.223 and Pigs

Discussion in 'Varminter & Hunting Forum' started by deronys, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. deronys

    deronys

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    First of all a little background on myself, as I am brand new here (been reading for a bit). I live in Queensland, Australia, have been shooting for a few years now, and recently started varminting (mostly spotlighting roos, foxes wee wabbits and the odd cat), with great success, very rarely is the target still breathing after the first shot.

    There have been many posts about 223's and many more about pigs, but as far as I could see, none particularly answering this.

    My hunting rifle is a Tikka T3 in .223, 1 in 12" twist, (Leupold VX-II x6-x18 that i leave at x12 almost permanently)
    I currently handload my own rounds, and I'm looking at buying a second magazine for a quick switch to a 2nd load on the chance that we see a pig while spotlighting.

    I realise that .223 isn't really a pigging gun, but it will be a while until I buy another rifle. I am comfortable with my accuracy (load and skill), so shot placement should be easy enough, which brings me to my questions.

    1) Bullet Type.
    My current load is:
    50gr Nosler Ballistic Tips (orange tips)
    24.5gr AR2206H
    This gives me 1/4" groups (mickey mouse, clovers, one-holing etc. whatever you wish to call it) at 100yards. Head shots most of the time, except for difficult shots where i go for the Heart/Aorta.

    Now, I'm not certain on what bullet would be most suited here, but as far as I understand, the Nosler Ballistic will generally break up much too soon to be even the slightest bit effective on pigs. Perhaps something in the 60-65gr range? Solids/Hollow Point/Soft Point?

    I have seen .22-250 make quick work of pigs with 50gr Nosler Ballistics (neck shots) though admittedly it is travelling at ~3800fps as opposed to my ~3100fps.


    2) Shot Placement
    There are a few areas to aim for, behind the ear, the neck, below the shoulder (to get the heart).
    I know my 223 wont do much more than anger the pig if I hit his skull or shoulder blade, so any particular recommendations here in reference to bullet type/weight would be very much appreciated!
     
  2. Juma

    Juma

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    Recommend you switch to 8 twist and run some 62gr Barnes. No pig is going to go far. Trust me it works in New Zealand. ;)
     
  3. deronys

    deronys

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    Unfortunately there isn't a cheap way to switch to the 8" ]= I'm still studying at uni, and trying to afford a dual cab diesel, and possibly looking for a short barrel s/s shotgun.

    Is the 1 in 12" twist a bit slow for heavier bullets (say 62gr Barnes)?
     
  4. jasonf

    jasonf

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    63gr Sierra Semi Points will work in your 12 twist and hold together for considered well placed shots on pigs.
     
  5. deronys

    deronys

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    Using this load, would neck shots manage? Or would I need to take a little more time in placing it behind the ears?
     
  6. 40X Guy

    40X Guy Site $$ Contributor

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    I would go no higher than a 60 grain pill in a 12 twist especially a .223 case. Sounds like you have a great tackdriver load with the 50 BT's which is one of my favorite bullets for varminting. I would try Hornady 60 grain HP's (they are a flatbase) but a very accurate hard hitting bullet that may be a great match for your Tikka's 12 twist. Or second on the list may be Nosler 60 grain partitions. Another great pill.

    Frank
     
  7. deronys

    deronys

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    Both sound great, especially the Nosler, i'll have to check those out.

    I suppose behind the ear is ideal, though would they manage to drop a 100-150lb pig if placed on the neck?
     
  8. Larryh128

    Larryh128 Site $$ Contributor

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    The 62 gr Barnes is without a doubt THE bullet but it will hit a target flat out of a 12 twist at 100 yds, you need at least a 9 or preferably slower. The 60 gr Nosler Partion will stabilize OK but doesn't hold together super. My suggestion is to go to the 52gr Barnes that was designed for your situation. You should be able to run the same load for the 50's & 52's. It will do the job.
     
  9. deronys

    deronys

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    52's.... do you mean the 53g TSX? thats the closest I could find in Barnes' bullets.

    With that lighter bullet I know I'd stablise it well, though im curious if it would carry through and actually reach the brain through the ear, or spine? Admittedly, even if its not enough to kill it in one shot, it would still knock him over, for a quick second shot through the bottom of the jaw, correct?

    In case you haven't guessed, I'm new to pigs hehe

    Thank you all for your feedback and help so far!
     
