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Old 02-10-2018, 01:38 AM   #1
M.E.B.
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Default Prairie Dog Rifle

I may get a chance to hunt prairie dogs. What caliber rifle should I use/buy?

I hear that you get a lot of shots over 3 days.

Is it possible to shoot out a barrel? Makes me a bit afraid to spend a lot on a rifle.
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Old 02-10-2018, 02:08 AM   #2
hrdwrkncwby76
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My personal favorite is a 220 swift


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Old 02-10-2018, 02:10 AM   #3
sir shovelhands
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What distance? 100 and under I'd not bother with a centerfire cartridge.

Longer range: technically, any caliber will do, but most people pick low recoiling, small caliber, fast bullets like 223 rem, 204 ruger, 220 swift, .22-250, 224 Valkyrie, etc.
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:59 AM   #4
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I have heard of different calibers but boils down to personal preference. One thing struck home was due to the number of shots you will be taking get a caliber that is reasonably priced.
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:55 AM   #5
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It depends. You really can't go wrong with a .223. Inexpensive to shoot and the barrel doesn't heat up near as fast. If the dogs are young and stupid .22 magnum or 17 hmr works well at closer ranges. The 22-250 or 220 swift comes in handy for the longer ranges if you are shooting dogs that are spooky and have been shot over recently.

I personally carry a bunch of guns. A rimfire for close range shots. A couple of .223s for intermediate range shots. And a 22-250 or 220 swift for the long range ones. When you get in a really good dog town I usually have three centerfires close at hand. When one barrel gets hot rotate to the next one and keep shooting.
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Old 02-10-2018, 07:05 AM   #6
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I'd use a .204 if I were doin it! You can get a Ruger American Predator for around $400, get you a bunch of boxes of bullets, and go to town!
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:11 AM   #7
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Depends on the range. Last time I went we had most shots from 400-800. I made an 894 yard shot on one with my 6.5-284. FYI, flying prairie dog parts are awesome at that distance haha. Within 3-400 a 220 swift or 22-250. Even a 243. Yes you can easily shoot a barrel out. Lots of shooting. Lots.

There’s a 22-250 Cooper in the classifieds. If you shoot the barrel out they will install a new one including the barrel for $150
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:11 AM   #8
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How much will you be shooting and over what distances? Most serious prairie dog shooters take several rifles so that they don't overheat them and have rigs for longer ranges—for example, a .243 or fast-twist .22-250 is a much better choice for 500+ yard shots than a .223.

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Old 02-10-2018, 11:22 AM   #9
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I use 10/22 under 100 and 223 for farther shots. Although 223 at close range can be very entertaining, especially if you like how they killed the monsters in tremors lol
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:03 PM   #10
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I have a Remington 700 VLS 22-250 with a heavy barrel that I may be interested in selling of you are interested.
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:15 PM   #11
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If you're looking for an accurate 22 for it, I have a Remington 541-T I'm looking to sell. It's super accurate. Even have a Burris 6-24 Signature series scope on it.
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:47 PM   #12
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Your AR is fine Mike.

Or I have a R700 .223 with a bull barrel you can borrow. Takes 8-10k rds to shoot out a .233 barrel. The scope isn’t the best but it will do.
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:49 PM   #13
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I ahot a bunch within 100-150 yards with my 17hmr.

Another guy had a 22mag. Good as well.

We were lauching some at 300 yards....more just for bragging rights. The real work was done closer.
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Old 02-10-2018, 04:07 PM   #14
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The Model 10 Savage in 22-250 is the ONLY rifle suitable to shoot prairie dogs. If you don't have one, you are simply not "with it".


Lucky for you, I have one for sale ! .


The can of snuff is optional at extra cost !
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Old 02-10-2018, 04:58 PM   #15
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A 243 with the 87 grain VMax is NASSSSSSTY on p-dogs.


