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Help with rifle selection

09 Feb 2019
@ 03:15 pm (GMT)


Hello all.
I am after some rifle selection advice. I have been asked along on a weeklong hunting trip eradicating pigs, some are in excess of 100 kg with the biggest recorded being 180 kg. Mostly this trip will involve walking for hours on end in thick scrub, although sometimes pigs can be spotted out on the flood plans at distance. I am looking at buying rifle a specific for this trip with the view this hunt will be an annual or bi-annual event. I am after something which can kill pigs quickly and capable of the odd raking shot. Realistically, inside 200 yards is probably as far as I am comfortable shooting.
I am left handed and I currently use a 30-30 lever action and I quite like this gun. However, the majority of the others use .308 bolt actions or bigger. I am thinking of upgrading with another lever action or even pump action. For some reason I like unusual calibers and I am just starting to go down the reloading path now.
I quite like the idea of the 35 Whelen as a hog round and it’s available in 7600 pump action, but don’t I know if this platform would do the .35 whelen justice. I also like the sound of the 25-06 but I don’t think it’s the gun for this job, but these two guns probably make a nice pair, sharing the same parent cartridge.
While there is a multitude of calibers which would do the job, I am after general advice on the riffle and caliber most suitable. Generally speaking, I over think things lol.


09 Feb 2019
@ 11:02 pm (GMT)

Frank Vallich

Re: Help with rifle selection
Well, quite an adventure. Very difficult to prescribe medication without background.

Are you fit man? This will not be a walk in the park. Can you pack a rifle with an adequate sling all day and be prepared to fire off a quick succession of rounds when your staring down a boar that is nasty as hell after being stalked all day?

Whats the temperature of the day? How much weight are you packing? Water, food, change of clothing, ammunition, first aid kit etc.

Thick scrub yet occasional 200 yard shot. Best to determine what your preference is in taking kill shots. Long distance or in tight.

Pistol, shotgun or rifle?

After you decide then decide upon the calibre.
10 Feb 2019
@ 03:42 am (GMT)

Larry Skiles

Re: Help with rifle selection
Hi Bushy, You have not considered the obvious. I would take a 30-06 on this trip. I recommend a 30-06 because that is the cartage I would chose after reading Nathan's books. I don't believe you have read the books, correct me if I'm wrong. I am pretty blunt here, but read the books and the light will come on for you. Good luck and have fun on your hunt.
10 Feb 2019
@ 04:35 am (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: Help with rifle selection
As Frank said, more details would help narrow down the selection.

Personally, assuming that the shots will generally not be any longer than about 50 yards, I would look very seriously at a .44 magnum lever action. Here’s why:

- Similar to the lever gun you’re already used to, no big learning curve

- Lots of ammo on board, at least compared to bolt-actions

- Either a 300 grain XTP or a hard-cast lead flat nose @ around 1,600 FPS is no joke, either will kill the pigs with a minimum of muzzle blast or recoil

- They’re generally not heavy rifles, but also not so light that you’ll have trouble making offhand shots
10 Feb 2019
@ 05:25 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Help with rifle selection
Everything they said. Plus: if you prefer lever actions, or if necessity dictates because of being left-handed, you might want to look into a nice compact Marlin guide gun in 45-70 Govt. Not the best for long range, but it has repeatability, is very easy to handle, doesn't weigh a ton. Also doesn't have the felt recoil that the internet abounds with, it is fun and pleasant to shoot. Reloading is simple and effective with a set of Lee dies (make sure to get the crimp die).

Will probably get some flack about this rifle in regards to quality control, but once you strip it down and clean up all the burrs, if functions well.

Or, my favourite big bore:
10 Feb 2019
@ 06:53 am (GMT)

John D. Hays - New Mexico

Re: Help with rifle selection has this .30-06 Tikka, stainless, lite, left-handed bolt action for $799 USD:

“Factory New Tikka T3x Lite Stainless Left Handed bolt action rifle chambered in .30-06 caliber. Part # JRTXB420. This rifle features a stainless steel barrel and receiver, a 22.4 inch barrel, an integral dovetailed scope rail and the receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounts, a 2 position safety, 3 round detachable magazine, “

You pay a premium for being a lefty.

Nathan has video instructions on Vimeo on bedding and accirizing this gun.

.30-06 is the King of Lethal Flexibility. Ammo is relatively cheap too, broad range of bullet weights and types.

Otherwise get a lefty .308
10 Feb 2019
@ 07:05 am (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Help with rifle selection
John Hayes reply is a decent one. For myself, I would buy a Model 70 Winchester featherweight in preferab;y 30/06 but also the .308 would be fine.
Light to carry, accurate and reliable. Take care with the scope...get a good one with no more than 4X power as more will hnot be great for close and/or fast shots.

Over the years I shot a lot of game with the lever actioned 30/30 but after switching it for the model 70 I foundI had a better all around rifle for all kinds of weather and conditions.
10 Feb 2019
@ 01:10 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Help with rifle selection
hmmmm interesting delema...... now me PERSONALLY would stick with your thurdy thurdy and be a happy man. I shot quite a few good sized porkers with mine back when I was a young fella.up to 140ish lbs no dramas at all. that was using the old aluminum tipped silvertips from winchester which rumour had it were too soft (nobody told the animals I killed) the new flexitips will possibly stretch your range a little but if your current load shoots fine and your happy with it...stick with it.
the reason I say this is simple
you going with other guys..let them take the long shots,you will be all over anything under 150 yards and have the speed of a great lever gun that YOU KNOW...Ive watched video clips from the worlds greatest boar slayer over in Europe with his 300 somethingorother Blazer and thought to myself....yip thats cool but sure as God made little green apples you could do the same with an open sighted .30/30 if you knoew your rifle and were confident with it.
IF after the first trip you feel under gunned by all means buy another rifle you will have a far better idea by then of what is needed. I swapped that .30/30 for a bolt action .270 30ish years ago and if I was being completely honest about it 80% of the animals Ive shot with it couldve gone down to the lever gun.....
shot a 140ish lb boar the other day at over a hundy yards (less than 200) stuck a piddly little 50 grn barnes ttsx in behind his left elbow and stuffed up his boiler room went nowhere and that was not a hot load out of the humble wee .223 either.
yes there may well be some BIG pigs but chances are you will see a lot more smaller ones,nothing under the 100lb mark will bother you in slightest to make you feel under gunned...anything huge you will have to get in close and pick your shot...but then that goes for anything short of the 50BMG.
10 Feb 2019
@ 01:14 pm (GMT)

