Written by Brooklee Grant, Member of Pulsar’s Pro Staff
When you’re out and about chasing down feral hogs, your success, or failure, might just boil down to how well you’re equipped for the challenge—which is why your choice in rifle, optic, and accessories are so important. When considering what to set up to use, you want to take into account opinions from people who get out there and run the equipment and truly put it to the test. As someone who hunts feral hogs several times a week year-round, take it from me, I put my equipment to the test. I’ve killed hogs with everything from a .22 Long Rifle to 7mm Ultra Mag, and several calibers in between. However, I’m pretty fired up about my Larue Tactical 6.5 Grendel. Here’s why it’s become my go-to rifle for hog hunting.
Best Gun for Hog Hunting
For starters, I chose a rifle from a respected company celebrated worldwide for producing superior, hyper-accurate rifle systems—the dead center of precision—LaRue Tactical. The fact that Larue is a company based out of the Lone Star State might have come into play as well…okay, it made a substantial impact. I take pride in supporting Texas businesses. After much deliberation with my husband, the rifle I cherry-picked is a Larue Tactical 6.5 Grendel in Flat Dark Earth (FDE), which is a modified version of the Larue Stealth 2.0 chassis.
The rifle ships nestled in foam in an FDE hard-sided plastic case. I was immediately in awe of the first-rate craftsmanship and exceptional feel and finish of the rifle. The eye-catching appearance of the FDE furniture and perfectly matching Cerakote literally brought a smile to my face. The slim-profiled rifle has a solid overall feel, the build is tight and you can tell someone put some serious effort into assembling this gun. The ultra-precision 18-inch barrel is medium weight with a 1:8-inch twist and is SAAMU-chambered in 6.5 Grendel. The handguard comes in at 13-inches long, bringing tough and functional to the table. Larue also took a step in the right direction by including their own TranQuilo muzzle brake, which fits their TranQuilo suppressors. Larue also included an MBT-2S two-stage trigger with a short and crisp second stage.
The weight of a rifle system is a major factor in considerations for which setup is right for the job. This rifle is exceptionally well-balanced and light, coming in at a weight of 7 pounds 13.2-ounces. When I’m out in the field hog hunting on foot, whether I’m in a hay meadow, or trekking through heavy brush, it’s key to have a light-weight, maneuverable, accurate, and last but not least reliable rifle setup.
With little to no recoil, shooting this rifle is a dream. It’s mind-blowing how efficiently it performs, shooting and cycling so effortlessly. It remains steady, easily allowing you to hit your point of aim even during rapid fire. Again, the lack of recoil staggers me, round after round flow through with ease and accuracy.
The price of this rifle rolls out at $1,999.00. However, with this company, you get way more than what you pay for. Hats off to the guys at Larue! You can tell they pay unmatched attention to detail, fabricating a top of the line custom shop product with incredible features you would pay double for anywhere else. This rifle is a testament to the billet construction, never-ending pursuit of precision, and work of master craftsmanship at LaRue. As Mark LaRue said, “Folks that buy our rifles know, no stone has been left unturned,” and now I know exactly what he means.
Best Scope for Hog Hunting at Night
The next element of my setup plays a leading role—my optic of choice—a Pulsar Trail XP38 Thermal Riflescope. The products and people at Pulsar never cease to amaze me with their commitment to quality and fantastic customer service. Just this year alone, my husband and I have killed 116 hogs using Pulsar thermal imagers.
The 640×480 sensor, along with the AMOLED display, harmoniously work together to yield crisp and clear thermal images and detects heat signatures at up to 1,475 yards. This scope is ideal for rapid target acquisition, boasting a base 1.6x magnification perfect for up close and personal hunting experiences. The Trail thermal riflescope also has digital zoom capability up to 9.6x, allowing for accuracy at long distance targets as well.
One thing that is so convenient about this Pulsar unit is it performs flawlessly at a wide variety of temperatures from -13 degrees to 122 Fahrenheit. Being able to handle the Texas heat is a must. The scope is also waterproof, fogproof, and dustproof, so it’s ready to go in any situation. I am constantly blown away by all its capabilities.
One of my favorite features is the scope’s built-in video recording so I can capture and share my hunts. Another element that has grown on me is the proprietary picture-in-picture, which places a small magnified window at the top of the scope display. This feature helps me maintain an overall wide field of view for accurate and precise follow-up shots, which is especially useful when shooting at targets from a distance.
The rechargeable 8-hour battery pack gives you the freedom to hunt without having to worry about charging batteries. I’ve used several different Pulsar units, both night vision and thermal, but the XP38 Trail is by far my favorite. In my opinion, if you’re going to hunt at night then you need a Pulsar thermal riflescope, it’s a game changer! Once you use a thermal riflescope, you’ll question how you ever hunted at night without one.
