Another ND PD Shoot on 10-20-2017

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.204 Ruger Guns: Savage 12VLP purchased in June 2004 + 2 other custom .204s
Location: NW North Dakota

Another ND PD Shoot on 10-20-2017

Post by Silverfox » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:26 pm

The weatherman was predicting “PERFECT” temperatures and winds for prairie dog shooting for Friday—like I believe what they say. Anyway I woke up Friday morning and the weather forecaster was right!!! It was 34º and the wind was out of the south at about 5 mph. I rolled out of bed and did my physical therapy exercises for my hip and back, ate breakfast, and got my lunch, etc. all loaded into the pickup. It was already 40º above when I left town. When I finally reached where I was going to park my pickup it was already a balmy 49º!

The plan for today was to shoot the rifle that has a Savage Target action that Sharp Shooter Supply timed and trued for me. I purchased a 26" stainless steel Lilja three-groove 1 in 12 twist #6 contour barrel for this rig. I had my gunsmith chamber and flute the barrel and also had him thread the muzzle end for my suppressors. The action is a right bolt left port model. I placed a refurbished Nikon Monarch 6-24x50mm side focus on this rig and use Burris Signature Zee rings of medium height on an EGW rail. I also have a B-Square scope level on the scope. The action sits in an H-S Precision Pro-Series 2000 stock done in tan with black webbing.


I use Nosler brass in this rifle and a load of 27.2 gr. of IMR8208XBR fired up by a Remington 7½ primer. Muzzle velocity is a bit fast at 3,955 fps. I have shot 1,001 bullets down the barrel so far and there is very little erosion or cracking in the throat. I had not sighted this rifle in yet this year (that turned out to be a major screw-up) but had shot 5 shots for the .204 Ruger contest. I didn’t even bother to turn in my target and didn’t bother to adjust the scope either. My BAD!!

When I arrived where I was going to park, my pickup thermometer said it was 56º and there still wasn’t much wind. I diddled around and go out my cart and all the coolers, etc, etc. I would need for the day. It was 10:50 a.m. when I shot the first PD. There were a whole bunch of PDs off to the SE of me so I put the sneak on them and they all disappeared—no shots!!! Bummer!!! I walked to the west, which was the general direction I needed to go to get to a small colony about ¾ of a mile west of my location. There were plenty of PDs on the way to the base of the first big hill and by 1:07 p.m. I had shot 22 shots and nailed 25 prairie dogs. One of those shots hit a wire and only broke one of the two strands so I didn’t try to fix it. I was getting pretty hungry, but wanted to get over the butte and into the small dog town. I was a herd of 9 antelope that had one nice buck. I saw this here in this same location two years ago. I found some prairie dogs in the south end of this colony and by 2:10 p.m. I had taken 33 shots and nailed 30 PDs and one wire. I took some photos, shot one more prairie dog and at 2:35 p.m. I stopped for lunch.
After lunch I decided to take my usual nap. I set my cell phone to wake me up in 1 hour and 20 minutes. I got comfortable and before I dozed off I could hear some shots coming from a PD town south of my position. I woke up after about an hour because the sun was peeking through the branches of the leafless tree that had been shading me. I turned over on my side and snagged another 10 minutes of sleep before my call phone woke me.

Here’s a photo of one of the PD that really EXPLODED when I shot him. His bottom half flew about 6 feet west and his top half flew about 10 feet east. The red X marks the spot where he was standing when I shot. There were pieces of him spread far and wide as you can see in the photo below.


Here’s a collage of his bottom half and top half.


I walked along and shot targets of opportunity and by 5:55 I had 25 cartridges left to shoot. I started to walk east to get to my pickup.

I finally spotted a plant with some blossoms up at the top and took several photographs. Here’s a collage of the plant amidst the prairie grass with a butte behind it and on the right a close-up of the plant with an insect sitting on its top.


I shot prairie dogs on the way back to the pickup and by the time I got back to the pickup I had 16 loaded cartridges left. So, I had shot 69 shots during my outing. I hit one wire, missed on 6 shots and killed 63 prairie dogs. I got back to the pickup around 7:10. The sun was down behind the buttes, but I wanted to see where my .204 Ruger was shooting on paper and I had my .17 Tactical, and tight-neck .17 Reminton along that I needed to make final adjustments to the scopes. I turned my pickup around so I could use the tailgate as a shooting table.

