44 Mag Wild Boar Pistol

Click for full size popup photo As regular Frugal Outdoorsman readers know, there's an old wild boar living on my riverbottom land. I take frequent 2-mile round trip hikes on the bottom land to check a Paleoindian site for looter damage, and I usually see his tracks during those hikes. The track on the right with a 30-30 round beside it for scale is an example. He's always alone, which is common with old boars. They hang with the herd only when a sow is in heat.

Twice while headed out I saw his fresh tracks headed in. He had followed me as I walked into the woods. Maybe that should cause alarm, but I don't think so. I've walked in to the Paleosite and out at least 100 times over the last 4 years, and by now the old boar knows me. He didn't get to be his age and size by being dumb. I'm always armed and he knows it.

Click for full size popup photo A couple of years ago I considered hunting him. Then, a year ago, in 2004, I found the scrape tree shown on the right. He visited the scrape every day or two and refreshed it with his tusks and rubbed his sides against the oozing rosin. I could simply place a leaning tree stand near the scrape tree and kill him, I realized. But why kill him? He was too old and tough to eat, and, besides, I liked the thought of sharing my woods with him. Then an idea struck me: Why not capture him with a camera?

I looked for a place to install a leaning tree stand, but limbs and heavy brush would obscure a good camera view of the scrape. Besides, it might take a day or two of watching, and in order to stretch my legs I'd have to climb down from the stand and climb back up again—way too much movement. I needed a ground blind. And there about 40 feet from the scrape tree was the perfect spot.

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In 2001, a little dog I owned bayed the boar in the pipe foundation of this dead oil well. I heard the little dog raising heck at something. I was packing my Lyman Great Plains Hunter .50 caliber. I eased forward and peeked through trees behind the camera and not shown in this photo. It was dead of winter with no leaves on the trees and bushes you see here. The little dog was dashing back and forth just outside the foundation and barking like crazy at a big, black, bad wild boar who was inside the foundation and making every effort to slash the dog with his tusks. With much wild boar experience behind me, I estimated the boar's weigh at 175 lbs and his age at 5 years. Having zero desire to try a single shot rifle on an enraged wild boar, I eased backwards and quietly slipped to safety.
It was just inside the edge of a large thicket for cover. A sweetgum tree stood in a perfect spot for a back rest. I could easily install a natural-looking cut-off-limb blind out about 3 feet from the sweetgum. I could place my fold-up stool behind the blind and beside the sweetgum and sit comfortably there for hours at a time. Perfect. But wait. That boar would be only 40 feet away. Suppose he didn't run away from the sound of the camera but ran toward the sound of the camera! I needed a powerful and handy weapon with me in the blind.

My Ruger Super Blackhawk 44 magnum pistol filled the need perfectly. However, the 240 gr hard-cast bullets I normally used would kill the boar for sure, but they would put a hole completely through him and dissipate much of their energy on the woods beyond him. They might not drop the boar in his tracks unless one hit him in the head. I would only have time to aim at hog, not at hog head. I needed a bigger, softer bullet. I estimated a time lapse of about 4 seconds from the moment of my realization that he was charging to the moment when he entered the blind with me. I would get one fast, frantic shot, and it must stop him.

The reader at this point probably thinks I'm a damned fool.   However, an element of danger adds much excitement to hunting.   Ask anyone who hunts grizzly bear or Cape Buffalo.   Besides, who wants to die a lonely old man in a nursing home?

Click for full size popup photo The Lee C430-310-RF looked perfect for my needs. I would cast the 310 gr bullet in pure lead for maximum expansion. From experience, I knew I could push a well-lubed pure lead bullet to about 1200 fps without barrel leading. Plus, this bullet would have a gas check, so 1200 fps would pose no problem. At that velocity it would mushroom quickly and expend all of its energy on the boar.

I ordered a mold and began casting. It cost about $18 from MidSouth Shooters Supply.

