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barrel life shooting prairie dogs

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Old 04-20-2009, 05:15 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Pleasant Hill, La
Posts: 30
barrel life shooting prairie dogs

I yall, this is my first post on this forum so if this is in the wrong place, excuse me.
For more years than I want to think about, I've wanted to hunt prairie dogs. So I am planning a trip to Wyoming in June. I am loading for a .223, 22-250, 243 and .270. On one of the Remington 700 243's I plan to install a new Shilen Match Barrel this week. A friend of mine told me that he shot out a 243 barrel with 1,200 rounds shooting dogs, several years ago.

Although I've been reloading and shooting since 1964, I never kept tabs on rounds shot, nor paid much attention to barrel life. Thinking back I always bought used 700 Varmint Specials so never knew how many rounds had been fired before. I realize that a lot has to do with how fast shots are fired, etc., but wanted to hear from folks that have had some experience shooting prairie dogs.

We don't have many in Louisiana.
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:22 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Black Hills,South Dakota
Posts: 661
Re: barrel life shooting prairie dogs

If your going all the way from Louisana to WY for a p'dog shoot,enjoy yourself and dont let barrel life inhibit your shooting.If it must occupy your thoughts just try and keep them relatively cool and clean as often as you feel the need.When I first get to a dog town,I dont have much luck restraining myself for the fast and furious close shots,which your 223 would be good for,although the 22-250 or 243 is a little more spectacular.Specially if you have a buddy along and you get into a hang time contest.
Once the shots get a little farther out I'll usually settle down and concentrate on actual shooting rather than red mist and flying p'dog parts.I dont doubt your buddy at all,I have no doubt a person could fry a 243 barrel in a good dog town.
The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms -Samuel Adams

Last edited by Ballistic64; 04-20-2009 at 11:22 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:26 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Pleasant Hill, La
Posts: 30
Re: barrel life shooting prairie dogs

Thanks, Ballistics64

Yes, you're right, if I drive that far I'm not going to dwell on barrel life. Although I do not speak much French we have a saying in Louisiana "Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez" which means "let the good times roll". I plan on doing that.

One of the things that I am trying to understand is what happens when the shooting starts? Can I expect to get a lot of shooting from say 100-200 yards? Should I expect that most of the shots will be more than 200 yards. We will be hunting just out of Newcastle, Wy and I understand that the winds blows most of the time. We will probably hunt three days. I am trying to determine which caliber, 223. 22-250, 243, 270 will most likely be shot. I am figuring about 500 rounds per caliber except maybe 300 for the 270.

anyway thanks for the reply

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Old 04-21-2009, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,595
Re: barrel life shooting prairie dogs

Depends on how big the town is, and how often they have been shot at. Time of the year also has an impact on that as well. If you are shooting when the young ones are out they are smaller, but they are also more likely to hang around when the shooting starts.
Sometimes early in the AM and late in the afternoon the wind will be down. You may pick those times to work at the longer distances and have the short range fun when the conditions are not as suitable.
Ernie (xphunter)

SEB Coaxial Front Rest - Dealer


"Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh no.........they're awake!""
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:39 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Montana
Posts: 161
Re: barrel life shooting prairie dogs

You will have fun, just remember if the barrel is to hot to hold your hand on it is to hot to shoot. this is a rule of thumb we tell all of our dog shooters. sounds like you have plenty of rifles so when one gets hot lay it down and shoot another, that way you get all the shooting and don't have to worry about the barrel. have fun.
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:08 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Long Island, New York
Posts: 2,099
Re: barrel life shooting prairie dogs

Having more than one rifle available when shooting is a very good idea. Shooting a rifle with a hot barrel can really accelerate throat erosion. It may also be a good idea to have a rimfire with you. I prefer the 17HMR if the wind isn't too bad. The rimfires are great for the short shots, are cheap to shoot, and don't get very hot.

If I was to only bring one gun it would be chambered for the .223.
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Old 04-21-2009, 08:18 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Pleasant Hill, La
Posts: 30
Re: barrel life shooting prairie dogs

Thanks guys, I can hardly wait.
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