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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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.375 H&H Mag in the deer woods?? Scary thought! But if that is unsafe so is my ought-six! Scary because it is probably being toted along by a neophyte who has maybe fired three rounds out of it. No less safe however.
All firearm safety is first and foremost in the brain of the person behind the weapon. Always ask yourself whether the area behind your target is clear BEFORE mounting the gun and clicking the safety off. Next ask yourself whether your shot is likely to result in a clean kill. If you answer Yes! to both then ease the weapon up, click off the safety and squeeeeeeeze off the shot. This should be drilled in whether you are 'chuck hunting with a .22 or elephant hunting with a .460 Wby Mag! No gun is more or less safe than the person behind it.


Holy detached retinas Batman! Another shoulder stomper makes headlines. Hastings new 20 gauge 3 1/2 inch magnum slug barrel and loads for it. 350 grain lead slug at 2000 FPS! Ouch!
What that has to do with 'Antelope' cartridges I don't know, but I thought it was worth a mention here.

Speaking of .375! Remember the "Big Bore 94" Winchester chambered in .375 Win(?). It was a straight wall case. Knew a fella that hauled one into the Weminuche Wilderness in SW Colorado (1979) as a back up elk rifle.
Sure enough, pack horse broke his .300 WM stock. Busted a nice elk at 200 yds with iron sites. I was amazed. Shoots a lot flatter than you would think!



I do remember the Big Bore 94 rifles! Wanted one for a while. Unfortunately they had too much competition from Marlin and the wonderful .444. I wanted the .356 Win for a woods rifle for deer and bear. Still haven't scratched that itch at all; the largest rifle I own is my '06, I also have a sweet M 94 in .30-30. I may yet go for a big bore but I think it would be a Marlin M 1895 in .45-70. Just overall a better choice as I don't roll my own ammo.


To the Silver arrow regarding 375 or 06,..or what ever

Exactly !!!,. my point Thank you.

You could take 458 mag in deer woods ( saw that too,.. ) ,.. or 22 LR ,..
If incompetent neophyte has the 22 ,.. waaay more dangerous than the 458 in the hands of an experianced responsible hunter Or if not experianced then at least a reasponsible hunter.
Have seen way too much "spraying" in my time.
and I came close to taking one once too,..
The vc didnt get me and I do not wanna "buy it" in the deer woods at he hands of some wack job with glazed eyes pumping lead after a 130lb animal he thinks is 400 lbs,..
Mr Petzal ( I assume ) executed a shot with a tack driving rifle at reasonabl range (another pet peeve) with an appropriate ( might i say traditional) long proven caliber.
This I like ,.. no,.. this I respect .



Knew a guy very well that toted an M77 in .458 WM. Made PeeWee Herman look like an NFL defensive lineman! He hand loaded it down to .45-70, but liked the mouth-dropping, wide eyed stares he got when other guys asked about caliber or noted hollow log sized bore!


Dr. Ralph

Had to laugh about the M-79 water buffalo comment. Know a guy who was atop an armored personnel carrier and they were blocked by a herd of water buffalo's. The LT says those are commie [email protected]#$&(*% buffalo, and the BMG's went to work. His mom always asked him to send pictures so he took a whole roll of buff parts and pieces and sent them home...