Click for full size popup photoHere we see my front porch casting setup with my kittycat helper on the front steps. That's a Lee 10 lb pot with a Lyman casting thermometer inside it. Notice a scrap piece of leather upon which I drop the bullets directly from the mold and let them roll to a slow stop. If not for the soft landing, a pure lead bullet would have a visible dent.

Note the red carpenter's pencil which I use to lube the bottom of the sprue plate and the top of the mold blocks. Note the rusty old baking pan which contains all the casting equipment and which catches every last particle of lead. The session over and the equipment put away, I dump the pan into the cooled-down pot. No waste and no pollution.

The Lee C430-310-RF mold you see was probably the easiest to use mold I've ever held in my hands. All the bullets dropped out like they were lubed with butter. Good job, Lee Precision.

The casting session shown above produced 152 bullets. At a cost of only $18 for the mold, I figure it amortized itself with its first usage considering the fact that big ol' factory-cast 44 bullets cost from 10¢ to 25¢ each plus shipping.

Here's the data on those 152 bullets:

  • Alloy = pure lead.
  • Average weight naked = 305.94 grs. ES = 3.6 grs. SD = .832. Average weight with gas check and two layers of Lee Liquid Alox Lube = 314.24 grs.
  • Average diameter from both cavities = an extremely uniform .4305". Again, good job, Lee Precision.
  • Average length naked = .835".
  • Average length with gas check = .854".
Click for full size popup photo I installed gas checks on the bullets and sized them with a Lee push-through .430" sizer. I lubed them before installing the gas checks and sizing, and I lubed them again after sizing.

Here we see the bullets in the plastic bowl I used to lube them. The loaded round is for scale.

I loaded the bullets using a near-maximum charge of surplus WC820 (n). The Chrony results were:

  • AV = 1225 fps; ES = 15; SD = 7
Several cannister grade powders will produce 1200+ fps with a 314 gr cast bullet in a 44 magnum revolver. Check the Hodgdon and Accurate Arms web sites for loading data. A word of warning: a 314 gr bullet at 1225 fps from a handgun kicks like a f-$#&*&-g mule. After six shots, my right hand was very sore. Also, before firing the first shot, tighten all screws. If one has a tendency to loosen, now's the time for a daub of LocTite®.

Click for full size popup photoHere we see a loaded round and two bullets. According to Lee, the meplat diameter of the
C430-310-RF is .340". That's almost 3/8" in diameter. That's a big meplat and makes the bullet an even better stopper of dangerous game.

The bullet will stand on its nose!

The C.O.A.L. of the round you see was 1.642" and a little over the SAAMI maximum of 1.610". It worked fine in my Ruger pistol, but it might not feed in your lever action. However, look closer at the round and you'll see that the bullet could be seated a little deeper.

With an R-P case trimmed with a Lee hand trimmer and with a bullet seated in the middle of its crimping groove as you see in the photo, my measured usable case capacity was 1.4 cc.

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Here we see the first 4 bullets fired.

I fired the one at the upper left, then lowered the pistol's rear sight and fired the other 3 rounds. To my delight, the 314 gr @ 1225 fps load centered exactly above the POI for my regular 240 gr load.

Click for full size popup photo To my further delight, the 314 gr load centered the target with the rear sight all the way down and touching the frame. To re-zero the pistol for the 240 gr load, all I had to do was turn the elevation screw up, out, exactly 1/2 turn. Changing zero doesn't get much easier than that!

The target was the 5 1/2" bullseye of an NRA B-8C (P) 25 yard pistol target placed at 25 yards. Three shots in 2 3/4" at 25 yards as you see here wasn't much to write home about, but I wasn't loading for tiny groups. My goal was all 314 gr bullets in the bullseye, and I met that goal with these shots and all which followed.

The Taylor Knock Out value is a widely used guide for judging a load's ability to stop dangerous game. For my 44 magnum 314 gr @ 1225 fps load, the TKO computes at 23.57. That load is virtually identical to the TKO value for a 300 Winchester magnum 180 gr rifle load at 23.76.