  10. areaone

    areaone Site $$ Contributor

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    If you can get a 60 gr. Nosler Partition I am sure they will work with your 12 twist. I assume since your spotlighting your shots are 100 yds or less., I have shot the 60 gr Nosler out of a 12 twist 22/250. They shoot fine. A FMJ should work fine on headshots also.
     
  11. deronys

    deronys

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    I think I'll pick up the 55gr Barnes TSX (in federal), 60gr Nosler Partition (in federal) and Hornady's 55gr GMX and see how they go.

    I'm curious if anyone knows how Norma's 55gr factory load (semi point - errrrr with the lead tips) would go? They give me 3/4" groups at 100y and i know exactly where they place in reference to having zeroed my 50gr Nosler Ballistics. Though I expect theyd break up a bit too much.
     
  12. chuckw2

    chuckw2

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    Try the Barnes first,,,,they might be a much better application for your task if you don't make a perfect shot.

    Chuck
     
  13. matthias

    matthias

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    the barnes 45 grain banded solid does a great job on heavier game just need to make sure you hit where you want to as they will not expand at all.

    also the 224 match burner bullet from hornady does really well , so do the a-max bullets. the amax bullets really do better than one would think on pigs deer etc.
     
  14. BradY

    BradY

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    Hey mate

    We use the sierra roo load bulk bullets- 55gr gameking. They turn the 223 into the hammer of thor. We usually shoot them out of old 8 twist target barrels so they are spinning faster, but the 12 twist will shoot them fine. We usually run these if we are culling roos as sometimes the ballistic tips just dont cut it penetration wise for head shots- had too many ballistic tips splash, though the noslers are the best out of the lot.

    I know your pigs are probably better built that ours here in WA but I would try this bullet for sure. The soft points just penetrate better. We run 26.5gr- 27gr of 2208 in lapua brass but work your own loads up using ADI data.

    Ive shot heaps of pigs with an old 22-250 and 55gr vmax and it worked fine but our pigs are usually feeding in stubble paddocks are arent caked in mud. Plus to get one over 100 pounds is a little rare.

    Any well placed chest/head/neck shots with your 223 and the 55gr gameking/sierra roos should put a pig down out to probably 200m. Getting a bit light on for after that. You might need a bigger gun for anything longer or real big buggers. I have a 308 for that.
     
  15. wvuredneck09

    wvuredneck09 Site $$ Contributor

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    from personal experience inside 100 yards a 60 grain partition WILL go right through the skull and thus aiming between the eyes, behind the ear, or the neck should do just fine. I wouldn't even worry about a behind the shoulder shot on a smaller (say <150lb) pig if it was quartering away. Pigs can be killed all day with an arrow, aka it doesn't take a 300 wizard boomer to kill them like some hype them up to be. I just went pig hunting and guys in my group, including me killed with 223, 243, 308, 270WSM.
     
  16. vmaxpro

    vmaxpro Site $$ Contributor

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    55gr noslers and some 8208xbr is what I had success with when I had a 12 twist. Just shoot them right in the ear, and if you miss who cares let em suffer lol jk, sorta.
     
  17. GSPV

    GSPV Site $$ Contributor

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    Suggest putting it in the middle of the neck level with the eye. They'll drop like a ton of bricks.
     
  18. mytwo60

    mytwo60

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    I'm no expert but I've heard using FMJ (if it's legal) would tumble inside the critter. Especially with a slow twist. Should be instant death. Although not very accurate. :)
     
  19. wapiti25

    wapiti25 Site $$ Contributor

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    Keep in mind that the "copper bullets" are longer than lead for the same weight. A 53gr "copper" may be as long as a 60gr lead jacketed bullet. I'm shooting 60gr Nosler BT out of a 12 twist, no problems.
     
  20. TheSnake

    TheSnake Site $$ Contributor

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    So no one has asked so I will. Are you planning on keeping the meat? If I was not keeping the meat, I would not go for the head shot at any distance. I would go for the vitals or a neck depending on the way the pig presents itself. I know it's just a pig but that doesn't justify wounding one with a head shot and it suffering for days or weeks. I wouldn't go for the head shot even if I was looking for the meat but that's just me. I have seen several people botch the head shot at 2 feet with the pig in a trap and it takes another 10 to put it down because it won't sit still for the next attempt.
     

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