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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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Dave Petzal

To Black Rifle Addict: Did not see another hunter this trip. Very odd. Last time around, that was about all we saw.


Last week in South Dakota, I took a nice antelope doe at 340 yards and a nice buck at 380 yards the second day. I was shooting a 25-06 117 grain. It performed very well even in a brisk wind. The buck measured 17 inches and 70 6/8 BC not a record book but still very nice.



Must me my mistake, the commercial features the .375 on an African Safari and I guess the guy just resembled you. Guess I picked a bad day to stop sniffing glue.

Bernie Kuntz

I have taken about 40 pronghorns since the early 1960s in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. My absolute favorite pronghorn cartridge is the .25/06, which I had built on a Sako action in 1972. I use 115-grain Nosler Partitions or 120-grain Speer Spitzers ahead of 55 grs. of H-4831. I also have shot a great many pronghorns with my .243 and 100-grain Hornady Spire-Points (very effective!) The .270 and .280 also are excellent in 130-grain and 140-grain bullets respectively. I shot a few with my 7mm Weatherby but such power is not needed. Clay Cooper's cartridge/bullet selections make a lot of sense to me.

Trae B.

ya'll sure do put alot of detail when ya'll explain what ya'll hunt with well as of right now im going to hunt with a photon xm345-5559 mazda rx-7 suziki honda ford long distance lazer that will shoot 1,999 miles and direct aim straight for the heart of any animal with very little damage done to the meat.

Ed J


I've been using a 25-06 for about forty years now. It works great on antelopes no problem with mule deer. 500+ yds for praire dogs using the 87gr. all handloads of course. Mine is on a 98Mauser double set triggers custom stock. no exotic engraving, its a working rifle. Not for Elk-it weighs 15lbs 4 oz. My brother lives out of Roberts MT. We go hunting west of there. I hunt in western ND.

Clay Cooper

The fact is this, Antelope are easier to knock down than a jackrabbit, not by size and the by the ability to hit, just that there body and nervous system cannot take the hit and trauma. So if you think you need foot pound energy from a big elephant rifle? YOUR WRONG! 25-06 is perfect cartridge category for the flat trajectory and ability to handle the wind. Dave Petzal is on to something here about the 6.5/264 cal for the ability to sustain longer ranges with a lower muzzle velocity. This is why my number one pick for long-range critter buster is the 264 Winchester Magnum! If any cartridge is worthy of being revived is this fine cartridge. The only problem is the barrel life. We do have the technology to make a better barrel for the 264 Win Mag. One more thing, the 264 is flatter shooting tha all the commercial cartages on the market. Only rifle that beats the 264 Win Mag at 1000 yards is the 50cal BMG by only 3 inches!



I'm thinking about necking a .460 Wby down to shoot phonograph needles! Whadda ya think?
(Heard they whistle for a week after you pull the trigger!)



DAMNIT Bubba I just shot coffee out of my nose and all over my computer!! Youre killin me!!! Gotta stop and clean up my key board, later guys.


I'll save some of my better stuff so you can put out the camp fires for us!



I agree with Greg ,.. just in from a late dinner and a couple snorts.
1/4ly taxes done which is always a giant pain in the "A".
There fore in a good mood ,..

Decided to look in here.
Read Bubba's upcoming project, neck down 460 to shoot phoneograph needles.
That whistle for a week after you pull the trigger.
Laughed so damned hard I nearly shot SCOTCH out my nose !!! which aint pretty and its uncomfortable,.. I did spill some too,. which is a damn shame ,. cuase its good stuff.
Bubba ,. that is truly funny,.
I miss the hell out of that kind of humor.
Reminds me of an old gunsmith I used to know,.. who's finall opinion on hunting rifles was.

If you have a 6.5 and,..
a 30-06 or 8x57 or 7x57,..and just for the hell of it a 30-30
Unless your gonna hunt africa ,.. or brown bears your next purchase is not necessary.
But he never said a thing about phoneograph needles.
If I didnt know for sure he ( the old gunsmith) was no longer with us.
I would be highly suspect as to Bubba's reall identity.

My family is here from Norway only two generations ,..
I have heard stories about 6.5 X 55 for moose.(Elg)
Apparently it is the lightest calebre they allow for that purpose.With somehting like a 160gr minimum.
Apparently in appropriate hands as far as the powers that be are concerned it will put the Elg ( moose) on the ground with business like dispatch.

Extream sectinal density,..
essentially a length to weight raio allowing superior penettration with effeciant energy delivery is th explanation i was given. Hard to argue that from my perspective, provided bullet construction is adequit.

By the way if my cousin is correct
The shooting test one must pass to be something on the order of "certified to hunt" in Norway is 5 consecutive shots "off hand" ( no rest) in a 30" circle at 100 meters.
Did not say if there was time limit.
Makes ya wonder how many people here couldnt get certified.

I also hear from that corner of the world ,. that 8x57 with 196
pill ,. spit out the barrel at about 2550 fps will pretty much do the deed on anything,.. including the big white bear.

I have a 98 8MM brno,
surplus but new,.. when I got it.
Nice piece, sporterized,.. Itilain walnut stock reworked barrel hot blued polished bolt ,..custom trigger at 3 lbs.
Its is also very curate,.. no sence bragging but one day that rifle did some pretty fancy shooting at 150 yds.