Sierracharlie outÖ
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Old 02-10-2018, 05:38 PM   #16
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no way to go wrong with the 223,, and the 204 ruger, the 223 wins because of availability, bullet choices and price .... the 204 is just awesome on impacts!
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Old 02-10-2018, 05:54 PM   #17
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Took a trip to the OK Panhandle my friend had a dedicated rig in .243AI and took out dogs up to 730 yds with it.
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:11 PM   #18
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I see a lot of people saying .223. When I lived in Colorado, there were a lot of .220 swift, 22-250 and .243's being used for prairie dogs. I don't remember seeing anyone using .223. Is this more of a Texas thing than out west?
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:55 PM   #19
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I see a lot of people saying .223. When I lived in Colorado, there were a lot of .220 swift, 22-250 and .243's being used for prairie dogs. I don't remember seeing anyone using .223. Is this more of a Texas thing than out west?
not i don't think so , for some it is a price thing, especially if you hand load the 223 comes out way cheaper when you do a 1000 rounds or more, prairie dogs don't require a super high velocity, but hits are more fun!! i had a good time lobbing 223 rounds at 700 yards,,,, certainly not the round for that distance but it is more challenging when your adding several feet of drop! and it seems like everyone in the state has a 223.... i may take my 458 socom and give it a try,,, i know not many have tried that round!
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:17 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I see a lot of people saying .223. When I lived in Colorado, there were a lot of .220 swift, 22-250 and .243's being used for prairie dogs. I don't remember seeing anyone using .223. Is this more of a Texas thing than out west?
I've seen lots of people shooting dogs with a .223. Even the old .22 hornet is pretty popular. The reason is that you can do 10 quick shots with a .223 before the barrel starts getting really hot. Try that with a 22-250 or a 220 swift and your barrel will be toast before long. The bigger boomers are great but when the action is hot and heavy the barrels heat up too quick. Keep pushing them and you will ruin your barrel.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:21 PM   #21
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I've shot thousands of them, bring two rifles at the minimum. 17hmr and a 223 are my perfect combo
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:37 PM   #22
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We used to bowhunt pronghorn in Wyoming and the ranch had two PD towns that we set up on once we had a goat on ice. The .223 was ok, but the 22-250 was the berries at longer distances in the wind. That 40 gr. bullet at 4,000 fps gets there quick ! We both used .223s at first, but when the dumb ones all died you had to reach on out there.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:23 PM   #23
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12 gauge,22lr,17mach2,17hmr,.22mag and .17WSM for shorter range. The .17WSM is my favorite.

.223,204 and 22-250 for long range. A .223 is a good option. Ammo is pretty cheap and you can see the hits better. If you're just doing it every once in a while the costs of ammo might not matter much. American Eagle Varmint and Predator 50 grain HP's for .223 and 22-250 are a good choice of ammo if you're wanting to save a little on ammo. That's what I use in mine mostly. But there's a dog town a mile from my house so I don't shoot the high dollar stuff. During the Spring I'd go broke if I did. Coyotes and other scavengers eat pretty good that time of year.

It just depends on the time of year as far as how much ammo you can expect to go through goes. When the baby ones are out you'll go through a lot of bullets. Just depends how much they get shot at too though. This time of year they run and dive in their holes when a pickup rolls through the gate.

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Old 02-11-2018, 12:05 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by M.E.B. View Post
I may get a chance to hunt prairie dogs. What caliber rifle should I use/buy?

I hear that you get a lot of shots over 3 days.

Is it possible to shoot out a barrel? Makes me a bit afraid to spend a lot on a rifle.
I ran 6 years of PDís on 25 sections on the biggest dog town in West Texas...I ran 140 selected shooters and saw 50,000+ rounds sent down range a season..Seen every kind of round made for a prairie maggot. You wonít be hand loading so you wonít burn up a barrel in 3 days. Get good GLASS!! Donít over think this...KISS.. Keep It Simple Stupid.... you are obviously a first timer..Get good glass... 22-250,.204,.223. High winds .243. My favorite WAS the .243WSSM because it was fast, bucks the wind, and turns them inside out and puts them 20 feet in the air.. NOW itís the .204.... the .40gr bullet kicks butt way better than the .32gr but itís tough finding a gun that liked it...Clean the gun every 50 rounds... You miss a PD by a 1/4 inch you still missed... Clean the gun.... if you are going when pups are up, shoot momma first.. She calls out she will take the pups down with her.... If you are doing pay and shoot, always shoot into the wind or 90 degrees, never downwind..they can hear the shots easier and smell you... and never walk into the area right after shooting, itís toast ... Get good glass... get an elbow pad, 300-600 rounds a day.. if itís cloudy you wonít shoot as much... windy windy you wonít shoot as much ... hot wonít shoot as much... know the ballistics of the round and have a back up rifle... there is more but itís late, good luck.. Get a good Fíing scope!!!
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Old 02-11-2018, 02:18 PM   #25
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I got to go once as a kid. Spent two weeks in the Casper Wyoming, well that's where we stayed. We hunted around Elk's Mt. Colorado, and other places in southern Wyoming. All we had were a couple of 22 LRs, we kill a lot of prairie dogs. When we went to one place, it might have been Elk's Mt., don't remember, just remember it was some place that was noticeably higher elevation. I remember very clearly that the area around Elk's Mt. was a lot higher elevation that we had been in. Where ever it was, we found what we thought were huge prairie dogs, they may have been, but people have told me since, they were probably rock chucks. Whatever those things were, they were hard to kill with a 22 LR at 150 yards. We would shoot them, they would fall over, then get right back up. The common size prairie dog, we had no problem killing with 22 LRs, using CCI Stingers. We killed prairie dogs out to probably 200 to 250 yards with the 22s. Most of our shots were at ranges of 70 to 100 yards.

