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Rather then go into a long drawn out ballistics and kill energy dissertation, I'll keep it simple. If you have never hunted with a pistol or a bow, hunting Javelina presents the perfect opportunity to do so.  Javelina is the perfect animal to take on the primitive weapon or reduced range (pistol) challenge.  

Rifle Caliber recommendations

Javelina Hunting with rifle - Arizona Guided Hunts Outfitters and Guides

Bryan Christiansen from Idaho with a nice Javelina sow. Photo courtesy of Arizona Guided Hunts

Javelina are not a terribly hard animal to bring down.  Don't make the mistake of going over gunned and wasting most of your limited meat 

Over gunned .270, 7MM Mag, 30.06, 308, etc

Under gunned .22lr, 22Mag, 5MM

About right 6mm, 22-250, 223, 243

Will work in a pinch 7.62X39*, 30-30 (avoid shoulder shots)

*The open sight Soviet or Chinese SKS chambered in 7.62X39 makes a great Javelina gun for under $125.   Something to consider when taking that 12 year old son or daughter on there first Javelina Hunt.


Traditional Javelina Hunting with Arizona Guided Hunts Outfitters and Guides.  This javelina was stuck through the skull and still lived 20 minutes before expiring.

Ray Talkington from Colorado with a traditional Javelina kill. Photo courtesy of Arizona Guided Hunts

Being a archer and harvesting most of my Javelina with a bow, I will not fall into the trap of pitting the traditionalist recurve shooter against the release aid, over draw, 290 FPS "gadget" archer.  I'll simply say practice and become proficient hitting a 6 inch circle at 30 to 40 yards 5 out of 5 times, then limit your hunting shots to 20 - 30 yards max.  Avoid front-on and head shots.  Practice range estimation daily.


Nearly any 6 inch barreled revolver from .38 special on-up will do nicely.  But if you want an even bigger challenge, I believe that self defense style pistols offer the biggest  Javelina hunting challenge.  Let me clarify that, open sight, self-defense style, semi-autos such as Ruger P85, 89, 90 ect, Glock 17, 19, 20, 21 etc (not the mini's), Sig, HK, Smith&Wesson, Colt and so on.  Calibers such as 9MM, .357Sig, .40SW, .45ACP will work just great.  

The Author AP Jones with Javelina

I'v used my H&K USP .45 over the last few years and it performed beautifully.  The J-13 called the pig to under 15 yards, 1 shot, clean kill.  

As always, check with the State Game & Fish  department prior to going afield. Weapons rules and regulations can and do change. 


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Last modified: Wednesday July 11, 2012.