Winchester Razorback XT Ammunition is purpose-built For tough hogs.
By Greg Rodriguez
East Alton, IL – -(Ammoland.com)- It’s no secret that the exploding Wild hog population is fast becoming a huge problem across the southern half of the country.
The pig plague exists primarily because feral hogs are a model of fertility. Females can become gravid at seven months of age, and the average litter is four to six piglets, though a prolific breeder can crank out as many as 10 or 12 at one time.
Multiply that times two litters per year, then compound that with the fact that a mature wild hog has no natural predators and can easily live up to eight years, and it’s simple math to see how we have a wild hog population that most experts estimate at more than 4 million animals.
Here in Texas, the hog problem is immeasurable. In some parts of the state, marauding hogs lay waste to entire farms and plague some counties to the point that many farmers devote more time to hog control than growing crops.
Hunting is not the most efficient means of controlling pigs, but it’s the only one that offers a bit of profit, hunters are always happy to pay a reasonable fee to get access to prime hog country.
Affordability, ample numbers and ease of access to prime hog hunting grounds have made the feral hog one of our most popular game animals. To meet that demand, Winchester designed the first wild hog-specific load on the market, Razorback XT.
Razorback XT is a solid gilding-metal bullet with a hollowpoint that was designed for delayed expansion. Its solid construction allows the Razorback to stay together so it will drive deep, while the unique beveled profile of its hollow point promotes delayed expansion that allows the bullet to drive through even the bigguest boar’s gristle shield before expanding to double its original diameter for maximum energy transfer.
The key to that delayed expansion is Razorback XT beveled profile. Those flats are pressed into the ogive while the bullet is being formed. The flats, or bevels, compress the hollow point and close it more tightly than conventional hollowpoints for use on thin-skinned game. This delays bullet upset for an inch or two, which allows the bullet to bust through thick shields and caked-on mud before it begins to expand. Since gilding metal is a bit softer than copper, it fouls less, and gilding-metal bullets open reliably without an overly large hollow point.
That combination of expansion and penetration is vital because expansion makes wider wound channels, but complete penetration (due to nearly 100 percent retained weight) gives you the blood trails savvy hog hunters demand, because even small hogs can cover some ground after taking a bullet through the boiler room.
Because it is a solid gilding-metal bullet, Razorback XT is legal in all 50 states. Winchester was wise to make Razorback XT lead free.
The Compatible Load
Hogs are incredibly intelligent animals. As their popularity as a game animal has soared, they’ve learned to avoid hunters by adopting nocturnal behavior. Because of that, more and more hunters are stalking them at night (where legal) with the aid of spotlights, night vision scopes and even thermal imaging devices. Often, hunters encounter multiple hogs, especially at night. Consequently, the AR-15 plat- form has become the hog-slaying tool of choice in many areas.
To make the new load more compatible with semiautomatics, Winchester gave Razorback XT a nickel-plated case that ensures reliable functioning in adverse conditions with any firearm. To help preserve nocturnal hunter’s night vision, Winchester loads Razorback XT with the same type of flash-suppressed powders it uses in ammo it loads for the FBI. Reduced-flash ammunition helps preserve the hunter’s night vision and does not interfere with night vision devices. This can also be beneficial when encountering multiple hogs in the low-light minutes of dawn and dusk.
Razorback XT comes in .223 and .308, – the two most popular AR calibers. The .223 load drives a 64-grain Razorback XT at 3,020 fps, while the 150-grain .308 leaves the muzzle at 2,810 fps. Both loads should work well in any .223 or .308, though you will need a barrel with a 1:9-inch or faster rate of twist to get the best accuracy with the .223 load. Fortunately, the vast majority of AR-15 rifles are suitably outfitted with 1:7 or 1:9 barrels.
I do a ton of hog hunting here in Texas, and I’ve outfitted hog hunts for more than 15 years, so you can imagine how excited I was about the new bullet. Unfortunately, I had to wait a while before the first boxes of preproduction .308 Razorback XTs arrived for testing. I was anxious to start whacking hogs with the new bullet so I could report on the results, but I wanted to get a feel for its accuracy before I took it afield.
To give Razorback XT a fair shake, I tested it in a super-accurate sniper rifle built by George Gardner of GA Precision. The heavy-barreled .308 has a Nightforce scope with a 15X top end and routinely shoots five 168- to 175- grain match loads into a quarter-inch at 100 yards. Though its rate of twist is set up for heavy bullets, I knew that if the new Winchester load was accurate, my GAP gun would shoot it well.
