Our Top 8 Picks for Hog Hunting Guns
By Bill Bernhardt
Anyone who is familiar with either wild boar or feral hogs is well aware that they have earned a reputation as exceptionally tough animals. However, despite their fearsome reputation, these animals can be humanely hunted using a wide verity of rifles and handguns chambered for a wide variety of calibers and cartridges.
Nonetheless, it is important for hog hunters to be aware that both wild boar and feral hogs range from small to very large in size and that they inhabit a wide range of habits. Therefore, it is important that hog hunters choose their firearms and cartridges accordingly. Thus, we have assembled a list of the top 8 rifles and handguns that are appropriate for hunting hogs from small to large in a wide range of habitats.
However, as with any game animal, proper shot placement is every bit as important as choosing the right gun chambered for the right round. Therefore, it's also important for hog hunters to understand how a hog's internal anatomy is arranged.
Most hog hunters are aware that both wild boar and feral hogs have a fierce reputation as very contentious animals because they are continuously fighting with each other. Consequently, they are armored like an Abrahams tank with a thick, tough, layer of hide that covers their neck and shoulders to protect them from the tusks of their opponents and this armor can be difficult for a bullet to penetrate.
Hunters should also be aware that the older and larger a hog is, the thicker and tougher their armor is and this is especially true of boars but less so with sows. Thus, while young hogs can easily be dispatched with medium caliber rifles or handguns, larger hogs require larger, heavier, bullets and larger, more powerful, cartridges.
However, the main reason that hogs have such a strong reputation as being difficult animals to kill is that their internal anatomy is arranged in such a way that it protects their vital organs when fighting with other hogs. Therefore, hog hunters need to learn to place their shots accordingly.
For instance, instead of being located in the center of their chest as a deer's heart is, a hog's heart is located low in their chest adjacent to their breastbone and is tucked far forward in between their shoulders where it's surrounded by their lungs. Consequently, a hog's vital organs present a much more difficult target that those of a deer.
Therefore, hog hunters need to choose tough, jacketed, bullets propelled by potent powder loads that are capable of penetrating a hog's armor and smashing through their leg or shoulder bones in order to strike their heart or lungs or through their spinal column or skull to drop them in their tracks.
In addition, it's no secret that both wild boar and feral hogs like to inhabit thick cover. Therefore, when pursuing these animals in dense vegetation, hunters should choose short, lightweight, repeating rifles or large caliber handguns. In addition, hunters should also choose cartridges and bullets capable of deep penetration when piercing both tough hide and bone because hogs have been known to charge hunters when threatened or wounded. Thus, below you will find a short list of firearms that are perfectly suited to the task of hunting hogs in close quarters.
Marlin Model 1895
Although it's not widely recognized as such, the lever action rifle is the world's first "assault rifle" and thus, it shares many of the desirable characteristics of the famous M-16 and AR-15 rifles. For instance, it features a repeating action, a magazine that holds multiple rounds, and a relatively short barrel. Thus, the Marlin model 1895 is considered by many experienced hog hunters to be the perfect brush gun.
So, what makes the Marlin model 1895 the perfect rifle for hunting feral hogs in close quarters? Well, to begin with, it's machined from stainless steel and features a grey laminate stock and thus, not only is it sturdy, it's nearly impervious to inclement weather.
Next, it features a lever action and a cold hammer forged 19 inch barrel with a six round magazine for a total capacity of 7 rounds. Plus, it weighs a mere 7.3 pounds (unloaded) and thus, it is both lightweight and easy to maneuver in dense vegetation.
In addition, it also features an adjustable ghost ring rear sight with a fixed, high visibility, tritium fiber optic front sight combined with a Picatinny rail for mounting a holographic or red dot sight to aid hunters in acquiring their target quickly which is a very important feature when hunting hogs in close quarters.
Last, the Marlin model 1895 is chambered for the famous .45-70 Government centerfire cartridge which is capable of firing bullets as light as 225 grains and as heavy as 500 grains to produce enough muzzle energy to stop even a large and angry charging hog in its tracks.
