The day started at 3:30 a.m. this morning with a hour and a half drive to Evanston, WYoming to meet a buddy of mine (Craig)who had two doe antelope tags. I arrived in town shortly after 5:00 a.m. and then it was off to Bridger Valley to meet another friend (Josh) who also had tags. Josh was actually more interested in filming some long range hunting than shooting one of his own. He has a production quality video camera and wanted to get some shots filmed at 40x zoom so Craig and I were happy to oblige.
After meeting up with Josh, we drove out onto the prairie and waited for it to get light. Right off the bat, I spotted a few antelope on the skyline of a small ridge. Out came the Swaro rangefinder and we beamed them at 850. Then there was another heard that came through and another and another. Other trucks driving around trying to get within 400 yards of the herds kept them spooked and running.
After about 15 minutes, two does got seperated from the herd and came out at 880. Craig whipped out his custom 6.5mm short mag and began dialing in. I set up the spotting scope and kept ranging them as they were walking. They got out to around 900 yards and Craig let loose on a 123 grain Lapua Scenar. I saw dust fly way right. A quick correction and Craig connected at 901. Unfortunately, he learned the same lesson I learned on my wet phonebooks-Scenars are really depleted uranium bullets that zip right through game. THe doe died but bullet performance was lacking.
Anyway, we threw her in the truck and started looking for number two. We drove up to a high ridge that overlooked a valley that the antelope just couldn't stay out of no matter how many trucks were down in it driving the roads. At this point, the wind started to pick up and my wind meter was going from 6 mph to 9 mph and gusting. I told Craig he should use my 338 thunder to break it in on it's first big game hunt and it might just help with the wind as it was.
It wasn't too long and we had a herd of does come in at 1450 yards. I quickly got the spotter out, ranged them, asked Exbal for corrections, dialed in the turret, and Craig tried to get comfortable on the rocky ground laden with prickly pear cactus. He finally found a semi-good spot where the bi-pods and rear rest could give enough of a solid rest.
Craig cranked one in and fired. The bullet went about 2 inches over her back. THe whole herd started running from the sound and came right at us! At about 1106 yards, they stopped and looked around. I quickly took the new measurement to the doe on the far left (1086), did the computer thing, and dialed the turret down a few minutes. I also had about 2.5 minutes of windage dialed in. Craig chambered another round and squeezed. I watched the 225 grain Accubond's disturbance trail arc out and twist to the right and go right past the doe he was aiming at. At least, I thought it went past her. Turned out that the 6" diameter disturbance trail just "looked" like it went high when in fact it just garbled the image of the doe as it went INTO her!
The whole heard bolted again and so did our doe. I watched her carefully and never saw the hide wiggle or saw her stumble in any way until she bounded a few times and I saw a fountain of blood gushing out both sides of her while she ran.
She went about 50 yards closer to us and then piled up in a pretty spectacular fashion! The Thunder had claimed it's first victim!!
After some back slapping and grins, we drove down to get her. The bullet had hit barely behind the front shoulder and took part of the heart and lungs out the other side in- between two ribs. 1/4" further left and it would have dumped her where she stood but as it was, the bullet never hit bone.
It was a great day and even though I never pulled the trigger, I had just as much fun watching my buddy get a kill over 1k yards with my rifle. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
Here is the pic of Craig with his 6.5 short mag kill:
And here is the thunder kill:
Here is where the 225 grain accubond impacted. The hide has slipped a little far forward making it look like it hit in the shoulder blade but it was actually further back:
Here is a close up of the entry wound:
And here is the exit wound of the accubond that never touched bone. Still a very good hole there that the Scenars just won't do.
I honestly don't know how any of the other "regular" type hunters ever score on these hunts. Trying to get within "normal" range of these wary critters when there are 100 million four-wheelers and trucks circling them all day is next to impossible. Throw in a little famous Wyoming wind and Long range precision looks even better to me. We heard lots of shooting but only saw two kills and they both belonged to us! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]
Now on to some elk! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]