Hog Hunting with Suppressors
Another game-changing accessory when hog hunting is my SilencerCo Omega suppressor. (I replaced the muzzle brake that came standard on the rifle with a SilencerCo ASR flash hider to accommodate the Omega.) This suppressor fits calibers from 5.7mm to .300 Remington Ultra Magnum. I’ve been running mine for almost two years now, shooting it on my .223, .308, and now my 6.5 Grendel.
It comes complete with direct thread and quick-detach mounts to make using it a breeze. After running this silencer, it’s no surprise to me the Omega is one of the best-selling rifle silencers in history. It is literally the best of all worlds as far as suppressors go—it’s light, quiet, and rated for full-auto so it’s ready to rock and roll in any scenario. It’s great being able to hit the field without worrying about ear protection and makes communication between hunters much easier.
Due to the ‘crack’ of the shot being suppressed, I have often experienced hogs not being able to differentiate where the shots are coming from giving hog hunters a tactical advantage. Many times my husband and I have shot a hog on one side of a field, and then killed more on the other side because the suppressed blast is far less likely to spook other animals than if we shot unsuppressed. The Omega does add a bit of weight to the overall setup, 14 ounces, but it’s well worth it in my opinion. Taking away extra noise is always helpful when you’re hunting.
Shed Some Light
If you’re running around at night, the first essential tool that comes to mind is a flashlight, right? Tall grass with a wounded hog is not a situation you want to be in without a light, which brings me to another element of my setup—the Streamlight Protac Rail Mount HL-X Long Gun Light. This light is my go-to while hog hunting, effortlessly mounting directly onto my rail using the integrated rail clamp. It’s nice having a bright and steady stream of light readily available and it’s out of the way until I need it. Sure, I could just carry a flashlight in my pocket, but when walking long distances in the woods, any and all pockets are always reserved for extra magazines.
This Streamlight provides 1,000 lumens with a 332m beam distance for easy scanning and reaching out long distances for just around $100. It runs for 1.25 hours on high or 23 hours on low using 2 lithium-ion batteries, and only weighs 6.4 ounces.
My favorite option is to use this light with a rail-mounted pressure switch. The pressure switch allows me ease of use while also maintaining a good grip on my rifle, ideal in a situation where I might need to swiftly engage a target. This light is constructed of durable anodized aluminum and an impact-resistant tempered glass lens. Its rugged assembly gives me peace of mind in the field.
Tactical Brass Catcher
An accessory that helps cut costs while hunting is my Tactical Brass Recovery brass catcher. I have tried several different brass catchers on different AR platform rifles, but this one is far superior to the others. This brass catcher has a longer frame designed especially for Picatinny rails. It features a throw lever on the ejection port side for stress-free attachment and removal. The frame is flexible, and the bag design even allows for the dissipation of gasses coming from the ejection port. I especially like how it can be folded down and out of the way when it’s not in use, and you can just pop it out when you’re ready to shoot! Tactical Brass Recovery gets a gold star for design and ease of use with this brass catcher.
Best Caliber for Hog Hunting
Caliber choice is also a huge factor when it comes to hog hunting. Like I mentioned earlier, I have killed hogs with a variety of different calibers, but this year I’ve truly grown to love 6.5 Grendel. It’s one of those calibers you rarely hear about and has only just recently developed a dedicated following. The Grendel’s superior ballistic performance stems from having a high ballistic coefficient and a high sectional density as compared to similar calibers of equivalent weights. This perfect hog-hunting caliber gives you a bullet that is accurate with outstanding penetration and low recoil.
I enjoy the knockdown power that my AR-10 .308 gives me, but the greater recoil hampers my sight acquisition when firing on multiple targets. As far as a .223 AR-15 platform goes, it is great as far as weight, maneuverability, and recoil go, but it doesn’t pack enough punch for me to really put the hogs on the ground the way I want to.
The Grendel has come to be my preferred choice because it’s an all-around caliber that meets all of my needs. I now have a lightweight and maneuverable AR-15-style platform that is accurate out to long distances, has superior ballistic performance, while also being reliable.
This rifle has all of the bells and whistles perfect for hog hunting. From the incredible design of the rifle itself to the thermal optic, suppressor, flashlight and brass catcher, it’s equipped with everything you need other than more ammo. Each piece of the rifle system brings a key element to the table to produce an effective tool that changes your hunting game. Running this setup gives me unmatched confidence in the field, and helps me put more hogs on the ground!