I have talked to guys who like to take custom built ARs, in 223 and shoot prairie dogs out to 1100 yards. I would think the wind drift at that range, would make it pretty hard to hit those rodents at that range. I sure would not mind taking a 223 Wylde or 22 Noser AR with a 24 barrel, prairie dog hunting. That would probably be a blast. With probably something like a 6-20X scope and a good spoting scope.

I have been told that in most areas, that the praire dog population is nowhere near what it used to be. I have been told that disease has killed off a lot of them years ago, in many areas. But I would bet those things reproduce very quickly and could repopulate a area quickly. I know when I went to Wyoming and Colorado, they were like rats in south Texas or cockroaches on the coast.
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Old 02-11-2018, 02:44 PM   #26
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I'm supposed to go with a buddy that's been several times. He said bring 2000 rounds of 22 mag and 2000 rounds of 223 , he said you'll shoot most of them. They use the 22 mag for some smaller dogs that are everywhere he said. He said you will fire of shooting
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Old 02-11-2018, 05:25 PM   #27
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You need this! Tack driver on small game...204 with 100 rounds ammo!

http://discussions.texasbowhunter.co...d.php?t=681105

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Old 02-11-2018, 06:13 PM   #28
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Quote:
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I see a lot of people saying .223. When I lived in Colorado, there were a lot of .220 swift, 22-250 and .243's being used for prairie dogs. I don't remember seeing anyone using .223. Is this more of a Texas thing than out west?
Probably more due to the volume of shooting & distance...most of the guys I know who did it regularly would take the 223 with a lot more rounds for the closer shots & then switch to the swift / 22-250 when they started to thin & wanted to reach out.
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Old 02-11-2018, 06:58 PM   #29
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Probably more due to the volume of shooting & distance...most of the guys I know who did it regularly would take the 223 with a lot more rounds for the closer shots & then switch to the swift / 22-250 when they started to thin & wanted to reach out.
Either that or people in Texas just get it. I've shot them with a .223,.204,22-250,.243,.308,7mm,ect and I know someone who has shot them with a 50bmg. I can't say I've ever killed one any deader with one than with the other. Like you said you'll dump some at further distances with some but out to 300-350 yards a .223 gets it done.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:14 PM   #30
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204! Mostly just because I love mine lol

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Old 02-11-2018, 11:27 PM   #31
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I also have a 17 Mach IV Encore Bull Barrel for sale in the clasifieds. Has the walnut fore end, bullets and brass to go with it.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:22 AM   #32
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338 lapua and a nightforce 7-35 ATACR will get the job done.
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Old 02-12-2018, 08:31 AM   #33
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338 lapua and a nightforce 7-35 ATACR will get the job done.
Hell why not bring out the .50BMG. They might be wearing kevlar on the other side of the rock that is behind the old trick engine.

LOL
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Old 02-12-2018, 08:33 AM   #34
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.204 no question about it

Bucks wind better than any round ive shot, and has MUCH longer barrel life than other .20 calls
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:10 AM   #35
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Take multiple guns and any gun is OK, but remember your shoulder will thank you if you stay away for higher recoil guns. For me..

22LR
17HMR
17WSM suppressed
22-250 suppressed
243
308 suppressed

It is as much about shooting practice as killing pdogs for me. Don't shoot a hot barrel, and keep them clean. Unless you are carrying 3-5K rounds for one centerfire and shooting a HOT BARREL you aren't going to shot out a barrel.
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:31 AM   #36
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As range gets further:

.17 HMR
.221 Fireball
.223 Remington
.22-250 Remington
.243 Winchester
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:37 AM   #37
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338 lapua and a nightforce 7-35 ATACR will get the job done.
lol
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:40 AM   #38
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http://discussions.texasbowhunter.co...d.php?t=657962

I still have this one for sale and Scorpion King just posted a Tikka yesterday. He is a good guy to deal with.
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Old 02-12-2018, 12:56 PM   #39
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338 lapua and a nightforce 7-35 ATACR will get the job done.
From what I'm told a .50bmg doesn't do what you'd think it would do to a prairie dog. But then again a prairie dog hit with a 50 grain v-max out of a 22-250 doesn't look all that different from one hit with a 58 grain v-max out of a .243. Winchester white box 45 grain JHP's will sure splatter them too. The thing I like about the smaller calibers is you can see them spinning through the air throwing body parts everywhere. I always try to get multiple pd's with one shot. It's easier when the little ones are out.

