Let's talk shooting in the head.

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Mr. Dot, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. Mr. Dot

    Mr. Dot Well-Known Member

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    Howdy
    I butchered my first pig last weekend and will do pig #2 tomorrow morning.
    The butchering went pretty well but the slaughtering went way South.
    Without going into the gory details it took 4 shots to drop him.
    I studied up on shot location and being a fairly steady hand with a pistol I'm sure I shot where I intended. The fact he wouldn't drop makes me wonder about where that location really should be.
    My first shot was with a .22 below the ear and directed down toward the snout. This produced a lot of blood and brain matter out his mouth but he stayed steady on his feet.
    2nd shot was again .22 and in the cross mark drawn from eyes to opposite ears. I crouched to pig level for the angle. He squealed, ran around the pen and stopped to stand steady again.
    Shot #3 was again in the forehead - same angle but this time with a .38 special. He ran around the pen and then into his house.
    4th shot - .38 - was AGAIN in the sweet spot between eyes and ears and with this shot he finally reacted as I expected him to with the first. Dropped like a sack of bricks, kicked a bit and then it was over.
    Is this a fluke? He was a big pig - 360 live weight/290 and change dressed.
    Advice on the angle for the head shot? Needless to say, I don't want to go through that again if I can help it.
    I'll stick with the .38 rather than the .22 and am even considering .45ACP for insurance although that seems like overkill (so to speak). But that's what I thought about the .38 before last Saturday.
    Opinions?
    Thanx.
     
  2. commomsense

    commomsense Beef,Its whats for dinner

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    We use a 410. to kill our pigs. Still sometimes they keep there feet steady for about 10 seconds before going down. A 22. is to small. We also feed our pigs fresh cow milk so their heads are a lot harder. I guess the milk is the reason we have to use a 410.
     

  3. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I'm not sure about the ballistics, but I've always used a .22 rifle and never had any problem.
     
  4. Mr. Dot

    Mr. Dot Well-Known Member

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    Do they generally drop straight away with your .22? Where do you shoot?
    That this guy continued to stand with three shots to the head was a real drag for me and possibly for him if he still had the ability to think after that first shot. I'm fishing for info for the best way and place to shoot.
    Maybe he was just a tough hombre pig.
     
  5. pjd

    pjd Well-Known Member

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    We shoot in the cross between the eyes and ears but we use a .22 rifle with high velocity ammo and they drop right down. A pistol doesn't shoot as hard as a rifle. We have never had one do anything but fall down, do you have access to a rifle? note: a .22 magnum rifle will shoot on into the neck and caused some meat to be bloodshot.

    We lead them out to a place we don't mind them bleeding on and throw some feed down, as they are eating we put the barrel a few inches above the spot we are aiming at and pull the trigger. As soon as they fall someone else sticks them quick and gets back before he starts kicking. The pig is never stressed because he never knows it is coming.
     
  6. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    No, I hear ya lad. It's very distressing to think that you haven't done the job as humanely as possible. As pjd explained, and you tried, just toss some feed out, stand at the head of your hog and envision an X between the eyes and ears. I put the barrel right up close and squeeze.

    I can tell pjd doesn't understand ballistics either, but like him, I think a pistol round doesn't have enough time to develop velocity or something like that.

    Anymore, I almost always have the butcher come out and slaughter and I notice that he almost exclusively uses a .22 for everything except uncorraled cattle, for which he carries a 30-30.
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I am the local executioner when process time arrives in the community. I use a 22 rifle and fresh long rifle ammo. The cross between the eyes and at an angle where the bullet goes high into the head does the trick flawlessly. When you next butcher open the hogs head and locate the brain. It is located higher in the head than you may realize. Once you see where it is placed you will not have any problems in the future.
     
  8. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    I usually use either a 22 Long Rifle or 22 Magnum. The Long Rifle works just fine, but I use it in a rifle. Make the X between eyes and ears, head down, feeding. We got a free 750 pound sow to butcher and I climbed up on a shed with a 357 Magnum revolver and 125 grain ammo because the 1000 pound boar wasn't too friendly. I stuck her right in the X marks the spot. She walked off. Hmm. She walked back. I saw I had hit her exactly right, so I put one more round in the same hole and she dropped like a turd in a churn.
     
  9. HogEmAll

    HogEmAll Well-Known Member

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    I use a .22 pistol. The first time around, I shot the hog right between the eyes. He dropped to the ground but flopped around for longer than I'd like. The second hog was ---- higher up in the skull. The result was an immidiate drop and very little kicking. We also pour some food down to relax the hog and hold still.
     
