Story by Tom Claycomb III

Hog hunting has progressed light years in the last 50 years.  Available now are night vision scopes, thermal imaging scopes, silencers, long range rifles, Tannerite and the list goes on and on.

So why would someone want to hunt hogs with a Henry lever action rifle with open sights? It may sound archaic but how can you not love a lever action rifle? Much less one whose company still makes its rifles in America?

I have never been able to bring myself to put a scope on one of my lever actions. It seems flat out sacrilegious. However after my hog hunt last year I change my mind.

Ballistically I think my Henry .45-70 should be lethal out to 250 yards.  Unfortunately my reality is I’m just not as good as I once was to shoot open sights out that far and guarantee a clean kill. So what’s a guy supposed to do?

Hunt hard for a week and pass up numerous opportunities in hopes of stumbling upon a hog or deer within 50 or maybe 100 yards max?  In reality that means 80 percent of the effective ballistical range of the rifle and caliber, or shots within that range will not be taken. Further in this article you’ll see why I am planning on mounting a scope on a lever action rifle for the first time in my life.

June 2022 Texas Outdoors Journal publisher Bill Olson told me to get my schedule cleared up for hog hunts around Abilene. The start of this adventure would be on the 24 Outfitters ranch south of Abilene near Winter.  We would end up the last few days hog hunting north of Abilene, the “Friendly Frontier” city around Anson with Junior Walker and his buddy Ryan Long who hosts the YouTube hunting program, “The Way We Hunt.”

Landing at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport I met my brother Eddie for lunch a nearby BBQ restaurant.  Afterwards Bill picked me up and we headed west on Interstate 20 for Abilene. We hadn’t seen each other since the Dallas Safari Club Convention & Expo in early January so the ride allowed us to catch up.  Before we knew it we were pulling through the gate of the 24 Outfitters ranch.

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