What armament for prairie dogs?

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

  1. tstowater

    tstowater

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    Just got back from SD yesterday. I was quite surprised that the pups weren't out more than they were and appeared that many still weren't out yet. For this trip I took a 22lr ( suppressed), 17HMR, TC Encore with 20VT and 204 barrels (used the 20VT), a pair of 220 Swifts and a 6BR. The 22 was a riot for the close ones with out scaring everything else. Only got about 50 rounds through the 17HMR this trip before the wind came up and the dogs got too far out. The 20VT was the go-to until got out to the long ones or when the wind really came up. First time for the 6br with 65 grain V-Max bullets, but didn't give it a lot of work. Worked well but I need to spend more time with it. Love the 220 Swifts. I use 50 grain BT's with a moderate load running a little over 3700 fps. Flat shooting and buck the wind well. I know that 4 bit the dust one time and 3 another time and numerous other multiples. The only disadvantages of the Swift vs the 20VT is the recoil and barrels do acquire heat faster. Just enough recoil to miss some of the acrobatics of a well placed shot with the Swift. That said, the Swifts do the job well and are a little more forgiving than most calibers out there.

    I may change my mind for the next trip and take a 17WSM, 204, 22-250 and a 6mm Rem and would be perfectly happy.

    Whatever you take, just go and have fun. Seriously, one of my favorite things to do.
     
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  2. Mikemci

    Mikemci

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    .223 60gr V-Max has worked for very well for me, out to 400 yds.
    Sounds like you popped a paper sack=dead PD.
     
  3. remy3424

    remy3424

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    17HMR, 17 Hornet, 17 Fireball, 20 Practicals, 204 Rugers, 223 Rems, 225 Win, 22-250 Rem, 224 Weatherby, 240 Weatherby, and 6MM Creedmore covers the ones that made this last trip. The 17 Hornet was a first timer, 200 yards and in was a riot on a calm morning from a Caldwell tri-pod rest. Anything in 20 & 22 (small primer) calibers with light to mid-weight bullets with heavy barrels plus variable power scopes up to 18 to 20 power and you will have a great time shooting out to 350.

    Just take what you have, get a good loads that shoot well in those rifles take at least 3 rifles with 300 rounds for each and have fun long weekend! Things haven't changed, you know what to do. Find a another fella and find some dawgs.
     
  4. Tommie

    Tommie Gold $$ Contributor

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    James,
    It doesn’t require a cannon to connect with a prairie dog. I’ve gotten good air time with 17 and 20 caliber rifles. Yes, large calibers will reach further and many times give bigger acrobatics but at a big price: recoil. If the gun jumps much at all you’ll lose sight of the target. If you can’t see your hits and misses...where’s the fun?
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  5. bloc

    bloc

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    Really?? I thought I was the only human left shooting a .225!

    Not to hijack the thread, but I love to use my doggy, ugly old .225 for ground squirrels! It's very accurate especially with 40 grain Bergers (5 shots, 0.268 MOA @100 yards).
     
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  6. 17VLD

    17VLD

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    Great topic James!
    I have spent many pleasant hours thinking about and shooting small calibers at pd's since the rebirth of the 20 calibers I have discovered as many others have that the 20VarTarg really does a great job for most of a fellas pd shooting needs.If you are planning a trip with just a few rifles the VarTarg and a fast twist 6BR would make a lot of sense to me,a switch barrel that could shoot a 20 BR and a 6BR variant would be a lot of fun too.
    Of course a rimfire of some type should come along too.It would probably be easier to list the small cartridges I don’t have,but suffice it to say I have to make this decision every time I go pd hunting.Its a good problem to have,getting back to your question build or buy a 20 VarTarg and go west young man:D Times a wastin
    Matt
     
  7. MK 19

    MK 19

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    For me there is no wrong answer when it comes to shooting squeekers, but there are some great challenges. A dead squeeker is a dead squeeker so it really doesn't matter what you hit them with, I have used small bore (22lr, 223, 22-250) up to large bore (41 Mag, 45/70, 500 S&W) and everything in between. Challenge yourself to make a 100 yard kill with your carry gun, or 500 yards with your deer gun, keep it fun.
     
  8. Mark W

    Mark W Gold $$ Contributor

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    I’ll be taking the following on my PD trip to SD next week.

    17 HMR, 204R, .223, 22-250, and .243.
     
  9. bloc

    bloc

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    That's what I take for ground squirrels . . . the only difference being a .225 Win rather than a .22-250.

    Did I mention that I love my ugly duckling .225? The rifle that cost me $400 with dies and 200 pieces of brass? The very accurate one that earned (IMO) a Nightforce 5.5-22x50 NXS? ;)
     
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  10. oklahomaboy

    oklahomaboy

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    Don't forget how sweet a 22lr or 17m2 is using a light shooting bench/seat is a walking the perimeter of a town. Shoot mamma while she's peeking out the burrow. She'll block up the hole. Now shoot the children. On to the next burrow and repeat.
     
