barrel life shooting prairie dogs

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by dickshuford, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. dickshuford

    dickshuford Active Member

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    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.
     
  2. Ballistic64

    Ballistic64 Well-Known Member

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    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.:D
    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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2009

  3. dickshuford

    dickshuford Active Member

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    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


     
  4. Ernie

    Ernie SPONSOR

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    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.
     
  5. Bud Martin

    Bud Martin Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  6. Varmint Hunter

    Varmint Hunter Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  7. dickshuford

    dickshuford Active Member

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    Thanks guys, I can hardly wait.
     
  8. dickshuford

    dickshuford Active Member

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    Well we made Newcastle, Wy. Had a blast. Shot two days but the closest shot was 192 yards. Little buggers were frightened I guess. I learned a lot and hope to go back next year.
     
  9. Capt Kurt

    Capt Kurt Active Member

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    Barrel life varies from rifle to rifle. Heat and dirty barrels is the biggest enemy of your barrel. 30-378 weatherby barrel is good for about 1500 rnd before signs of throat erosion occur. Smaller fast calibers 220 swift and 204 ruger and others might get 3000-4000 rnds before the same occurs. Stainless steel and chrome lined barrels generally get much more, 10,000 to 12,000 rds. But again heat and (dirty barrels) can shorten the life of these barrels as well. As a prairie dog hunter myself i keep track of my ammo fired thru my stainless barrel. Ammo that travels faster that 3000 fps will shorten barrel life. My wilson 223 - 24" bull barrel with 1/8 twist has fired just over 6,500 rnds and most of that has been just over 3000 fps ammo. I clean the barrel after every shoot and have not seen any signs yet of throat erosion. However, if you enjoy the shooting sports don't let this detract from enjoying your rifle. Realize changing out your barrel is part of the process as buying new tires for your car. Hope this helps. Capt kurt
     
  10. MN Hunter

    MN Hunter Well-Known Member

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    We generally have hunted from mid may until the first part of june. Lots of fast and furious shooting up close for 10 to 15 minutes. After that things settle down. Most shooting after that has been 150yds plus. If the town is big enough don't be afraid to move around a little. Bring lots of ammo and a couple of guns. On my ar's I like to run a couple patches thru them after every mag. My bolt guns I do that every 10. Give them a more thorough cleaning after 30 or so rounds. May be a little anal but it helps keep things cool. Havr fun. Bring lots of water. Its easy to get dehydrated.
     
  11. dickshuford

    dickshuford Active Member

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    Thanks,

    I agree that barrels are like tires for a car. I now do my own barrel work so it is not a big deal to replace. My main problem is being old. If I could sit down at a bench and consistently shoot the same everyday, I'd be happy.

    Back in about 1983 I bought a used Rem 700 (22-250) Varmint. I have shot it a bunch. I recently replaced it with a Shillen Match but the old one would still shoot 0.700".