What armament for prairie dogs?

Discussion in 'Varminter & Hunting Forum' started by jamesdmock, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. jamesdmock

    jamesdmock

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    PTDC0053.JPG I haven't hunted prairie dogs since 1998, but if I were to go again, what should I use to shoot them? Back in the nineties I used .22 caliber rifles, with the .223 being my favorite. For longer shots, I normally used the .220 Swift. Most of the rifles were rebarreled Remington Model 700's with custom triggers (Jewell or Canjar). For scopes, I preferred the 6.5x-20X Leupold. I hunted SD, NE, CO, and WY (my favorite).

    I miss those days and wish I were young enough to try again. If I were to go today, I think I would use at least one 6mm; either a 6 PPC or 6 BR. What is your weapon(s) of choice? Good shooting.....James Ps-The above picture brings bitter sweet memories in that 2 of the 4 of us have since passed away. John Boughton (top) and Bucky Murdock in bottom picture with me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  2. bloc

    bloc

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    I haven't shot p-dogs (only ground squirrels) but if I were to go on a PD safari, I'd take my .204 Ruger, my .223 Rems and my .243. I might also include my .225.

    My shooting buddy would take those calibers substituting for a .225 his .22-250.

    But really . . . whatever floats your boat. What gives you pleasure, what would you like to challenge yourself with and what would you like to say you shot with?
     
  3. Milo 2.0

    Milo 2.0

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    I would shoot anything up to 6.5, if you had a load for the rifle with bullets that come apart. I had gotten out of the Pdog game, then I had to take a young friend, all I had was 6.5x47's, one shooting a 130gr Norma, the other a 136gr scenars. My hit pct was high, but there was no carnage. I watched center punch holes in bodies and they Ran down the hole.
     
  4. 5spd

    5spd

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    Ive been shooting p-dogs for a looooong time. All I use is a .223, 50g vmax and go to work on them. Ive shot buckets full full of them to 500 yards but I do like to keep my max range at under 400 yards though. My pal runs .223s with 40g bullets, 204 with 32g, 22-250 with 40g bullets. Another pal runs a 243AI out to 1000 yards. So what ever you bring in a 20 centerfire to 6mm will do the job including every other round between those.
    Overall ranges they are shot will vary a heck of a lot on how much any certain town has been shot in.
     
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  5. piute

    piute Silver $$ Contributor

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    My arsenal for ground squirrels includes; Sako 222 REM, Sako 22-250, Winchester 220 Swift. Really like the 52gr. Speer hollow point, when it hits they don't run anywhere!
     
  6. DogBuster

    DogBuster

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    my current battery......which I've thinned

    20 Vartarg

    20-222

    223 AI

    need a new 20 PT barrel

    17 M2 for close ones (Ruger 77)
     
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  7. fyrewall

    fyrewall

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    Depends on your mindset - low volume long range shooting like 400 yards and beyond or high volume mass removal of rodents at whatever range that might be had. My choices are the .22.250 7.7 twist with 75 Hornady VLDM bullets for 1 round every 5 minutes for distant rodents, or the .20 Practical, having the advantage of tiny powder charges, cheap brass, and cheap .20 bullets for high volume shooting with occasional breaks to cool off and clean barrels. Many shooters like the .223 with 40-50 grain bullets. Best be prepared with 2 rifles, lots of ammo, and cleaning gear.

    Seen spectacular systematic removals with AR rifles shooting .223, 40-55 grain bullets - like cleaning out 1/2 dozen from a big mound in less than 10 seconds.

    This is a good excuse to deploy a bigger rifle like .270, .30-06, 7MM RM, or .300 WM to check out things at various long ranges.
     
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  8. 1raggedhole

    1raggedhole Silver $$ Contributor

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    20VT and 204 Ruger are my favorites. 204 Ruger would win if I could bring only one.
    17wsm is a fun rimfire, and 6BR is great for long ones.
    Sorry to hear your old pals passed. Enjoy every minute!
     
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  9. Alex Wheeler

    Alex Wheeler Gold $$ Contributor

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    I have not seen them all but so far the most explosive combo I have seen is a 55 grain vmax, ballistic tip, or blitzking at around 4000 fps out of an 8 twist barrel. The wind starts to get to them after 300 yards but inside of that they are a laser.
     
