Larry Gibson
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Made my way to SE Montana to meet some friends for a week of prairie dog shooting.  We had permission to shoot on a ranch (6  sections in size) south of Broadus, Mt on Belle Creek.  I decided to give DAWN, my 30×60 XCB, a try.  Set up on a small ridge over looking a swale that was just under 500 yards across.  The bottom was about 300 yards with 300 to 500 yards sloping slightly up away from me.  Fairly short green grass with lots of PD digs all over.  I was shooting prone with sandbag front and rear rests.  I was spotting with Zeis 10×40 binoculars and ranging with a Leupold range finder.  Range adjustments (elevation and windage) were made on the Leupold 6.5×20 target scope.

The PDs out and about ranged in size from little ones about the same size and “picket pin” ground squirrels up to 8 – 12″ tall and a couple inches wide when standing.  I started off shooting PDs between 200 and 300 yards an the close side of the swale.  I used 18 rounds of “sighters” I had loaded.  Those were with weight sorted 30 XCB bullets that were .1 gr under the match selected weights.  All info on how I weight sort has been previously posted.  My standard HV load (53 gr AA4350) was used giving 2900 fps.  That load was previously tested to 600 yards and maintained 1 to 1.35 moa accuracy.  The question wasn’t so much hitting the PDs…..the question was would the hard (WQ’d #2 alloy with 22 +/- BHN) be effective on them.  I needn’t have been concerned as the 30 caliber bullet hitting them was very effective indeed.  It proved as effective as 55 gr Nosler .22 Varmageddon bullets proved to be out of my 22-250 the next day.  A hit PD simply was out for the count…….

At 200 to 300 yards with the 18 “sighters” I had I dispatched 15 PDs.  I then went to a box of standard load with my weight sorted match selected bullets and dispatched 2 more PDs.  I then shifted to the far 300 – 500 yard slope and spent the rest of a very enjoyable morning and early afternoon.  When we stopped shooting I had shot 38 more shots.  I tracked and recorded the range and result of each shot.  The results show I hit 23 out of 27 PDs shot at between 300 and 415 yards.  beyond that I hit 7 with the remaining 11 shots taken with most of the misses being just off one side of the PD or the other.  It was very difficult to judge the wind out there with no bushes or trees and just the short grass.  My wind meter said the wind was 5- 8 mph gushing to 10 to 12 mph out of 7 t0 9 o’clock when we finished shooting.  Was impossible to tell what it was really doing in the swale.

At the end of the day I was very pleased with the results.  Would like to note that ricochets were evident so what was down range beyond the PDs was definitely a consideration.  What was interesting was the antelope had little fear of the shooting and would walk right in front of us….this one walked by about 25 yards away……












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