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Nice range day + first (persistent) chuck of the season

 
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Old 03-05-2006, 12:50 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Bozeman, MT
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Nice range day + first (persistent) chuck of the season

I finally got a little time off from school today and got in some much needed shooting. It turned out to be a real nice day full of notable happenings. Having shimmed my scope base last night, I needed to re-zero today. I used the first half of the twenty loads I had made up for zeroing and the rest for punching paper at 100 yards. The last three went into the smallest 3 shot group I've ever had. I was excited enough I had to show someone, and since no one at home properly appreciates it, you fine fellows get the honor.



Best I can tell it measures in around .17 inches. I had been cleaning this gun every 15 rounds or so, but considering how it shot after twenty, I decided to hold off this time. I made up another batch of loads to test at extended ranges. As I'm sure you're all aware, a .22-250 with 52 gr. bullets is the ideal 500 yard caliber on a windy day. After putting 9 minutes in my scope I was still off by 4 or so feet, but I am just learning. At least results at 100 and 300 were promising (that range is often less windy).

On my way back from my disappointing 500 yard attempts, I spotted one of the first groundhogs I've seen this year. I didn't have a bipod, but at 200 yards it wasn’t too much trouble to make a shot off of my rabbit ear bag alone. The chuck flopped at the shot, and I diverted my attention to more pressing matters, like where my truck keys had disappeared to.

After losing ten minutes to my key issue, things got rolling and I went to recover my prize first chuck (it seems like the off season is so long, but it really only lasted 2 1/2 months this year). As I neared what should have been a dead chuck, it appeared that my groundhog had regained its strength and was walking around munching on grass, although its head was covered in blood. At this point a second, and final, shot was successfully taken. I've needed follow up's on chucks before, but not usually after a head shot!



Rifle and quarry. Rifle is a Rem. VLS 22-250 shooting 52 gr. Berger MEF’s over H380.



The original, apparently ineffective shot. It seems as though I hit at the base of the ear and missed anything vital. Hopefully they don't all display this kind of tenacity, or its going to be an interesting season!

Winter's great, but I start to miss groundhog hunting partway through. I hope you all get to stretch your trigger fingers soon.

Regards,
Carl
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Old 03-05-2006, 12:56 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Hermiston, Oregon
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Re: Nice range day + first (persistent) chuck of the season

Nice big chuck. Jesus those things are huge. The only good thing I would get out of living back east it seems is the woodchuck hunting. They look a lot bigger then rockchucks. Thats a great 3 shot group. Is the rifle totally stock?
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Old 03-05-2006, 01:00 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Oregon
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Re: Nice range day + first (persistent) chuck of the season

wow, I can't believe that thing was walking around! thats amazing....

good shooting!!
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Old 03-05-2006, 01:25 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
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Re: Nice range day + first (persistent) chuck of the season

I really like it out west, and I will hopefully be relocating somewhere out there for grad school this fall, but I will miss being able to hunt groundhogs on a regular basis. I was surprised how big he was considering the time of year, often they are thinner in the spring.

As for the rifle, the barrel was fire lapped with the David Tubb kit. I lowered the pull on the trigger, floated the barrel, and glass bedded the action (very poor bedding job, my first attempt). Beyond these modifications it's stock. Shooting that good is certainly a rarity, but it stays at or under .5 MOA with loads it likes. If I can get some better results at 500 yards I would like to try a groundhog shoot with it sometime this spring.

Thanks for the comments,
Carl
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:44 AM
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Re: Nice range day + first (persistent) chuck of the season

Congrats on the small group and your first chuck of the season.

[ QUOTE ]
As I'm sure you're all aware, a .22-250 with 52 gr. bullets is the ideal 500 yard caliber on a windy day.

[/ QUOTE ]

For shooting chucks at long distance on a windy day there are more suitable cartridges than the 22-250. Don't get me wrong, I've shot thousands of chucks with my 40x in 22-250 and it is a capable varmint cartridge. However, in windy conditions there are better choices.

The 22-250 using a 52gr bullet @ 3,700 ft/sec drops 38" and has 29" of wind @ 10mph @ 500yds.

The .243 using a 55gr bullet @ 4,000 ft/sec drops 29" and has 23" of wind @ 10 mph @ 500yds.

The .243 would resist the wind even better with heavier bullets like the 87gr V-Max, which is devasting on groundhogs and a prefered longrange varmint bullet by many shooters.

I also shot 52gr match bullets for many years while hunting groundhogs. They were quite lethal at 22-250 velocities. However, they rarely display the terminal performance that todays varmint bullets do. I'd suggest trying 50-55gr V-Max or Ballistic Tips for some fast and dramatic kills.

Good shootin' [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
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Old 03-05-2006, 10:34 AM
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Re: Nice range day + first (persistent) chuck of the season

Varmint Hunter,

Sorry about the sarcasm in my initial statement, it's how I often talk but it doesn't always translate well to print. I just wish that Remington would make my gun in a faster twist so that 75 gr+ bullets could be used. Based on ballistics calculators, it seems a .223 launching 75 gr. A-max's would buck wind much better than my current setup, while using less powder, generating less heat, and going easier on the barrel.

But luckily relief is coming shortly, in the form of an APS 6.5-284.

As far as .224 bullets go, I have shot most of my hogs with this gun using 50 gr. ballistic tips, they have worked well but sometimes I actually wished for more expansion. These bullets are specifically the MEF (maximum expansion factor) varmint bullets that Berger makes, and I was giving them a try based on a friends recommendation. I think that they are the same as their regular match bullets, except that they have a large hole in the meplat to initiate expansion. Some b.c. is lost over the regular bullet with this arrangement.

Your points are well taken and on the ballistics I am in total agreement.

I've seen you with a .22-243AI and a pile of chucks on here before, what will your primary varmint rig be this season?

Regards,
Carl
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Old 03-05-2006, 02:28 PM
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Re: Nice range day + first (persistent) chuck of the season

I never took your post as "sarcastic". I was just commenting on you claim. For many years I would have agreed with your statement. Hunting, shooting and ballistic application all have a long learning curve. I read posts here regularely because I'm still climbing up the curve. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Although I still have the 22-243AI, I am considering having it rebarreled to 6mmBR. Just haven't decided for sure yet. For the upcoming varmint season I will be shooting a 6.5x284 with a 30" Lilja barrel, Vais brake, and Shehane Trakker stock. It shoots well with the 140gr A-Max bullet but I just bought 500 142gr Matchkings. Seems like everyone else has good luck with them at the LR matchs. We'll see how they shoot in my rifle. I'm sure that PA groundhogs will hate them. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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