  10. xring

    xring Silver $$ Contributor

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    James , I am in the same boat as you . Most of my shooting buddies have gone on to the happy hunting ground . I have used many different Calibers in the Pdog Fields including 22 Mag , 222 , Swift , 6 mm , etc. etc. My favorite for under 500 Yards ( which was 99% of my shooting ) was a 223 and I preferred 40 Gr. Vmax and a fixed 16X Leupold . Of course my shooting buddies razzed me about this ancient combination . One buddy used a 17 MIV which seemed to pretty much match my 223 . If I were to start out today , I would surely include one of the 20s ( probably a 204 and maybe a big case 20 with 55 Gr. bullets ) . For Long Range I picked up a 6.5-06 AI Competition Match Rifle which I might never get to use due to Medical problems . Well , there's always Eastern Woodchucks . Right now I'm waiting to schedule Surgery , so I really enjoy the Pictures Posted by the guys out on the Pdog Fields . I'm just envious I guess . Should have mentioned that the most air time was with the Swift and the old 52 and 53 Gr. Winchester Match Bullets ( long gone ) and as good or better was a 257 Roberts with 90 Gr HPs .
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  11. bloc

    bloc

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    Good luck, xring. I wish you well on your surgery and a quick return to the joys of PD shooting!
     
  12. Damon555

    Damon555

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    I started simple.....223's mostly. Then I wanted to take some longer shots so I moved up to a 6mm....now I like both. I'd say bare minimum, 204/223 and a 6mm of some sort. This year I'm taking an AR15 (223), AR15 (6mmAR), Remington 700 SPS Varmint 204 ruger and 2 Identical 6XC's. I've sort of specialized a little bit with the 6mmAR and 6XC's but they have proven to be incredible rounds in the prairie dog towns! This selection of calibers has us covered from 0-1200 yards. My oldest son shot one at 876 yards last year with my original 6XC.....so I just had to build another.
     
  13. KY-Windage

    KY-Windage

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    [​IMG]

    My "must have" list: the rifle must be suppressed, must have a GREAT scope on it with a very fine reticle with hashmarks, must shoot .5 MOA or better all day long at 100 yards, and must weigh enough, and shoot a small enough bullet at 3,800 or better, such that you can see your hits most of the time. The rifle in the photo is a .204. It works fine out to 500 yards, and I see no point at shooting at farther ones because you have to shoot about 1/4 MOA at that distance to be lethal, and very few rifles will do that even under perfect shooting conditions, much less on a portable table with a breeze. The lethal area on a PD about 1" x 4". I won't use a bullet larger than 32 gr. in the 204 or 35 gr in a .223 because they make it too hard to see the hits. The real fun zone for me is 300 - 400 yards.

    You range-find one and quickly dial up for that yardage. You pivot the table slightly to line up, and then get into the scope. You read the wind/mirage and guess how much to hold off for it. You pretend you have ONE BULLET to get the job done. Can you do it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  14. Capt. Oblivious

    Capt. Oblivious

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    I have never even seen a prairie dog in my life but I would think a 6BR shooting 55grs and something like a fast twist 6BRA shooting something heavy for the longer shots would be perfect, i imagine you would want to feed from a magazine but it should not be to hard to get them feeding smoothly.Suppressors would be awesome but they heat up quicker than most big barrels so that might introduce mirage especially with big high mag scopes.

    If 6mms isn't your thing maybe a 204 with 30gr class bullets or a 222rem/223 with a vmax and a 22-250 with a 75gr amax for distance work
     
  15. powderbrake

    powderbrake Gold $$ Contributor

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    I started shooting PD's with a 243 after antelope hunting. went to 223 with a 55gr Blitzking. Worked very well at the shorter ranges. 22-250 did better at mid ranges, used 55 gr Sierra Blitzking. Have gone to 6BR with 88 gr Berger Varmint. It reaches out to the long distance dogs. None of these allow you to actually see your its very well, f you need that , then maybe a 204 Ruger would be in order.
     
