As feral hog hunting has surged in popularity across the country, ammunition manufacturers have responded with a number of “hog-specific” loads designed to penetrate better and bring down stout, wild swine. Most ammo makers have concentrated on rifle loads, but among the newest offerings are the Hog Wild shotshells by Hevi-Shot, a company best known for non-lead waterfowl loads.
Hog Wild is available in 12-gauge only, and it comes in two varieties: a 3-inch shell that holds two, .625-caliber zinc-alloy balls, and a 31/2-inch shell containing three of the same. Each ball weighs about 200 grains, and at a claimed velocity of 1250 fps, produces more than 800 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy.
The balls are spaced apart inside the shell via Hevi-Shot’s BC1 technology, a small plastic spacer with a cup on each end that cradles the balls. The spacer guides the balls down the barrel and keeps the interval between them intact; once out of the muzzle, the spacer is designed to stay attached to the balls as they hurtle toward the target and create a tighter pattern than if they were loose and hitting each other.
At 20 yards and closer, the Mossberg 500 Tactical Tri-Rail shotgun I used for the 3-inch shells and the Benelli Nova I employed for testing the 31/2-inch loads both put the balls on target, plenty close together to kill a pig. But at 30 yards, what had been fist-sized patterns spread out to the point that I could get only one of the balls on target with either load. At 40 yards I may have been able to put a ball into a hog, but who knows where in the hog it would hit? The Mossberg had a fixed cylinder bore, while the Benelli had a modified choke tube. A quick call to the people at Hevi-Shot and I came away with a new directive: Hog Wild works best in full-choked shotguns.