My weapon of choice is the Ruger Blackhawk 44 Magnum single action revolver using Barnes 44 Mag 225 grain HP factory ammo. Ryan Travis and the other great folks at Barnes hotfooted some 44Mag ammo to me for this hunt. I graciously appreciate their support and generosity. IF you have a choice in your ammo, get Barnes.
The Ruger is topped with a picatiny rail and a Burris FastFire III red dot sight. The sight takes some getting used to so I was happy to shoot several boxes working out my issues. The 44 Mag can be intimidating but by far, the minimum I would use for pigs. It does not take much to get used to and pinging steel at 100 yards is not difficult from a bench or shooting sticks.
After a few weeks of practice shooting from seated, standing, kneeling positions and tree branch rests I thought I was ready. Practicing shots from odd angles and stances prepares you for the unknown. Believe me when I say the pigs never cooperate and that perfect bench shot is rarely in play. It is always a sudden swing left or right just off center that seems to dominate the final scenario, at least for me.
Thinking I’m well prepared, I scheduled a pig hunt at my favorite swine smashing ranch, the Kaian Vista Ranch in Lometa, Texas. I was dressed in a full camo ghille suit and face mask. Much like a turkey hunt.
The shot I was planning would be close up and personal. Close enough to smell them or get gored by a real bruiser of a boar!
I sat and watched every species that walked off Noah’s Arc come by but not one single pig. Perhaps it was just one of those days. Later that afternoon we saw pics of pigs all over the other side of the ranch. So the evening hunt was going to be there. Watching the sun set and the light dim I never saw a pig. Hmmm, maybe I was busted by scent or sound. I do not know, but tomorrow is another day. Next morning I setup again nestled in some trees and brush in full camo near a well-known pig party location with not a single sighting. I was running out of time and patience but I had the afternoon and surely, I would see the pigs this time. The afternoon creeped up on us and soon I was out again – seemed no matter what I was on the opposite side of the ranch from where pigs were. Feeling frustrated myself and the ranch owner decided to make this a real hunt and go out find the pigs at night!
My pistol at the ready, we zig-zagged through the ranch’s open and treed areas in the Polaris Ranger in search of the sausage kings. After about 45 minutes of the lights shining through the darkness and exposing every type of wild life, PIGS! Slumbering under a single cedar tree about 10 pigs lurched up and started quartering away from the lights of the oncoming Polaris. With my friend Devo at the helm, we gave chase. At full speed, we approached the pigs and matched pace and trajectory, I scanned the herd for my quarry. Took a shaky aim in the bouncing Polaris, BOOM! First shot missed as dirt kicked up near a sow. The pigs suddenly shifted direction and Devo shifted as well. The sights were difficult to find with all the movement so I just went full cowboy with the pistol and relied on my instinct shooting. A nice young boar was now on the edge of the herd. My new target was in a serious hurry to get away from the Ranger but we stayed on him. Nearly 20 yards away from the front passenger tire, I held on to the bouncing vehicle with one hand leaned out, cocked the single action Ruger and squeezed, BLAM! The 44 Mag Barnes slammed into the hindquarter of the pig sending him sideways then skidding to a stop. I really have to work on this shot but the result was the pig was down and off to see the wizard.
High fives and fist bumps ensued as we celebrated. Back at the campsite I was cleaning the pig and preparing it for the processor to turn into some breakfast and Italian pan sausage, YUM!. While skinning the boar I noticed the slug was still embedded in the chest fat just under the skin! I recovered the slug and cleaned up for examination. The slug weighed 224.9 grains after traveling through the left leg of the pig, including a leg bone, into and all the way through the body cavity shredding everything in its path finally stopping after delivering its final energy through the breastplate and resting in the fat just beneath the skin. That is 99.95% weight retention with near perfect petals.
The well-engineered Barnes ammo took a less than perfect shot and dropped the boar.