My "antelope rifle"

Discussion in 'Antelope Hunting' started by Litehiker, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

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    Recently I bought a Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor. Like my competition rifle, the Ruger Precision Rifle, also in 6.5 CM, the RAP is very accurate, especially with Hornady's 143 gr. ELD-X hunting ammo and their 140 gr. ELD-M match ammo. In a few weeks I'll be reloading my own.
    P3300359.JPG
    I'm thinking that with the fairly flat trajectory of the 6.5CM that this would be a good antelope rifle. As you may guess, I've never hunt antelope before.

    Here are some "upgrades" I've made to the RAP:
    1. Boyd's Classic Laminated stock
    2. Timney trigger (set at 2 lbs.)
    3. 20 MOA Picatinny scope rail
    4. SWFA 3 -15 x 42 scope with mil/mil and FFP
    5. flush cup sling swivels and Magpul modular sling
    P3300361.JPG
    Some may think these upgrades to an inexpensive $375. rifle is lipstick on a pig but this "pig" is very accurate.

    Now, where is a good place for this Henderson, NV hunter to go to find good antelope hunting (on public lands)?
    I have a nice 12 - 40 x 60 mm Leopold spotting scope and Bushnell 10X ARC laser range finder binoculars to help me. I can always take the bipod off my competition rifle and put it on the RAP. I have a flush cup/Pic. rail for it.

    Eric B.
     
  2. RevJim

    RevJim Well-Known Member

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    Cool choice. A rifle is a very personal thing, almost as much as a mans sidearm. I've used the 300 winmag; 280 Ackley Improved; the wildcat 6mm/284 and 6.5/284 (when it was a wildcat) the 6.5 was really a great one! I'm sure the Creed will be tons of fun too! Good luck to you Pard!
     
  3. cam2hunt

    cam2hunt Member

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    Eric,

    I have hunted in Wyoming a couple of years ago with a .22-250 and 65 grain rounds. Managed to find a nice buck sheltering behind a bluff in a sudden wind storm that blew up.

    Since then I have also purchased a Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor. For the price, this gun is Crrrrraaazzzy accurate!

    So far I have shot through it the Hornady ELD Match ammo and also the 129 grain Hornady American Whitetail soft points on sale @ Cabelas. My gun loves this latter round and was shooting sub 1/2 moa groups @ 100 yds with it recently (sorry I forgot my pics).

    I am looking forward to getting out to a big open area and testing this gun and round out to 3, 4, 5 & 600 yds.

    Did you find any improvement of accuracy with certain aspects of your setup, stock, trigger, etc that improved significantly over stock?

    I did Rockite my factory stock which took most of the "Tupperware" flex out of it...

    Have heard pro's & con's on the Boyds. Real world input is appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Cam
     
  4. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

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    Cam,

    The best thing I did to my 6.5 CM RAP was the Timney trigger. It is SO much better than Ruger's trigger I can't believe it. And I had the Ruger trigger adjusted all the way down. I could have removed the spring as some have done but didn't want to risk any problems.

    The Boyd's stock just feels better than the plastic Ruger stock. Yeah, one pound heavier but ten times better feel and look than plastic. I guess it comes under the heading of "pride of ownership".

    Yes, for high altitude mountain hunting I will put the plastic stock back on just to lose one pound. If I put Rocklike in the stock (as depicted on YouTube) it would gain that pound. I may try Dremeling the forearm and epoxying in a carbon fiber arrow shaft to stiffen it. Might work and can't hurt. The wimpy forearm is the worst part of that stock. Even the newer American stocks with "honeycomb" pattern inside the forearm still move sideways under pressure.

    Rev Jim,

    Oooooh! 6.5/284. Now that is a flat shooting (barrel burning) hot cartridge that will run with anything Nosler has come out with.
    I do have a Browning A-Bolt in .300 Win mag that is very accurate. Love that rifle but for antelope it may be like swatting flys with a sledge hammer.