  10. Mr. Dot

    Mr. Dot Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all.
    I have to admit I'm leery of the .22 at this point but I'll give it another go with a rifle this time and angle higher than before. I'll also have a "big brother" to fall back on if needed.
    Most accounts I've read of killing sound like a walk in the park - bang! they're down and you stick them. It was damned unnerving to chase him around the pen while he was gouting blood and brains. And staying squarely on his feet. He went a good fifteen minutes from the first shot. I even had a sledge on hand and almost tried that before that last .38 to the head.
    On a brighter note, what I've heard about this being the best pork you've ever eaten is true in spades.
    :1pig:
     
  11. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    just did two pigs, see the thread about butchering pics.

    I boiled the head and gave it to my dogs. Once they cleaned the skull, I took a look at it and saw where and how the .22 penetrated the skull. It was very informative.

    The first pig was a bad shot, off the to the side and didn't penetrate the brain cavity. This pig took a second shot to drop. The second was a perfect shot, and the round penetrated the skull but didn't make it out the back. I may as well have turned a blender on inside the pigs head.

    The pig’s brain is about the size of a plum, not much bigger. The sweet spot is pretty small. Take that skull from the last pig you shot and figure out what you did wrong. If you don’t have dogs to clean if off for you boil the thing until the meat all falls off.

    Pete
     
  12. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Just slaughtered our pig a couple weeks ago. Fed early on the day before, put a little grain down while doing the deed. 22 rifle with a .22 LR bullet about a foot away. Spot where imaginary lines cross from ears to eyes. Angle as straight on as I could get it. Pig dropped like a stone and I made the stick. Whole process was over in two or three minutes.

    I hope it goes better for you next time. Hard enough on the slaughterer when things go well, when it goes badly it's enough to send ya back to the grocery store for your meat. I had to give up on rabbits because whacking them on the back of the head while holding them by the back legs wasn't working for me.
     
  13. BobK

    BobK Well-Known Member

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    I've never had a problem with a 22 pistol outside of one miguided attempt using a 22 short.......we use the base of the ears to eye cross but aim about 3/4 of a inch above the 'X'......gun barrel perpendicualr to the slope of the skull......drops each and every one like a stone. If your getting a little gunshy try using a small bowl of milk mixed with grain...as the pig starts drinking their head will be steady as can be for your shot placement......good luck!
     
  14. beeman97

    beeman97 Well-Known Member

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    A .22 is perfectly fine for doing the job on hogs, it is as everyone has already stated a matter of placment, while most insist on the X method aiming right for the center of the X, you will have far better results if you raise just above the center of the X to a point about an inch above & slightly to the right of center.
    Ive never had any issues using this spot with any animal. Except for a Buffalo one time that took 3 shots with a .30/.30 before he fell, that was scary to say the least. I'm sure things will go better your next time around.
    Good Luck
    Rick
     
  15. Mr. Dot

    Mr. Dot Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the replies and encouragement.
    Just a quick note here before turning in for the night.
    I used a .22 rifle this morning firing from a few inches away. Near as I can tell the placement and angle was similar to my earlier tale of woe but in this instance she dropped like a stone. I appreciated that.
    I'll put her in the freezer tomorrow and with that wrap up my first adventure with pigs. It's been a good first time - bad kill or no. Looking forward to my next pair in ought 6.
     
  16. 2story

    2story Well-Known Member

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    i tried a .22 had bad results, shot placement is crucial, I us my a 12guage slug through a smooth slug barrel, I shoot from behind the ear forward, they drop like a rock no questions asked. I know it can be done with a .22, but i am man enough to admit i can not produce those results to my liking. butchering is alot of work i do not have time for the horrible feeling of repeated shots at a wounded animal.
     
  17. jeffreyc256

    jeffreyc256 Well-Known Member

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    Shot my bull with a 30-06 head on at 10 feet right where I aimed between the eyes and ears, He started to run too, then put one in the heart and he went down hard. It sure is discouraging when you try to do it professional and for some reason it doesnt work. All you can do is your best. I personally would opt for the 38 Special on the Hog. I always lean a little toward bigger motors, hammers and guns. Guess that is why I can't afford to drive my 454 Suburban
     
  18. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    a wimpy 22 will drop it if you hit the right spot, the weakest part of the skull is the bone around the back of the eye. If you are good enough to shoot through the eye, then even the thickest skull wont matter. My pigs are more wild type and have thicker skulls, and I have nerve damage in my dominant arm, so I dont trust to an eye shot hitting the mark, I use an sks and plan on an exit hole. imaginary line midway between the inner corner of the eye and ear of the same side of the head, angled such that the bullet goes through both hemispheres of the brain before exiting the neck, usually blowing out the carotid on the other side, thus bleeding it out with the head shot. I still have my pig sticker at my side just in case