Hunt Forever
12/26/2018
Hampton with feral hog
Handguns and hogs provide hunters with a lot of off-season challenge and quality outdoor fun.  Picking the right gun and ammo will tip the odds in your favor.

We hunters like to deliberate all things hunting related including firearms, optics, calibers and other assorted paraphernalia.  Campfire dialog over various topics such as .30-’06 vs. .270 Win. can be entertaining.  What cartridge is best for bear hunting?  How about what’s the best caliber for Cape buffalo?   Seldom do we talk about the one essential component of hunting success – bullets.  However, once in a great while when bullets do come in to the fray, boy can that lead to heated debates!  I have observed never-ending arguments over cast vs. jacket bullets in handgun circles.  Well, I’m not going to labor on the cast vs. jacket debate, but I will state choosing the right bullet for the intended circumstance is of utmost importance.  For rifle and handgun hunters alike, one bullet manufacturer stands extremely tall – Swift.

For more than thirty years Swift Bullet Company has been providing hunters with premium bullets.  Most rifle hunters are familiar with the company’s line of Scirocco and A-Frame bullets.  They have rightfully earned a solid reputation in hunting circles.  Today, Swift also makes Break-Away solids for dangerous game such as buffalo and other large, potentially mean critters.  They even have introduced an A-Frame “Lever Action Series” for lever gun aficionados. 

Handgun hunters are very fortunate, too.  Swift provides its A-Frame bullets in .357, .410, .429, .452, and .499, to cover the majority of hunting calibers.  The company states expansion can be expected at velocities running 950 fps while still maintaining 97 percent of the weight.  Not only does Swift manufacture premium hunting bullets – they also offer factory loaded ammunition.  With a line-up of popular calibers, Swift provides non-handloaders with top-shelf ammo utilizing their supreme bullets including a 210-gr. .41 Mag., 300-gr. .44 Mag., 300-gr. 454 Casull, and a 325-gr. 500 S&W Mag.  This is premium ammunition – great stuff for today’s serious handgun hunting endeavors.

During the spring and early summer months when many big game seasons are closed, I get a little anxious for an opportunity to hunt.  Like many SCI members, I’m always looking for an opportunity to go hunting.  During a long conversation with my good friend Wade Derby of Crosshair Consulting, a hog hunt materialized.  Who doesn’t like to hunt hogs?  Seldom will you find a closed season.  Year-round hunting opportunities abound.  In some locales the over-population of hogs is devastating to both property and wildlife.  Some landowners welcome hunters to help control the problem. 

You can use many types of methods including rifle, archery, muzzleloader or handguns.  Most states don’t have a limit, so you can load the truck if you’re in the right place and lucky.  What’s not to like?  No doubt, the whitetail deer remains America’s most popular big game animal.  But, if hog hunting proliferates over the next decade like it has this past decade, who knows – pigs may be in a close race with whitetail in popularity.  Depending on the location, hunting methods can vary from spot and stalk, feeders, night hunting with thermal optics or running them with dogs.  Hog hunting is especially attractive for alternative methods such as handguns.  Any way you slice it, hog hunting provides a lot of opportunity for hunters.      

Karen and I recently headed to Texas with a vehicle loaded with a couple of handguns and Swift ammo.  A Freedom Arms Model 83 chambered in .41 Mag. wearing a Leupold scope had shown great results with Swift’s 210-gr. load.  This is one of the finest, if not the finest, single-action revolvers available – and Freedom Arms exhibits at the SCI Convention every year. 

I have shot this revolver out to 100 yards and felt confident it would handle a big mean hog.  The other revolver we brought was a BFR from Magnum Research in .44 Mag.  with a 2-6x Bushnell scope mounted in Weigand base and rings.  I shoot the BFR with 300-gr. Swift A-Frame ammo.  Both handguns are very effective hunting rigs.  Handgun hunting and wild boar go perfectly together like apple pie and vanilla ice cream!

