The Best Caliber For Hunting Hogs

Hunting wild hogs is a thrilling experience, but it’s important to ensure you have the right firearm and ammunition to do the job. Choosing the best caliber for hunting hogs is important, as it can greatly impact your success.

In this article, we’ll look at the range of calibers available for hog hunting and the factors to consider in selecting the right one. We’ll discuss the ballistics, accuracy, and stopping power and recommend the best firearms for taking down a wild boar.

So, let’s dive in and better understand the best caliber for hunting hogs that fits your need!

Understanding the Nature of Feral Hogs

Knowing the nature of hogs is key to a successful hunt, so take the time to understand their behavior, anatomy, and preferences – it’ll be worth it!

Hogs move silently and gracefully and have poor eyesight, so they love thickets. Spot-and-stalk and blind hunting are popular methods, but shots are usually within 50-100 yards.

A standard variable power scope is recommended, and precision shot placement is essential. Lever actions chambered to .30-30, .35 Remington, and .45-70 are good choices, and a bolt-action deer rifle is better for follow-up shots.

Wild pigs vary greatly in size, so hunters need different calibers to take them down. Ideally, .270 Winchester and .308 Winchester are best for body shots on large boars, and .44 Magnum or upwards is recommended for handguns.

Hog hunting is fun and less serious than other big game hunting, so it’s a great opportunity to try different firearms.

Understanding Calibers

Understandably, selecting the right caliber for hog hunting can be a complex task, as each pig’s size and shape will dictate the energy requirements for a clean kill.

.22 centerfires are not enough for clean kills, 6mms, and .25s are marginal, and .260 Remington and 7mm-08 are good starting points for rifles.

.270 Winchester and .30-30 are suitable for any pig that walks, while .308 Winchester is better and more versatile than .30-30.

Lever action rifles like the Marlin 1894 in .44 Magnum are ideal hog guns, as are lever actions chambered to .35 Remington, .444 Marlin, and .45-70. Meanwhile, the .45-70 provides dramatic authority for dropping hogs.

The importance of shot placement and bullet selection should not be overlooked, as wild pigs vary greatly in size and have a thick gristle plate over their shoulders.

When hunting wild hogs, a few calibers rise to the top: .30-06 Springfield, .308 Winchester, and 6.5 Creedmoor. All three are well-known and popular amongst hunters, and each is suitable for hunting hogs of various sizes.

The .30-06 Springfield has long been a favorite amongst hog hunters, and it’s still a great choice for medium to large hogs. The .308 Winchester is a versatile option suitable for various games, and the 6.5 Creedmoor is quickly gaining popularity due to its accuracy and flat-shooting performance.

.30-06 Springfield

The .30-06 Springfield is ideal for hunting hogs, boasting power and accuracy that can’t be beaten. Whether you’re looking to take down large boars or smaller pigs, the .30-06 is the perfect choice. 

It offers enough power and penetration to dispatch any size of hog, and its accuracy ensures a clean kill. With its wide range of bullets, the .30-06 can also be used for different game species.

Game SpeciesBullet Types
Small PigsLight Bullets
Large BoarsHeavy Bullets
DeerSoft Point Bullets

The .30-06 is a reliable, versatile option that will serve you well in any hunting situation. It’s one of the most popular calibers among experienced hunters, and yes, for a good reason! 

It’s lightweight, accurate, and packs a punch, making it the perfect choice when hunting feral hogs.

.308 Winchester

You’ll be impressed by the punchy performance of the 8 Winchester for all your wild pig hunting needs. This caliber is ideal for various sizes, from small pigs to large boars. It offers the power to drop hogs cleanly and effectively. 

It also provides reliable accuracy for precise shot placement. In addition, it has adequate penetration to put down even the toughest of hogs.

The 8 Winchester is the perfect caliber for the hunter looking for a reliable and powerful round to get the job done every time. 

Its low recoil makes it easy to shoot, allowing you to stay on target for accurate shots. Plus, it’s an affordable option, so you don’t have to break the bank to reap the rewards of this hunt. 

6.5 Creedmoor

If you’re looking for an excellent round for taking down hogs, consider the 6.5 Creedmoor.

This round is gaining popularity among wild boar hunters and is becoming the go-to for many experienced hunters. It offers the perfect combination of terminal performance and manageable recoil, making it ideal for follow-up shots.

It’s also capable of taking down hogs of any size with ease.

With its flat trajectory and fast speed, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a great choice for your next adventure.

Lesser-Known Calibers Worth Considering for Hog Hunting

If you’re looking for an alternative to the more popular calibers for hog hunting, you should consider the .45-70 Government and the .300 Blackout.

The .45-70 Government is a classic round with enough authority to make short work of any hog, while the .300 Blackout is a relatively new round with good penetration and enough punch to make the shot count.

Both calibers are great options for hogs of any size and can provide a unique hunting experience.

.45-70 Government

You can use the formidable .45-70 Government when hunting hogs, which packs a punch that will drop them in their tracks.

This caliber has been used for decades due to its effectiveness at taking down big game species, and is still a popular choice for hunting hogs today.

The .45-70 Government offers a higher velocity than most big-bore rifles, and the resulting energy can be devastating for a wild hog.

The combination of the .45-70 Government’s capability and the experienced hunter’s placement makes it an ideal choice for hog hunting.

If you’re looking for a reliable caliber that will ensure a quick, clean kill, the .45-70 Government is an excellent option.

.300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is quickly gaining popularity among hog hunters for its ability to deliver effective knockdown power with minimal recoil. 

When hunting wild pigs, the .300 Blackout offers a great balance between power and control, making it a great option for those who want to hunt hogs with a semi-automatic rifle. 