Anyway that rifle hasn't seen action in a long time.
I just clean it and pet it, a few times a year ,. but thinking now
with this metric talk mayby recommision for later this year.

Any thoughts on a recipe for that one?

and Bubba ,. thanks for the laugh
made my day.


I never shot an antelope, but I used to live in Utah and saw quite a few at less than 500 yards. Not sure I could even see one at 1322.5.
The few that were shot in my vicinity by locals were all taken with a 30-30.
The government managed to get a few hundred with nerve gas. That's also very effective.

Dennis Crabtrey II

Yay, 243 for Antelope fans. I bought a Blaser and 3 barrels that all fit in one case for a "one gun for all hunts" scenario. 243,30-06, 375H&H. Hope to go to Africa after this little iteration in the I-Rack. Hunt safe.

Dr. Killdeer

What's the "You" Easterners. Thought you're a NY'er...


Way to go Dave! The only reason I didn't take my new CZ mannlicher in 6.5x55 goat hunting here in Texas last week is because CZ no longer supplies scope rings with the rifle, and every gun shop in the Texas panhandle as well as on-line sources were temporarily out of stock on CZ rings. I took my .270 instead and felt a little overgunned. One shot at 146yds. while he was herding two does around provided the main ingredient for sausage and burger. Can't wait to get a scope on the little CZ in time for deer season.


I'm planning an antelope hunt in the near future(hopefully). In the interest of having something interesting to shoot I had a Ruger #1 rebarreled in 6/284. Accuracy is wonderful with 100 grain Nosler Partitions and recoil is very mild. I dropped a deer with it at 233 yards a couple of years ago so antelope at the same or greater distance should be no problem.


Clay C.

Sitting here looking at a Sierra loading manual, circa 197?.
To be fair, I selected the same bullet wt and same powder for each caliber. The info is for 120 gr bullets and IMR 4320 powder. The chart below gives caliber, powder charge then "advertised" muzzle velocity.
.25-06 44.8 2900 (max load)
.264WM 48.0 2900
.264WM 52.7 3100 (max load)
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the .264 WM isn't a fine caliber. My "point" is, why burn that much more powder and deal with that much more recoil for so little in return?
I'm sure the .264 WM has a "special" niche in somebody's heart or it never would have made it, I just fail (from a handloader stand point) to see any significant advantage!



Well Antelope hunting was the first big game hunting I ever did. 1983... moved to Wyoming and bought my only hunting rifle at the time. Wanted to hunt Elk as well... so bought 7mm Rem Mag. WMD for Antelope. Wouldn't recommend that ...but then I couldn't afford two rifles. But ... if you have to use a WMD... I took five Antelope with it in five years. Never took a shot over 100 yds... never his them anywhere other than just behind the front shoulder... and I don't think I lost any meat. 165 grain factory Remington ammo. If I was up there today... would be .270 Winchester Thompson Encore with 15" Bbl... and 110 grain loads that work really well for me.


Kudo's Paul

Two-seventy is fine caliber, especially for handloaders. Strangly though, if you handload, find approximate same bullet weights for .270 and 7mm RM and then compare powder charge/advertised muzzle velocity.
Not much difference in m.v. compared to p.c.! Yeah, you can push a heavier pill faster, but why? Kill 'em .003 seconds quicker!?


WA Mtnhunter

Most of us have no business shooting at an unwounded animal at ranges past 300 yards or so under hunting conditions (except sod poodles from a rest). I personally don't feel the need for additional oomph to that which my .35 Whelen, .30-06, .308 Win, and .257 Roberts already provides.

However, I am currently contemplating a Weatherby Mark V Fibermark in 7 mm Weatherby magnum. I am even thinking about rechambering it to 7 mm STW. That project is certainly in direct conflict with my first statement, but it sounds like fun!

Give your 6.5 Swede or .264 Win mag a great big hug and a little Rem Oil wipe down!


You make a very valid (to me) point there WAM! When I was very young and "very" intelligent, spent alot of time trailing wounded animals, shooting at those type ranges. I'm sure there are people that can make those shots reliably, I CAN'T! So confine my shooting to about 200/250 yards. Kill more deer, see more deer, scare less deer, wound less deer!
I'm one of the more "fortunate" one's that can't see red! Ergo, I don't do well trailing wounded deer without (ahem!) wife's assistance!



I also prefer the 6.5 Swede. Take at look a the new X bullet, the one with three rings, in 120 grains. Extremely efficient at piercing the air, practically no drop to 300 yards. You can expect nearly 3000 fps if you hand load it. And as for moose, theck out the Woodleigh 160 grain bullet with a BC of 509.

Chad Love

That 160 grain 6.5 bullet is the reason I'm getting rid of my 7mm mag. For everything deer-sized and under I shoot either a 6.5x55 or if I'm feeling nostalgic, an old commercial FN deluxe mauser (my first centerfire) in 30-06. I figure if I ever go elk, black bear or anything else hunting short of brown bears a 160 grain 6.5 or the 156 Normas will kill larger critters about as well as a 175 grain 7mm bullet, albeit at slower velocities (on both ends).


have two Model 38 Swede carbines. Use 44.5 gr H4350 with Nosler Ballistic Tips - deadly on antelope, mule deer and whitetails. Also great guns for kids. My boy has shot them from the time he was tall enought to hold both ends off the ground at the same time - easy on recoil & muzzle last.


120 gr Bal Tips

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