Hunting hogs with slugs requires broad versatility and absolute dependability. Enter Mossberg.
The invitation was to hunt hogs in western Texas, and I’d be trying out a new 12-gauge hog hunting slug. So I needed a shotgun; one that would fire slugs accurately at 100 yards and better, and could handle the rough western Texas countryside of mesquite, cactus, rock and hard-packed sand. Plus, as night hog hunting was on the agenda, I’d need a shooting platform that would allow me to attach a light.
So I went tactical, and I went Mossberg.
Specifically, I got a Mossberg 500 Tactical Tri-Rail pump shotgun. This shotgun has a 20-inch barrel, holds eight rounds and has Mossberg’s Tri-Rail fore-end with three Picatinny rails for maximum tactical flexibility. I topped the shotgun with a Leupold VR-X 1.25-4X Hog Scope, and attached a Nite Hunter green light to one of the front-end rails.
A Chance in the Dark
The western Texas night was clear and cool, a scattershot of bright stars up above me. I ignored the smaller night sounds, and sat still, ears open. An hour later, just as I was feeling a little dozy, I heard snuffing and deep grunting.
I eased my Tri-Rail up onto the window ledge of the hunting blind and pointed the barrel toward the horizon. I pushed the Nite Hunter’s on switch, and then slowly brought the green beam of light down in the area of the grunting. The boar had a cream-colored coat, and his nose was in the dirt, rooting.
He was maybe 110 yards in front of me, and had no fear of the green light.
I took a deep breath, let it out and lined up the scope’s center reticle on his shoulder area and then down a bit, knowing a hog’s lungs and heart are fairly low and forward. I squeezed the trigger on the Mossberg.
Through my scope, all I saw was a blast of light and smoke, a thick cloud that reflected the night hunting light back into my face. Suddenly blinded, I pulled my eyes away from the optic, but that didn’t help. It took maybe 30 seconds for the smoke to clear, though it felt like an hour, my heart beating in my ears. When I could see, somewhat, I placed the light’s beam back over the area but saw nothing. Zero. No pig.
I moved the light to either side, thinking maybe he was wounded and had staggered off. Nope.
The possibility of a miss just about killed me, in large part because I knew there was no way I could blame the Mossberg hog hunting rig. A miss was all mine.
Back home a couple of weeks earlier, I had taken the Tri-Rail to my shooting range and sighted it in, first at about 30 meters and then at 100 meters.
The VX-R scope was a perfect fit for the shotgun, sturdy and compact, and within a few shots, I was able to get the shotgun hitting where I pointed.
The combo, along with Winchester’s new XT hog slugs, placed three slugs touching at 100 meters. I was impressed. I thought back to 25 years earlier. Yes, I was the guy with the paper plate for a target, lobbing in four “pumpkin ball” shotgun slugs at 75 yards as my preparation for that fall’s deer hunting.
And I remember being pretty darned happy when all four slugs cut paper, a “grouping” not even a consideration. Since then, I’d done mostly rifle hunting for deer-sized game. Shotguns were for waterfowl and turkeys, and certainly weren’t accurate enough for bigger game.
Of course, a lot has changed in the world of shotguns and shotgun slugs in a quarter century. When the Tri-Rail rig started laying in those slugs nearly on top of each other, I knew I had a real hunting gem. The proven pump feeding system worked flawlessly. And the rails would let me put on all manner of accessories to fit the hunting I was doing and conditions.
A Hog Found
Back at my western Texas hunting stand, I was thinking about climbing down and walking to where I’d last seen the boar to look for blood, but then I caught movement through my scope.
It took me a few seconds to figure out what that jerking movement was right at ground level, and then I understood: a hog’s foot kicking at the air.
Actually, I hadn’t missed. The Tri-Rail had placed the slug right where I had aimed, and the slug had hit him like a freight train, flattening the hog where he stood. In fact, his nose was essentially in the same place it had been when I shot. The rest of him, all 230 pounds, had been flipped right over where he stood, feet facing me.
That was the first hog I’d taken with a shotgun, and he was a real trophy to me. He was my first cream-colored hog, and he had thick, curly hair like I’d never seen on a hog.
I really love my shotgun hog hunting rig, and will be taking it afield in the near future, too. Deer, bear and hogs — I can hunt them all with my Mossberg Tri-Rail knowing it will do the job.