The 10mm Carbine for Hog Hunting

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes

We put a 1095 Edge Hi-Point 10mm to the test on wild pigs in East Texas

A good hog hunt results in two things: A fun time and a freezer full of tasty pork. A recent East Texas trip ended with both. Since we were hunting cutover pine scrub and knew our shots would be close, I decided to have some fun and hunt with my Hi-Point 1095TS 10mm carbine. With a short overall length of just 32 inches, the carbine is light and handy, and we’ve found it to be more than adequate on 75-yard whitetails. I figured it would work fine for close-quarters pig hunting, too.    

Big boars have a reputation for being tough, but shot placement is key. Image by Russell Graves

The 10mm was originally designed for duty use in autoloading handguns, but it’s seen a more recent resurgence among outdoorsmen as a dual-purpose round for both self-defense and hunting. Many Alaskans have come to prefer a 10mm autopistol, with lighter weight and increased capacity, over a magnum revolver for bear defense. 

It works well for handgun hunting, too, and as is the case with many pistol and revolver rounds, its ballistics get a nice boost from longer carbine barrels like the Hi-Point, which has a 17.5-inch tube, plenty enough to wring out the 10mm’s ballistic potential.  We used the rifle just as it came from the factory. Topped with a 1.5-5x32 scope with a Diamond Duplex reticle, it's fast handling and easy to get on pigs, even in early morning and late evening low light. You won’t win any long-distance shooting matches with it, but it shoots more than respectable groups at 50 yards with just about every ammo I’ve tried, and it goes bang every time you pull the trigger. Plus, if it does give you any trouble, you can send it back to Hi Point for their “no questions asked” full lifetime warranty. With a real-world cost of under $400, with optic and three magazines, this carbine is a true utility gun. We beat around the Texas brush for a week and didn’t worry about scratching it.    

The Hi Point 1095TS makes a handy little hog gun for close quarters hunting. Image by Hi Point Firearms

For hunters, today’s ammo manufacturers are producing some top-notch 10mm loads, too. Look for heavier bullets in the 160- to 220-grain range with speeds of 1,200 feet-per-second + (and keep in mind, most of the published ballistics you’ll see for 10mm factory ammo are handgun numbers). The bullet needs to be of fairly solid construction, to ensure adequate penetration. Federal Premium has a number of good bullet options for hunters including the 200-grain Swift A-Frame, 180-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, and the 200-grain Solid Core. But my favorite is the 200-grain Fusion, which uses a molecularly fused bullet exiting the muzzle at over 1,200 feet per second. It expands well, but holds together for reliable penetration and weight retention.  

Federal's 200 grain Swift A Frame is an excellent 10mm round for hogs. Image by Vista

SHOT PLACEMENT

Pigs have a reputation of being tough critters, especially those big boars with a plate of heavy cartilage that covers their vitals to protect it from other boars during fights. Those plates are high on the shoulder and can be 2 inches thick, but they thin down a bit low around the front leg. 

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While the plates are tough, they aren’t bulletproof. Many hunters blame lost hogs on bullets that bounce or skip off the pig’s armor, but the real culprit is almost always a poorly placed shot. Unlike a deer, a pig’s vitals are squeezed down into a relatively compact area that lies forward and low in the chest cavity. Place a bullet or arrow too high or too far back, and what would be a sure kill shot on a deer can turn into a long tracking job on a hog. 

Don't fall into the trap of assuming all boars won't make good table fare. Image by M. Pendley

A mature pig’s heart lies just under the front leg and just above the belly line, directly in line with the front leg and below the shoulder joint. The lungs occupy the space just above that and the spine lies almost directly over the lungs, much deeper in the back than many first-time hog hunters realize. Place a bullet or broadhead through any of those vitals, or directly into the ear with a firearm, and even a small caliber or low velocity bullet will bring down a hog. Inside 100 yards, a 10mm carbine is more than enough for even a big boar hog, provided you put the bullet where it needs to be. 

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OUR HUNT

A strong cold front on the second day of the hunt had the pigs hunkered down in thick cover. But as darkness approached, the unmistakable noise of a sounder could be heard making its way to one of the feeders along the open edge of the pine cutover. 

A well placed 10mm round will bring down even a mature boar in a hurry.

As usual, the string started with watermelon-sized piglets, followed by medium-sized sows and then a large, spotted boar. As the boar pushed around on the sows, he finally turned almost broadside for a shot at about 60 yards. The bullet went in about a third of the way up the body, in line with the near leg on the quartering-to pig. Clipping the top of the heart and exiting just behind the off shoulder, the bullet’s penetration was impressive on a mature boar. The hog spun at the shot and tore off into the brush, falling just 15 yards up the trail. 

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While a blood trail wasn’t necessary to locate that hog, it’s worth noting that feral pigs don’t often leave a lot of blood right away. The blood has to work its way through a thick layer of fat and a dense coat of hair before dripping to the ground. When you shoot a pig, take careful note of the direction and trail it uses to exit the area, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see blood right away. Stay on the trail and look for smeared blood on knee-high limbs and leaves along the path. You will often find blood here well before any of it hits the ground. 

The next time you find yourself hunting wild pigs in tight quarters, give the 10mm a try in either a handgun or a quick handling carbine. You might be surprised at just how effective the load can be at filling your freezer with pork.