Conditions were brutal when I went to the range, with 110-degree heat and high humidity that made the day flat-out miserable. High winds that made the targets flap briskly no matter how tightly I stapled them to the their frame made it even tougher.
Despite those adverse conditions, Razorback XT shot incredibly well, turning in an amazing .114-inch three-shot group and a best five-shot group of .68 inch. The average for three shots was just .47 inch. That is amazing performance in any conditions for a factory-loaded hunting bullet, but it’s even more impressive when you consider the howling winds and oppressive heat. I have no doubt I could improve on those groups considerably in more favorable conditions. Razorback XT more than met my accuracy needs for hog hunting, so my next task was to shoot some hogs to test its terminal performance. Fortunately, some friends and I have a license to hunt and trap some county-owned land near my home that is overrun with hogs. Though the summer heat makes for miserable hunting, it usually makes hogs predictable: sit by water, whack hog, repeat. So I put on some shorts and snake boots, lathered up with bug spray, then headed off to work on my tan and hopefully put Razorback XT to the test.
It actually took longer than I thought to drop the first hog with Razorback XT. In fact, we battled for days to get one because the hogs had gone nocturnal. When I finally drew first blood, it wasn’t on the hogosaurus I hoped for. In fact, that first pig, a 60-pound boar, was perfect eating size, but he was a bit of a disappointment as a bullet-testing medium.
I shot the pig with a 150-grain Razorback XT, which, of course, dropped the hog in its tracks. The bullet passed through the pig’s skull and exited the back edge of the off shoulder, leaving a massive amount of internal damage and a double-diameter exit wound in its wake.
The second pig, a 100-pound sow, was feeding in the road 70 yards away when my buddy James Jeffrey hammered it through the shoulders. The bullet exited and once again left a tremendous wound channel. The shoulder bones were splintered beyond recognition near the entrance and exit wounds. With all that damage, it should come as no surprise that the pig didn’t move a step after the shot.
The drought and, later, a terrible brush fire made the hog hunting really tough here in Texas, so I gave James a box of .308 Razorback XT ammo and asked him to take it with him on a hog hunt in Australia. James is the operations manager for my hunting company, and he was taking a group of clients over anyway, so the timing couldn’t have been better.
James took a half dozen hogs with Razorback XT. Four smaller hogs dropped within a few feet of where they stood at the shot, and the bullet exhibited textbook performance on all of them, but James also caught up with a pair of boars that weighed more than 200 pounds each. Those tough, big-bodied bruisers were exactly the kind of bullet test I was hoping for, and Razorback XT didn’t let me down.
James shot the first of the big boars just behind the near shoulder from 80 yards, and the bullet exited the front of the shoulder on the off side. The bullet’s path took it through both lungs and left a tremendous amount of internal damage before exiting. James said the boar buckled hard at impact and stumbled about 10 yards before collapsing.
Though the Razorback XT bullet exited, it clearly expanded enough to deliver a tremendous amount of shock. The second big Aussie porker was trotting straight away from where James jumped it sleeping in the shade of a ledge along a creek. Since he was a little above the hog, James’ shot went through the spine and raked forward, exiting the front of the chest. The spine-shot hog dropped in its tracks, stone dead, as you would expect a spine-shot hog to be, but based on the shape of the exit wound and the complete penetration, the bullet withstood its impact with that thick spinal column very well.
While James was in Australia, I did my best to put Razorback XT through its paces here in Texas, but the hunting was tough. The bullet worked as advertised on a couple of sub-100-pound pigs, but I really wanted to test the bullets on big hogs. Fortunately, James came through with those big Aussie boars, because I didn’t see a big one all summer. It would have been nice to recover a bullet, but Razorback XT was designed to exit, and exit it did. Between those big exit wounds and the massive amount of internal damage exhibited on every pig, it was clear to me that Razorback XT performs exactly as advertised.
If you’re fortunate enough to have access to good hog hunting, I highly recommend you try Winchester’s new Razorback XT ammunition in your favorite hog gun. The high-tech hog slayer delivers the penetration you need to bust through a big boar’s thick shield while expanding enough to do maximum damage so you dump even the biggest pigs in their tracks. Sure, your favorite Winchester deer bullet will work on hogs, too, but Razorback is environmentally, AR-10 and AR-15 and night vision friendly. The hogs may not agree, but I think those are all great reasons to keep the magazine of your favorite hog gun stuffed with Winchester Razorback XT.
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