Can You Hunt Hogs With an AR-15?

Can You Hunt Hogs With an AR-15?

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Hunters have used semi-automatic rifles on feral hogs for a long time. But with the increasing occurrence of mass shootings, this particular weapon has garnered a less than favorable rap. But can you hunt hogs with an ar-15?

Different states have varying laws regarding the use of AR-15s to hunt hogs. In some, ownership of these particular rifles is altogether banned. In others, it’s allowed, but in a few places, there are special conditions. 

Hunting these feral animals is an enjoyable pastime, whether you prefer to stalk or bait. The experience is exhilarating when you let out a shot that’s promptly followed by a familiar shriek. But nothing would beat the frustration of learning you can’t use the AR-15 for hunting because they only allow its use with specific ammo or due to a prohibition law.

So, Can You Hunt Hogs With an AR-15?

Yes, you can! Although the Ar-15 performs admirably in its standard 5.56×45 chambering most of the time, it all comes down to bullet placement and selection. A 5.56 has no problem taking out a hog as long as you hit a vital organ – the heart, lungs, liver, brain, or spinal column

See our article on the best shot placement for hogs.

However, some states have bans that restrict ownership of the AR-15 or impose special conditions for its use. For instance, Illinois and Colorado permit the possession of AR-15 rifles but require hunters to use cartridges larger than .223 for hogs

State Laws

Before you pack your AR-15 for a thrilling hog hunting trip, better confirm if the state allows these types of rifles. The AR-15 is classified as an assault weapon in the U.S because it is semi-automatic, has pistol grips, collapsible buttstocks, and is magazine-fed.

So, can you hunt hogs with an AR-15, and if yes, where?

 Short answer: It depends on where you plan to go hunting. In the U.S, it is illegal to hunt with an AR-15 if you’re in any of the states below:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island

As for the rest, it would be best to check with the local government. There could be a local ban even though the state has no restrictions. 

The Best AR-15 Caliber For Hog Hunting

To anyone who asks, “Can you hunt hogs with an AR-15?” I’d say it depends on the caliber you choose. You must ensure that your configuration suits the task. Using an extremely powerful caliber on small prey is unnecessary as there’ll barely be any flesh left.

The great majority of AR-15s are chambered in 223/5.56mm NATO. The truth is that the effectiveness of the AR-15 in .223 is determined by the type of bullets used. Let’s consider the popular types of ammo used in AR-15s.

Ball Ammo

The original 5.56 ball ammo (military issue) creates massive wound channels. This is effective in combat situations but not in hunts due to several reasons, including:

  • It is illegal in most states.
  • It causes a massive flesh wound, destroying a large portion of the meat.
  • On impact, the bullet yaws and fractures, resulting in numerous bullet fragments that degrade the value of hog meat.

Self Defense Bullets

Anecdotal evidence suggests that most bullets built for self-defense are effective for hog hunting. Luckily, there are many calibers one can build the AR-15 in. Some hunters recommend DRT Ammo .223 on hogs weighing over 200 pounds; others claim the Remington Hog Hammer made with Barnes 62 grain TSX bullets demonstrates excellent performance.

These recommendations are, however, based on personal experience. You may have a different view once you’re in the field. The best way to know what works for you is to explore. But you’ll still need to consider the basics. Seasoned hunters break it down as follows:

  • The .223 is ideal for hunting small game such as rabbits, squirrels, bobcats, armadillos, and porcupines.
  • The .300 Blackout is ideal for medium-sized hunting of animals such as feral hogs, deer, and larger varmints such as mountain lions.
  • The .308: These powerful rounds are ideal for hunting large game such as hogs, deer, black bear, elk, and moose.

Specific Ammo For Hogs

If you’re a novice hunter with limited knowledge of hunting rifles and the best ammo for feral hogs, here are some popular brands to get you started:

Remington Hog Hammer: The Remington Hog Hammer with 168 grain Barnes TSX Bullet is engineered for deeper penetration and rapid on-hog expansion. It easily penetrates the tough hide, delivering a powerful punch. It’s also great for nighttime or low-light hunting, and is available in a variety of calibers.

Hornady Full Boar: The Full Boar from Hornady is available in MonoFlex and GMX rounds for maximum weight retention and deep penetration. They are California-compliant and suitable for situations that require non-traditional bullets.

Allegiance Ammunition’s Hog Strike: These bullets are designed specifically for one-shot kills. Powder Metal Technology is used to create jacketed frangible rounds. The Hog Strike pierces thick hide and bone to reach the vitals and fragments, releasing all of the round’s energy inside the soft fluid-filled tissue. It is also available in a variety of calibers.

The Bottom Line

To be on the safe side, confirm with the local authorities whether you can hunt hogs with an ar-15′ to ascertain if there are any bans or restrictions.. Ensure you also get a hunting license and a permit for your firearm to avoid breaching any laws. 

Have you dropped hogs with an AR-15? What caliber did you use? We would love to hear from you. Hit us up in the comment section.

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