Building the AR to Kill Hogzilla: The .458 SOCOM AR-15
January 17, 2012
It has been estimated that wild hogs caused over 12 million dollars of crop damage in Louisiana last year. These pigs can grow damn near up to 600 pounds, and two of them can reproduce 100 offspring in just a year. I think you can call that a huge problem. These nuisances don't need to be killed -- they need to be eradicated.
The hog-killing AR-15 we built earlier this year was in response to a local farmer who had been working the Federal Wildlife Agency. They were just getting overrun in that area, and it was crucial that the farmhands had a gun that actually had pretty short range, but a hell of a knockdown and good accuracy.
While it's heavily populated in that area , there's more livestock to worry about than houses. So, you might be shooting a hog in one field and have a herd of Holsteins on the other side of the fence 50 yards away. You don't want to use something that would just blow right through the hogs and endanger the bovines. You want something that will hit the target, knock it down and bury itself into the ground pretty quick.
My crew did a lot of the research, and we really liked the .458 SOCOM — we liked the variety of bullets with it, and we loved the ballistics. When we went out with it to do the deed, we were using 500-grain bullets, and I personally attest that will stop a hog dead in his tracks.
We built this gun out by moving the gas system back a tad, shortening the barrel and porting it out. We did some porting on the barrel in front of the gas block, incorporated a true integral suppressor for it using a titanium tube and made a inconel blast chamber in it for easy maintenance. We installed some Magpul furniture on the gun, mounted the vortex optics and just made hog meat, we made bacon.
One of the best results for the final product of this AR was that there was almost no recoil. Honestly, it was more like shooting a .22 conversion than a .458 conversion. The idea wasn't just so much hunting hogs — the idea was to kill hogs — so you wanted something quiet, something fast, something accurate and something that will knock them down.
We went out in the daytime with the customer and got on the airboat, and I took one out of a field with a slick little head-on shot. The .458 caught him right underneath his left eye and the bullet went down into the chest. It was like running it into a brick wall -- not another step, just dropped right there. Those boys just loved the gun, and it was a success for everyone at Red Jacket. It was pretty damn fun too.