  16. mikeinct

    mikeinct

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    Tac 20
     
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  17. JSH

    JSH

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    I like to see my hits/misses as the first few days all of us are shooting. The 20’s have a lot more following than the 17’s. Heavy bullets for both are sparse unless you go custom and that is still iffy.
    This year with a heavy 204 Ruger we came to the conclusion it has an edge over the 22’s.
    Pieced together a 21 pound 17 Remington this year. A pleasure to work with using 25 grain Vmax and a few 20’s thrown in to fire form some brass. No spotter needed. Gave a few some air time.
    Also had a 17 Fireball running 20 grain Max’s. A variety of loads with it. Weighs in at 17 pounds as barrel is a bit different taper. FYI, guys told me the little case and small powder charge was the way to go. Two of us ran close to 400 rounds through it in two days. Third day at about 425 it was acting up. A quick cleaning with wipe out accelerator and foam, let it set for about an hour. Pushed patch out, a little blue. Some JB and kroil, last patch went through smooth. Maybe a half a dozen fouling shots and it was back on line.
    Bought a mini howa in 222. It way be a small 20 of some sort by next year.
    Shot about 10-15 rounds of 22-250 is it. After the little buggers it seemed like to much blast and recoil for the job,lol.
    Some folks mentioned a 6mm. Built a 6TCU on an XP action,McMillan varmint stock, Jewel trigger and a lapped wilson barrel. Shot in the .3 and .4’s at home. 70 grain tnt did not give big splat factor but did launch a few. Had extractor issues so it saw less use than planned. Have a bunch of 65vmax and hope the shoot as well as the 70’s. Also a few 55’s to try in it.
    Buddy said he felt like his 204 cheated the wind. The 6mm definitely do.
     
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  18. drover

    drover

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    My go-to combination for years has been a 223 with 40 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips or 40 gr V-Max, the V-Max give a little more splat factor but I usually use the Nosler BT in case I see a badger or coyote, the Nosler has a thicker jacketed and pentrates a bit better. Another plus is that when loaded to equal velocities the 223 with 40 gr bullets has the same drop and drift as a 22/250 with 50 gr bullets.

    Lots to like about the 223 - if you reload brass is practically free, there are tons of bullets available for it in just about any weight you care to shoot. If you don't reload there is a lot of good inexpensive ammo available for it.

    I often see comments posted from folks who say they cannot see hits with the 223, if they are not seeing hits using the 40 gr bullet IMO it is more a case of poor follow through after the shot or a poor set-up. The only time I miss seeing hits is if I am shooting from an awkward position.

    drover
     
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  19. Kurz

    Kurz

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    It took me one trip shooting prairie dogs to figure out which firearms I was going to take the next time. I usually try to get out right after the pups make their first journey up into the sunlight. If I'm careful, I can get in a couple of hours of .22LR pistol and rifle shooting out to about 50 yards. After that I switch to a shooting table and spotting scope for the .204 Ruger, .223 Rem. and the .17 Mach IV. When they retreat further out I use the .22 Creedmoor, .22-250 but for those wily little guys in the further reaches of the field I unlimber the .240 Weatherby!:D

    Somewhere towards the end of the second or third day I like to relax and call in the long range artillery. For this part of the shooting I have to have a spotter because the recoil is significantly more than the other rifles. I let the field settle down and get quiet while I unload the .416 Rigby, the .510 Wells Express and the .375 CheyTac. The .416 and .510 are held in reserve for those shots at the far end of the field where we call in the shots like artillery. One or two shots for ranging and if they aren't underground they better be running fast!:rolleyes: Three on a mound? No problem, I can take out the whole mound with one shot.:eek: The .375 CheyTac turns the entire furthest reaches of any field into chip shots for those evil creepers who figured they were out of range! No quarter, no mercy!:eek:;)

    I do let the rancher know when the big guns come out as he really enjoys getting behind them for a couple of shots. :D
     
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  20. JSH

    JSH

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    I ran a few 416’s through a Ruger #1 in 1999. This was in the late fall. About 12-2 pm they would all pile up on a mound to catch some rays. I have seen five adults in the air at one time from one shot.
    Funny thing is how hard some of those mounds are even when hit with big artillary. May just make a pucker mark on them.
     
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