5 Best Hog Hunting Cartridges

Gear We Use
5 Best Hog Hunting Cartridges

Name an invasive species besides feral hogs that causes over $1.5 billion a year in damage in the U.S. and still has festivals held in its honor.

I’ll wait.

It’s safe to say that wild hogs are a contradiction. On one hand, they’re a pest. On the other hand, they’re a beloved game animal, and they present an incredible year-round opportunity for hunters. They’re wily, tough to bring down, and oh-so delicious.

The good news is that you don’t have to square this ecological circle to add wild pork to the menu. Wild hogs have been taken with everything from a .22 LR to a 50 BMG, but if you want to maximize your odds without breaking the bank (or your shoulder), there are a few things to keep in mind.

What We Look for in a Pig Round

By almost all accounts, wild hogs are harder to bring down than whitetail. I’m not sure whether this is because the vital area is farther forward (and thus in a less familiar place) or because hogs are just tougher. I lean towards the former, but I’m no biologist. Maybe pigs really do have more grrr.

Whatever the case may be, it’s good advice to go with a cartridge that produces more energy at the muzzle than a .223 Remington, but preferably something more along the lines of a 6.5mm or .308 Win.

Thousands of hogs are killed every year with less energetic cartridges, and I’ve taken a fair share with a 300 Blackout (to name one popular example). But my experience is that they always run 30 to 50 yards, even with a supersonic shot to the vitals and a good hunting bullet. If you start chatting with pig hunters, it won’t take long before you find someone who’s hit a porker with a 300 Blackout or .223 Rem. and never recovered it.

To maximize your odds of success and avoid spending a night on the blood trail, pick a cartridge that stands a good chance of rooting a pig to the spot. If it gets a chance to run off, you can bet it’ll find the nastiest, swampiest, most thorn-ridden patch of God’s green earth to die.

That being said, you don’t need a magnum cartridge, either. Pigs are tough, but they aren’t invincible. A vital hit with any of the cartridges on this list will be more than enough to get the job done. If you have a rifle in a different cartridge with similar ballistics, that’ll work just fine.

Jump to: Field Notes

Hog Hunting Cartridges We Recommend

Last Shot

There are many other cartridges that are great for pig hunting. The 6.5 Creedmoor balances power and recoil better than almost any other cartridge on the market. The .270 Win. doesn’t get enough love these days, but it could easily take the .308’s spot as the best all-around pig round. And even though I usually steer people away from it, the .223 Rem. can, without question, take down a pig with good shot placement and a tough hunting bullet.

Bottom line? As with any list of cartridge recommendations, don’t pass on pig hunting because you don’t happen to have any of the five we recommend most highly. If you have a rifle chambered in anything similar to a cartridge on this list, get out there! That bacon won’t walk home on its own.

Field Notes

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