Field Test: Smith & Wesson’s M&P15—One Fine Tactical Hog Rifle

mccombie1hog.jpg

He was probably a good 250 yards away.  I actually heard him first, walking through the dead leaves.  I assumed it was a deer.  A glance through my binoculars revealed black and squat and knew I had a pig coming in.  Heart went, stutt-TER!  I watched the coal black wild boar trot down the far wooded hillside.  He got to the edge of the woods and paused, his nose to the air, then headed into the field.  He seemed to know there was some corn scattered around the center of the field and made right for it.  Once he got his nose down in the corn, he turned and gave me a broadside view at about 100 yards.

I raised my Performance Center M&P15 rifle in 5.56mm, made by Smith & Wesson, and laid it over the front rail of the stand.  Placing the red dot from the EOTech holographic sight on the pig’s shoulder, I let out my breath and squeezed off a shot.

And promptly missed, pulling the shot high!

The pig let out a squeal and a snort, spun around and took off at a dead run—right in my direction.

My tripod stood along the edge of a woodline. The pig ran hard, bouncing over the ground, and crossed in front of me from my left to right.  I fired again as he crossed, without much of a hope to tell you the truth, nothing but a blur of fur in my sight picture.

Another miss.

The boar cut into the trees maybe 25 yards to the right of my stand.  Still moving, the pig did slow somewhat once inside the cover of the trees.  I raised up off my seat, swiveled to my right in a half crouch, my arms shaking.  I could hear the pig’s deep grunts;  he sounded relieved, scared, and generally mad as hell, all at once.  He stepped between two trees and I squeezed the trigger of the M&P15.

The boar reared back for a moment, then put his snout into the leaves and dirt and started pushing forward into several figure-eights, snorting furiously.  He did this for maybe a minute, then literally flipped over onto his back and kicked at the air a dozen times before he went still.

Time between my first miss and the shot that hit home?  Maybe 15 heart-thumping seconds.  Wow!

That was last November at the Chain Ranch, 45,000 rolling acres spread out over west-central Oklahoma.  Ranch manager Newley Hutchison and his crew have a reputation for producing high quality white-tails.  It’s well-deserved.  But although I saw some very nice bucks, I just couldn’t get a shot.  Fortunately, the wild boar showed up in the late afternoon, day two of my hunt, and more than made up for not getting a deer.

The pig weighed in at just over 200 pounds, with three inch tusks and a fierce-looking mug.  My guide, Justin White, estimated he was at least four years old, and maybe five.  He was a solid porker, too.

I was using a 79-grain Terminal Shock .223 round made by Dynamic Research Technologies (DRT) of Grant City, Missouri.  The DRT round is lead-free and frangible, made with a highly-compressed core of metal powder inserted into a copper jacket.  The bullet punched through a good inch of hard gristle covering the pig’s ribs, the ribs themselves, and then essentially exploded (as it was designed to do), delivering all the round’s terminal energy into the boar’s chest cavity.

The Performance Center M&P15 is one sweet tactical rifle, with a 20-inch stainless barrel, a two-stage trigger and a nice balance. Extremely accurate at distance, as I discovered during some practice target shooting before the hunt, it is also a very good “in-close” rifle too—just ask that hog—easy to swing onto nearby targets.  The M&P’s RealTree Advantage Max-1 camouflage finish not only looked great, it shed water, dust and dirt, no problem.

The rifle was topped with an L-3 EOTech XPS2-0 holographic sight plus a three-power EOTech G23 magnifier.  I certainly can’t blame my two misses on EOTech!  The sight picture was clear and sharp, and ability to reduce or increase the brightness levels (over a dozen brightness level options) meant I could see right up to the end of legal shooting time.

A good deer rifle?  The M&P15 fills that bill, too, as five of the people I was hunting with at the Chain Ranch took nice eight- and ten-point bucks with their M&P’s, all with one shot of the DRT ammunition.  None of those bucks went more than 40 yards.

For the record, though, my boar weighed a good 50 pounds more than any of those deer.  That gristle over his ribs felt like he was wearing a heavy Kevlar jacket, too, making him a much tougher-skinned beast than any deer I’ve ever seen or shot.

That was my first wild pig and I am definitely hooked.  I’m already planning several tactical pig hunts for this spring and summer. I hope to use another M&P15 on future hunts, including Smith & Wesson’s newest M&P in .300 Whisper. I had a chance to fire a .300 Whisper while at the Chain Ranch, and it looks to have all the makings of a fine hog rifle.

I will let you know for sure in a later blog!


On the web:

Smith & Wesson:  http://www.smith-wesson.com/
L-3 EOTech:  http://www.eotech-inc.com/
DRT Ammunition:  http://drtammo.com/
The Chain Ranch:  http://www.chainranch.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*