Hunting & Fishing Questions about Antelope and calibers

tman300wm

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I recently won a 4 day all expense paid safari to hunt Pronghorn Antelope in Montana. I have a number or rifles for use, but as I have never hunted antelope I'm not sure which rifle and caliber is best suited for this kind of hunt.

Please keep in mind that I may be doing a fair amount of walking on this trip, so the weight of the rifle is going to be a factor.

Here is the selection of rifles and calibers:

Styer Mountain Rifle 25-06 Rem & IOR 2.5x10 42mm scope (about 10.5 lbs)

CZ527 Varmit Kevlar .223 Rem & Bushnell Elite 4200 4x16 40mm scope (about 11 lbs)

Springfield 30-06 & Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5x10 40mm scope (about 12.5 lbs)

Savage 10FP .260 Rem & NF 5.5x22 50mm scope (about 16 lbs)

Rem700 .260 Rem & S&B PMII 4x16 42mm scope (about 18 lbs)

Rem700 .308 Win & S&B PMII 3x12 50mm scope (about 15 lbs)

All of these rifles are very accurate. Obviously the Savage and the Rems are tactical rifles and shoot .5moa or better. I'm reluctant to take the tactical rifles because they are so heavy.

The Styer 25-06 will get me out to 300 yards very accurately, but it is a short (21") barreled mountain rifle, and the groups really start to open up at the 400 yrd line. I normally shoot a 110gr GMX, or 90gr CPX in this rifle.

The CZ527 .223 is a tack driver out to 300. However, I'm not sure if it's got the balls to put down an antelope past that point. I normally shoot a 60gr V-Max bullet in this rifle. I’m aware that shot placement is critical, but confidence in hitting exactly where I want with anything other than my tactical rifles is limited to 300 yards with the above mentioned rifle.

I have considered using the Savage 10FP in .260 Rem. It's probably the most accurate rifle I own when I use 123gr Lapua Scenars. However, I'm not sure the 123gr Scenar would be a good choice for stopping antelope. Also, it’s quite a heavy rifle to hump all day long.

Let me know your thoughts and suggestions, and what you have used and had success with.

Thanks,

Tman
 

Rhys

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

Of what you have listed there the 25-06 would most likely be the one I would grab. If you want to get used to the weight either the .260 or .308 you have listed woujd be fine. Check and see how much you will be on foot, and make your decision from there.
 

tman300wm

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

What do you guys think the average range of a shot at a antelope is? Will the 25-06 with it's short barrel get the job done accuracy wise if I have a 400+ yard shot?
 

rm76

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

Heck man -- you dont have the perfect rifle for this hunt. That means you need to buy youself another one!!! Seriously, other than the .223, any of those would work. If you go with a guide, he may not let you make those long shots. I would suggest you take whatever rifle you shoot best, especially from a standing and knealing position.
 

Hazman1

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

I shoot a .257 ackley and most of my antelope are shot at 350 to 500 yards in Wyoming.

I find at that range I can take my time and get a good supported position )often a bag off the hood of the vehicle)

Anything that works at that range for you is good but check minimum caliber requirements in Montan as Wyoming does not allow .223 and also check if weight restrictions as Idaho restricts hunting to 16 pound rifles and less.

Good luck and enjoy!!!
 

psinclair

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

I'll let him shoot long.....after all he won this hunt proving that he can place bullets with precision at long range....(grin) I also have no problem with my guys using match bullets as they work very well on antelope even at the extended ranges.

Keep the opinions coming guys...this will be a great thread!!!
 

mdesign

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

So...you are the lucky fella that won a hunt with Pat! I envy you after seeing all the exceptional animals he has posted on this site. I tend to agree that you may not have the ideal rifle listed as most are heavier that I would recommend but I'll also bet Pat has a pretty good idea on the type of hunting you will be doing.

If you are going to settle in and go long if needed, I'd take the .260, if it is a spot and stalk hunt, I'd go with the lightest rifle that you have confidence in. Tis a proven fact that you can shoot.

Personally, the 25-06 is a great antelope cartridge but the rest of them will do fine as well. A 7mmRM is my go to cartridge for about any thing. The .223 runs out of gas if you get too far out or if it is windy but we have killed deer to 400yds.
 

