ND PD Hunt Report==GRAPHIC Photos!!!

Discussion in 'Varminter & Hunting Forum' started by Silverfox, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. Silverfox

    Silverfox Gold $$ Contributor

    Sep 13, 2005
    My son Jeff and I were able to get out for a little prairie dog shooting last Sunday afternoon. We had some terrible winds to shoot in,it was blowing at least 15 mph steady and sometimes I swear it was blowing 20 to 25 mph). We tried to shoot into the wind or with the wind when possible, but wound up shooting crosswind quite a bit too. My son connected on a couple of 225 yard shots and many shots in the 150 to 200 yard range. He was shooting my Lilja barreled .17 Remington that sits in an H-S Precision thumbhole aluminum pillar bedded stock. It has a 6-24x Burris Signature scope on it. The barrel is a 26” stainless steel 4-groove with a 1 in 9” twist and is fluted. Normally, he would have been shooting the 20 gr. V-Max loads I have, but on Sunday I let him use some of my 30 gr. Starke reloads and I think that was part of the reason behind his success in the wind. Those little 20 gr. V-Max bullets I have had him shooting just don’t fight the wind nearly as good as those 30 grainers.

    Here’s a photo of my son snapping photos with his super good camera after we had decimated the prairie dogs in this one small area on the NE side of a creek bed.


    I started out with my .204 Ruger and my 39 gr. Sierra load and got 10 prairie dogs out of 13 shots. Here’s one of the first PDs I shot with the 39 gr. Sierras that day. This prairie dog was only about 75 yards away. All he had sticking up out of the hole was his head and a tiny bit of his shoulders.


    About an hour into the shoot, a casing stuck in the chamber on the Lilja barreled rifle my son was using and we had to walk back to the pickup and get my little .17 caliber cleaning rod and knock the casing out. We took that rod with us when we went back out. I traded the .204 Ruger for my Pac-Nor barreled .17 Remington. This .17 caliber rifle was built on a Remington 700 ADL action and has a 24” SS super match grade Pac-Nor barrel. It has 3 grooves and a 1 in 9” twist. I had a special reamer made by Pacific Tool and Gauge and it has a .1945” neck, so I had to turn the necks on all my casings. I have an H-S Precision Varmint aluminum pillar bedded stock on this one. I started out shooting the 27.8 gr. Hammett loads and hit 23 out of 25 shots and one of those was a double. Those bullets were extremely good in the wind. I’m using a load of 25.8 gr. of WW-760 and Federal Gold 205 Match primers and I get about 3,816 fps at the muzzle with this load. Since I knew we were going to try to call coyotes around sunset, I wanted to save at least 5 or 6 of those shells for any coyotes that might come in to our calling. Here’s a photo of me, my Pac-Nor barreled .17 Remington and a victim of the 27.8 gr. Hammetts.


    My son spotted some prairie dogs up to the NNW of where we were lying and I ranged them. There were two prairie dogs sitting at about 225 lasered yards away. My son was to my left so he got lined up on the one to the left and I got lined up on the one to the right. We agreed to try to shoot at the same time so my son counted “1---2---3---FIRE!” and he squeezed off the shot and nailed his prairie dog. I was just an instant late with my trigger pull and as my shot went off my target was running straight toward me and my shot went over the top of him. This prairie dog stopped out in front of his hole and I got on him right away and made a nice 200 yard shot.

    Here’s a photo of my son and his 225 yard prairie dog:


    Here’s a close-up photo of the damage the 30 gr. Starke Red Prairie Varmint bullet did to that little critter.


    Here’s the wide angle view of my Pac-Nor barreled .17 Remington and the prairie dog I shot with one of my 27.8 gr. Hammett loads from a distance of 200 yards--a head shot!!!!


    And here’s a close-up of the empty cranium on that prairie dog. Nothing but skull fragments left--a complete lobotomy!!!


    Next, I began to shoot the box of 25 gr. Hornady HP reloads I had loaded up on Saturday evening. I had only reloaded 20 of those and by the time we were about ready to walk back to the pickup I was down to only 5 left. Up to that point I had hit on 13 of 14 shots! I had let my son take one shot with those bullets and he missed an easy 70 yard shot. I wanted to shoot the rest of the shells, but there were no halfway close prairie dogs so I started taking 225 to 250 yard shots. I missed 3 shots in a row that were taken with the wind coming from the side. The first shot I missed to the downwind side of the prairie dog and the next two I missed to the upwind side!!! I couldn’t win for losing on those long shots with these little bullets that have only about a .187 BC. I had two bullets left and a silly prairie dog was barking at us from about 100 yards away and I took his head off with my shot.

    So, I had hit on 14 of 18 shots with those bullets, Jeff missed with 1 shot and I still have one loaded round left. I took out my box of 25 gr. V-Max reloads and put five of those in the magazine for our walk back to the pickup, but before we started back, I spotted what I thought might be a prairie dog out to the SW of our location. I got the crosshairs on the critter only to find that it was a juicy rabbit! It was about 175 yards away and sitting broadside to me. I put the crosshairs right behind his left front shoulder and squeezed off the shot. Fur went flying everywhere and the bunny cart wheeled a couple of times. I went 1 for 1 with the 25 gr. V-Max loads!!! Kind of hard to improve on that percentage!!!

    My count for the day was 48 prairie dogs and 1 rabbit for 57 shots taken. I was really happy with the way my son was connecting today and I can’t complain on my percentage either. The conditions were really tough. Some of the prairie dogs were very small. Usually, by this time of the year they are all pretty good sized. I imagine the dry weather and shortage of forage may have something to do with that?!?!?

    After spending nearly 5 1/2 hours shooting prairie dogs, we spent about 1/2 hour around sunset trying to call in a coyote. I had what sounded like two or three coyotes talking to me way up to the north of our setup, but no coyotes came in. I had four mule deer come for a look though. Hides aren’t prime yet, but I wanted to see if I could get one to come in anyway. I interested in finding out what those 27.8 gr. Hammett bullets do on coyotes and their hides.

    I don't know if any of you noticed the little white objects along the top side of the barrels on the .17 Remington rifles or not. Those are mirage shields that are made out of those thin metal slats you find in Venetian blinds. They are held on the barrel with velcro fasteners. When the wind is really wafting hard, those metal slats can get to vibrating to the point you can't keep the crosshairs on target, but most of the time they work just GREAT.

    We had a good time and my son took 45 shots at prairie dogs today and connected on 35 singles and one double for a total of 36 dead prairie dogs. I sure hope we can get back out there for at least one more run on those prairie dogs.

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