41 mag
Freedom Arms Model 83 chambered in .41 Mag. topped with Leupold scope makes an ideal hunting handgun, especially with premium ammunition.

We were fortunate to have an opportunity to hunt with Jason Mims – owner of the Frijolia Ranch.  Jason and his lovely wife, Norma, have been catering to hunters for several years and they are dialed-in.  It is common practice in Texas to hunt over feeders.  I know what you’re thinking – sit in a blind, wait for the feeder to go off and whack a pig when they come running in.  I was thinking the same thing.  The first morning we were in an elevated blind shortly after daylight.  Feeder goes off around 7:30 a.m.  We wait, we watch, nothing shows up.  No worries – the hogs will probably come in during the evening.

We get to the blind around 6:30 p.m. and it’s hot in south Texas.  The blind doubles as a sauna.  The feeder goes off at 7:30.  We wait, we watch, nothing shows up.  A few days prior to our arrival there was one huge boar spotted by this blind.  Where did he go? 

The next day was a duplicate of the first.  Both morning and evening hunts remained hogless.  A few deer, some quail and an assortment of south Texas birds were the only source of entertainment.  Now I’m beginning to wonder if my lucky charm had taken a vacation. 

Jason was also wondering why the hogs suddenly disappeared.  We switched blinds the next morning to a different area.  The feeder goes off at 7:30 a.m.  Here comes axis deer and whitetail.  Later, a few blackbuck come wandering past our ground blind.  No hogs!  So, hunting over a feeder on a Texas ranch loaded with hogs is easy?  You couldn’t prove it by me.  We cut our losses and headed home.

Luckily, our friend Wade called to see how many hogs we’d taken.  He was a bit shocked to find out about the lack of our success.  A few phone calls later and Wade encouraged us to stop by another ranch he had found – so we did.  It wasn’t much out of our way on the return trip home as we arrived at Brushy Creek Outdoors.  Surely my luck would improve – heck, it couldn’t get any worse!

44 mag BFR
Magnum Research’s BFR .44 Mag. shooting Swift 300-gr. bullets is capable of handling most any big game endeavor.

Early in the morning we found ourselves in a pop-up blind.  We hadn’t been there long when a sounder came strolling past with one nice boar in the group.  As the Leupold crosshairs settled on his mud-covered shoulder, I dropped the hammer.  The Swift A-Frame punched a hole completely through the boar and we had a Texas hog headed for the sausage grinder.  The .41 Mag. in the Freedom Arms Model 83 proved to be excellent medicine for Texas-sized boars. 

After the sun came up, the heat intensified. We continued looking for another candidate, only this time with the .44 Mag. and those Swift 300-gr. bullets.  The hogs apparently headed for shady areas deep in the woods.  We were roaming around the ranch hoping to catch some animals feeding in the open along the edges.  Occasionally we would find a hog or two hanging out near creek beds where it was cooler, but once they detected our presence it was game over.

We were committed to hunt until dark.  Obligations back home wouldn’t allow another day of hunting, so we endured the heat and kept searching for another customer.  Luckily, at last light, a nice big boar stepped in to a clearing.  For whatever reason, this hog came strolling along toward us.  He was totally unaware of our presence.  With the .44 Mag. resting in a cradle of a Primos tripod shooting rest, I cocked the hammer. 

Somewhere around 75 yards the boar stopped momentarily.  When the hammer dropped – so did the hog.  The 300-gr. Swift slug punched through both shoulders and kept going.  Two Texas-sized hogs with two different Swift offerings made for an enjoyable day in the great outdoors.

Regardless whether you’re hunting hogs, African game or whitetail deer on the “back 40,” choosing the right gun and ammunition is paramount.  Swift not only provides serious hunting bullets, but factory loaded ammo as well – for both rifle and handguns.  This premium ammunition is accurate, consistent and capable of handling almost any hunting situation imaginable.  It’s been proven in the field many times over – and not just on swine.--Mark Hampton