I like shooting the close ones with a pistol. That's really fun and a little more of a challenge. A shotgun is way too easy but you can clear a mound pretty quick with one.

One thing to keep in mind if you're shooting prairie dogs in the warmer months is watch where you step. Rattlesnakes are thick in prairie dog towns. I catch hundreds out of one dog town every year and it's not all that big. It's nothing to go out there in the Spring or Fall and see 30+ laying out sunning in 20 acres of dog town.

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Old 02-12-2018, 01:11 PM   #40
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From what I'm told a .50bmg doesn't do what you'd think it would do to a prairie dog. But then again a prairie dog hit with a 50 grain v-max out of a 22-250 doesn't look all that different from one hit with a 58 grain v-max out of a .243. Winchester white box 45 grain JHP's will sure splatter them too. The thing I like about the smaller calibers is you can see them spinning through the air throwing body parts everywhere. I always try to get multiple pd's with one shot. It's easier when the little ones are out.

I like shooting the close ones with a pistol. That's really fun and a little more of a challenge. A shotgun is way too easy but you can clear a mound pretty quick with one.

One thing to keep in mind if you're shooting prairie dogs in the warmer months is watch where you step. Rattlesnakes are thick in prairie dog towns. I catch hundreds out of one dog town every year and it's not all that big. It's nothing to go out there in the Spring or Fall and see 30+ laying out sunning in 20 acres of dog town.
Do a live thread with pics next time you're catching on the dog town. That'd be cool to see

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Old 02-12-2018, 01:26 PM   #41
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Do a live thread with pics next time you're catching on the dog town. That'd be cool to see

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Will do. It won't be long and I'm gonna start. About the 2nd week of March they're out thick. In the far end of that dog town I catch some big snakes every year. They're in every dog town but that little dog town holds a bunch of snakes for some reason or another.

What's wild is those prairie dogs will kill them snakes if they see one go down a hole. If you're ever out in a town and see a hole covered up and the dirt looks like it's been tampered down that's what's in that hole. Those prairie dogs cover the snakes up and stomp the dirt so it's packed in there so they'll starve to death.

They'll also drag a dead snake out if you shoot one and it falls down the hole. They're pretty smart little animals really.

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Old 02-12-2018, 01:30 PM   #42
Saltyag15
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This thread really makes me want to try and go on a prairie dog hunt sometime. Sounds like a blast!
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:54 PM   #43
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From what I'm told a .50bmg doesn't do what you'd think it would do to a prairie dog.
I've seen some videos of 50bmg hitting prairie dogs. It did what I expected it to. Maybe most rounds do that, I've never been. I'd like to go sometime though. I have a .22-250 that was supposedly built for it.
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:56 PM   #44
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You will see people shooting prairie dogs with anything from a .22 to an unlimited Class Bench rifle, to a .50 BMG. I always just use my .223's. I take a couple of guns with me to let the barrels cool down.

Typically your first few shots won't be very far...but the longer you shoot, the farther they become. The times that we went, it was nothing to just barely see a head in the bottom corner of your scope when you pulled the trigger. It's a blast.
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:19 PM   #45
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I plan to use the 22 Nosler I picked up in the classifieds when we go.
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:49 PM   #46
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I use my 243 and 22-250
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Old 02-12-2018, 03:03 PM   #47
cattlelackranch
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Rockwall
Hunt In: South Texas and Panhandle
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It's one of my favorite things to do

22-250 AI is by far my favorite caliber for them. 75 grain bullet does well at distance and wind with min recoil.

I found my .204 in adequate as a majority of our shots fall between 450-550 yards. Further if you want.

Last edited by cattlelackranch; 02-12-2018 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:15 AM   #48
WyoBull
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Wyoming
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Having shot thousands of prairie dogs over the years, I have used a lot of different calibers on them but all in the varmint caliber category. From 22, 22 WMR, 17 Rem, 222 Rem, 223, and 220 Swift.
Depending on how big the soddle poodle towns are and how many are running around, I would recommend taking multiple rifles because your barrels will get hot and you will want to switch out rifles often.
Shoot what you are comfortable with and can pleasantly shoot hundreds of rounds. They are a lot of fun to shoot and a great way to practice your shooting skills and techniques.
My all time favorite dog town caliber is my 220 Swift.
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