Rocky Mtn Hunter

For Lopes the 25-06 stuffed with Winchester ll5 gr. Ballastic tips does a wonderful job out to 325 yrs. I killed my Lope last year in Wy one shot and that was it. The 25-06 is a flat shooting rifle and recoil is light. Mine is a Classic about 40 yrs old by Remington. It's my other gun for teh Rockie Mtns and w=tails here in N>C. When in the Rockies I sually am hunting lk and Deer so I go with my 700 30-06 using their Scricco l80 gr bullet. It also is a flat shootingf bullet. Got a nice deer at 345 yds. As a rule i don;t shot that far, but was a open shot and felt with a 200 yrd zero by holding on back line I could make the shots. I did , bullet enterd about 5" below the backbone. Animals dropped in their tracts. A well know present day Writer, gun expert, writes for many magazines, guides told me some 3-4 ys back to forget the WSM's as they would be short lived. Suggested I hang on to what I had or replace with simular old tried and proved ammo. So far he's been correct. I figure the Rem 700 25-06 and the 700 30-06 CDL will handle anything I will hunt. Until a better Mouse trap is built, will stick with the 06's and 25's along with a 30-30 for woods hunting with open sights.With the many new types of Ammo available these days, no reason to buy a Cannon. But, I;m like many gun nuts, see all these new firearms on the market and think I must have one. After many years of waiting, finally bought a custome built on a Mauser action.Beatiful weapon, so it sits in safe while I;m hunting with my 2 guns mentioned above.But I did put to stop to my wanting a Custom built firearm. Only difference I see to a Custom job and a regular line of weapons is thousands of dollars, and show and tell. Good hunting guys, wish all success this season.If we don;t get some rain, hunting season will be delayed as too dry to be in the woods, especially with Black Powder coming in 2 weeks.Time to pratice and get all the gear together and hope some idiot(out of season) don;t kill my local giant W/T been keeping tabs on.He will make my 8, 9, 10 pointer look kinda small compared to him. Again happy hunting. Enjoy the being outside, regardless of success. Time slips by and few years left in these old bones and worn out body. Thats the beauty of the Rockies, regardless of game or not. Its beatiful out there. If never been, by all means make a effort to go while you able. I waited too late, cannot unt as I would like to now. Mostly stand hunt now.


Bubba & Silver Arow
Yup do rememeber Win 375 nearly bought one ,..but didn't ,.. something i remember about feeling guilty about another gun,.. terrible emotion .

Plus I tend to deal with guns same way as I deal with stocks and money ,.once I have it,. for some odd reason I try to keep it. Another failing Im sure.

My brother on other hand leads a kind of guilt free gypsy like existance when it comes to gun aquisition and or liquidation.

As a "lever man" his life long persuit of the perfect deer rifle has brought him to the conclusion if he had it made it would be.
A custom 336 Marlin that shoots rifled Down Rigger Balls at 2500 fps.
However,..since no arms manufactuirer has to date undertaken such a lofty goal
He has tried all the standard calibers,.. 35 Remmington, 356, 358, 375 winchester,.. 444 and 45-70,.. Must say ( and not because we are related) the guy can shoot, and recoil does not seem to affect him adversly.
So while waiting for the "downrigger gun" to come out. He now makes do after many years of shooting through trees at game,..

(think he does that on purpose just in case he needs to "off" a cowering sasquatch some time)

with 35 Remmingtona and 444 Marlin. I dont think he has scored in that past two years But his pratice sessions I am certain have ben hard on the dead trees in his area area ,.. (again I think the Susquatch readines thing) but in adition his test of adiquicy is if he can shoot throgh medium sized dead pine.
He uses I might add the new souped up hornady lever ammunition. Says it shoots through dead pines trees much better than standard ammo.

I did shoot his 375 winchester a few times when he had it and as you say ( keeping this in perspective) a deceptively flat shooter with manageable recoil.

Ahhh yes Its a lot of fun, this gun stuff,..tuned up my own 45- 70 today

which was a gift from my brother who at thetimes was apparently concerned by my predisposition toward metric rounds.
He there fore thusly and accordingly out of the blue, presented me with 1895 Marlin in the hope that I might some day recover and be a real American with a lever gun.
Quite the gun to be sure and it has become my go to gun for the close stuff
Also now as of early afternoon shoots whee i point it.
So I am as they say mentally locked and loaded.
Don't dare tell him am now dealing on 6.5 swede ,.. ruin his day.

