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Long Range Rabbit Hunting

Long Range Rabbit Hunting

By Shane Green

This year my personal challenge was to make a long range shot on a rabbit at 1000 yards plus. The area I shoot over in the South Island of NZ allows various types of hunting the numerous rabbits occupying the hill country. One type is a team effort of a couple of shot gunners walking the gullies with a rifleman on each slope above. The smooth bores flush out bunnies ahead which usually head uphill allowing the rifles to get their share as well.

Another style we employ is a couple of moderated 22lr [legal in NZ and very useful in that the quieter method doesn’t upset the population compared to centre fires or 12ga walking the contours of hills with plenty of briar on them].

These suppressed 22lr also make for an excellent vehicle rifle on the shorter range targets which present whilst moving from one area to another.

Finally we have the hills where we can engage at long range hunting with our centre fires. I reported on the .204 Ruger last year and I am still mightily impressed with this cartridge for small game out to what I would now term “medium range” of 500 yards or 450m.

Once again I did most of my long range shooting with this cartridge in my Remington XR100. I will have another story to tell next year which will be frustrating to Aussie readers – there is another Remington .204 Ruger on order but it will be for use in NZ only because of our draconian legislation. The new long range rifle will be a Remington clone of the AR15 with a flat top receiver including a picatinny rail and heavy 22” fluted barrel!

This year my project of a long range .224 bore finally came to fruition after long years of patience. This long range rifle is a 22/6mm Imp launching 80gr moly Bergers at 3550 fps.

With the help of Vicki who spotted the long range strikes for me I managed a hit at a lasered 1030 yards! I believe that it was the 7th or 8th shot that connected after many near misses.

The Rifle
A Nesika Bay single shot bench rest type bolt action in stainless steel was mated to a 27” Mike Rock barrel [length chosen so it would still fit in a 1750 Pelican case otherwise it could have used a longer barrel for efficient powder burn]. A McMillan A3 style stock was ordered to suit my length of pull requirements along with a carbon Kevlar light weight finish.

The trigger is a Jewell set at approx 2-3 oz as our current trigger scale cannot measure this low a let off. These triggers have an excellent reputation amongst the bench rest competitors and accuracy buffs worldwide.

I certainly have no complaints except that in very cold weather it is a little light – that is not the trigger’s fault, just conditions.

The wildcat cartridge begins as a 6mm Remington case which is necked down to 22 then fire formed to blow out the case body to a minimum taper with a sharp 40 degree shoulder.

These cases are neck turned and I load using bench rest style straight line dies. The cases are checked for length; uniform primer pockets and flash holes uniformed. The loaded cartridges have less than half a thousandth of an inch run out at the projectile tips.

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