Hog hunting is becoming one of the most popular hunting disciplines, in part because the season for hogs is open year-round in a lot of states. There usually isn’t a bag limit to the amount of feral hogs you can harvest, but always check your local laws to make sure. In some states, like Texas, the wild hog problem is so bad that you can bait them, hunt them with a spotlight, and use night vision; there are virtually no restrictions on how you can go hog hunting, all you need is a weapon and some ammo. This is because wild hogs are nuisance animals that destroy the local ecosystem and compete with natural wildlife, causing extensive property and environmental damage. With that said, most people choose to hunt feral hogs with an AR-style rifle, as they are chambered in powerful calibers and have large magazines that allow you to take out multiple hogs in quick succession. If you’re wondering about the best caliber and AR platform to use to get started in hog hunting, here are some of our top choices.
.223 Remington/5.56x45mm NATO
The classic AR 15 caliber, hog hunters across the United States swear by this caliber for taking out the nuisance animals. While this caliber isn’t ideal for big game hunting, it has impressive ballistics for short-range engagements that allow the bullets to travel fast and pack a punch. Plus, this is easily the most widely available rifle ammo, so you won’t break the bank when loading up your mags. There are plenty of ammo options available too, from solid copper bullets to traditional full metal jacket (FMJ) rounds.
While these are powerful cartridges, .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO are best used for hunting hogs on private property when you only have a few of them to deal with, rather than a large pack. This is because the feral hogs tend to scatter from the group when the first one drops, and this caliber just isn’t fast enough to stay accurate when they’re running around and moving quickly, making your follow-up shots more difficult. Despite this, if you already have an AR 15 chambered in this caliber then you’re in a good position. All you need to get started is a solid red dot sight or rifle scope and you can start hunting hogs.
Another popular choice for modern shooters, .300 Blackout can be a controversial topic for some old-school hunters. Some people think it doesn’t have the power needed to take down big-time feral hogs, but it definitely can do the job, especially with well-placed vital shots. A .300 BLK caliber bullet, even fired from a sub-16-inch barrel, can have upwards of 1,900 feet per second (FPS) of muzzle velocity, which is more than capable of taking out wild hogs and other game animals. This caliber is most commonly found on AR 15-platform carbines, although you can also find it in AR pistols with shorter barrels and arm braces.
The real beauty of this hunting cartridge is how well it works with a suppressor. Subsonic .300 Blackout ammo fired from a weapon with a silencer is an excellent way to take down groups of wild boars that are somewhat spread out. With the drastically reduced report of the shot, you’re less likely to spook them, letting you take plenty of follow-up shots. Plus, it doesn’t have much recoil, so extended hunting trips won’t hurt your shoulder. When you pair your hunting rifle with a red dot, thermal sight, or night vision rifle scope, you can start taking down this invasive species.
If you’re looking for another widely available, classic caliber, .308 Winchester is right up your alley. Good for close-, medium-, and long-range hog hunting, .308 can take down just about any wild boar you find, even without perfect shot placement. While most people are familiar with lever-action and bolt-action rifles chambered in this caliber, AR10’s are an excellent semi-automatic option.
While the ammo is a little more expensive than .223/5.56, it is still extremely plentiful and easy to find. Speaking of ammo, if you’re hunting hogs for the goal of eradication, rather than to harvest the meat or hides, you don’t even need to use FMJ projectiles. Instead, you can use cheaper soft-point ammo, making this one of the all-around best rifle cartridges for taking down wild boars. And, if you prefer to hunt at night, you can’t go wrong with a thermal scope, like the digital ATN ThOR LT sights that record your shots and have tons of different settings.
While similar to .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor is becoming a fan-favorite caliber among deer hunting enthusiasts, casual shooters, and hog hunters. This is the perfect option if you want to take down hogs from 200+ yards away, as it keeps its power at distance better than .308 and allows you to harvest plenty of game without getting close enough to spook them. For some extra clarification, check out our 6.5 Creedmoor vs. .308 How-To Guide.
The main downside to using an AR chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor is that the ammo can be hard to find from local gun stores, especially depending on your location. Thankfully, we have tons of in-stock, high-quality rounds to help you take down your next hog, like the Hornady ELD Match that is designed for longer ranges.
Get Ready to Take Out Some Feral Hogs
If you’re looking to build the perfect hog hunting weapon, check out our How-To Guide about some of the Best AR 15 Complete Upper Receivers to get started. We also have a wide variety of AR 15 parts to outfit your rifle after you get the receivers, as well as muzzle devices and rangefinders to give you the best shot possible. For the best results, we even have game feeders and trail cameras to help you set up the perfect spot on your hog hunting land.