Sometimes, the unexpected that happens on a tactical hog hunt can turn out better than you could have imagined—as I found out on a recent hog hunt sponsored by the good people at NRA Outdoors.
I got to my hog hunting stand way late and well past dark. Actually, I’d been there on time, more than an hour ago, when I spotted a malfunction with my rifle that forced me back to the main house of the ranch we were hunting. There, I grabbed the only AR on hand, a Daniel Defense M4V1 gas-operated carbine in 5.56mm.
I could have taken a bolt action. But this was a night hunt with the chance for multiple targets, as good-sized sounders of 20 and 30 hogs roamed the Spike Box Ranch here in West Texas. Plus, after midnight we were doing a spot-and-stalk along the dirt roads using thermal spotting equipment.
Definitely AR territory. Only problem? I hadn’t taken a single shot with the DD M4V1 once at that point. In fact, it had only been fired a relative handful of times in its whole existence. On the job training, on the hunt tac application.
I climbed up into my stand and tried to survey the “Honey Hole,” as our guides called it. “Hole,” in that I was on a deer stand perched on a bluff, so the land directly before me dropped away a good 100 feet or better; “Honey,” in that a pond lay in front of me, the nearest edge of it maybe 70 yards from the stand, and the water plus a nearby feeder reportedly drew in the hogs like a magnet.
Had I gotten there as originally planned—about an hour before dark—I would’ve been able to scan the area fully, understand the landscape, pinpoint the trails and other access to the pond. Instead, I peered into the dark, trying to figure out where hogs might appear, and fumbled around with the M4V1, putting it to my shoulder and trying out various shooting angles.
I had one bit of help. Large thunderstorms bracketed me to the north and southeast, and every minute or so huge spider webs of electric white light jumped across the night skies, providing a snapshot of the land below.
I wasn’t in the stand a half hour, when, during one lightning flash, I caught sight of movement to my left. I pivoted myself and my M4V1 over, and snapped on my Nite Hunter NHV 300. The NHV 300 is a beefed up, 300-lumen version of the company’s green L.E.D. hunting light I’d used in the past, and it was attached to the Daniel Defense Omega X 12.0 FSP quad at the forward nine o’clock position.
Through the EOTech EXPS3 holographic sight mounted on the top rail, I saw a nice-sized boar, completely oblivious to my green light, moving from left to right. Now or never. He was maybe 60 yards away. I put the red dot of the EOTech behind his right ear and down a few inches, and squeezed the trigger.
The 55-grain round made by Dynamic Research Technologies flattened the boar right on the spot. He fell over onto his left side and started rolling downhill towards the pond, legs stiff and extended, flip, flip, flip, and then “splash!” right into the water!
Later that night, I had a chance at another pig, this one on the far side of the pond, and that was a miss. No problem, I figured. The night was young, rain was coming down but the winds were leveling off. Once the rain cleared, I figured the hogs would be out in force. But a big line of storms, it turned out, was heading right at me, and my hunting guide showed up before midnight. He apologized, knowing I wanted to stay out all night, but he had to take me out then, before the storm hit, or I’d be stuck here until later morning if not (and more likely) tomorrow afternoon.
You see, this part of West Texas is all mesquite and cactus growing in loose, sandy soils. Add a decent amount of rain and the dirt roads running through the Spike Box turn into greasy, impassable mud. So, I had to leave the Honey Hole very early, and never got back out to this part of the Spike Box.
However, between a couple of us, we must have gone through four or five boxes of .223 ammo on the M4V1 at the Spike Box range, shooting steel and paper. We were one sling short, so I carried it by hand for several hours through the mesquite and cactus on an early afternoon spot and stalk on another property. Based on all that, I can say the Daniel Defense M4V1 is a fine hog hunter, compact and solid, light weight, accurate and out-of-the-box reliable.
The accuracy was proven at the range, where I soon had the M4V1 punching out sub-MOA groups at 100 yards. Yes, you read that right. It’s a Mil-Spec rifle that shot that well right out of the box. I shot off a variety of .223 ammunition without a single feeding problem.
For hog hunting with a 5.56mm/.223 platform, I prefer to use heavier ammunition in the 70-plus grain range, so I like the fact that the M4V1’s 16-inch barrel is built with 1×7 rifling instead of the more common (non-Mil-Spec) 1×9 rifling. The faster spin of the 1×7 stabilizes these longer .223 bullets for better accuracy, I’ve found.
In this age of customized AR’s, it’s a pleasure to use a true Mil-Spec rifle like the M4V1. Upper receiver, lower receiver, bolt carrier group—it’s all 100 percent Mil-Spec, sturdy, reliable, and built with a definite tactical purpose.
From the factory, it’s a very handy rifle, too, in the stand or on foot, weighing in at just 6 pounds, 7.7 ounces. The adjustable Magpul buttstock snaps out easily and provides a fine cheek weld. In my case, on this hunt, a yet to be announced US based manufacturer provided SHWAT™ some aftermarket furniture you can see in some of the pictures.
The Daniel Defense A2 Style Vertical Grip vertical grip works surprisingly well in a deer stand, too, at least the one at the Honey Hole. I laid the rifle over the window sill and used the vertical grip as a stabilizer on the sill. The only thing I would do differently on my hunt? Use a 10 round magazine. The 30-round long PMag I used, combined with the vertical grip, tended to catch on and bang against the window sill, limiting my mobility. A shorter magazine would’ve cured that problem.
What I’d really like to do is a three or four day tactical hog hunt with only a Daniel Defense M4V1. It is, I suspect, a much better rifle that I know, and I’d love to prove it on another hog hunt, staying out all night this time, weather be damned, and give it a more thorough test.
But even with my admittedly limited experiences, I can say without reservation that the Daniel Defense M4V1 is outstanding tactical rifle. This gun ran flawlessly, right out of the box, with only some lube added. This rifle proved extremely capable at the range, stalking through heavy brush, and while sitting atop a Honey Hole! Just what you’d expect from Daniel Defense.
On the web:
Daniel Defense M4V1 Carbine:
Dynamic Research Technologies:
Nite Hunter Illumination Systems:
Spike Box Ranch: