several different calibers. The feral pigs have ranged in weight from 50 pounds, to feral hogs coming in at 250 pounds. I’ve used 223 REM, AK74, Ak47, Romanian PSL, 224Vakhyrie, 25 WSSM, 6.5 Grendel, 260 Rem, 308 Win, 300WSM, and last, but not least a 338 Lapua Magnum.
The 223 Rem and the AK-74 will work if the range is short – 75 yards and under – and if the pig in question weighs less than 100 pounds and is a gilt or a sow. Boars are a different matter entirely; when a boar hog reaches around 100 pounds, they start to develop an armor plate THAT starts at about their ears and goes to their hips. As the hog gets older and larger, the plate gets thicker and a lot harder for a lighter bullet (60 grain) to perform well.
The 224 Valkyrie is the odd duck out here. The 90 grain Federal Fusion load is what makes that a good pig rifle. The mid calibers – 25WSSM, 6.5 Grendel, 260 Rem, and the AK-47 all have excellent pig-killing characteristics. The thirty calibers: 308, 300WSM, and Russian 7.62x54R are lethal and a good choice for the bigger pigs and hogs. The 338 Lapua Magnum works quite well – no need to explain why.
Feral pigs and hogs are tough animals and tend to be fatter than a deer. The vital area is a little different also; when shot through the rib cage, the bullets holes will often get plugged up, causing some difficulty in recovery. A head or neck shot means the swine is dead right there.
My apologies to the gun calibers I didn’t name. Almost any of the fine rifles used for deer, elk, pronghorn, and moose would make a fine pig gun. The three I mentioned earlier, the 223, 224 Valkyrie, and AK-74 (5.45×39) may not be deer legal, so check your fish and game regs.
The feral hog population is booming. Since there’s no shortage, in most places there are no seasons and no limits. Something to think about during the covid-19 madness and you are in local store looking at bare shelves. Instead of filling your grocery cart, go home and dust off that pig rifle and put it to work filling your freezer, and your neighbors’.