Thoughts on using a Sharps when antelope hunting...


October 4, 2006, 06:00 PM
...don' least I won't try again for a while 'cause I'm a great big wuss. :p

Just got back from a very fun antelope hunt in east central Wyoming (around Lusk - Region 9 for those familiar). My buddy and I make it out there every other year or so for antelope, mule deer, etc. This year, my buddy and I challenged each other (because he thought we were getting into a rut, the idiot) to shoot our speed goat with single shot buffalo guns. Mine, a Billy Dixon Pedersoli 1874 Sharps in .45-70 and his, a Uberti 1885 Hi Wall in .45-70. I was shooting my own handloads with a 405 gr LFN Meister Cast bullet over IMR 3031 for about 1550 fps. This rifle will put 3 shots into 1-1/2" at 100 yards easy from the bench using my Creedmore rear and globe front sight. I had been practicing at 200 yards but didn't feel super comfortable at that distance in a field situation (goats aren't that big) I decided to limit my shots to 150 yards.

Here she is amongst a few of her friends...

For reasons I won't go into, my buddy didn't even get to take a shot with his. I went on 5 very long stalks over 9 hours and covered around 10-11 miles. All the stalks were blown for me...3 of them from quite a distance (over 300 yards), 1 within 200 and 2 at around 150 yards.

Here's what I learned:

The Sharps (at close to 13 lbs) plus shooting sticks plus ammo, fanny pack, binocs, etc is an extremely heavy setup (without a sling) to try to do spot-n-stalk hunting. My arms HURT!!
Belly crawling for 100 yards over ground catcus and rocks with a 32" barrel and shooting sticks SUCKS!
USE A REST!! I got within 150 yards (my personal limit for this hunt with open sights) and missed my only shot because I was trying to hold the rifle steady in a very contorted, prone position. My fanny pack would have allowed me to make the shot.
Distance and wind are incredibly important factors with this rifle...sighted in at 200, bullet drop is 11" from 100 to 200 and another almost 20 inches from 200 to 300.
The old timers had a lot of skill to hunt with these kind of rilfes. You have to fit the hunt to time I'll do a lot more "sit and wait" than spot and stalk with this rifle

I was exhausted at the end of the day and pulled out "Hammer of Thor" (my Tikka T3 in .300 WSM with a Burris 3-9x40mm BallistiPlex scope) the next day. After a very satisfying stalk, I took my goat at around 200 yards (from the top of the knoll behind me in the pix below). This rifle shoots my handloads of 165 gr Hornady SSTs over IMR 4350 into ~2/3 MOA consistently. It made complete mush of the heart and lungs and a fist sized exit wound.

Great hunt, lots of good stories and a bunch of learnings for me. Will I use the Sharps again? Yes, but for a different style of hunting.

Me 'n the goat...

Here's the whole bloody crew...

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October 4, 2006, 06:05 PM
Awesome story, thanks!

Nice goat too. :)

Sometimes we don't know how good we have it do we?

October 4, 2006, 06:28 PM
You said a mouthful, Exposure. :)

He goes from the high-impact workout with the Howitzer to using a end of the spectrum to the other.

I think he would have been safe using the rifle to mebbe double that yardage, but I am not him. I respect him for passing on those iffy shots waiting for that "sure kill shot".

props to you, sir. :)

Fine critter you popped there, BTW...


October 4, 2006, 09:55 PM
Thanks for the comments.

Yup, I wasn't going to shoot at greater than 150 yards with an untested combo of me, rifle and iron sights. I'll gladly take a 350-400 yard shot with the "Hammer of Thor" but...

Love those goats. Beautiful animal.

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