Brett Payne

Re: Help with rifle selection
Thank you all for you time, you have given me something to think about, sometimes the obvious solution is doesn't seem so obvious. All the rifles mentioned here were all on my not so short list. I am leaning towards the 30-06, but i will give both the lever actions mentioned here another look.
10 Feb 2019
@ 01:37 pm (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: Help with rifle selection
Just to make a note towards the practicality of Nathan’s “A hack and a magnum” idea, especially for guys who don’t have a ton of money to put towards this stuff:

I only own two hunting rifles right now, a compact X-Bolt .308 and the work-in-progress M700 7mm Rem Mag. A hack and a magnum.

I only have two, but I would still be fully prepared for that type of hunt with the X-Bolt, only the choice of ammunition would be left.
10 Feb 2019
@ 03:41 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Help with rifle selection
Hey Bushy. Are you in Australia?
A 35 Whelen pump or lever as you're left handed. With a 20 inch barrel and a Sightron 1-7 X 24 compact scope with illuminated reticle for out to 200. With reloaded 225 or 250 gn partitions or 310 gn Woodleigh bullets. Your fitness and weight of the rifle that you're happy to carry will be a determining factor too. A 308 or 30-06 in the same set up would work ok with the right bullet selections. Out to 200 they're all reload able to do the job. Some would say that the 35 Winchester could do it too. What's your budget? You might get something second hand to fit your needs?
02 Mar 2019
@ 05:59 am (GMT)

Bert Sloan

Re: Help with rifle selection
I hunt pigs in the bush in N Texas . . . same needs. I use a Remington 7600 18.5" synthetic pump carbine in 35 Whelen fitted with a Vortex Razer HD 1.5 x 8 -32 scope. The scope is pricey but worth it. I resize 30-06 brass, works great. 10 round magazines. For close in managed recoil work, load Hornady 180 gr FTX .357 pistol bullets over 49 gr Varget with a firm crimp in the cannelure. This is a GREAT, easy shooting hog load. For longer shots and bigger critters, load 225 gr Sierra game king over 53.6 gr on IMR 4064. This is a real killer out to 200 yds. (check load data carefully!!). Check the forums about tuning up the Rem 7600. Once sorted out and the bolt polishes in, it's a great shooting rig. Know your rifle and it's mission. This gun prints 1.5" - 2" at 100 yds. In the bush, a good marksman can hit a 6" pie plate at 200 yds every time. That will do for a lightweight woods gun shooting hogs and deer sized game. Under 75 yards, (your mileage may vary) snap shots on running hogs is quick and easy. Good luck and good hunting.
13 Apr 2020
@ 05:24 am (GMT)


Re: Help with rifle selection
I hunt pigs and deer with Browning BLR lever action rifles. I have one in 308 Winchester and one in 358 Winchester. The 308 is the older steel-framed BLR-81
model and the .358 is the newer alloy-framed Lightweight model. I hand load the 358 and it is a thumper. 250 gr. Nosler Partition at 2350 FPS, 3068 FPE, 225 gr. Nosler Partition at 2460 FPS, 3001 FPE, 200 gr. Hornady Spire Point at 2575 FPS, 2947 FPE. Currently there are only two factory loads available: Hornady's 200 gr. Spire Point at 2475 FPS, 2720 FPE and Buffalo Bore's two loads, both 225 gr. bullets at 2500 FPS, 3122 fpe. One is a Sierra SPTZ-BT and the other a Barnes TSX (all copper). I don't hand load the 308 because there's so much good 308 factory ammo available.
Bottom line: I have killed 4 hogs; 2 with the 308 and 2 with the 358. These were large Louisiana swamp critters and all 4 got just as dead regardless of caliber. However, I did notice that the 2 hit with the 358 were knocked off their feet and the other 2 after running about 5 - 10 yards died in mid-stride.
( ) d31
13 Apr 2020
@ 06:01 am (GMT)

Geoff Holmes

Re: Help with rifle selection
Sounds like a 22” barrelled 30-06 loaded with a 200gr projectile @ around 2600fps would do the job...
13 Apr 2020
@ 08:22 am (GMT)


Re: Help with rifle selection
Sounds like a 22” barrelled 30-06 loaded with a 200gr projectile @ around 2600fps would do the job...

That would get you 3005 ft lbs of muzzle energy which is more than enough to terminate porkey however, it depends on how that 200 grainer is constructed. If it is too tough it will zip right through leaving a 30 caliber hole then expending the vast majority of its energy in a tree or 2 on the other side of the hog. If it is lightly constructed like the older ballistic tips and the Nosler Solid Base bullets then you'll get a very large entry wound with little penetration.

Remington has a line of ammunition called "HOG HAMMER" that uses the Barnes TSX all copper hollow point bullet. Looks promising.


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