It is also a great choice for hunters who want to hunt hogs with a handgun. It has a manageable recoil, and the round still has enough stopping power for most hogs.

Low RecoilExpensive Ammo
AccurateLimited Range
Low NoiseNot Ideal for Long Range
VersatileNot Ideal for Bigger Hogs

The .300 Blackout is a decent choice for taking down a hog because of its low recoil, precision accuracy, and low noise. Its limited range and expensive ammo may be a downside for some, but it’s an ideal option for those hunting in close quarters. 

It may not be ideal for bigger hogs or long-range hunting, but it balances power and control for many.

Comparing Calibers: Ballistics, Accuracy, and Stopping Power

When it comes to hunting hogs, choosing the right caliber is essential. And when choosing a caliber, its ballistics, accuracy, and stopping power must be the main factors to consider.


The science of ballistics is all about understanding a bullet’s journey, from the moment it leaves the muzzle of your firearm until it hits the target.

There are three main areas of ballistics: internal, external, and terminal.

  1. Internal ballistics deals with what happens inside the gun when you pull the trigger. This includes how the ignition of gunpowder generates pressure that propels the bullet down the barrel.
  2. External ballistics studies the bullet’s flight between the muzzle and the target. Here, we look at factors such as trajectory (the path the bullet follows), velocity (how fast the bullet travels), and how wind, gravity, and air resistance affect the bullet’s path.
  3. Terminal ballistics concerns what happens when the bullet reaches the target. It studies the effect on the target, which is particularly important when considering a quick and ethical kill in hunting.


Now that you understand the ballistics of hog hunting, it’s important to consider accuracy. Accuracy is key in your venture for wild hogs because you’ll need to be able to place your shots exactly where you want them.

This means that you need to have the right weapon for the job. Lever guns and bolt-action rifles are ideal for hog hunting, as they offer excellent accuracy and the ability to make quick follow-up shots. A smaller caliber rifle with minimal recoil will do the job if you’re just starting out.

But, for experienced hunters, a .30-06 or .308 is the caliber of choice. With these calibers, you’ll have the authority to drop a hog with one shot. 

Also, don’t forget the importance of optics – a standard variable power scope will help you make accurate shots at longer distances.

Stopping Power

Having the right stopping power is essential for taking down wild hogs. Choosing the right caliber should be based on the animal’s size and the shot’s distance.

The ideal calibers for hunting hogs are .30-06 and .308, effective at 200 yards, and .30-30, .35 Remington, and .45-70 lever actions. These calibers are suitable for any pig that walks.

Magnums are not usually necessary for wild hogs, but a .44 Magnum or above is recommended for handguns.

Finally, the .45-70 provides dramatic authority for dropping hogs.

Factors to Consider in Caliber Selection When Hunting Wild Hogs

When considering the best caliber for hunting wild hogs, there are several factors to consider. Environmental factors, hunting style, shot placement, bullet selection, and shooter considerations all play a role in determining the best caliber for the job.

Hunting hogs in different environments, such as open fields or thick brush, requires a different approach to shot placement and caliber selection. 

If you prefer spot-and-stalk method hunting, your choice of caliber may differ from someone who hunts from a blind. Additionally, your shooting skills and the type of bullet you select can greatly impact your success.


Considering the environment for your hunted hogs, the .30-06 and .308 calibers are ideal. They provide enough energy to penetrate thick gristle plates and deliver clean kills.

For example, a Texas hunter recently used a .30-06 rifle to successfully take down a large wild hog at a range of 100 yards – a testament to the effectiveness of these calibers.

Hunting Style

Discover the thrill of stalking wild hogs as you explore the various hunting styles for taking them down! From spot-and-stalk to blinds overlooking feeders, you can enjoy the challenge of hunting wild hogs.

Lever guns in .30-30, .35 Remington, and .45-70 are great choices for a dramatic authority of dropping hogs. 

For handguns, a .44 Magnum is about right for taking down wild boars. Lighter calibers like .300 BLK and .223 can work, but the ideal energy requirements differ based on the size of the pig. Ultimately, precise placement of the first shot is crucial, and tougher bullets are preferred for penetration.

Shot Placement and Bullet Selection

Aiming for the right spot is essential when hunting wild hogs, and selecting the right bullet is key to ensuring a successful hunt. Anecdotally, a friend of mine once shot a wild boar with a .357 magnum round from about 15 yards away, and the pig ran off unscathed!

Knowing the right bullet and shot placement are critical for a humane kill. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  1. Select a bullet capable of penetrating the animal’s gristle plate on the shoulder.
  2. Choose a caliber powerful enough to deliver the necessary energy to take the animal down humanely.
  3. Consider the size of the animal when selecting the appropriate caliber.

With knowledge of the right shot placement and bullet selection, you can confidently hunt wild hogs and be confident in your ability to take them down humanely.

Shooter Considerations

Your shooter considerations are as important as your bullet selection and shot placement for successful wild pig hunting.

For the best results, choose a caliber suitable for the size of the pigs you’re hunting. Lighter calibers like .300 BLK and .223 work well for smaller hogs, while .30-06 and .308 are ideal for larger hogs. Lever guns in .30-30, .35 Remington, and .45-70 are good choices.

With the right shooter considerations, you can have a great time and make your next hog hunt successful.


In conclusion, finding the best caliber for hunting hogs ultimately relies on your hunting needs. Remember, taking a wild hog is more than just pulling the trigger – it’s about understanding the animal and the right shot placement. 

Explore where you can hunt these game species through our hunt-by-state guide

John Uniforme
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