Clay Cooper

Ok there Sports fans!
.375 H&H Mag in the deer woods?? Scary thought! But if that is unsafe so is my ought-six?
Wrong comparison my friend!
You’re in my field of expertise now.
I thought of taking my 338 Win Mag out, but the area has too many people around.
I’ll put it in a way so there will be no argument here.
The 30-06 you’ll be lucky to penetrate ¾ plate steel or pass thru one Caribou. The 338 Win Mag will pass thru 1 inch plate steel or one Caribou and a half. A 375 H&H will “blast” thru 1 inch plate steel or clobber a nice Bull Caribou and knock down three cows just as if they taken a direct hit (Barnes, Nosler Partition etc).
I’ve witnessed this several times!
Any questions?
What’s next? Ok to use a Laws Rocket!
Whatever happened to Gunny?


I am not disputing the relative power of the cartridges mentioned. That is indisputable. I hold, sir, on the premise that safety is in the hands and brain of the shooter, regardless of caliber. I will agree that one has to take the relative power of the cartridge into consideration when making the choice to shoot or not.
I also agree that there is such a thing as too much gun for certain situations.


Rgarding the guy with 458 win mag,.. the one that makes Pee-wee Herman look like NFL linebacker,..( another good one)
Guys name wasnt Geophrey was it?
Ran into "Eactly That" in early 90's on a hunt a friend had put together way the heck up Nort In Michigan.
Friend had contact in DC with some old money ( auto Business) that had propensity for land aquisition early in last century
The REAL big shots back then apparetly liked to hunt.
Can't say where ( sworn to secrecy) but suffice to say ,..
We didnt rough it,.. which I actually don't like ,..perfer a tent camp for a week or so, and
this was anything but that.
The last one too ( was invited back) ,.. but passed
Comfortable with the leather wainscotting ,..chistal whiskey glasses that weight two pounds (1/2 pound is plenty tho ) walnut tables ,.. horse drawn wagons taking you to your stand ,..
But do not need all the posturing and the pontificating.
IE: ya gotta draw the line somewhere,.. right?

Any way the guy "GEOPHERY " pronounced (Jeffry) had a 458 African Win,.. he had apparently used in Africa,.(Very pretty gun) . and since he had heard bears were a nusance showed up with that cannon loaded down. By " One of his associates."
Think ole Jeffy was attny.

We were required to "shoot in" club rule.
Geophry explained he had done that prior to his arrival but it WAS required.
So Geophery shot,.. the 458,.and did well I might add.
Loaded down or not and to what extent uncertain ,. he was Spitting 405 grain pills out of that thing,..(I asked ) so it wasnt pretty
At 100 yds he did not do so well
10-12 inch spread
But at 50 right in there,. so they said OK Geophrey ,. your good to go .

But here is the Humor or maybe irony mixed with sarcasim.
Or just unfiltered veiw of the human condition.
Geophry God bless his fiesty little frame wasnt a hell of a lot taller than his fiream,.. and every time he shot that thing.
It nearly knocked him completly off the bench. Loaded down.?
Nearly peed myslef the fisrt time he detonated that thing.
Meaning,.. my blood pressure was so elevated (trying not to roll around on the ground laughing to the extent that it may have been mistaken for primitive north woods scananavian break dance) I did just fro a few seconds fear minor vesel rupture in boh eyes not to mention wetting myslef in public.
He shot 8 times,.. 4 at 100 and 4 at 50,..

Later over a couple pain killers,. Geophey had develped a tic,.. or maybe one he already had just more pronouced due to pumeling he had taken earlier.

In any case I made my way over to Geophry after we were into the second pain killer ( whiskey )
Really to congratulate him ,.. as I truly did admire his pluk,. even tho he nearly did cause me to water myself earlier.
We spoke briefly and I did get a chance to say how mcuh i was amazed at the way he took the recoil.
When some one describing obviousily " a shot " made the exclamation BOOM!!! approximalty 500 decibles over volume of general conversation,..
Geophery must have been hanging on by the thinest of threads,..
as at that point he did begin to come unraveled.
Displayong reaction usually reserved for combat vets who have had the snott shelled out of them at one point or another.
The glass went flying whickey spraying all over and Geophry started jigging around uncontrolablly,.. muttering things no one could undersatnd ,..
His head jerking very unnaturally ,..as he kind of hopp skipped out of the room with right arm bent back,.. right shoulder ( stock shoulder) pointing forward and down,..
Poor little guy,.. left the next morning ,.didnt even show up for breakfast
Pretence was emergerncy client situation,..
But I beleive Geophry had just taken too much,.. and was headed forth with to nearest medical facility.

