It took several trips over several seasons before I was able to see any results from this project. Last February I was able to take my fist hog with the “Tactical Hunter.” He wasn’t any lightweight either. During the first night hunt of the trip I spotted a big boar about 65 yards out from the stand I was sitting in. He wasn’t heading for the feeder just crossing the field going from one stand of trees to another. We had dropped some grape seasoned corn out away from the feeders to try and draw them in and it must have caught his attention because he slowed from his trot and started rooting around a bit. I don’t normally like to take hogs, especially boars, much over 100 pounds. The meat is generally better but this guy was really something and I decided to go for it.
One shot and he was down on the ground. He didn’t even take a single step. The 7.62×39 was well up to the task at that range. Based on prior experiences with big boars I decided to put a couple of “insurance” shots into him. Because of the angle these were also head shots and I was confident they wouldn’t damage the meat.
Once we got him back to the cabin I took a few minutes to examine the wounds. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures.
The first shot was a direct hit on the brain. A big boar’s skull can be pretty dense and I have seen several shots from lighter rounds (mainly head on) that were deflected without doing enough damage for a clean, humane kill. The velocity and weight of the 7.62×39 rounds (Brown Bear 125 grain soft-points) penetrated perfectly. They did significant damage to the surrounding tissue; the brain and brain case were basically destroyed. Bullet, rifle and hunter all did their part in this case.
The follow on shots did some impressive damage but neither would have been good enough for a clean kill like the first one. Based on the examination of the damage done by these rounds, I was very happy with the bullet performance.
Overall, I was very pleased with the outcome of this project. I think I was able to accomplish everything I had set out to accomplish and all the goals were met. The Tactical Hunter was reliable enough for self-defense use. The caliber was effective for both and didn’t cost an arm and a leg to maintain a decent stockpile of should the world situation deteriorate faster than I expect. It could easily and quickly be reconfigured for various roles and tasks. It is just about the perfect all around, do everything firearm.
The one gripe I have is the weight. Since I was not able to find a 7.62×39 barrel in lighter weight profile it weighs in about a pound or two heavier than I would have liked. That doesn’t seem like a lot until you carry it all day long, through pastures, swamps and thickets. Was it unreasonably heavy? Nope. It weighed in just a little heavier than my Marlin .30-30 but that rifle is also a one hundred year old design made without high tech polymers and metals…
I have a few months until hunting season rolls around again and I am not sure if I will take the Tactical Hunter with me or my trusty Marlin 336. Maybe that new Ruger .308 will need to take its turn. Even with the scope mounted on it that’s the lightest center-fire rifle I own…
God Bless and I hope you enjoyed this series!
Note: Yes, I can hunt pigs year round but I’ll wait until it cools off a bit unless we empty the freezer faster than I expect we will. A 200+ pound hog provides a lot of meat for two people…