Marlin model 1895 specs:
|Capacity||6 + 1|
|Barrel Length||19 in.|
|Overall Length||37.25 in.|
|Length of Pull||13.38 inc.|
Browning BAR MK 3 DBM
For those hunters who prefer semi-automatic rifles over lever actions, the Browning BAR MK 3 DBM (detachable box magazine) is the perfect brush gun for hunting hogs in close quarters.
Like the Marlin model 1895, the Browning BAR MK 3 is both short and lightweight with an 18 inch barrel and a weight of 7.6 pounds (unloaded) and thus, it provides quick handling in close quarters. In addition, it also features an aluminum alloy receiver with a short action and a stainless steel "Sporter" profile barrel with a chrome plated chamber and both the receiver and the barrel have a matte black finish to protect them from the weather. Plus, it's available with either a lightweight synthetic stock or a Grade 1 Turkish Walnut wood stock with an oil finish and, both stocks include a polymer recoil pad.
However, unlike the Marlin model 1896, the Browning BAR MKIII DBM lacks both rear and front sights and instead features a Picatinny Rail for mounting either a holographic or red dot sight to provide hunters with quick target acquisition in close quarters.
Last, the Browning BAR MK 3 DBM is chambered for the well known .308 Winchester cartridge which, in some loadings, can produce greater muzzle energies than the venerable .30-06 Springfield. In addition, it is capable of firing bullets as light as 110 grains and as heavy as 185 grains and thus, with the right bullet and load, it's easily capable of quickly dispatching small to large hogs.
Browning BAR MK 3 DBM specs:
|MSRP||$1629.99 to $1,659.99|
|Capacity||10 + 1|
|Barrel Length||18 in.|
|Overall Length||40 1/8 in.|
|Length of Pull||14 3/8 in.|
|Stock||Wood or Synthetic|
For those hunters who prefer the challenge of hunting dangerous game in close quarters with a handgun rather than a rifle, the Ruger Redhawk is tailor made for the job. Well known among revolver aficionados, the Ruger Redhawk is renowned for its heavy-duty stainless steel frame and ergonomic grip. Plus, with the option of firing either single or double action, hunters can expect a highly accurate first shot and a quick follow up second shot.
So, what sets the Ruger Redhawk apart from its competitors? To begin with, the rugged stainless steel frame lacks a side plate and, it features extra metal in the top strap, sidewalls, and barrel mount which is specifically designed to enable it to fire powerful magnum loads. In addition, it also features a triple-locking cylinder which is locked into the frame at the front, bottom, and rear of the cylinder for improved alignment and superior accuracy.
Plus, the Ruger Redhawk is available with either a 5 1/2 or 7 1/2 inch barrel and it features a cold hammered forged steel barrel sleeve and a stainless steel barrel shroud for superior accuracy combined with an adjustable rear sight with a white outline and a readily replaceable fixed front blade sight with a colored insert for rapid target acquisition.
Furthermore, it features a single spring trigger mechanism which provides a smooth, lightweight trigger pull and, its transfer bar mechanism prevents accidental discharges in the event that the gun is dropped. Thus, hunters can safely carry the gun with all six chambers loaded.
Last, the Ruger Redhawk is chambered for the powerful .44 Remington Magnum cartridge but is also capable of firing the .44 Smith & Wesson Special cartridge from the same cylinder. Thus, hunters can practice shooting targets with the less powerful .44 Special cartridge and use the more powerful .44 Magnum cartridge when hunting hogs. Plus, with bullet weights ranging from as light as 180 grains to as heavy as 340 grains, the .44 Magnum provides a wide range of muzzle energies for dispatching small to large hogs in close quarters.
Ruger Redhawk specs:
|Cartridge||.44 Remington Magnum|
|Barrel Length||5.5 or 7.5 in.|
|Weight||49 oz. or 54 oz.|
Guns for open terrain
While it's true that both wild boar and feral hogs often prefer to both forage and bed in dense vegetation, they also inhabit more open terrain such as hardwood forests and swamps and can often be found feeding in farmer's fields. Therefore, rather than a compact, lightweight, quick handling firearm, hunters who target hogs in open terrain need a highly accurate firearm chambered for a flat shooting, hard hitting, cartridge.
