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October 10, 2007

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Guns for Goats (Antelope, to you Easterners)

Periodically, I get a letter that reads: "Dear Dave: I am going antelope hunting for the first time and need a rifle that can take them at 1,322.5 yards. What cartridge do you recommend?"

Well, I went antelope hunting this past week and took along a 6.5 Swede which fired a 130-grain Swift Scirocco handloaded to 2,750 fps. With this clearly inadequate rifle, I killed a nice buck at 170 yards and a
doe at 130. A friend who was with me also tallied two animals at about the same ranges using a woefully lacking .308 and 150-grain Winchester factory ammo.

That is more or less typical antelope hunting. If there is something the matter with you and you want to blaze away from an adjoining county, you are welcome to, but the fact is that the antelope is not the brightest creature God put on earth, and they can almost always be stalked to within a couple of hundred yards and, in many cases, a lot less.

What our ballistically underprivileged rifles did not do was tear huge hunks of meat and bone out of the goats or pulverize them into soup. I've had this experience with high-velocity cartridges, and that is why I use the Swede. Even if you do get a 300-yarder, the little round will hack it. That Swift bullet is very long and very streamlined, and while it doesn't start out with gobs of fps, it holds on to the ones it has very nicely.


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Clay Cooper

Mr. Yohan
Ricochet does not follow a straight line of fire. In fact they are known to come straight back at you and they will. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. I’ve had 338 250 grain bullets come whistling back over my head several times. That is why I use 225 grain soft point bullets @ 3000 fps and staying away from the solids bullets like the Barnes X. I have firsthand knowledge of what the big bores will do especially from 375 to the 458 mags. It really gives me the creeps when you shoot at a target on the soft ground expecting the projectile has stopped and you see dust kick up several times 500 yards or so down range like skipping a flat rock on water. I’ve watched a Gentleman shooting his 45-70 350 grain cast at a jackrabbit 75 yards away and the bullet ricochet several times hitting his truck 30 feet to our right. You will not find information in a reloading book or some other book available that is easily available. The point is Sir that it is assumed that because you cannot see it, it assumed that the bullet just stays in the ground unless you hear the ricochet or see it hit something down range. All the calibers up to .308 “generally” follow what you believe in. However when you get to the 338 and up, the bigger and heavier the projectile is the harder it is to stop. It’s like comparing a golf ball and a bowling ball. The bowling ball just keeps going and going with a mind of its own. Striking the ground and ricocheting at a 90+ degree angle can and will happen. Also a bullet can ricochet several times before coming to a full rest. Now if you don’t understand what is said I’m sorry? I’m moving on Sir

Clay Cooper

Capt Walt
Look no further. You can use this baby at 3,000 yards
Weatherby Mark V .340 Mag?
All due respect Capt Walt, O’Sarge asks, what are you smoking? How about 3000 feet!

WA Mtnhunter

You guys talk trash and split hairs. I'm going elk hunting for the next 2 weeks!

Dr. Ralph

What's this, the 700 yard caribou man complaining about taking long shots? Capt. Walt said you could use it at 3000 yards, not that you could actually hit anything. 3,000 yards is 1.7 miles and my .22 long rifle cartridges claim a range of 2 miles... When I was a kid the 30-06 boxes used to say warning: 6 mile range! That's why so many flat Midwestern states only allow shotguns for deer. How about those Remington not so black rifles Clay?

Clay Cooper

Dr. Ralph, what experience in long range shooting do you have? In the past months you shot your mouth off without saying any experience in such field. If Capt Walt thinks to believe that his 340 Weatherby Mark V is that good at 3000 yards I like to see him go head to head with me at 1000 yards against my M1A. I’ll shoot open sights and he can use any scope he wants. NRA High Power 1000 yard rules apply! I’ll even give him additional hour to sight in. Doc your long on words but short on knowledge and experience!


Ralphy, 700 yards for Clay I can believe in, but 3000 yards? For the bullet to travel 6miles is one thing but to hit accurately at 3000 yards? Do the math! You’re so gullible. I wouldn’t take Ol’Sarge up on that 1000 yard if I was you! By the way Ralph, since you can’t get it up past short distances, perhaps you should add some Viagra in your loads! Maybe you have “ED” in your Rifle to?

Dr. Ralph

Clay you're too easy to fire up! I'm just saying the gun could be used at 3000 yards, not that it would be accurate or even effective... We all you you're the self-professed long range king and no one in the world could ever out shoot you.

Clay Cooper

Ralph I stand corrected on what you said about reaching 3000 yards. Now hold on their Pilgrim! As far as someone not out shooting me? You know how many times I got my lunch handed to me especially by a Lady from Tucson AZ! Don’t remember her name, she was a National High Power Champion and frequented the matches in Phoenix, 29 Palms, Capitan NM and the Whittington Center in Raton NM. Mr. David Tubbs I’m not! It’s not really that hard to hit out to 700 yards if you burn up enough ammo. Kinda like dove and duck hunting, just got to know how far to lead the critter!

