Well, we headed out Saturday morning, 11 of us and headed down to Shoshone Idaho for a few days of Russian boar hunting. Got settled in Saturday night, checked all the gear and got some reast before the hunt started Sunday morning.
Got up early Sunday and headed out to the hunting area which is roughly 2 square miles and covered with 4 foot high sage brush. The terrain is slightly rolling with several rock formations that are slightly elevated over the rest of the area.
We all headed out in seperate directions, 10 bow hunters and some crazy fool with a long range rifle.
My plans were to scout out the high spots for locations where I could use the 270 Allen Mag to reach out to hopefully 800 yards but I was really hoping for at least 600 yards as a minimum.
On the first rock formation it became clear that this was not going to be easy. I glassed for about an hour or so and did find a mixed heard of sheep and glassed several pigs but there were no rams in the herd that interested me and the pigs were still in the tall sage and not moving much.
The owner told us that he had expanded the hunting area by adding 400 acres to the north end so I decided to take the mile hike over to a large hay stack which would give me a good view of this new hunting area to see what potential it had for long range shooting.
On the way I jumped enough pigs to always keep me on guard. Most were nesting sows which really got exciting a couple times as they simply hold their ground to protect their piglets. Fine with me, no desire to get into a debate with a 200 lb sow about who needs to move!!
Well, I made my way over to the hay stack with all my gear and climbed up to take a look over the new area. Just taking a quick glance looked very promising with several large Russians feeding in a meadow several hundred yards away. There was also a smaller opening, roughly 400 square yards in area much farther out.
I got settled in on top of the bails and pulled out the binos to do some initial glassing. Most of the pigs were sows with little ones so they were off the table as far as shooting. As I glassed the farther meadow I saw several mouflon ewes feeding on the fresh grass coming up. I also spotted something that looked a little odd so I pulled out the 20-60 spotter and set it up for a better look.
What I was seeing was the tops of the curls of two large rams bedded just over a small rise on the far end of the opening. I took several ranges of the opening with the Leica 1200 and had a hard time getting any range readings simply because there was nothing really in the area to range.
I went back to the spotter and just watched the rams trying to get a better idea of exactly how large they were. Over 30 minutes or so I got several glimpses of the rams as they would lift their heads every once in a while enough to get a clear view of their curls and then they would drop back down.
They were both large rams. The one on the left looked nearly identical to the one I had harvested the year before on the same ranch but the ram on the right was noticably heavier and longer as well. I guessed him at a 30" curl length and decided I would simply camp out here and wait the ram out until he stood up.
After another hour or so a small group of ewes walked by the rams and the larger of the two stood up. I could clearly see from the bottom of his chest up and he was a very large ram. He also had very distinct face markings. It was extremely dark, basically black with very defined white patches on his eyes, nose and chin. Made him stand out very clearly not to mention his horns were pretty easy to pick out.
I grabbed the range finder and tried to get a reading but was having trouble doing so as they were really just out in a grassy flat basically on the same plain as I was. Not being very large animals anyway(80-90 lbs) there just is not much for a laser to bounce off from.
Every once in a while I would get a measurement. After getting 5 readings that ranged from 920 to 926 yards I set the rifle up for the shot. Set the objective and leveled the rifle. I was shooting off 10x with the Weaver 4.5-14 tactical which offered a very high quality sight picture even on this size game at +900 yards.
I could just barely feel a breeze coming from my right so I held a 1/2 mil into the breeze and tickled the trigger. With the lack of recoil, it was easy to watch as the big 169.5 gr reached its mark and the ram simply dropped behind the small rise.
I was very happy!!!
The herd scattered into the tall sage brush for cover but really had no idea what had just happened. As I was about to find out, I had no idea what had just happened either!
I packed up my gear and climbed off the hay stack and started walking out to the ram thinking happy thoughts. I looked up and saw a single sheep walking across the opening toward the sage brush, slowly but steadily.
I glassed the sheep and sure enough it was the ram I had just killed, I thought!
I frantically tried to get a range on the ram but could not. Instead I turned around and ranged the hay stack and subtracted that range from teh 925 yards I had shot at just minutes before. 850 yards is what I figured and quickly set up and sent another 169.5 gr Wildcat down range. This time the shot topped the rams shoulder by roughly 10" or so from what I could tell and startled the ram when the bullet landed behind him and he trotted into the sage and safely into the herd.
I was totally baffled as to what the problem was. Just two days before the 270 Allen Mag was busting milk jugs from 500 to 1000 yards consistantly. I wondered if I had bumped the scope or if I had just pulled both shots. I had no idea where I could have hit the ram on the first shot to drop him like that only to see him run off with no ill effects to be seen. I thought to myself, "These damn things aren't that hard to kill!!"
After 10 minutes or so I figured I better walk up and see if I could figure out what had happened on the first shot.
