Winchester M94 carbine in 44mag as Hog rifle??


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My son has taken over my old Winchester 44mag carbine as his current deer rifle until he decides to get one of his own. It is topped with an Aimpoint red dot sight. I used it for several years on deer in the WV woods with a 100% kill record. Keep in mind that we hunt in deep woods where a clear shot out past 100yds is the exception and the more common shots are 50-75 yds. Used in that environment the little 44 usually dropped a deer in its tracks. I never had one travel more than 10 paces and never had to take a 2nd shot with it.

We are working on plans to go on a Tennessee wild hog hunt and he is trying to decide on which weapon to take. We have taken a few hogs in the past with 44mag and 45acp handguns and they were very effective. Typical ranges for these hunts was 5-15yds. I am thinking that the old 44 carbine will be just fine for this sort of work. Light, fast, and potent at close range. These pigs are bigger than Texas pigs and typically run about 250-300lbs with the occasional larger one. He has access to 223, 308 and 7.62x39 rifles also, but I think the 223 is a little small for pigs. The 308 is fine, but that rifle is large, heavy and thus a lot more work to lug around all day. We have used it on hogs with effective results but it never seemed to be any better than the large caliber pistols either. The AK round is OK but also, offers no clear advantages other than a faster 2nd shot. I was always of the mind that a good 1st shot, pretty much eliminated the concerns about the faster 2nd shot. I like taking them with handguns but that is just a personal preference. Any thoughts, opinions, or other ideas are welcome.

The potential problem I see with the .44 mag is penetration. You are not likely to get a pass through, and therefore not much blood trail.

It will certainly kill a hog, but it may be more a chore to recover depending on the shot placement.

I would opt for the .308 although I kill plenty of hogs with a .223. Most to not weight 250-300 pounds, however.
it should do fine with some of the buffalobore rounds, have a few friends that use them 320gr I think and get holes in both shoulders under 100 yards
The last hog hunt we went on, we took 7 total pigs. The weapons used included:

30/06 rifle
44mag handgun
7mm mag rifle
308 rifle
45 ACP handgun

The longest shot was just over 15 ft and the closest (mine) was less than 5 feet. Perfect broadside hit with 308, 165g ballistic tip which went clean thru the pig. It still ran about 30 yds before dropping. The three most effective were the 7mm mag, the 44mag and most effective of all was the 45 ACP which killed a 400 lb porker with one shoulder shot using 230g HP's. The 230g bullets penetrated the thick shoulder pads and exited the opposite side. The pig dropped in its tracks. Now it could have been a fluke, but the results were still impressive. All of the weapons used that day did an adequate job and none required a 2nd shot. We were hunting with dogs, which is a fast and furious method, that requires one to carefully place the shot to avoid hitting the dogs while hitting the pig in the vitals, all while sort of up close and personal. Fun stuff. My buddy had his hog mounted and when the taxidermist skinned out the head, he found a 38 spl slug embedded in the top of the skull, lol. Reminded me of an old Jeff Cooper tidbit of wisdom: "Never attempt to deal with a major caliber problem using a minor caliber handgun." The old man knew his stuff.

That 44 carbine is plenty of gun. I used a 12 gauge with 3" mag 00 buck for a close in gun, they never ran far on me. Most of mine was night shooting back in the 80s before all these new gadgets. I never had dogs, etc...mine was straight pest killing. I did rifle a few big boars, 400+ lbs, and I never got real close to these guys, but I'm not sure being on the ground limited to a single 44 slug, is what Id do.
Murphy's 8th rule of combat
Everybody has a plan, til the shooting starts!
Id definetly have a backup man with a big o/u or sxs 12 gauge with hefty charge of 00/000 buck. If I was on the ground with my child, without fail 1 or 2 of us. Those few HOSS boars I took were russian/feral hog crosses, and had some monster cutting tools on them. Had one take 2 rounds of 35 rem, first at 60 and the second at 15, and still run 30 yds. First was mid ribs and the second was a shoulder breaker. 35 Rem is a big bullet.
Originally Posted By: WyYoteKillerThat 44 carbine is plenty of gun.
Murphy's 8th rule of combat
Everybody has a plan, til the shooting starts!
Id definetly have a backup man with a big o/u or sxs 12 gauge with hefty charge of 00/000 buck. If I was on the ground with my child, without fail 1 or 2 of us. Those few HOSS boars I took were russian/feral hog crosses, and had some monster cutting tools on them.

Just so you know, the son is not a kid anymore. He is 28yrs old and an experienced hunter. And when hunting the TN hogs (which also have a good bit of the Russian genetics in them and also have big sharp ivories), We have a designated shooter and one or two backup shooters. One carries a 12ga slug gun loaded with nine 1oz slug rounds in case a guy's gun jams, ammo fails, he misses, etc and the hog decides to charge. Usually, all you gotta do is grab a tree branch and pull your legs up higher than 3 ft and you are safe. The hog will run right under you and continue. They will seek any opening to get away, but when bayed by the dogs, they are dangerous, make no mistake. But we should not make them out to be something they are not. Dangerous yes, but just not like a grizzly or cape buffalo, where they will attack you or even hunt you. Any animal will attack when cornered, but as long as you give the pig a way out, he will take it.

I have found that any cartridge that will take down a deer or elk will drop a wild hog in its tracks if the shooter does his part. It does take a little bit of extra concentration to place the shot well when the pig is in your face. But that is part of the fun of a pig hunt. My point is that it is not necessary to have somebody backing you up with a 600 nitro-express dbl rifle, lol.

Originally Posted By: WyYoteKillerSounds like you already knew everything so why ask the question? good luck.

Gets the post count up. I do that all the time.
44 mag out of a rifle is a much more impressive round than out of a handgun. If your rifle will shoot heavier bullets in the 290 to 300gr range this is what I would use. If you reload I would look into either a quality cast bullet or the hornady xtp in 300gr. I believe Sierra also makes a 300gr JSP that would work as well.
If you don't reload then I would look at finding a company that loads a quality heavy bullet. Double Tap loads a 300gr Nosler bullet. If your rifle twist will not stabilize a heavy bullet then I would look at getting a bonded bullet or a mono-metal bullet such as a Barnes that will retain it's weight and penetrate.
You will see as much as 200fps gain from a carbine vs. a 6" handgun. This will produce a little more energy and aid in penetration.
Hey dont worry his "son" is 28, they grab limbs to dodge pigs, and he dont need no advice to grab a "600 nitro express" rifle to help.
Hey IRISH, I actually have a 470 Capstick, Holland and Holland Regal Grade...Hope you get the chance to read about one. Its nice being pleasant and stupid. Enjoy...
44 mag 308 223 will work I make all shots to the head neck area I don't like to waste meat or chasing a blood trail