I added the above to the 314 gr bullet's huge meplat and pure lead composition, and I figured I had the ideal wild boar load in case the ol' boy decided to share my blind. One 44 magnum round anywhere in the body of my wild boar will stop him, no doubt about it in my mind.

Click for full size popup photoHere's a close up of my pistol's bore after about 20 pure lead bullets at 1225 fps.

I call this "black bore" condition. Not only is there zero evidence of lead anywhere along the bore, the bore actually looks somewhat lubricated. I tune cast bullet loads for black bore condition in all of my cast bullet rifles and pistols. A bore in this condition and used with a load tuned for this condition will never need cleaning.

Open the full size picture and notice the sharpness of my pistol's lands at the crown. This pistol was made in 1974, the first year of New Model Super Blackhawk production. More than 50,000 bullets have exited its muzzle. A barrel kept in black bore condition will last forever.

Well, the pistol and load ready for the boar in case he did something uncharacteristically stupid, I needed a holster, right? From out of the drawer in which they had rested for about 15 years, I retrieved my Uncle Mike's camo belt and #9 camo holster (discontinued). I never liked that belt, and now I liked it even less. I put it and the holster on, holstered the pistol, then sat in a chair and pretended I was in my boar blind. To pull the pistol with its 7 1/2" barrel required a loooong arm movement to the rear. Then, to aim it required another loooong arm movement to the front. The boar would be in my lap before the pistol pointed in his direction.

I removed the #9 holster from the belt and put my brain to work. What I needed was a way to clamp the holster to the outside of my right calf. I dug out the box of nylon straps and buckles I had ordered several months earlier from strapworks.com

After a couple of hours of head scratching, I came up with a design. Here's what I needed:

  • About 5 feet of olive drab HWP112OD Heavyweight Polypro Webbing 1 1/2" @ .20¢ per foot.
  • 1 Side Release Buckle Black 1 1/2" SRB-B112 @ $1.25 each.
  • About 4 feet of olive drab HWP1OD Heavyweight Polypro Webbing 1" @ .15¢ per foot.
  • 1 Side Release Buckle Black 1" SRB-B1 @ .80¢ each.
Believe it or not, strapworks.com will fill the above $3.65 order.

Click for full size popup photo Using epoxy, I glued a ~2" piece of 1 1/2" webbing to the toe of the holster in order to make a loop through which to slide the 1" webbing. The epoxy is under the rubber bands only, which are there to hold down the webbing while the epoxy dries.

Using more epoxy, I attached the webbing to the buckles. The clothespins hold the webbing together while the glue dries. The epoxy is under the clothespins only, which leaves a hinge in the middle of the joint.

Glue dry, I cut the webbing to the proper lengths and sealed the ends with a match flame. The proper lengths for me were 1 1/2" = 53" and 1" = 39". Your needs will vary according to the size of your belly. Mine measures 40".

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Here's the holster in the carry, walking through the woods position.

Notice the 1" webbing looped around the toe of the holster. It keeps the holster from sliding back and forth as I walk.

Click for full size popup photoHere's the sitting, waiting for the boar position. Notice the 1" webbing looped around the toe of the holster again.

To install the holster around my calf, I simply removed it from around my waist and looped the
1 1/2" webbing tightly around my thigh just above my knee. Then I ran the 1" webbing around my ankle and tightened the buckle.

The holster, tight against my leg, does not move when the pistol is drawn lightning fast. Note the proximity of my right hand to the butt of the pistol. I can draw and aim the pistol in about the same amount of time it would take to simply draw the pistol from an at-the-waist position.

With the pistol in the holster as you see it here, I walked around my front yard to determine whether or not it would stay in place during short movements, like stretching legs, taking a leak, etc. It stayed in place.

The pistol ready for the wild boar, I need to head for the bottom land and build a blind. Stay tuned to the Frugal Outdoorsman for the resulting photographs—if I get them. . . .

R.I.P.: Wild boar
2000? - 2006
18-wheeler victim

Copyright 2005 by Junior Doughty

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