Rifles > Semi-Auto

The Ultimate Hog Gun

With the available options, building your very own hog gun is as fun as the hunt.


Roving sounders of swine are a growing problem for landowners across the country, but have proven to be one heck of a hunting opportunity for sportsmen. Along with year-round seasons, day or night hunting and no bag limits in many parts of the country, hog hunting also provides some of the tastiest meat to go onto a grill or into an oven. As popularity in the sport expands, so does the number of specialized products designed for hog hunting. In looking at everything available, what would the ultimate hog hunting rifle look like? We came up with some ideas with input from Jonathan Owen, who runs SHWAT.com, a site dedicated to hog hunting (and that stands for Specialized Hog Weapons and Tactics).

The Firearm
While there will always remain diehard fans of traditionally styled arms, most agree that the best platform for building a solid hog-hunting rig is on an AR-style rifle. With its semi-auto functioning, higher capacity magazines and ability to receive a variety of attachments, such as scopes, lasers and lights—almost all of which are beneficial in the hog hunting realm—the AR is without peer. Some of the models include the Rock River Arms RRA LAR-15 in the PRK-Ehide camo finish (looks like the hide of an actual hog), Daniel Defense’s M4 V5 in 300 AAC Blackout and the rifles from Ambush Arms, Daniel’s sister company, that builds ARs expressly for hunting. One rifle offered by Ambush is particularly suited for hog hunting, providing more power than the 5.56 round in its Ambush 300 Blackout in Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity. Another great—and relatively affordable—AR option is Mossberg’s MMR Hunter.

When going with a 5.56 mm chambered rifle, Owen recommends getting one with a 1x7 twist in order to handle heavier bullets, though he likes the 6.8 SPC II or the 300 Blackout as well.

The Sight
Since long-distance shooting isn’t typically the norm for most hog hunts, a 1x4 power variable optic such as Bushnell’s Elite 1.25-4x24 mm with an illuminated reticle or a fixed 1X red dot such as Aimpoint’s Micro T-1 works well. Regardless of whether you go variable or fixed, keep the powers low and choose something with an illuminated option, as much of your shooting may well take place in low-light or even no-light environments. You can also utilize a night vision scope, but they can be expensive. For true quality NV scopes, such as the models from Night Optics USA, you can expect to pay between $1,800 and $3,000 for a Gen 2 NV scope. For thermal imaging, expect to pay upwards of $10K. As fun and amazing as the technology is, few hunters will be willing to put that kind of expense into something they’re going to use to hunt a few hogs.

More realistically would be the inclusion of a laser sighting device such as LaserLyte’s RML K-15 Krytonyte Black green laser sight, which mounts to the top, side or even bottom rail of the AR and can be used to pinpoint targets outward of several hundred yards.

The Light
A gun-mounted illumination light such as the SureFire Scout Light is great for night hunting, particularly over bait where a hunter can wait for hogs to arrive and when ready, flood the area with a solid white beam of light and take aim with a standard optic. For tracking wounded game in the dark too, the gun allows the hunter to illuminate the ground ahead for a quick follow-up shot if necessary.

The Suppressor
For all of the belief that wild hogs are small-brained, easy-to-hunt animals, they are sensitive to hunting pressure. Shoot a group of them off a feeder or bait pile one night and you probably won’t see them back there again for a few nights, if not a week or more. For this reason it is critical to minimize the impact of your presence, which mostly includes limiting the sound of frightening gunfire wherever pigs roam. A suppressor that not only mitigates muzzle flash, but more importantly, the loud “bang” of a rifle, can be a huge factor. I know of guys using suppressed rifles and taking hog after hog outward of 200 yards because the others had no clue what was happening. For those removing hogs from an area as part of a land management objective, the benefits of a suppressor can be invaluable. The Yankee Hill Manufacturing Titanium Thread-On Phantom 5.56 is light, at just 12 ounces, and reduces sound by 35 dB. Suppressors, with the proper paperwork, are legal for various uses in 39 states. Before hunting with or attempting to buy one, be sure you check the laws where you live and where you will be hunting, and then follow the proper procedures for registering to own one.

Additional Accessories
Sometimes hog hunting allows for a lot of shooting, and going into the hunt prepared and loaded with 20- or 30-round magazines will help you be ready when the action turns up. Owen likes Lancer Systems L5 mags or Magpul Pmags. Rounding out the rifle, Owen would also install Wilson Combat or Geissele triggers and a Battle Arms Development Ambidextrous Safety Selector in a 45-degree configuration for easier thumbing when it’s time to fire.