Too bad too was going to gently begin to extole the virtues of the
7 x57 with 140 gr bullets when he lost it.
If Geophry by any chance reads this ,.. gotta say stil admire the way you took it,.. but damn Geophry ,.size dosent matter that much.


Silver arrow ,.. you da man!!
Your comments to Mr cooper are exactly what I not only extole but believe and live by when armed and engaged in the hunting venue.
If we were occupying a common camp and you showed up with 458 416 and or 375,..I would have no problem ,.. although you would for certian take a ribbing.


Clay ,.. recent post to Siver Arrow
( you dam man)
Only means he and I are on same page,.. IE: no dispute over relative power or penitration,.. Largely it is (as you say) ,..
the indian not the arrow.

There fore thusly and accordingly
If I have a rifle that will shoot through school buildings I do not discharge it at the the whitetail standing in line with the school.

But I may very well disharge it at yonder " bou " ,.. who has 4-5 thousand yards of vacant realestate behind him.Or the next whitetail standing against a hill side,... See?
Know you target and whats behind it ,.. if not certain dont shoot.
If any doubt about "skips" or richochets dont shoot.
Which is my rule no matter what flavor smoke pole I have in my mitts.
But to reiterate this only goes to resposible hunting ,.. in reality I am for the most part a bot action man with a predispositon for metric calibers
Who belives just about anything beyond 06 horsepower is just unnesessary ,..uless as the old gunsmith said your gonna hunt Big brown bears or Africa.

OK ?

Clay Cooper

SilverArrow, I know you know that and I expressed it in the wrong text and thought. You got my apology, my Friend. You made me have flashback memories of what I’ve witnessed numerous times firsthand with big bore calibers. Talk about outright scary situations, no joke! If a person can shoot hunting bullet tracers (if ever available on the market) without burning the country down would have a new respect in big bore calibers! I still got the urge of using my 338 Win Mag, but the reality of using it and that ability to use it safely in a populated I say no way!

Yohan whatever


I know that you know! I also agree that there should be some cartridge limitations in populated areas. If we don't put limits on what rifle cartridges can be used then we will end up with a lot more 'Shotgun only' regulations.
I can also tell you that I know first hand just how far bullets can travel; I have a neat little scar on my left side, aquired at Parris Island 29 years ago. Our platoon was about 3 miles obliquely down range of the main rifle range when I felt a weird sensation on my left torso. A 'spent' 5.56mm bullet had pierced through my BDO coat and tee shirt to lodge just under my skin! We have no idea who pulled that trigger or how the bullet got that far out of line with the proper targets and berm. It was a 'one of' incident, or so I was told at the time. No serious injury, I got a new BDU coat out of the deal and went on to finish boot camp.
It does illustrate just how safe we must be with any weapon, high powered rifles especially so! 3 friggin' miles! Imagine what a .300 Wby Mag or one of thes Lazzeroni jobs would do at that range!


Splitting hairs,. it seems to me.

Most with rudementry ballisic knowledge and some experiance know (hopefully ) that modern small arms,. ( less that 50 cal) are deadly at extreem range.

But at the other end of the stick ,. what about say 7/8 oz 12 ga slugs at 1800 fps published,.
Which are just dandy to use very close ( with 100 ft) of homes in suburban areas in a number of states,.

From experiance I can say (having done it) two years ago hunting a tract close to homes ,in the CWD zone in Wi..
7/8 oz Remington "buck hammer" will shoot competly through the shoulders of two medium sized deer and go out of site into a live pine,.. YUP I did that ,.. the shot was 35 yds (paced of) two dance cards punched with one round,. It not a slaughter but is is I realize not typical,. still given the present situation,.. again CWD zone
The land ownr wants body count.
Yet he is as picky about who he not lets,.. (but has) hunt as a teenage girl picking muchrooms out of her pizza.