    Happy Holidays guys, Eric B.
     
  5. RevJim

    RevJim Well-Known Member

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    Well, my 300 mag with 180 NBT was "indeed" like swatting a fly, ha. I dropped back to lighter rounds with appropriate bullets. I was actually just getting that 300 "bloody", it was a new setup.
     
  6. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    The .300 WM is my go to chambering for antelope to elk size game up to 1K yards.
     
  7. cam2hunt

    cam2hunt Member

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    Eric,

    Thanks for the feedback, will have to check on a Timney and drop some hints for the wife what with Christmas just around the corner. She's always saying I don't tell her what I really want each year! :cool:

    Thanks much,
    Cam
     
  8. Paparock

    Paparock Active Member

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    Your ability to shoot the rifle accurately at targets out to a minimum of 200 yards is critical. A rifle from .243 up through the Magnums will due but your ability to consistently hit a target the size of a soft ball is what counts. I lived in Wyoming for ten years and bought several extra antelope tags each year and gave the extra animals to "Hunters for the hungry". If you learn some of the Pronghorn's idiosyncrasies you can get amazingly close in the broken terrain around Casper, Wyoming and overcome those amazing 7 power binocular eyes of theirs. It took me a couple of years, some observations, and some advise of seasoned "prairie goat" hunters for me to put it all together. :cool:

    I have one "Pronghorn" that missed Boone and Crocket by 2 points back when it was scored. I confess I missed one antelope that would have gone well up into the "Book". Shot right over his back I did and he did not get that big by being stupid. He vacated that area and despite hunting hard for the next week I never saw him again. Now I never have been a "Head" hunter but I won't turn down a trophy if I see one either.

    I hunted the "speed goats" with a .30-06 as I had been shooting that rifle for 20 years and saw no need to buy a new rifle to hunt the "prairie goats". My best friend used a Winchester 270 but also had a Winchester Winchester .264 Win Mag.. My other rifle was a custom built .375 H&H Mag I carried while elk hunting East of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I might much for Antelope. I shot 200 grain boatails out of that .30-06 for everything because that rifle loved them. It would group them into three shot cloverleafs at 100 yards you could cover with a dime. The .375 H&H's ballistics were very similar to the 06s only with a much larger bullet with a lot more energy.
     
  9. Paparock

    Paparock Active Member

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    Antelope are not hard to kill. You just have to punch their lungs. I lived and hunted "speed goat" for ten years out of Casper, Wyoming with a custom .30-06. Now I'm weird because my 06 loves 200 grain boat tail bullets grouping them into nice little cloverleafs at 100 yards so I hunt everything with them. Sometimes, they go on death runs until they figure out they are dead and pile up on their nose and some times they stagger for a few yards and collapse. A 6.5MM is fine for antelope as long as you hit them in the lungs with a good bullet. I suggest you not try to shoot them on the run as they are extremely fast. They usually don't run far and then stop and look back, wait for them to stop. Accuracy and range estimation are everything; I know as before range devises I missed a Boone and Crockett antelope due to wrong range estimate. I hunted for him the rest of the week and never saw him again; he didn't get that big by being stupid.

    They stink by the way (that's why the locals call them goats), and do not let any of the hair touch the meat as you are dressing the meat. If you are hunting for a trophy then they are going to taste like someone got carried away with "sage spice" unless you get permission to hunt on someones ranch where they will taste a "LOT" better as they will eat more like the cattle on the ranch. Soaking the meat in buttermilk over night also helps. Good luck and happy hunting.
    Rocky
     
  10. Win.308Stealth

    Win.308Stealth Well-Known Member

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    What's your rifle weigh in this configuration? Thinking about getting my 12 year old son a Ruger American in 6.5 in a Boyds stock. And am going to be taking him Antelope hunting in WY
     
  11. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

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    CAM,

    Last month I took my Dremel tool and a small sanding drum to my Ruger plastic stock's fore arm. I ground a groove through the plastic reinforcements inside the forearm so I could lay a cut down arrow shaft down inside without touching the barrel.

