Preview – Hog Hunting With Colt’s LE901
Photography by Henry Z. De Kuyper
Be Vewy, Vewy, Quiet…
Humane. Free Range. Organic. Mil-Spec Gear. And a .308 Colt. All Good Words to Associate with Delicious Meat Products.
What if you also got the chance to associate words like AR-15, NVGs, and hollow point, with bacon, barbeque, and pork? Sounds like a winner, right? Texas is currently overrun with porcine invaders, and we got the chance to turn a few of them into dinner, putting together the ultimate hog-hunting kit in the process.
Over the past few years, we’ve had the chance to hunt hogs with everything from .22 LR to .50 BMG, and in the process have come to respect the lowly swine for its ability to survive just about anything mankind can throw at it. While you can legally shoot them with any weapon, it’s morally incumbent on us to ensure that Mr. Pig goes from doing what he does best to assuming ambient temperature in as short a timeframe as possible.
Shot placement is critical. And it becomes even more critical as our caliber and muzzle energy decrease. Because we oftentimes can’t ensure a perfect shot, particularly at night, it can pay dividends to step up to a bigger bullet than a 5.56mm platform can launch. While we certainly wouldn’t feel under-gunned with a .223, a bigger bore allows more margin of error on the shooter’s part and allows us to take shots that we might otherwise pass up. If you decide to go hog hunting with a 5.56mm AR, we highly recommend using a tough, premium bullet. The 62-grain Barnes TSX — available in the Barnes Vor-TX line or from Double Tap Ammunition — has always performed very well for us and produces outstanding results. For this trip, though, we wanted to see if the .30 caliber would give enough of an advantage to warrant the additional weight, expense, and recoil.
Hog Guns, Hog Calibers
The .300 Blackout is still riding a wave of popularity, and with good reason, so its inclusion in our battery for this trip was a no-brainer. Its ballistics are often compared to the Soviet cartridge it was meant to surpass, and for years the 7.62x39mm was the only game in town if you wanted a .30-caliber AR-15. Those prepared to step up to the AR-10 platform could avail themselves of the classic 7.62mm NATO round. We were, so we did. Rather than give the airline an opportunity to lose three separate rifles on the way to and from the hunt, we built the system around Colt’s clever LE901, which allows the user to attach an AR-15 upper to an AR-10-style lower. This meant we only took one serialized lower and also gave us spare uppers to share with the new friends we made in camp.
As most of the hunt was going to be under low-light/no-light conditions, the optics package was selected in order to allow us to acquire our targets under the widest range of conditions possible. We also wanted to span the gamut of weapon weights, from a lightweight 7.62x39mm build all the way to a chunky .308 Win, with a similar range of costs.
The low end of the scale was occupied by a build that started out as an AR in the Russian chambering — a Bushmasterkov, if you will. The Bushy’s standard handguards were ditched in favor of a 15-inch Troy unit, which required a VLTOR low-profile gas block in order to slide over the barrel. An optional rail section was added to the business end, to which was fitted a 500-lumen Surefire X300 Ultra weapon light. In keeping with the lightweight theme, we chose a Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 scope as the day optic. In terms of clarity, this scope gives up nothing to the more expensive models in their lineup, but it does sacrifice a little adjustability and light gathering in return for lower cost and weight. In order to run this upper at night without alerting pigs until after the first shot was fired, we mounted a Crimson Trace CMR-201 IR laser under the main optic. This kept it out of the way and ensured the lens didn’t become fogged with powder residue.
The mid-weight contender was our long-term test upper from Faxon Firearms, featured in the last issue of RECOIL. This time, we simply swapped out the .223 barrel and called it good. In case anyone missed Issue 6, the ARAK-21 is a long-stroke piston system with interchangeable barrels, blending some of the best features of both the AR and AK platforms. By undoing six screws, the user is able to exchange the standard .223 barrel for a .300 BLK tube, giving a decent jump up in terminal ballistics. Optics on this upper consisted of a Trijicon SRS red dot and a Laser Devices DBAL-D2 laser and illuminator.
For the rest of this article, subscribe digitally here: RECOIL Issue 7