Well, this started out as a bird hunting trip with my Dad around Forsyth/Miles City area. Before I left, I saw that there were still some antlerless mule deer and antelope tags left, so we picked a couple of each. I figured this would be a good test for my new 243AI and a chance to get some great meat in the freezer. Might not be the longest range shots or trophy horns, but it was still fun. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
Day 1: After seeing several huge mule deer bucks in the farmers fields, we decided to head to some Block Management Land. We were about to overlook a huge basin below us that looked like it might have some critters in it. We found a small group of antelope in a coulee getting out of the wind. I setup on a small burm and waited for them to stand. My dad ranged the lead doe at 432 yds. I dialed the scope and the waiting game began. Here in Washington, I don't usually have to deal with wind, so I was a little new at the 10-15 mph winds. When she finally stood up, we rechecked the range and the scope. I held 2/3 up and just behind the shoulder figuring the wind would get blow the bullet to the center of the shoulder. At the shot, she instantly folded. When we got to her I could see where I hit. I hit just in front of the shoulder, my elevation was right on, I just didn't account for that much drift. The little 105 gr Berger did its job perfectly. The exit wound looked like a softball came out of her neck, but it didn't look like the bullet came apart.
After that, we decided it was Dad's turn, so we headed to another BMA unit. We found an Antelope right off, and Dad shot off his sticks at about 200 yds. She hit the ground and I asked where he aimed. He said "for the head, didn't want to waste any meat". His 243AI almost took the head off. No pic on that one. Butchered that one, looked up and about a mile down the valley was another herd. We decided to go after them. We found them bedded alond a ridge and we sent up again. Dad ranged them at 405 yds. I dialed the scope and waited for them to stand. When the middle doe stood, I put on the high shoulder, used the first windage hash mark on my Varmit Reticle, and squeezed one off. She hit the ground hard. I hit her right where I wanted. Again, large exit wound with the berger.
We couldn't believe by 2:30 we had 3 antelope in the coolers. So we decided to shoot prairie dogs the rest of the day. I was getting used to the wind and connecting at dogs out to 620 yds. It was a good day.
Woke up and it was 15 degrees with about 4" snow. Big change from the 75 degree temps the day before. Went up to some state land we found and saw some deer feeding in the creek bottom. We snuck across the sage and a very large Mule deer doe was feeding through the bottom. I rested on a tree and touched off the trigger. She folded up and hit the ground. Dad then ranged her at 256 yds. We looked at the bullet exit again.....on the mule deer the bergers did not do as much damage, 6mm hole going in, maybe 1 1/2" hole going out.
We drove around the rest of the day and tried to stay warm and shoot prairie dogs. We were heading back to the state gound for another evening hunt, and we saw some deer in another creek bottom. I setup and dad ranged them at 276 yds. I adjusted the scope and there was no wind, so I waited for the doe to clear the rest of the group and squeezed off another. Dropped instantly, and the bullet damage was about the same as the other mule deer.
We ended up learning quite a bit about long range shooting and got some very good meat for the freezer. I could not be happier with the performance of the 243AI and the 105 gr berger. Heck, we even got a couple of pheasants to boot. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]