Now its not a 338 ( 12 7/8 oz slug) but one group of homes were easily within 150yds, another 250 yds .

Tell me the diferece Clay betweeen an irresposible hunter shooting some poor woman through the wall of
her kitchen with a shotgun slug lauched at a bounding deer and someone else taking one ( like SA) three miles,.away from 338,..

Dead is dead clay,..

My point being a safty minded reponsible person could use a 338 just as safley 1/4 mile away from a resedential develpment as a 12 ga 7/8 oz . or 20 ga or what ever They are all pretty damn deadly at 150ys not to mention 100 ft.

Problem is not everyone has a frim grip on their judgement when focused on a nice set of antler bounding along a low ridge with rooftops visible in the distance.
Which is why I also agree that limitations need to be in place.

Smart old business mentor told me long time ago . Most people really don't need laws and santions to keep em in line,.

His take was that only about ten ,. maybe 15 percent of the population needed laws , police, penalties ,. prisons etc,..as most ae too busy doin what they do to be them selves.
But because we have to deal with that 10-15 percent all are forced to live with rules that while maybe not perfect,.. preventr the few from creating tyranny.

I dont think there is an agument here ,. what I do think is maybe a little ego is at play,..

Which I can say with utter certainty has never made me any money ,. nor has it setteledd any disputes ,..worth settleing.
So sufice to say if I insulted anyone ( except Dr Ralh ) who occassionally needs it yuk yuk )
The resulting chafe was not the intent,..

Gotta ago see how Pakers ae doin now.

Have a great fall.

All I m saying is the wrong guy ( perosn ) with that round within 05 mile of a group house can just as well screw the pooch as
IE kil some inocent frau watching her kid in teh back yard as your 338 froma mile outside of some town.

Clay Cooper

SilverArrow, what a scary moment that you went thru. I’m glad that I know that you know what I know and I wish that Yohan should know!

Yohan, you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about! It’s obvious Sir that you never been around any big bore calibers and I’m not talking about being on a shooting range either. For 4 years, I’ve sighted in an averaged 10 to 20 per week zeroing in someone’s Big Bore for their Grizzly/Brown Bear, Caribou, Moose, Sheep etc. hunt and to toss in the ability to go hunting every day out my back door that I had to cross the Alaskan Pipe Line just a half mile away to get to the endless hunting areas.
If you don’t know the deference between a 338 bullet and a 12 ga slug and what they’re capable of, you have a big problem!
The most dangerous person I ever came across with a firearm was the Chief of Ground Safety. I wonder if you are more dangerous than him. 50 yards apart, He is about to shoot a jackrabbit between us with a 30-06.


Ok Mr Cooper ,.. we ( I ) could I suppose
get into a one of those ,..
"whos is bigger" IE: You know more I know more deals ,..but decided not to,.. as I now remember ,. your mentality from previous posts.
which is simply,.. easily put on the defensive.
The blinders go on . and whala ..;Tunnel vision,..
Especially when you percieve a challange to your supposed position of experiance and expertise.

Guys like you by the way are the ones I like most to compete with in Bsiness, and,...the ones I used to like to box the most too. Mostly because you get mad,.. rather than analyitical or currious.
Once that happens,.. like shooting "Bou" tied to the pipeline,.. or fish in a barrel,. or kicking the nieghborhood bullys fat A$$.
Gettin the point here Big shot.

So will simply say,.. YOU sir are mistaken . Have what most would call signifcant experiance in the "big bore" venu.,

Popped a few off with 458 ( at a range thats true ) but have owned and used on game,..416 & 75 H&H.
Question is how many times can one afford the time away from the busisness and expence of a trip to Africa.
Three is my limit ,.. for now. Which was the reason not to keep the 375 H&H,..