Consequently, many hog hunters prefer bolt action rifles while others prefer semi-automatic rifles and yet others prefer the challenge of long range shooting with a handgun. Therefore, below you will find a list of firearms that are suitable for hunting hogs at longer ranges in open terrain.
Remington model 700 BDL
While it's true that there are many fine bolt action rifles on the market today, the Remington model 700 BDL stands out from the crowd as a timeless classic. In fact, it's arguably the single most popular bolt action rifle among American hunters.
Featuring an American Walnut stock with a Mote Carlo comb and a raised cheek piece combined with a black fore-end cap and a white spacer along with cut checkering and a deep blue finish to protect the metalwork, the Remington 700 BDL looks as good as it shoots. In fact, the Remington 700's action is so smooth and so accurate, it's used by the U.S. Army to build their famous M24 bolt action sniper rifle.
In addition, the Remington 700 BDL features a 22 inch carbon steel barrel with an adjustable rear sight and a hooded front sight along with a hinged floor plate and sling swivel studs. However, the receiver is also drilled and tapped to accept scope mounts.
Last, although the Remington 700 BDL is available in four different chamberings ranging from .243 Winchester to 7mm Remington Magnum but, of the four, the venerable .30-06 is best suited for hunting hogs at longer ranges in open terrain due to its larger bullet diameter and wide range of bullet weights.
Remington model 700 BDL specs:
|Cartridge||4 + 1|
|Barrel Length||22 in.|
|Overall Length||45 1/2 in.|
|Length of Pull||13 3/8 in.|
Browning BAR MKII Safari
Widely considered to be the top of the line in semi-automatic sporting rifles among many avid hunters, the Browning BAR MKII Safari rifle is perfect choice for hog hunters who prefer semi-automatic actions over bolt actions.
Designed by John Browning's grandson Bruce Browning and based on his grandfather's famous military BAR M1918 design, the Browning BAR sporting rifle sets the standard for semi-automatic hunting rifles. Featuring a Grade 1 Turkish Walnut stock with a high gloss finish and cut checkering combined with a polymer recoil pad and integral sling swivels along with a deep blue polished finish on the barrel and receiver, the Browning BAR MKIII Safari model is an exceptionally handsome rifle.
In addition, it also features a short action ordinance steel receiver and a hammer forged 22 inch "sporter" profile barrel along with an aluminum alloy hinged floorplate and a detachable box magazine designed to hold four rounds for a total capacity of 5 rounds. However, it lacks both rear and front sights but, the receiver is drilled and tapped to accept scope mounts. Thus, the Browning BAR MII Safari rifle chambered for the .308 Winchester cartridge is the ultimate semi-automatic sporting rifle for hunting hogs at longer ranges.
Browning BAR MKII specs:
|Capacity||4 + 1|
|Weight||7 lbs. 14 oz.|
|Barrel Length||22 in.|
|Overall Length||43 in.|
|Length of Pull||13 3/4 in.|
Remington model 7600
Although pump actions are considered by many hunters to be "old school", the Remington model 7600 still remains a popular choice among hunters who like having the option of a quick second or third shot but prefer the reliability that a pump action provides.
Featuring an American Walnut butt stock and fore-end with a stain finish a black fore-end cap along with cut checkering and a deep blue polished finish on the barrel, the Remington model 7600 is a rifle that any hog hunter would be proud to own.
In addition, the Remington model 7600 also features a lightweight aluminum receiver with a matte finish which is drilled and tapped to accept scope mounts and a 22 inch carbon steel barrel with adjustable rear sights and a fixed front sight for hunters who prefer open sights over scopes.
Furthermore, it also features Remington's rotary bolt lock up design along with a free floating barrel and twin action bars for superior strength, safety, and reliability. Plus, it includes a quick-release, drop-out, four round magazine for a total capacity of five rounds.
