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Best Gun for Hunting Wild Pigs After SHTF

What is the best gun, or caliber, for hunting pigs after SHTF? Back in 2012 a couple of my buddies and I got a hog out of a local river bottom.  One person of our group was carrying an AR-15, I was carrying my Remington 1911 R1.

While we were packing the hog out, I kept wondering how well the 223 Remington would do on wild hogs?  I know the 223 Remington is effective, but how effective is it on hogs?  Hogs have a thick fat layer, how would that fat layer affect bullet performance?

Lets say that some kind of SHTF situation happens, you and a couple of your buddies go on a hog hunt, what rifles would you pick?  Would you pick a semi-auto in 223 Remington or 7.62X39, lever action or bolt action?

The above video makes a good argument for the Ruger Mini-14 and AR-15 platform for hunting after SHTF – low recoil, fast followup shots, effective on hog and deer sized game.

Lets go back to the recent hog hunt that my buddies and I went on a couple of weeks ago.  The AR-15 is light, easy to carry (as compared to a 10 pound FN/FAL), 30 round detachable magazine, accurate, flat shooting, fast follow up shots.

Neither a lever action or a bolt action rifle would have allowed follow up shots like what a rifle chambered in the low recoil 223 Remington allowed.


A lot of it has to do with the terrain that is being hunted.  Here in southeast Texas, unless you are on a pipeline, highline or railroad, its going to be a little rough to see past 50 – 75 feet, much less 50 – 75 yards.

In some areas, the hunter might be able to see 200 – 300 yard s, and make 100 – 150 yard shots just fine.

Where the hunter can only see 50 yards, and only has time for one shot, then maybe a liver action or bolt action will will serve the purpose.

223 Remington

Flat shooting, light recoil, cost effective, popular, chambered in a wide range of rifles, widely available.

One of the factors that makes the 223 Remington 5.56mmNATo effective, the bullet is supposed to tumble after it hits the target.  If the bullet is traveling less then 2,700 fps there is a chance it will not tumble.

One of the factors that help survivalist pick a SHTF survival rifle, is if the rifle is military grade.  Its difficult to get more military grade then some of the AR-15s on the market.

243 Winchester

Popular with people who do not like a not of recoil; available in bullet weight ranging from 55 grains up to 115 grains.

One reason why the 243 Winchester is not “that” popular with survivalist, is was not chambered in a wide range of military grade rifles. When a survivalist looks at buying a SHTF survival rifle, military grade is a factor.


Available in the Ruger mini-30, AK-47 and the SKS. The recoil is a little more then the AR-15 and 223 Remington, but then again, with the 7.62X39, you are slinging 124 grains of lead downrange.

As far as I am concerned, there is no drawback to hunting wild hogs with an AK-47.

On the last hog hunt I went on we traveled through a wide range of undergrowth. We went through everything from bogs with knee deep water, to brush so dense I could barely see 8 feet in front of me.  In that type of setting, one of the last things I needed to worry about was dropping my firearm in the mud and it not working when I needed it.

My AK-47, I know it can be covered in mud and will still work.

270 Winchester / 280 Remington – Why are the 270 and 280 grouped together, because they are so close in ballistics.

My primary deer rifle for the past 2 decades has been the 280 Remington / 7mm Express.  Lets just say I have never been disappointed in the bullet performance, and most of the time I shoot Remington core-lokt.

Some of the things about the 270 Winchester and 280 Remington, both are flat shooting, chambered in several brands of bolt action rifles, and effective on deer sized game.  Most of my shots with the 280 Remington have been less then 125 yards.  A guy I used to work with hunted in west Texas with a bolt action 270 Winchester.

Over the past few years the cost of 280 Remington ammunition has has risen in price to where its cost prohibitive to stockpile ammunition.   Who really wants to stockpile ammunition for SHTF, when the ammo cost more then $25 for 20 rounds?

The cost of 270 and 280 is one reason why I bought a rifle in 308 Winchester.  The cost of 270 and 280 has become cost prohibitive for the survivalist.

When 280 Remington / 7mm Express hit $20 a box for 20 rounds, I knew it was time to do something.  That is an outrageous price.  Everytime I pulled the trigger that was $1 – $1.25 sent down range.

30-30 Winchester

Besides being loaded in a lever action, and no military grade rifles are chambered for it, the 30-30 is an excellent hog rifle.

Something that adds to 30-30 is the compact form of the lever action, and anywhere from 150 – 170 grain bullet.

Why has the 30-30 maintained its popularity for over a hundred years?  Because its effective.  A light compact rifle, low recoil, reliability of both the 30-30 cartridge and the rifle, makes for a well rounded package.

Something else going for the 30-30, ammunition can be found just about anywhere, and with over 100 years of rifles being manufactured, just about any pawn shop or gun store is going to have a 30-30 in stock.

Winchester lever action rifles maintain a certain level of value and the lever action style rifle is easy to recognize. When someone ask what rifle won the wild west, chances are someone else is going to reply “Winchester lever action.”

For the price, its going to be difficult to beat the Marlin 336 or the Mossberg 464.  The Mossberg 464 tactical is just plain ugly.  Personally, I like a plain Jane lever action rifle.

308 Winchester

Some of the factors that make the 308 Winchester popular with survivalist, low recoil, cost effective, chambered in a wide range of rifles: semi-auto, bolt action, civilian grade, military grade, flat shooting, effective on deer and hog sized game, battle proven, popular, easy to find,,,, and the list goes on and on.

Want a bolt action rifle?  Take your pick from dozens of manufacturers.

Want a semi-auto rifle?  Remington Woodsmaster, PTR-91, FN/FAL, M1A, and some of the new AR platforms out there,,,, just take your pick.

For a long term SHTF situation, its going to be difficult to beat a good quality bolt action rifle, such as a Mossberg ATR or Remington model 700.

30-06 Springfield

Long live the 30-06.  Most casual hunters recognize three calibers – 30-30 Winchester, 308 Winchester and the 30-06 Springfield.

Opening weekend of deer season here in southeast Texas, my dad had a boar hog come out of the woods and walk close to the feeder.  A single round from my dads Remington 740 Woodsmaster in 30-06 Springfield dropped the hog where it stood.

The problem with the 30-06, its the largest caliber that most people can shoot without developing trigger flinch.  My brother with his Remington 750 Woodsmaster says the recoil is a little too much for his taste.

If you can stand the recoil, the 30-06 Springfield is probably the best cartridge for the long term SHTF survival situation.  What other caliber can you hunt deer and hogs with in the southern part of the USA, then go to Colorado, New Mexico, or Canada and hunt larger game?


For hunting hogs after SHTF, we are probably looking at three factors – reliability of the cartridge, reliability of the firearm, and how portable the rifle is.

Do you really want to chase after dogs on the scent of a hog with a 10 pound FN/FAL, a 7.5 pound AK-47, 7 pound Mini-14 or a 6 – 7 pound AR-15?

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