The single-shot Midland Backpack packs a punch
When it comes to hog hunting the hard way on public land, having lightweight gear is very important. Last year I used a 5-pound Legacy Pointer single-shot 12-gauge for much of my pig hunting, and it was great to carry around such a lightweight weapon in public land woods.
However, in 2018, a new, even lighter 12-gauge with better features was released, and I just had to get my hands on one.
The Midland Backpack is a 12-gauge that only weighs 4.4 pounds, and its 18 ½-inch barrel folds completely in half. The gun has a 3-inch chamber, and only costs $135.
That Legacy Pointer didn’t have a threaded barrel or sling attachments. And it made noise with an auto ejector when switching shells, and had an extra step hammer-style trigger. Also, the gun’s plastic forend fell off a few times when shooting high-powered 2-ounce loads.
The new Midland Backpack came fitted with sling studs, and I enjoy using a sling for much of my power walking between hog locations. The gun folds completely in half, unlike all other shotguns. I actually put the folded weapon in my backpack when jogging between spots. The stock is sturdy and well-made, and it’s adjustable for shorter length of pull.
The safety mechanism is located by the trigger like most guns for quick safety flicks and fast shooting.
But the gun does pack a punch on the recoil when shooting even the lightest loads. Heavy loads leave my shoulder bloody and bruised, and my fingers on both hands are often cut and bleeding as well. However, I actually love the hard kick of the weapon when on a fun hog hunt.
The barrel comes with a threaded choke which is what I like best. During the public land small game seasons I’m hunting, I use non-toxic BB and T shot for hogs, and my Trulock Predator extended choke is made exclusively for that size shot. In pattern testing with the same shells, the Midland was shooting groups at 70 yards tighter than the Legacy Pointer’s modified fixed-choke at 35 yards.
This micro shotgun with the right choke has the same range as any other larger shotgun I’ve used. The choke threading for the Midland is the same as the Tristar/Beretta/Benelli Mobil/CZ, which is a very common threading in aftermarket chokes.
The gun really shines with its length. I’m often busting and weaving through cutovers looking for hogs. Most days I’m crawling on all fours for a good bit of the day because hogs often get in the thickest cover in the woods. Well, the 18 ½-inch barrel is perfect for these types of hunts and can maneuver through that terrain with ease. The same gun is also offered in a 24- and 28-inch barrel option as well.
Of course, the setback to a single-shot is having only one shot. Often, I shoot one hog, and in the thick cover the rest of the pack runs right next to me confused — but there isn’t enough time to reload. Still, I’ve already downed 37 public land pigs this season, so I’m not too worried about getting them all. However, I’ve chased down several other pigs after the first shot to get a few double-ups this season.
I practice changing shells quickly, and use a shell-holding stock sleeve and elastic micro fanny packs to keep extra shells in easy reach. On one hunt, I shot at some medium-sized pigs and reloaded while sprinting. Then, I chased down another 140-pound sow more than 500 yards through woods on my GPS before it finally stopped. My legs and lungs were burning badly from the race, but I made the 30-yard shot to get a pig on my longest chase so far.
I sprint after many hogs and usually have success by flanking them, but sometimes have luck chasing them from behind. Usually they get into thick cover, but hogs are often confused since nothing in the woods chases them, so after a while they sometimes stop to see if something is still following them. I’m sure they’re stunned to see with my micro weapon.
The hogs typically run about 14- to 18-mph through the woods, so for a track athlete chasing them down is doable unless they hit top speed — then they pull away from me.
What is great about the crack-barrel gun is stealthily being able to switch shells. The gun cracks open and shuts without making a sound. When I see smaller pigs or pigs up close, I can switch to a cheaper shell before making the shot.
The good tungsten Super Shot that I use on big pigs is $8 to $11 a shell, but my normal high density Tungsten BB is only $1.60. However, knowing the distance each type of shot penetrates the vitals of a full grown hog is very important as to whether the hog will drop on the spot — or run off never to be found.
The gun’s other setback was an elevated BB on the front end. This raised BB made my patterns shoot low. So I knocked it off and painted the elevation piece in glow green. I can now see at low light hours perfectly, and it shoots at the perfect height.
My last article with plenty of hog hunting tips can be found here.
On the two spotted hogs featured in the picture, I was creeping through the woods after a front following fresh tracks just as shooting hours began. A big pack of about 20 hogs took off just 10 yards in front of me, but I couldn’t see the black ones well on that cloudy morning. Suddenly, this big spotted half-white hog came into view, and my glow green front-end made aiming at the pig very easy.
I popped in another shell and went sprinting after the pack, which split up into three. I headed for the medium pigs and tried to outflank them. After about 150s yards of sprinting, I was only 20 yards away, but couldn’t see the black ones well in low light. Another pig was spotted, and I dropped it with cheaper ammo.
On public land, most shots I take are through brush on a moving animal up close. A shotgun is the most efficient weapon for these encounters – just point and shoot. With the right powerful tungsten small game ammo and a tight choke, anything within 60 yards is meat in the ice chest.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, easily packable weapon to hunt any game, I highly recommend getting one of these new cheap Midland Backpack shotguns so you can hit the woods running.