By: Tom Claycomb
I recently had the chance to test out the Caracal .300 Blackout. What a fun rifle!
At the 2019 SHOT Show, I stopped by the Caracal booth at the last second. Paige Darden with MyTopoMaps had asked me and my social media queens Caiti Hladky and Martha Tansy to go to a show Monday night, so we were trying to wrap up at Media Day at The Range a few minutes early to go get cleaned up and hit the show. I saw the Caracal booth and said, “Hold on, I have to stop here a second.”
In talking to Jeff, I told him I was working on lining up a hog hunt with Texas Outdoor Journal and wanted to check out one of his .223s. He said, “Sure, shoot whatever you want, but why don’t you check out my CAR814 A2 PATROL? It is a .300 Blk. and a good hog gun.” I said, “Sure!” and picked it up.
Right away I loved it. It fit right. It shot right, and……what else is there to want out of a rifle? I told Jeff I’d be getting back with him soon. It wasn’t long before my buddy Bill Olson, the publisher of TOJ called me and told me to hurry up and book a flight. He had a hog hunt lined up for us with Slow Glow in Texas.
I called Jeff and went by and picked up a Caracal to test. In my research, it looked like the Nosler 125 gr. Ballistic Tip ammo was working the best in the .300 Blackouts for hogs, so that’s what I decided to use. I’ll write more on Nosler in another upcoming article.
Everyone will tell you the .300 Blk. is a good 150-200 yard gun. We were going to be hunting with Slow Glow and getting close shots, so I mounted on a Riton Optics 2-7x scope and took along a Riton Optics RT-R Mod 3 Riton Micro Dot and RT-R Mod 3 3x Magnifier in case I wanted to throw it on.
Sighting It In
So how did the Caracal shoot? As stated above, I planned on having super close shots due to hunting with Slow Glow. First, I mounted the Red Dot and a 3x Magnifier and sighted it in for 20 yards. I know, I know, it’s only 20 yards. But I had almost a perfect one-hole group except for one shot that I pulled.
Then I pulled off Red Dot and mounted on the Riton 2-7x scope. Same results. I wanted the 2-7x instead of higher magnification for close fast shots, which I ended up needing. My daughter’s boyfriend, Joe Chappell, was helping me shoot, and we both agreed, the Caracal was a smooth shooting, fun gun.
The first night of hunting, we had three small groups of hogs around us, but they ended up scenting us as they were coming in and scattered. The second night though we got lucky. We messed up one stalk, then a second one. But on the third one, as we were coming up to the Slow Glow, we could hear them snorkeling. I can’t remember exactly, but I think we got within 25 yards of them.
Clint Choate, of course, had to do his pre-shot filming. I had been scoping out the rooting hogs, and as soon as he gave me the thumbs up, I flipped off the safety and lined up the cross hairs on the biggest hog. I touched one off, and hogs blew out like a covey of quail. Every which way. The big hog I hit ran straight at us and turned at the last second and shot down the creek and then up the bank.
We gave it a few minutes before we started trailing it. Clint said, “Let’s hit it,” and I whipped out my ASP-XT DF flashlight and got to tracking. We soon found the hog. It turned out being a whopping 175-lb. sow. I have to admit, deep down I was a little skeptical if a .300 Blk. was the right choice for hog hunting.
I’ve shot quite a few hogs with a .223 before deciding that a .223 wasn’t quite big enough and went to using a larger caliber. So I just didn’t think the .300 Blk. would have enough whummf to knock one down. Boy, was I wrong!
The Caracal threw the bullet clean through the big sow and double lunged her. So, as we close, yes, I’d whole-heartedly recommend the Caracal CAR814 A2 Patrol rifle for hog hunting if you’re going to be getting shots inside of 200 yards.
And before I turned it back in to Jeff, I had to take it ground squirrel hunting. Ha, needless to say, it was a bit of an overkill. But…..effective!
CARACAL CAR814 A2 PATROL SPECS:
-.300 AAC BLACKOUT
-OVERALL LENGTH 35.8”
-BARREL LENGTH 16”
-RIFLE TWIST 1:6”
-TRIGGER PULL 5.5 lbs.
-MAGAZINE CAPACITY 30 rds.
-MAGPUL CTR BUTTSTOCK, 6 POSITION
Tom Claycomb III is a product tester for outdoor manufacturers, hunter, and outdoor writer, writing from Idaho.