I got up and started walking again. I had covered a couple hundred yards when I noticed the ewes were moving back out into the opening to feed. Extreme range shooting is great, the animals rarely get spooked and had these sheep known I was there, I would never had seen then again in the tall sage brush.
The herd was moving back out pretty much single file so I set up the rifle and spotter to try to find the ram and basically determine what I would do next. Now range was of little concern, this was more a wounded animal recovery situation as far as I was concern.
25 to 30 sheep entered the opening with several rams requiring a second hard look but when the ram I had shot at came out of the sage near the end of the herd, it was clear he was the one I had shot at. The combination of his long deep curls and face markings made it easy again to pick him out.
I ranged him again, this time the readings were dead consistant, 610, 611, 610 yards for three in a row. I looked up the hold on the scope tube and settled into the rifle. The hold was the second mil dot down for a dead hold at 615 yards so I placed that dot on teh ram and waited for him to clear from a couple young rams. The younger rams moved on and the old ram turned directly toward me.
With the dot centered on his right shoulder to allow for the slight breeze I tripped the big 270 Allen Mags trigger and watched as there was no mistake this time of a very solid hit. The ram was simply knocked on his rear, he recovered, stumbled a couple steps and fell over dead.
The sound of the impact was just awsome as it was on the Fallow Buck in Colorado with the 257 Allen Mag, The heavy Wildcat Bullets retain so much velocity and energy that they are simply amazing at long range impacts.
I was very happy the ram was down and slipped another round in the rifle and watched the ram which I could see on the open meadow for several minutes just to make sure he was not going to suprise me again.
There was no movement so I headed up to see what I had finally put on the ground. On teh hike up to the ram I was very happy with the 610 yard one shot kill but I was still running everything though my mind to try to figure out what had happened at the 925 yard shot.
When I approached the ram it all became very clear what had happened. On his left horn, on the bottom of the top of his curl was a significant amount of blood coming out of his horn. I could not figure out what this was from until it dawned on me that I had hit him in the horn at that first 925 yards which knocked down for a couple minutes but with no real damage to the ram.
Taking some rough measurements I figured that the shot was 12 to 13" high from what the rifle should have been hitting at that range and had no idea why, especially considering the fact that the 610 yard hold was basically dead on the money.
I took several pictures of the ram and rifle and then hiked out to where the ram was when I shot the first time and ranged back to the hay stack, 860 yards!!!
I was suspecting this, I turned around and ranged to the sage brush directly behind where the ram was roughly 60 yards!
Yes add those two together and you get the range I was shooting for, 920 yards. I was getting readings from the sage behind the ram and as such I was taking the wrong hold for the range the ram was at which resulted in a high miss.
Just goes to show you that an accurate range measurement is simply critical for taking shots at these ranges and I learned yet another valuable lesson that if you can not get repeatable, consistant range measurements, you should not take the shot. Lesson learned and I will not rely on speratic readings ever again in the field.
The ram was very large with full 30" curls and 9 3/4" bases. Three inches longer then my previous ram and 1/2" heavier as well so it should score very well as my other ram scored in the the 45 to 50 rank in the SCI records at that time.
Here are some pics of the old boy.
On this pic you can see the exit of the shot that hit the horn. I was suprised the ram fell to this hit but if he was totally relaxed I suspect that would be quite the strain on the neck and head.
I hiked back to pick up the quad and hauled the ram back to the trucks. On teh way I ran into several of my hunting partners who had a couple Boars on the ground. As we chewed the fat about the Ram hunt I noticed several nice sized boars walking up a dry creek bed about 150 yards away. I decided that I would try to sneak in and try to take one with my Sig M245 45 ACP which I had loaded with handloaded 230 gr Golden Saber HP bullets.
I got down in front of the group of pigs and tucked in under a sage bush and waited for the boars to walk by in the creek bed. To my suprise they did but on my side of the wash. They were roughly 5 yards away and here I am laying on my belly with no real good way to get the hell out of there if they decided I was not something they wanted near them.
I waited till five of the pigs passed, two sows and three boars, all roughly 175 to 225 lbs. The last pig in the group was around 200 lbs and was a young boar which would be great for eating. I figured I would be a bit safer letting most of the herd pass before I touched off the 45 in their ear!!
The boar slowly walked out in front of me and stopped and looked directly at me as I let the little 45 ACP bark. The hit was perfect(I hope at 5 yards!!!) and the boar whirled into the sage and fell over within 10 yards. I found the Golden Saber just under the off side hide fully expanded. IT had performed perfectly and I had a great eating pig.
I get nearly as much out of handgun hunting as I do long range hunting so I was able to get some of both in on this hunt and it was a great time.
I was a bit disappointed with the miss at 925 yards but also learned alot as well so it was a good hunt. No half mile kills yet for the Allen Mags but they are coming. Had I gotten an accurate range I feel it would have been a done deal but coulda, woulda, shoulda don't cut it!!
Perhaps the next adventure will result in this but even if it does not the Allen Mags are proving extremely proficient in the field so I could not be happier.