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How tough are pigs?

JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior MemberPosts: 8,227 Senior Member
I've never even shot at one, but they strike me as a pretty tough critter, especially the big boars.  From what I have read, their heart is located much like a bear's.  That is, a well placed shot behind the shoulder will probably miss the heart.  On a broadside shot, you have to penetrate the shoulder to get to the heart.

Is that correct?

Do you need a tough, well constructed bullet like a partiton, something lighter like a NBT, or something in between?  What chambering do you prefer?  Please educate me.

I know that Zee has killed about a bajillion of them, so I'm hoping he will throw in his 2 cents worth.  


Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.


  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 11,594 Senior Member
    Zee has shot many more than I. However what I was taught my a farm manager where I shot mine at said there are three places to aim.  1.  between their eyes and an inch high.  2.  through their ear aiming to exit the opposite ear.  3.  Do not aim like you are shooting a deer, their heart is lower in the cavity. Aim low shoulder. A quick google search will pinpoint the spot much easier than I can explain it.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,596 Senior Member
    No more than cup and core.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 7,642 Senior Member
    Well over the years I've heard everything from bulletproof gristle plates to hell I hunt them with a .22 mag.  

    Zee has probably killed more hogs this year than most folks in their lifetime so like you, I consider him the man to speak to.  But he just killed one with a .38Spl so there you go.  

    The other guy who's my goto guy is Capt Stan, he's a member but has not been here in ages.  He's my cousin (by marriage) and another guy who's killed so many hogs he just won't anymore because he's sick of them.  He rolled one with a .45acp 185gr hp out of his SA XD a few years back just to prove a point.  Compete pass through IIRC.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 13,292 Senior Member
    Depends on what kind of house they live in, brick seems to be tougher ;)
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 25,465 Senior Member
    No tougher than any other animal of equal size. 
    I’ve killed them with quite a few options. 
    .22 lr
    .38 Spl
    .357 Mag
    .40 S&W
    .44 Mag
    .45 ACP
    .223 Rem
    6x45 AR
    .243 Win
    .303 Brit
    .308 Win
    8mm Mauser
    .35 Rem
    .45-70 Govt
    (Probably forgetting some.)

    And a Tire Iron. 

    I’ve most with a .223 Rem followed by the .308 Win and .243 Rem. 

    I’ve never had a problem or bullet failure. And never had one survive being deliberately shot. 
    A proper bullet from a proper cartridge and adequately placed shot will result in a dead pig. 
    There IS a difference in a 10 pound piglet and a 400 pound boar. But, the statement above remains. Use the right tool for the job and do yours.......easy money. 
    Hell, my biggest pig was killed with one round from a .223 Rem through the heart. 

    (The excess blood was from the other pigs I killed that night and piled in the truck bed.)

    Some other .223 Rem kills. 

    Some 6x45 AR. 

    .357 Mag

    And some decent .308 Win pigs. 

    Pigs are fun to hunt, taste great, and succumb to any number of cartridges. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,227 Senior Member
    CHIRO1989 said:
    Depends on what kind of house they live in, brick seems to be tougher ;)
    Thanks, Mr. Big Bad Wolf. :)

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • PFDPFD Senior Member Posts: 1,553 Senior Member
    edited October 2020 #8
    "and a tire iron ". . . or as the pigs say . . "with a pencil".
    That's all I got.

  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,464 Senior Member
    Anything that works on deer works on pigs.

    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,635 Senior Member
    My opinion. . .you're never going to screw up too badly by erring on the side of penetration over expansion, simply because - as we've seen a lot - a ruptured heart or well-shot set of lungs gets them on the ground in a small handful of seconds, and diameter of the wound channel is not as critical as what that wound channel passes through.  Also because, as Zee has shown us, you can encounter anything from dainty little "family barbecue" sucklers to something that can provide Jimmy Dean raw materials for an entire shift. :D  

    Zee's biggest pig that he pictured was with a factory 5.56 load of 62 grain Barnes TSX's that I provided for the science project.  As I recall from his write up, a quartering-away shot raking from the back of the boiler room stopping on the opposite shoulder or chest cavity wall after transecting an impressive amount of tissue.  I'm a big Barnes fan because, expensive as they are, the way they expand almost gives you an archery broadhead - you get the width of the thin razor blades without the frontal resistance of a true mushroom compromising the penetration depth.

    One of the better known African hunting writers (maybe Capstick, Ruark, or Taylor) advocated launching the projectile on a line to break the shoulder on the OPPOSITE side of the body, which considering most reasonable shooting angles, will scramble a lot of important organs on the way across the body cavity.  The advantage of a bullet that can perform like that is they've both bleeding out internally AND unable to run.

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,596 Senior Member
    I have only partaken in 3 pigs. All about 200ish lbs. Pigs are tough in that a pencil hole through them with a busted shoulder is not a game ending wound. I wish I would have taken a pic of the pigs insides that I perforated shooting through it. It was a heck of a group on motivated pig that didnt bother him much.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • Great OutdoorsGreat Outdoors Member Posts: 326 Member
    I've killed more than a couple- the ones killed while deer hunting were with whatever I was using including buckshot, while hog hunting I usually use my Mini 30 in 7.62x39 with a 123 grn soft point- the ones I trap I usually kill with my M1 carbine shooting a 110 grn soft point, but have used a variety of handguns also to test out the effectiveness.
    I killed 2 with 1 shot with the little carbine- they were side by side and it passed through both heads and exited- both around 130 lbs each. People don't give the carbine enough credit.
    My buddy kills a bunch with the 17HMR- ear hole shots only- all DRT.
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,540 Senior Member
    Anything that works on deer works on pigs.

    True. A pig will fall to a properly placed shot in the vitals by a respectable caliber with a bullet that performs properly

    HOWEVER- pigs are tougher than most other medium game animals in that they will take heavy damage in non-vital areas and keep running or attacking long after other animals would give up (with the exception of raccoons. Those things will keep fighting way past death). I have only seen ONE car-hit pig die on the side of the road. I’ve seen 18-wheelers hit a pig and the pig run at least far enough to get off the highway. When I was in high school, I was in the second school bus that ran over a pig- disabling the first bus, and not in an understandable “punctured the radiator” way. Nope, it disconnected the driveshaft from the transmission- and the pig got up and ran away. 

    They are tough, but do your part and they die like any other animal. 

    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
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