Which calibre for a perfect wild boar driven hunt? This topic is really difficult. Because every hunter has their own theory and is swayed by his own experiences, and by what he has heard from those he considers expert. So, it’s all a bit of a minefield.

The difficulty of the moment

I would like to say that for a quick and clean kill, as it should be, first and foremost, the shot must be placed well. Which is not always easy during driven hunts.

Then there is the bulk of the wild boar specimen to be considered: for the choice of the calibre, we must necessarily think about the maximum bulk, but it is evident that a bullet destined for a large male wild boar of 150-200 kilos, will have a very different effect on a wild boar of 30 kilos…

And distance also has a role to play. But you certainly can’t change the type of bullet in the barrel chamber!

Practical rules

There are some practical rules that are best to keep in mind. Three factors are decisive for killing game on the spot:

  1. the ability of the projectile to work in the physical-mechanical sense, meaning transmission of a lot of energy;
  2. the ability to cause nervous shock with inhibitory reflexes guaranteed by the maximum penetration of the projectile;
  3. the ability to cause hydrodynamic shock if the projectile has a speed of at least 800 m/sec.

Each projectile, based on its geometry, components and structure, can cause different injuries or shocks and have a different stopping power. But short and high-calibre bullets are less sensitive to vegetation, so the faster a bullet is, the more it tends to deform and fragment on impact and to give up its energy without penetrating.

The choice of calibre is crucial, but the most balanced and functional choice depends on the analysis of the context, the environment and the wild boars.

Availability of calibres

The wild boar is an ungulate, so can be very resistant and is capable of taking hits well. For hunting this animal, calibres from 7 mm upwards are recommended, with bullet weights of 150 to 180 grains. This is due to the fact that adult specimens can weigh up to 200 kg. But, which calibre exactly?

I compared the calibres of the controlled expansion Browning BXC ammunition for the European market, obtaining useful information, and not on paper only.

CalibreBullet typeBullet weight (grs)V0 (m/sec)V100 (m/sec)E0 (Joule)E100 (Joule)
.270 WinchesterBrowning BXC1459028363.8243.281
7 mm Remington MagnumBrowning BXC1558998294.0603.454
.308 WinchesterBrowning BXC1688607904.0213.400
.30-06 SpringfieldBrowning BXC1858237624.0593.480
.300 Winchester MagnumBrowning BXC1858798164.6353.991

My three choices

Three recognised calibres

.308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield and .300 Winchester Magnum are arguably the most popular calibres for wild boar hunting. It is no coincidence that they are covered by all manufacturers of semi-automatic rifles, such as Browning and Winchester. As you can see above, the .30-06 and the .300 can reach the best results with the heaviest bullet.

Each one has its own specificity

Three great choices. However:

  • the .308 is powerful enough and adequate for wild boar hunting: it is accurate, plus it has reduced recoil, but considerable terminal energy. It is easily available, with a wide range of bullet types and weights
  • the .30-06, preferred by some, which is the most widespread calibre in the world, considered to be the universal calibre, because by varying the weight of the bullet it is possible to shoot down almost any type of game in the world. It has a remarkable, well-controlled terminal energy. It features good accuracy and a fairly flat trajectory even if not comparable to that of the .308
  • the .300 is an all-rounder for those who prefer power and speed above the .30-06. It is a magnum cartridge, with a 67 mm long case, to be compared to the 63 mm of the .30-06 and the 51 mm of the .308. The recoil is much more decisive than the other two, but it can be remedied with a good muzzle brake.

And you, what is your favourite calibre for a perfect wild boar driven hunt?