Annual Father/Son Varmint Hunting Trip

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8,964
Location
Houston, TX
Each year, I try to leave the strife of the working world behind and spend a few days with my three sons on the prairie. This year two of them had to work, so only my youngest and I made the trip, but we had a blast of a time (no pun intended). Since I recently sold my Powerstroke, I rented a 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (Sahara Edition) and will post a separate review of it a little later. We headed out from Houston at 05:30 on Thursday with waypoints in Fort Worth, Amarillo, Raton, Trinidad, to finally stop in Fort Collins, CO for the night arriving at about 22:15. Struck out the next morning for Sheridan and arrived around 14:00 and grabbed a bite, then was off to check out the hunting site to find it in good order with a moving carpet of varmints. Hunted all day on Saturday which started with a low of 39°F and calm wind warming to a high of 55°F, but a constant crosswind (that seemed to follow us as we shifted). It was quite cool, requiring jackets and our faces were wind burned by the end of the day. The hunt continued on Sunday with similar conditions, but started with a low of 43°F and calm wind warming to a high of 65°F with puffing gusts later in the day. We wrapped up about 16:00 leaving only our tire tracks and dead prairie dogs (which were scavenged either by other prairie dogs or larger varmints) to show that we had been there. Drove down to a hotel near Denver International to stay the night, then rose before the sun to leave by 04:30 towards Houston, but venturing across eastern Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and into the Dallas area to arrive home at 23:45 last night. For those interested in the hardware that Erik was using it is a Remington 700 VSSF which began its life as a .220 Swift in 1995 with a HS Precision synthetic stock. It is custom built rifle by Pete Pieper (http://www.precisionbarrelwork.com/) chambered in 6MM BR Norma and includes: -- Hart 26" 1:10 twist custom profile heavy fluted stainless barrel with Teflon coated flutes -- Fully blueprinted action and bolt -- Magazine block (converts to single shot) -- Fully fiberglass bedded and custom reinforced barrel channel in the Remington laminated varmint stock complete with Pachmayr 1" Decelerator pad -- Jewell trigger set at 1 pound -- Pacific Tool & Gauge Remington 700 firing pin assembly with aluminum shroud (the assembly lowers lock time and eliminates the ISS (J Lock) -- Ken Farrell 10 MOA full slot picatinny scope base -- Ken Farrell 30MM extra high sope rings -- NightForce 8x32x56 Precision Benchrest scope complete with mil-dot reticle (no longer offered in that scope) The ammunition are my custom handloads loaded on a Dillon RL550 or XL650 consisting of: -- Lapua 6MM BR Norma brass (factory annealed) with .060" flash holes which are back bored and the primer pockets trued (I do not neck turn as I had the rifle custom chambered so that I would not have to neck turn) -- 58gr Hornady V-Max or 55gr Nosler Ballistic tips which are seated to 1.713" BTO (base to ogive)--about .004 from the lands -- 33.5gr of AA2230 -- Federal 205GM Gold Match primers -- Velocity is typically 3600-3700fps A few photos and shortly after these were taken, Erik managed a shot just over 500 yards--not too shabby for a crosswind and a target the size of a 20 ounce soft drink bottle. Enjoy! [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
 
Messages
338
Location
England
Hi Great pics and write up. Also good to see the next generation of shooters/hunters coming through. A Prairie Dog hunt in America is on my bucket list. I am very envious. Was this hunt done with an outfitter or is it public land? We have no public land in UK. That is a very nice rifle in a very nice cartridge. I have something similar in .22br. Thanks Tikka
 
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4,295
Location
N.C.
Good on you, making memories with your son! I love watching "cave dweller 1959" on YouTube. He's a dog slayer!
 
Messages
3,879
Location
Alberta, Canada
My son and I also do this annually in very similar looking terrain. Fortunately I live in rural community so we get a couple of gopher hunts in per year as the hunting grounds are all over the place, less than 30 mins away in any direction. Gophers are about 1/2 the size as your prairie dogs and in some areas around here they are prolific, they wipe out 30%+ of some crops in certain areas. They are also avid cannibals as often when you put one gopher down, the gopher next to it will begin feasting on it....like their own sick version of the "5 second rule". We put those sickos down promptly. Our shooting station usually consists of the back of a pickup with an gallon ice cream pail full of .22 bullets, enough food/drink to last for the day in a camping cooler. We find a spot, shoot for an hour and then move to another area and repeat. It is a great father son time and we are knocking down the numbers for the farmers.
 