    I made putty glue "dams" at each side of each internal reinforcement (so the epoxy would stay in place).Then I put JB WELD inside the putty dams. After the epoxy set up I removed the putty dams and now that forearm is MUCH stiffer but still light.

    Yeah, the fore arm wasn't "broke" but it was wimpy and put pressure on the barrel if I wrapped my non-trigger arm into the sling for support. It begged to be stiffened.
    (Ha, "That's what she said.";o)

    Eric B.

    P.S. I always hunt with my Bushnell 10X laser range finder binoculars. They have ballistic tables that get me to "minute of antelope" hold IF I read the wind correctly.
    They read accurately (according to test reports) to 1,700 yards and I only need them to be good to 600 - 700 yards for hunting purposes with a 6.5 CM.

    These days in competitions I consider that distance "medium range". It's amazing how LR competition quickly changes your perspective (and ability) on distance shooting.
     
  12. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I'm an avid speed goat hunter, using a 6.5x284 for the last 10 years or so. Furthest was taken at 1188 yards. The 6.5 CM will make a fine antelope cartridge. I recently purchased a Ruger LRP in 6.5 CM. It is so consistent and accurate, I'm tempted to try it out on my next antelope hunt. It's .25MOA or better with Hornady 140 ELD and 143 ELD-X. The latter should be perfect for antelope out to 800 yards.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
  13. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Greyfox, I think the 6.5 CM is almost made to order for antelope. I want to test the new Hornady 147 gr. ELD-M rounds on a wet telephone book to see if they will expand at all. I think they will with that polymer tip.

    To me the 6.5/284 cartridge is a laser beam. A bit of a barrel burner but worth it. There isn't a new Nosler cartridge made that is any flatter shooting than the 6.5/284.

    When I start hand loading I'm hoping I can dial into an accuracy "node" that should bring 1/2" groups at 100 yards.

    I belong to a club in Boulder City (NV) that has a steel range with silhouette targets out to 960 yards. They are good practice for hunting. I shoot from my crossed hiking poles and from all the standard positions.

    These varied ranges from 110 yards to 960 yards remind me to use my parallax focus knob. It's a good habit to form and you get to know what distances require a focus adjustment and what distances are within a certain focus range without adjustment.

    I wonder if a Burris Eliminator III would be a good antelope scope. Ranging would be instantaneous and they have a built-in angle compensator and several ballistic curves for different cartridge "groups". i.e. 140 gr. Hornady 6.5 CM and 180 Win mag fit into the same ballistic group. Good enough for "minute of antelope" I suppose.

    The real deal for laser range finding binoculars are the Leica Geovid HD-B binocs. They have built in ballistic curves AND a micro SD card so you can put it in your computer and transfer your rifle's exact ballistics then insert the card back into the binoculars. Neat. Plus they also have angle, barometric pressure and temperature sensors to help compute a good final firing solution. Ain't technology amazing? And all for a mere $2,200. :rolleyes:

    Eric B.
     
  14. g0rd0

    g0rd0 Well-Known Member

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    your choice is more than enough for antelope as long as you do your part a 500 meter shot will bring down a super trophy.
    Here are a few sugestions, as stated they rarely run far before stopping to look back as long you don't chase them. But if you chase them they will run like the wind, 50 mph no problem. But, when they do look back a broad side lung shot will not usually be offered so, you will need to be patient to get 1. When they get to a fence they cannot jump it so look for a fence line with a 90 deg angle with the tell tail sign of wear trails under it, be patient and watch those areas.
    I also agree with not letting the hair come in contact with the meat they do stink! And the flavour of sage is normal in the meat, sage is a major source of their diet
    And pick a bullet that will hold together on impact, etip, barns, partition
    But most of enjoy you hunt