I walked the target box 100 yards to the south and and when I got back to the pickup I decided to start shooting the Savage Target action to see where it was actually hitting on the target. It was hitting .5" high and about 11/16" to the right of my intended point of impact. So that’s why I was going great on shots where the prairie dogs were horizontal and not so good on them when they were standing up!!! I always have my rifle sighted in so it hits 1" high at 100 yards. I did notice I shot over some horizontal PDs. I also attribute some of the misses to the heavy trigger pull. After I got the barrel clean on Saturday, I measured the pull weight and it was at 30 ounces. I adjusted it down to 24 ounces and did a safety check by cocking the rifle and bouncing the butt on the floor. The rifle did not fire.

Next I fired the .17 Tactical, which I’ll use for coyotes this fall and winter. This rifle was built on a trued Remington 700 ADL action and sits in an H-S Precision thumbhole stock that I did the camo painting on and I use a 9-13" Harris swivel bipod with a Pod-Lock lever. I purchased a #2 contour super match grade stainless steel Pac-Nor barrel with a 1 in 9 twist from off the Internet. I have a Sightron II 6.5 20x50mm side focus scope on this rifle with the duplex reticle. The rifle is threaded for my sand colored Lane Scorpion 556 suppressor. It is a nice light-weight coyote rifle.


My gunsmith used my PTG reamer with a .197" neck to chamber this rifle and after breaking in the barrel I sent the barrel in to have it given the Melonite treatment. It was built for shooting 30 gr. T-000 FBHP Nagel bullets coated with hBN. Primers are Remington 7½ and the powder load is 24.5 gr. of Varget which propels the bullet out the end of the barrel at 4,009 fps. Bullets are seated approximately .005" off the lands. The point of impact was about .2" above and .25" left of where I wanted it to be. I cranked on the elevation and windage knobs and the next shots were right where I like them to be-–1" high and on the money for windage.

The next rifle I needed to adjust the scope on was my .17 Remington with a tight neck chamber and a BLACKNITRIDE™ treated barrel. I was using neck turned factory brass, 30 gr. T-000 FBHP Nagel bullets coated with hBN. The primers is use are Remington 7½ and the powder load is 24.1 gr. of N-540. Bullets are seated approximately .005" off the lands. It was so dark out now that I had to place a flashlight down by the target box and focus the beam on the target to be able to see to shoot. That worked great.

It was hitting about .2" above and .25" left of where I wanted it. The first two shots were .5" above my desired point of impact and .25" right. For some reason the adjustments I make with the elevation and windage knobs don’t seem to take effect right away. I think the inner spring, erector, etc. on this Leupold VXIII 8-25x50mm with the Varmint Hunter reticle isn’t moving like it should. It usually takes a little light-weight “banging” on the tube and/or turrets to get it to adjust. I took 7 shots with the rifle and finally, the last two shots were right on the money.

I left my parking area at 7:54 p.m. It was 9:10 p.m. when I parked the pickup in the garage. Once again, it was good to be back home. After hauling my “stuff” into the house, my wife had supper waiting for me on the table!!! It is time to add the “Hero Photo”. This photo was taken close to noon with the first prairie dog victim of the day. No ear muffs today as it eventually got up to 80º out in this prairie dog town. I did wear my pink elbow pads in honor of “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”


I don’t think you had as much fun as I did, but I hope you enjoyed the little write-up about my hunt today.
Catch ya L8R--Silverfox


Bill K
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Re: Another ND PD Shoot on 10-20-2017

Post by Bill K » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:53 pm

Silverfox.. I did not have as much fun as you did today, but it was enjoyable, even at that. However checking in on the site and seeing your report and photo's did make the evening much better. Thank you for sharing, as always, and again this trip. By the way my morning temps were running at 18 above zero..with light wind. So you had a heat wave. Bill K

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Re: Another ND PD Shoot on 10-20-2017

Post by jpx2rk » Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:32 am

Good read, thanks for sharing
Master Piddler ;)

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Re: Another ND PD Shoot on 10-20-2017

Post by Gorelisk » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:28 am

Seems like you've had an interesting day. I enjoyed reading about it. Thanks for sharing Silverfox.

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