Thus, the Remington model 7600 is the perfect choice for those "old school" hog hunters who appreciate fine sporting rifles with a bit of nostalgia.
Remington model 7600 specs:
|Capacity||4 + 1|
|Weight||7 lbs. 8 oz.|
|Barrel Length||22 in.|
|Overall Length||42 5/8 in.|
|Length of Pull||13 1/2 in.|
Daniel Defense DD5 V4
Although the AR-10 was originally designed by Eugene Stoner as a replacement for the venerable M1 Garand, the AR (Automatic Rifle) platform has gained considerable popularity among hunters since its introduction.
In addition, Daniel Defense is well known for producing top of the line AR style rifles that provide superior accuracy and reliability and the DD5 V4 is no exception. Featuring a flat top upper receiver with an integral Picatinny Rail and a lower receiver machined from 7075-T6 aluminum with Type III Hard Coat anodizing and an 18 inch proprietary steel cold hammer forged S2W profile barrel mounted to the upper receiver with an innovative 4-bolt mounting system instead of the standard barrel nut, the DD5 V4 is not only rugged, it's exceptionally accurate.
In addition, it also features a direct impingement gas system with a CNC machined user-adjustable gas block made from 4140 hardened steel and the bolt is designed with enhanced extractor geometry and dual extractors for superior reliability. Plus, a Superfinished and Diamond Like Carbon coated bolt carrier group insures smooth operation in all conditions.
Last, it features a 6 position Mil-Spec receiver extension machined from 7075-T6 aluminum combined with a Daniel Defense glass filled polymer (GFP) butt stock with Soft Touch Overmolding, interchangeable butt pads, and a quick detach point. Plus, it also includes a Daniel Defense GFP DD5 pistol grip with Soft Touch Overmolding. To complete the package, the Daniel Defense DD5 V4 features an M-LOK handguard which allows the barrel to free float for improved accuracy.
Thus, the Daniel Defense DD5 V4 rifle chambered for the 7.62 x 51mm NATO/.308 Winchester cartridge is quite possibly the ultimate AR-10 hog hunting rifle.
Daniel Defense DD5 V4 specs:
|Cartridge||7.62 x 51mm NATO/.308 Winchester|
|Capacity||20 + 1 Magpul PMAG|
|Barrel Length||18 in.|
|Overall Length||35 3/8 to 39 in.|
|Length of Pull||Adjustable|
|Stock||Glass Filled Polymer|
Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter Pistol
For those hunters who prefer the challenge of hunting hogs at longer ranges with a handgun rather than a rifle, the Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter Pistol is the perfect choice. Featuring a stronger frame than the Thompson Center Contender Pistol, the Encore Pro Hunter is specifically designed to fire powerful bottleneck rifle cartridges.
In addition, the T/C Encore Pro Hunter Pistol features all stainless steel construction with a single shot break-action (which is opened by pulling back on the trigger guard extension) and a non-ported 15 inch heavy barrel. Plus, it also features an adjustable rear peep sight with a fixed fiber optic front sight for superior accuracy at long ranges and both the rear and front sights can easily be removed in order mount a scope.
Furthermore, another feature that distinguishes the Encore Pro Hunter Pistol is its rotating hammer spur which can be positioned straight back for use with open sights or rotated to the right or left to make the hammer easier to cock when a scope is mounted. Last, it also features a recoil absorbing rubber grip and matching fore-end to make shooting powerful rifle cartridges such as the .308 Winchester less punishing.
Thus, the Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter Pistol chambered for the .308 Winchester cartridge is the perfect choice for hog hunters who prefer the light weight and portability of a handgun but also require pinpoint accuracy for shooting hogs at longer ranges.
Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter Pistol specs:
|Weight||4 lbs. 8 oz.|
|Barrel Length||15 in.|
|Overall Length||19 1/2 in.|
So, regardless of whether you choose to hunt wild boar or feral hogs in dense vegetation, open woodlands, or a farmer's field with a rifle or a handgun, one of our top eight picks listed above is sure to meet your needs.