But I digress,..
Your assumption of a position of knowlege which allows you the perceptrion of respect from your supposed peers.
Together with your need to posture and pontificate ,.. has as I say once again reminded me of the profile I have been attempting to communicate with.

So,.. big shot,.. next time your in Africa
Ask the PH ( if he's 45 or more )what he thinks of the history of a 12ga for stopping dangrous thin skinned game,up close and personal
. like maybe Chui or even Simba

As I have said before your probably OK Clay but your also too much work ,.
(would bet you've heard that before too) ,..
Some people just too expensive to deal with ,..
Goes to the theory of deminishing marginal returns,.
and you Sir are definitly now marginal in my book.


Yohan Yohan Yohan

I find Mr. Cooper is totally right. There is a time and place for everything. Clay didn’t say anything about Africa that says to me that you didn’t understand what is said. He talked about Alaska! Two different worlds one can say the difference between a 12 ga slug and a 700 Nitro Express. Silver Arrow and Mr. Cooper I find to be respectable Sportsmen that I know I can find answers. Before sounding off Sir, ask them why they say what they say. Ask them to explain it to you.


Jd I asume you mean the best ,. and I am not known for my shortness of patience or temper.
However it is not me who was not listening it now appears not only Mr Coper but you too.
My ONLY point to MR Cooper was and is the same as S. A.

That "safe" IS "resposible" and visa versa,.. which is the order of the day period, for me.
I don't care if your in Africa Alaska or 200 ft out side Mayberry.USA

Truth is JD,.. I and those I hunt with could without the slightest question use a 338 Mag 200 yds from houses ( either in Alaska or Maybery ) and the general population would be safe.
One becauase we all ( every one of us) are handloaders,.
and two because we absolutly know what those rounds will do,.. maning none of us would take a shot that would even remotly endanger lives or property.

Fially you dont need a 338 mag to kill or maim somebody ,. all you need is a neyopthite with a weapon not paying attanetion who gets outside himself and shoots without looking,..period.
If that is too tuff for MR Cooper to fathom,. then I rest my case.

Yohan, do you have any clue what direction and how far that bullet going to go? It’s not the kill of the critter; it’s the one hell of a ricochet you’re going to get! That big caliber keeps on going and going and going! That’s the point that Coop is trying to tell you and if you think you can hunt with a 338 close to a house? YOUR NUTS!

jack neehoff

i believe the best load for a speed goat a the ole 375hh. ive never not got a goat while using this caliber with 275 gr copper bullet


to the genius with no name ,..
Yes genius I do know the ballistics and charcteristics of 338 & 375 and,.. Ahh hell,.. maybe if I JUST put it this way.

You don't shoot toward houses Genius or barns or cattle or pontificating yo-yo's,. with no more than Sears Catolog knowlege of firearms.
That "big caliber Genius" ,.. is / has 3 thousanths of an inch larger "goove " depth than than standard 06 ( .308 )
Which referes to land ( lands and gooves?) highth in the barrel, which are 4 thousanths of an inch equaling 8 thousanths ,.. > minus .308 which equals 30 cal Genius.
Again 3 maybe 4 thousasths of an inch difference.in this etwo rounds.
Bigger powder charge sure ,.. But from what you say I forgot more (about ballistic coefficiant,. sectional density case capacity etc) by the time i was 25 than you will ever learn unless your 13 now.which is what it sounds like.
You just walked into water so far over yoru head ,.. it is intirely advisable that you may want to cosider swimming back to shore and grabbing your BB gun.

Unless of coure you begin to read
(from books) maybe even check out laoding manual or other source
Do this ,..try figuring out formula for "ballistic coeficiant" not the results,.. but formula used to derive,..
Check out barrels ,..land and grooves, barrel throat ,..head space ( not room for your head) Then Genius you maight get my attention in a few years ,.. and in a venue other than THAT BIG CALIBER ,..Jeeze

Capt Walt    Master Maine Guide

Look no further. You can use this baby at 3,000 yards

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Capt Walt

Master Maine Guide

[email protected]

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