Yo-- Clay,..
was gonna go into a short disertaton on inertia & energy tranfer,. IE skips & riochocets not to mention the genius of shootig at cetain hard surfases some of which will approximate reverse energy transfer.

Question now is were you one of the guys in the hanger pounding two hammer heads together.
Waiting for small piece of schrapnel to split off and go through someone arm? or worse.

As I say was gonna,.. but laughing too hard ,..
Sounds like you and your associat with 45-70 are something akin to Moe and Curly in Raod Runner Cartoon ,..
Certain your a great marksman and handloaer and who knows what ,.. but a physicist you aint.

I give up ,..

have a nice day

Clay Cooper

Don't give up!
Listen, I’m no physicist, but I do learn by other peoples mistakes and do my best not to repeat them! Now there was a guy in our shop that took a 2x pneumatic rivet gun with a flush set and put it up to his head and squeezed the trigger. Stupidity at its finest you bet and one hell of a headache! I’ve been around practically every caliber and know what they’re capable of doing. I almost shot our Chief of Ground Safety in self defense one day. True story!



Buddy Hinton Sturmgewehr

Neo Nazi Gays rise!

Tom D

Antelope, also deer, coyotes and pigs - .260 Rem (will do every thing the 6.5x55 will do, only just a little better). Also try the 6mm Rem for same. Extra far or big? .270WSM works just great. But aren't you a better hunter if you have to get close? The .260 is fine out to 300+/- yards, and I can't see good enough, with or without good optics, to shoot any farther than that!

Clay Cooper

Tom D

The 22-250 works just as good on Antelope!

Buddy Hinton Sturmgewehr

Neo Nazi Gays rise?
That’s an Oxymoron statement!
Be careful there, that can be taken as a phrase for some to that yell “TARGETS UP”!

mother goose

Clay, Clay go away, come again another day!

On every subject you offer advice that makes me wish you'd put your head in a vice.

Opposing points you never hear, you mouth's too busy running in gear.

While you, yourself may be having a ball, I shake my head at this know it all!

You spout with anger and with glee, you seem
to think that God is thee!

I thank the Lord I'm not your wife because living with you would make me end my life.

Mother Goose

Rocky Mtn Hunter

You guys use what ever caliber you desire. I will take my Rem 700 Classic in 25-06 stuffed with Winchester Balastic ll5 gr. bullets and we will shoot any reasonable distance to kill game you desire.I see no reason to shoot at game beyond a sure kill distance. And, i doubt any knowledge hunter these days will even consider a iffy shot at 3K yards. Each of us and our weapons if we have praticed enough know the firearms capabalities. I use a 3 x 9 40 Nikon Monarch scope and I would never attempt a lethal shot at game beyond 400 yds. Last year I did kill a Lope in WY at 325 yds and that was far enough for me. With the winds in the Rockies, you cannot allow for the windage and drop as you can in the east. My Rem 06 with a 24" bbl using Rems Scricco l80's does a good job breaking the wind problem, but again 400 yds is about my limit. When you look down 4 foot-ball fields fellows, thats a long distance to be accurate for a Vital hit. Sure you may luck up and find your mark at a longer range, but rarely. Stick with your tried and proven distance, then no crippled game left to a slow death. I;ve allowed many iffy shots to go by, but when day was over I felt good about the ones I allowed to walk. I just looked forward to tomorrow in the woods and hopefully a shooter would come my way. It's no sin to eat a tag, but it is to leave a wounded animal to die slowly or be eaten alive. Think about that the next time you pass up a shot to far away for you.

Swen Swenson

A BIG antelope doesn't weigh much over 100# and they're not particularly tough to kill. Do make a good shot though, or they can run for 10 miles before they tip over, which is most annoying.

I think the main reason the lazer-flat-shooting rifles are so popular and successful on antelope is that people trust them to shoot dead-on to ridiculous distances and hold hair under their sights.

The antelope is a walking optical illusion. They're tiny animals that look big when you're up close. Because they're smaller than you think they look farther away than they are and when someone misses it's usually because they shoot clean over the critter.

I think this also accounts for all the tall tales about the super blasters. 'Yep, that antelope was 600 yards out but I held right on with my UltraMega Remchesterby Magnum and got him!' Right. Even the megamagnums drop feet at 600 yards. If you held on and hit an antelope it was more likely no more than 300 yards away.

That, I think, is the big secret to killing antelope: Always hold hair under your sights. If you do that you can kill them with about anything. If you must hold over, don't do it, get closer instead because you're almost surely overestimating the range.


Cain't find any H4831 loads for my 45/70 Marlin guide Rifle,Its a slow burning powder,little recoil (have neck/right shoulder problems) I use H4831 in my 300 Win Mag 71.8 grs with a 190hpbt no recoil and it gos 2989fps 1"groups @100yds all day does anyone have any load using H4831 with their Marlin 45/70 guide rifle???

Del in Kansas


H4831 is slowburning powder for use in large capacity bottlenecked rifle cases like your 300. It is not a good match for the straight wall 45-70 case.

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