I'm a newb here so if this doesn't really qualify as LR for you folks, sorry. LR for me is a moving target, I guess. It changes as I progress. Anyway...I normally have a hard time setting down and typing up a story and downloading pics of varmint hunts. It's not that I don't really enjoy varmint shooting. I just don't get as enthused about writing them up as I do our predator hunts for instance. Many times we get to shooting and don't get the hunt photographed anyway. I'll make an exception for this one. But, first a little background.
Verminator2 (Ben) and I have been varmint shooting together for several years. We started with .22-250's then moved to .204's so we could call our own shots. Ben eventually built a .243AI on an old M700 action I had. It's a fast twist Kreiger barrel installed by Bob Jourdan and bedded in a McMillan A-5. It has a Leupold 6-18X target scope on it. He recently got a Jewell trigger for his birthday which he adjusted to 8 ounces. It's a lot of rifle for a sixteen year old kid but he's been at this for quite a while and he's very comfortable with it. The catch is that when he got his Ackley, he wanted to start setting up at a range that my .204's were already running out of steam so it was beginning to strain our relationship.
Well, I did the only reasonable thing a dad could do under the circumstances...I sent a M700 VSSF to Dan Dowling and had him chamber a fast twist Kreiger .243AI barrel on it! I had Dan chamber and throat it for 105 A-maxes but I haven't found a load with the 105's that it really likes. Fortunately, I did find a fireform load with 87 v-maxes that were shooting around 3/4" at 200 yards so life could be worse! I mounted a Leupold 8.5-25X scope with the VH reticle on it. Anyway, long story short is that Ben and I can now shoot together without that nasty conflict between us and life is good.
The weather Saturday turned out better than they were expecting. We decided that it would be a shame to waste one of the nicest days we have had this year. So at noon, my loving wife excused us and we headed to a ranch we hadn't shot on last year. The wind was light for a change also. Life was getting better all the time!
We stopped south of the rancher's house to glass the rim above us. V2 starts counting, "One, two, three..." and ends at "ten". Those were just the close ones at 200 to 225 yards. He asked if I wanted the first shot this time (He's getting so polite in his old age) and I graciously accepted. Now we aren't total purists but we have found that the resource (rockchucks) go further when we shoot the longer ranges so we set up the BR Pivot bench on the two-track in front of the pickup and I dug out my Ackley and ranged a 'chuck at 802 yards. I'd like to tell you it was a first round hit but even though the breeze was almost nonexistent where we were, it turned out to be about 1 1/2 moa to the right. My next shot was just under him and he never came back up.
I spotted another 'chuck on the top of the rim and ranged him at 506. I adjusted my turret and he looked huge after the initial 800 yard shot! This one was a first round hit and I took my rifle off the bench and let V2 on. The next further bunch of 'chucks were around one of two dumps along the road. The dumps were dozed out and had a long bank of dirt for the 'chucks to dig in and junk for cover. We immediately started spotting multiple rockchucks on the first bank. I ranged the near end at 585 and the far end at 615. V2 dialed in his drops and just missed his first shot but connected on his second. We switched out and so it went for two hours. We spotted for each other using a 12-40X Leupold spotting scope and ranged with Leica BRF's.
By the time we finished shooting, a couple of places actually had rockchucks rolled against one another. "Stacking 'em like cord wood", I like to say. We made two first round hits at the 500 yard mark and several at the 600 yard mark. Our longest shooting was to the second dump where the rockchucks just kept appearing on some tin at 742 yards. We took two at 506ish, thirteen at the 600 yard dump and four at 742. We took no shots less than 500 yards (with the exception of a couple of jackrabbits). We each weakened a bit towards the end and muffed a few shots but up to that time, we were averaging around 50% hits. Ben ended up shooting 21 rounds and I shot 26 overall. Nineteen dead 'chucks.
What an afternoon! I told Ben on the way home that this stuff could get addicting! Admittedly, having the rockchucks at pretty defined yardages helped us dope both range and wind but it sure was a hoot.
Here are some pics:
Looking over Verminator2's shoulder at the first dump.
Four 742 yard rockchucks.
The top of the bank at the first dump.
The hero shot.
We left quite a few for seed along the rims so there should be plenty for another "hatch" next year!
Thanks for reading.