How to Sight in a Rifle for Hog Hunting? If you are asking this question, you might be a novice hog hunter interested in learning some hog hunting strategies and this article will help you without a doubt. However, if you are a more experienced hunter and want to make improvements and haven't asked yourself: what is the best range to sight in my Hog Hunting rifle? This should be the burning question on everybody's mind. The whole goal of this information is to be informative and to get you thinking about improving your odds of success during your next hog hunting trip. How should you sight in your hog hunting rifle for the most ethical shot in your most frequent hunting distances that you may encounter while hog hunting?
Before I asked myself: at what distance should you sight your hog hunting rifle in at? My first thought was to think back at all the hogs that I have ever harvested and what do I think the average shot distance was? I started to add it up and 80% of all the hogs I ever harvested could not have been over 75 yards. Now I have hunted hogs in South Carolina, Florida, and Texas with all different shot opportunities in all different terrains and yes, I have had a few shots over 300 yards but 80% of my shots are probably averaging around 50 yards mainly because of the dense swamp land I hunt. So about 15 years ago I started to think about ballistic calculators and that maybe I should zero for 50 yards.
The reason you are probably here at Hog Hunting Strategies is to find a quality outfitter, hunting ranch, preserve, or just some good information to up your success rate. Just so you know we have also owned and run whitetail and hog hunting outfitting and a preserve business. Every outfitter and hog hunting ranch listed here makes sure that each time a hog hunter arrives that they shoot their hog hunting rifles and are sighted in and ready for a quality hunting experience. The first question before we shoot is “what is your rifle sighted in at?” The answer 9 out of 10 times will be 100 yards. My next question was always “where does your bullet hit at 50 yards? High, low, or dead center? Most everyone always looked at me like I was speaking a different language. It seems most hog hunters’ sight in their rifles based on what the box says, and most hunting ammunition boxes show zero at 100 yards. It also seems that most hunters only practice at that same 100-yard distance. I am sure the ammunition manufacturers show a 100 yard zero for a reason based on data, but is that data hunting related or performance related? Regardless of your zero, you have got to know where your bullets hit at twenty-five, fifty, seventy-five, one hundred, and out to two hundred and fifty yards. You cannot guess you need to know! Test these questions out with your hunting buddies and see what their response is, it might surprise you.
This is a South West Florida Hog Hunt shooting Long-Range for Trophy Hogs.
Any shot that puts an animal on the meat pole is a good shot.
Since I mainly use Winchester Ammunition (Power Max Bonded is deadly on hogs as is the Razor Boar) I downloaded Winchester’s Ballistic calculator along with a couple other generic ballistic calculators. I found the more generic calculators were not as accurate and since I shoot primarily Winchester it just makes sense to use their tools with their ammunition. When I started running ballistic calculators, I came to find out that if you zero your hog hunting rifle at 50 yards it has less of a drop at 200 yards then if you were to zero in your hunting rifle in at 100 yards. Remember that it does not matter the weight or grain of the bullet, a side-by-side comparison with two different zeros (same round) will yield the same results. A 50 yard zero will have less drop than a 100 yard zero. I know it almost does not make sense, so we have included a generic Ballistics Calculator below to show you what we mean.
The Ballistics Calculator above is a Generic Ballistic Calculator found online for free. The bullet weight, velocity, wind, everything on the ballistic Calculator is the same for each of the columns except for the zero. Center column is zeroed to 50 yards and right column is zeroed to 100 yards. When looking at these columns you will notice for the shorter close-range shots from maybe a 5-yard shot to 50 yards the drop in elevation is about the same. Now what really will stand out is the drop in elevation from 50 yards to 100 yards when comparing the two columns. As you see a 50 yard zero has a much flatter trajectory out to 100 yards. Now from 100 yards to 150 yards there is a big difference. Column one (50 zero) you are still under an inch low and column two (100 zero) takes you over an inch low. If you move down the scale to 300 yards, there is a huge difference of nearly more than an inch. Keep in mind that the average vital area is 6 inches and when you are trying to hit a pie plate size target at 300 yards, and it has a pulse there will be a level of adrenaline. If those crosshairs are moving even a little that one inch could be the difference between a complete miss, or a harvest shot. The bottom line is a 50 yard zero is better for both close- and longer-range shots in most hog hunting conditions.
We consider a short-range hog hunting shot being 5 yards to 50 yards. We use close range guns like pump action shotguns with slugs, lever action rifles, semi-auto with a red dot, or maybe a 1.5 – 3x scope. This is going to be a fast, on the ground shot, most likely at a running hog. You do not have time to think about where to hold other than dead center shoulder and maybe a slight lead. We have found the best zero is 25 yards for this kind of shot. You will only be .5” high or low out to 50 yards so you have eliminated any reason to adjust your hold high or low. Below is a video of a guide rushing in to finish off a large boar hog that weighed 386 pounds. He was hit low from a 30-06 bolt action rifle and the hunter, with his friend, started to high five and he quickly put his rifle away in the Ranger thinking this hog was finished. I was filming and because we were on the ground my son was backing up all of us with a Mossberg 20-gauge pump action shotgun shooting slugs. My son first notices this big boar moving and then looking like he was trying to get on all fours. If you look closely the boar locks eyes with my son and gets up to charge. When he did get to his feet he stumbled instead of charging and gave another broad side shot. That is all she wrote. Remember hog hunting is not a game and when bad things happen, they happen fast.
Hog Hunting Guide has to step in to finish a wounded Trophy Boar. Hog flips after being shot with a 20 gauge pump shotgun shooting slugs.
We highly recommend that you do your own math with your own ammunition ballistics and come up with something that you feel comfortable with and something that you can practice shooting. Most of all set yourself up for the highest success rate that you can for your most probable hunting conditions. As a rule of thumb prior to reserving a hog hunt with an outfitter or preserve you must ask the question what your average shot distance will be. Remember that most hog hunting Outfitters and Ranches will evaluate you without your knowledge and during your sighting in. They will put you in stands that you have the highest chance to harvest your hog based on your shooting ability. They want you to be successful and come back again and again. Be sure to set yourself up for the highest success rate by practicing, practicing, and more practicing.