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CarbonSteel

Thread starter
Messages
8,964
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by Tikka
Was this hunt done with an outfitter or is it public land?
It was with an outfitter that I have been using since the late 90's. He recently turned 85 and he is definitely one from the "greatest generation". However, there is public land that can be used to hunt them and with Google Earth you can see the volume of the dog town before visiting in person.
 
Messages
1,951
Location
Kansas
Originally Posted by 2015_PSD
Originally Posted by thastinger
How do you like the 25-06 round for what you're doing?
?? Not sure what you mean?
25-06 is a caliber, just like 30-06. I don't see anywhere in the OP where you talk about a 25-06 though.
 

CarbonSteel

Thread starter
Messages
8,964
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by FordBroncoVWJeta
Originally Posted by 2015_PSD
Originally Posted by thastinger
How do you like the 25-06 round for what you're doing?
?? Not sure what you mean?
25-06 is a caliber, just like 30-06. I don't see anywhere in the OP where you talk about a 25-06 though.
I know what it is, I was trying to establish the correlation between .25-06 and 6MM BR.
 
Messages
731
Location
Wisconsin
The 15 y/o Son & I got back from a similar trip a week ago, SD. It was another great time, my 4th. We used 223's, one custom AR & I used a heavier weight Model 70, 22" & 24" barrels. We shot mostly handloads, various frangible bullets. My newer method is a low Browning ‘Strutter' chair, then shooting sticks. I like to move around easily, shots averaged 100-250 yards. We had some great shooting, one mound had 9 pups huddled to check out the day. To those that don't like it, what would you do if your garage housed a plethora of Norway Rats? I venture to say it's better than poison, plus one will never ‘shoot out' a dogtown.
 

CarbonSteel

Thread starter
Messages
8,964
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Looks like a great time my friend! thumbsup
Thank you sir! I will have to drag you down from the great white north to hunt with us next year!
 
Messages
44,681
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by 2015_PSD
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Looks like a great time my friend! thumbsup
Thank you sir! I will have to drag you down from the great white north to hunt with us next year!
I would love that!
 
Messages
338
Location
England
Originally Posted by 2015_PSD
Originally Posted by FordBroncoVWJeta
Originally Posted by 2015_PSD
Originally Posted by thastinger
How do you like the 25-06 round for what you're doing?
?? Not sure what you mean?
25-06 is a caliber, just like 30-06. I don't see anywhere in the OP where you talk about a 25-06 though.
I know what it is, I was trying to establish the correlation between .25-06 and 6MM BR.
Hi That 25-06 is a very effective long range vermin cartridge. I hunt deer with one. My concern would be barrel life if you were putting continuous rounds down it at a busy 'dog' town . The .22/6mm short cases excel at varminting and wont kill your barrel . Tikka
 

CarbonSteel

Thread starter
Messages
8,964
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by Tikka
That 25-06 is a very effective long range vermin cartridge. I hunt deer with one. My concern would be barrel life if you were putting continuous rounds down it at a busy 'dog' town .
Barrel life would be the least of my worries when sending several hundred .25-06 rounds downrange over the course of a couple of days. How much shoulder/rotator cuff rehab would be needed? LOL From my experience, unless you are going for the 1000 yard+ shot, .223, ,22 PPC, .22-250, and 6MM BR are some of the best "all around" varmint cartridges. I do have a .17 Remington that for <200 yard shots is "explosive"--a 20gr projectile moving at about 4,100FPS.
 
Messages
4,232
Location
Kansas
22lr is where it all started for most of us. Looks like good times until the varmints find a way to return fire lol. My parents always complained about dear season and how unfair it was. I told them to try to talk him to death and see where it gets you. No more complaining since.
 
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