Whether you choose every tiny accessory or not doesn’t really matter; all improve the gun’s and your performance, but that’s the benefit of owning a versatile AR-style rifle. You can configure it the way you want within your budget. But make sure you account for the primary considerations of sights and lights, and you will have built your own ultimate hog-hunting rifle.

Share |



Enter your comments below, they will appear within 24 hours

Your Name

Your Email

Your Comment

15 Responses to The Ultimate Hog Gun

Chuck wrote:
April 23, 2013

M1A Scout with YHM suppressor, green Big Pig Light, is my favorite hog gun, works like a charm.

Nathan wrote:
April 16, 2013

If you are wanting a high capacity semi-auto, the 300 BLK fits in the lightweight AR-15 platform. The .308 fits in the heavier AR-10 platform. I prefer the lightweight version.

Jerry wrote:
April 02, 2013

who would take a 300 BLK when they could just carry a .308 with all the same benefits and more ammo choices plus more energy to deliver

Don W. wrote:
March 28, 2013

.450 Bushmaster, one shot does it, big or small.

MarineGunner wrote:
March 28, 2013

My AR-15 M-4 firing Lake City XM193 (5.56) "inhumane" ammo, mounted with a 1X red dot works just fine in all light conditions, thank you Sir. If you can see 'em, you can kill 'em. I understand why it's nice to load your rifle up with all the great toys but they just make your rifle heavier and don't make the hunter more skillful. Nevertheless, a sound suppressor is a good addition. If your objective is to harvest hogs, a basic AR-15 in the hands of a competent shooter will easily bring home the bacon. Of course, a BAR in .300 WinMag will be more likely to deliver a kill for a novice hunter but it scares away the hogs and messes up the meat. Either way, this big ol' Texas boy is thinking about North Carolina style pulled-pork BBQ and it definitely got my juices flowing. Happy hog hunting, folks.

Don wrote:
March 28, 2013

My son thinks the M-1 Garand I gave him is an excellent "Hog Gun".

Editors wrote:
March 28, 2013

The rifle is an Ambush in .300 BLK, with a Bushnell scope, LaserLyte laser and SureFire Scout Light.

Donald Conner wrote:
March 28, 2013

I am old fashioned, I see this is so by the rifle I use. A Marlin 1895 full length barrel with Grizzly cartridges of 300 grains, and a Surefire X-400 with a 1.5-5x30 (main tube) Firedot scope must surely mark me as something from the days of "The Wild Bunch". And if I should stumble upon, or have stumble upon me, some testy old "gone wild" bull, the Grizzly will put it in its' place. Which I rather doubt any 5.56/.223 will do. The scoe is on LaRue QR mounts, with the trash that Marlin calls sights thrown in the parts box and some Brockman front and rear sights to replace them. A 1 3/8 pad just about finished it. All I need is the DRC blued "opened up" lever and a Wild West Guns "Bear Proof Ejector". My hope is that you gentlemen will make suggestions as to how to improve this rifle (can't afford an $800 take down conversion, not now, at leas) for hog and bear performance. I will appreciate your thoughts, and thank you. E me directly at connerdsmia@earthlink.net if you wish. Respectfully

Jeffw wrote:
March 27, 2013

Sons of guns didn't "modify" anything.458 socom has been around for years . They just put a 458 upper on a ready built lower. Anyone who couldn't do that has no business with a gun aof any kind. ...Fat lazy hunters? How ?

Michael wrote:
March 27, 2013

I am wondering what gun is in the picture above or parts used to build it? And what camo pattern is on it. Thanks for the help!

Don wrote:
March 27, 2013

Hey because we like the ar platform, does not make us fat and lazy, i would say most of the Guys using this platform are veterans who like the feel and the fact that they are very well trained on these firearms, and I would never call a vet lazy and fat.

Joe wrote:
March 26, 2013

Looking for good hog hunting - retired and will travel anywhere to hunt. I use a 300 Black out on an Olympic lower, with a lighted reticle scope and rail mounted light. Prefer head shots, but when they are running get some neck hits too.

simon wrote:
March 24, 2013

I hunt hogs with winchester sx3 and slugs, i think this is the right way. The thing you suggest will breed lazy fat hunters.

Ron Rundt wrote:
March 20, 2013

I've harvested many hogs, all with my .223 AR. Head shots stop them dead...no need to follow blood trails. Some great new 1200-1500 lumen LED lights clamped to the barrel really means no need for mounted night vision sights. Love those little porkers. Always shoot the sow first...

Jordan wrote:
March 15, 2013

Sons of Guns built the best hog gun. It was AR-15 but they modified it to take a 458 Socom round, put on a night sight and it was awesome. Major stopping power.