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  11. sw282

    sw282

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    22cal 40gr bullets are MAX for me, regardless of caliber.. l want to see the RED MIST
     
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  12. Dale264

    Dale264

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    223 rem with 50gr Vmax is my first choice.
     
  13. hunt127588

    hunt127588

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    I like simplicity in the field. All rifles are .223 with a load that works for all of them. In my case, that's 25.0 gr of Benchmark in an LC case with a 55 gr VMAX. This works in a 26" Rem 700 and an AR varminter. I figure my dope prior to the trip and use a BDC reticle with the scope set on a particular magnification. That way, all I do is range, holdover and shoot. I've found it much much faster and more effective than dialing elevation. Shots are made out to 550 with most of them being in the 200-300 range after the dogs wise up and move out.

    Most think you need 50x magnification to see a 'dog. 12x is what I use even though the scope goes up to 20x. 12x is effective.
     
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  14. pdog2062

    pdog2062

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    After 40 years of prairie dog shooting I have narrowed down the field to just one caliber, 223.I do take 3-4 rifles all in 223, and use two bullet weights,40 grain ballistic tip and 55 grain soft point bulk from Missouri.That takes care of everything out to 400-450 yards and that’s about as far as I can hit them anyway.
     
  15. CT10ring

    CT10ring Gold $$ Contributor

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    boy, that's a good call on the .223. I take others, but keeping it simple & effective is just smart.
    If you have a good arm, this is a mound destroyer. :) just for a laugh.
     

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  16. Rube Shooter

    Rube Shooter Gold $$ Contributor

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    My go to PD rig would be my switch barrel Model 700 sporting an old Vari-x III 8.5x25 40mm in 6br, 22-250 & 223. I prefer the 223 since the lighter recoil allowed me to see where my shots landed when I missed, do a quick hold over and usually nail on second shot. I used factory loaded Winchester 45gr hollow points on a past trip north of Dalhart several years ago but I now have a good hand load using 40gr amax to try out.
     
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  17. Flyshooter

    Flyshooter

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    Just got back last week from South Dakota we shot quite a few PD's. My favorite PD caliber hands down is a slow twist (12-14) 6BR with a zero free bore chamber.

    .222, .223, 22-250, .220 swift, .243....... shot them all at one time or another and they all kill PD's.

    The swift is still one of best ever varmint calibers, however my experience with slow twist 6BR's and 58grn vmax's parallels the Swift’s performance with less heat, less propellant and much longer barrel life.

    It's no problem archiving 3700-3800fps with a 6BR and 58 V.M., this combination shoots quite flat......we all use muzzle brakes. Which makes seeing your hits or misses like looking at the screen your looking at now.

    Also took along a .223AI zero freebore shooting 40 V.M. at a solid 3800fps......works okay to 350yd's.

    However a 6BR pushing 58 V.M. at 3800fps chunks PD's up into many misc pieces while resembling something like an anatomy fireworks display.

    My only issue with a 6BR, ......can't seem to quit building them, just took possession of a kreiger HV 13.5 twist yesterday......thats my last one for a while......I mean it...............kind of.
     
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  18. JSH

    JSH

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    From what I have seen mentioned, not many of us prefer vanilla ice cream. Oh sure we will eat it and be ok, but rocky road, butter brickle and chocolate chip cookie dough will be eaten right out of the tub,lol. ;)
     
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  19. CT10ring

    CT10ring Gold $$ Contributor

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    well, that'll be a 6.5 w a 120-123 g sprinkle.
     
  20. Damon555

    Damon555

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    Just got back from western North Dakota.....Windy and cool but quite productive as the pups were young and out in full force. 6mm's and 6.5mm rifles ruled the roost this trip. The 204's and 223's were getting clobbered by the wind.....they mostly sat in the case. My 2 6XC's and 6mmAR were outstanding in the wind! Shooting the 105 Berger hunting VLD's in the 6xc was a pleasure. I was worried about terminal performance but am at ease now. From 50-550 yards they really did the number on the dogs. I can't speak for the longer ranges because the wind kept us pretty close (500 yards +/-) but if you had any question about the 105 hunting vld as a varmint bullet there's your answer!

    With an abundance of cheap components on hand I am strongly considering leaving some of the smaller stuff at home. Between the 6xc and 6mmAR I don't even see the need for a 20 or 224 caliber rifle......The tiny 6mm really shines in the accuracy department and uses about the same amount of powder as a 223. Plus, shooting the 6mmAR is like being in a shooting gallery.....No recoil just line up on the next dog and let it rip......the 75 grain V-max is deadly in that rifle!

    Now that I've found a replacement for the 105 Amax I'm going to have to stock up on those 105 vld hunting bullets....and luckily the 75 grain V-max isn't going away any time soon.....
     

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