Own the Night
I recently spent a couple of frosty nights hunting hogs in total darkness. But, I ruled the night because I was using some very advanced thermal vision equipment from EOTech. This is some cool stuff, not available to the public yet, if ever. (It’s nice to have friends in high places.) I could easily see to the end of the field I was watching, 300 yards or so, without a problem and I am sure it would extend way beyond that if the trees were not blocking the line of sight. What’s even better is with the thermal, I could see and identify hogs, deer, possums and rabbits, even back in the trees, all while I was totally hidden in the dark showing no lights of any kind. Night vision seems quaint in comparison and using a flashlight just seems so yesterday.
I was there because of a statement I made to the bosses at Remington a few years ago during their writer’s seminar. Their parent company had recently acquired Barnes Bullets, but they said they had no current plans to load the bullets in Remington ammo.
“That’s just stupid,” I said in my usual blunt way. “You have the best hunting bullet in the world and not loading it in Remington ammo is a mistake.”
Well, I guess they listened. Or not. It’s hard for me to take any credit for something so obvious. But, their PR guy, Chris Ellis told me that was why Keith Enlow, the VP for ammo insisted I be on this hunt.
The new Remington Hog Hammer ammo is loaded with Barnes, Triple Shock bullets. In addition to the hogs that were taken we spent some time on the range shooting ballistic gelatin. The .223 Remington, 62-grain and .308 Winchester, 168-grain performed as expected. That is to say they expanded early, penetrated deep and retained 100% of their weight. The .223 penetrated 20 inches while the .308 penetrated about 23 inches. This is the predictably boring high-performance I have come to expect from Barnes bullets. Like I said, it’s the best hunting bullet on earth.
The shocker came when we tried the .30-30 Winchester, 150-grain, Hog Hammer load. The first bullet shed its petals at about 20 inches and then exited 36 inches of gelatin. We tried again, using more blocks. This time, at 20+ inches, the bullet’s core broke free from the expanded nose, shot through the center and penetrated 40+ inches of ballistic gelatin.
Stay with me here. The bullet expanded to a huge diameter, then penetrated 20+ inches, doing incredible damage to the gelatin block. That’s well past where most lead core bullets are done. Then the center shaft broke free and continued like a 30-caliber solid to penetrate another 20+ inches. This is like a built in insurance policy.
The bullet will be outstanding on game, acting like a conventional bullet for the first 20 inches of penetration. Most bullets are done right there. Actually most lead core .30-30 bullets never see the 15-inch mark in jello. But, this one goes past 20 inches as an expanded bullet, then sends the solid shaft for another 20+ inches as a bonus, just in case you need it. I have never seen this kind of performance from a .30-30 and I expect this new Remington Hog Hammer load will set a very high bar for the cartridge, elevating it way past the well-respected station it’s occupied for the past 119 years.
Remember, just because it says Hog Hammer on the box doesn’t mean it can’t be used for deer. I pointed that out to the Remington guys and suggested a Buck Hammer line of ammo. It will be interesting to see if they really do listen to me. But, don’t be surprised to see that in next year’s line-up.