Prairie dog shooting and too much brass

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Engineer1911, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Engineer1911
    • Contributing Member

    Engineer1911 Contributing Member

    Jul 2, 2018
    Augusta, GA
    I am a member of the Sportsmen Club at Ft Gordon Army Base. There are about 20 people who are "expert" shooters and "precision" reloaders whose strong opinions about shooting and ammunition are based on their personal preference and shooting experience.

    Two of us just returned from 8 days of shooting prairie dogs in Montana. I shot 4 different loads in an AR-15 and a S&W 1500 bolt gun [rebarreled with a 26" heavy stainless steel barrel] both in 5.56 / 223 Rem. Originally the scopes were sighted 2" high at 100 yards.

    All 4 loads had the "same" point of impact at ranges from 200 to 500 yards while shooting prairie dogs. After adding 4.5 MOA of elevation, I shot 17 dogs with 19 rounds in one magazine in less than 2 minutes at ranges between 350 and 450 yards with the AR-15.

    The S&W 1500 has a Legacy Sports trigger guard so it will take 10 round mags with an Athlon first focal plane scope. I shot with the wind with that rifle until I ran out of ammo at ranges from 25 feet to 450+ yards. The long yardage shots were 30% body hits, the rest threw dirt at the dogs and sent them down their holes.

    At the end of 7 days, I believe I shot over 700 dogs total with the two rifles. On the last day, I shot a borrowed Ruger M77 in 17 HMR. Two boxes (100 rounds total) was $28 at the local Hardware Hank store. The tissue damage caused by that little 20 grain (?) ballistic tip bullet was unbelievable. Several adult dogs did not have an exit wound, but never twitched after bullet impact. I shot 45 rounds into a small area 20 yards wide by 150 yards deep (the back of the pasture was at 500+ yards)with many prairie dogs that hadn't been shot at before for about 2 hours. My last shot was at 245 yards at an adult dog sitting on top of a mound. I put the crosshairs at a guessed position and squeezed the trigger. The dog tipped over and fell in the hole.

    Conclusion: Reloading is a lot cheaper than factory ammo. The wound damage is worse with a 223, but the sound of the 17 HMR doesn't send prairie dogs down the hole 250 yards away. I didn't follow the 'suggestions' of the Ft Gordon experts, but still had a great hunt. Shooting prone from a bipod with a rear bag is more accurate than a shooting bench and bipod if you can lay on the ground (not for me). It was a great trip, and the rancher invited us back next year.
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