KaiserNorton

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

I don't have a lot of experience with the lopes either, but the farthest shot I"ve taken on one has been under 300yds. Antelope aren't typically hard to kill, but can put a lot of distance between you when motivated.

If you plan on doing a lot of walking, I'd buy a sporter barrel (in .260) for your savage, and make do. Or use the .2506. If you are going to go out to sit, I'd take whatever you shoot best.

Kaiser Norton
 

tman300wm

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers



As you can see, I'm stoked about this hunt! I'm actually considering putting together a new rifle for this hunt. I have been considering building an FN SPR action chambered in .243 with a barrel/twist to run the 115gr DTAC bullets. I won a gift certificate for a Manners stock at a competition and I'm going with the lightest fill on the stock I can get. I’m thinking a medium palma contour on the barrel and have it deeply fluted. I want the rifle for competition shooting, but I'm thinking it will make a very nice deer/antelope rifle.

Do you object to muzzle breaks? I can remove them if it’s an issue. Also, do you recommend a bi-pod with extra long legs?

Thanks to all for the posts and suggestions, and keep them coming!
 

tman300wm

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

I was truly lucky to win this hunt. I was astounded when they called my name on such a fantastic prize. I have won some nice gear over the years, but never something this nice. It's like a sportsman’s dream come true.

By the way, I can't thank Pat and the good people at Snowline Outfitters enough for putting a great prize like this on the table at the Sniper's Hide Shooter's Bash sniper match. Also, thanks to Frank (LL), Jacob, and Lisa at Rifles Only for hosting the match and putting together the best prize table I have ever seen.
 

sandwarrior

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: tman300wm</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I recently won a 4 day all expense paid safari to hunt Pronghorn Antelope in Montana. I have a number or rifles for use, but as I have never hunted antelope I'm not sure which rifle and caliber is best suited for this kind of hunt.

Please keep in mind that I may be doing a fair amount of walking on this trip, so the weight of the rifle is going to be a factor.

Here is the selection of rifles and calibers:

Styer Mountain Rifle 25-06 Rem & IOR 2.5x10 42mm scope (about 10.5 lbs)

CZ527 Varmit Kevlar .223 Rem & Bushnell Elite 4200 4x16 40mm scope (about 11 lbs)

Springfield 30-06 & Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5x10 40mm scope (about 12.5 lbs)

Savage 10FP .260 Rem & NF 5.5x22 50mm scope (about 16 lbs)

Rem700 .260 Rem & S&B PMII 4x16 42mm scope (about 18 lbs)

Rem700 .308 Win & S&B PMII 3x12 50mm scope (about 15 lbs)

All of these rifles are very accurate. Obviously the Savage and the Rems are tactical rifles and shoot .5moa or better. I'm reluctant to take the tactical rifles because they are so heavy.

The Styer 25-06 will get me out to 300 yards very accurately, but it is a short (21") barreled mountain rifle, and the groups really start to open up at the 400 yrd line. I normally shoot a 110gr GMX, or 90gr CPX in this rifle.

The CZ527 .223 is a tack driver out to 300. However, I'm not sure if it's got the balls to put down an antelope past that point. I normally shoot a 60gr V-Max bullet in this rifle. I’m aware that shot placement is critical, but confidence in hitting exactly where I want with anything other than my tactical rifles is limited to 300 yards with the above mentioned rifle.

I have considered using the Savage 10FP in .260 Rem. It's probably the most accurate rifle I own when I use 123gr Lapua Scenars. However, I'm not sure the 123gr Scenar would be a good choice for stopping antelope. Also, it’s quite a heavy rifle to hump all day long.

Let me know your thoughts and suggestions, and what you have used and had success with.

Thanks,

Tman
</div></div>

Take the 25-06 and find a load that either 110 Accubonds, 115 BT's or 115 Berger work in. You can shoot as far out as you need. The groups don't open up as much as you think. They will kill an antelope dead as far as you need to shoot. It is also the most flat shooting of all the rifles you have listed. Just remember these are not as big (or really as tough, I think) as deer.

Since you have PGS as a guide I think he'll put you in a draw or a nice swale where you can work your way up to well within 400 yds. of a nice antelope. I think you're in pretty good hands.
 

slayer_21420

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: sandwarrior</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Just remember these are not as big (or really as tough, I think) as deer.
</div></div>

I highly dissagree on the toughness factor of theses little critters, they most definitly are smaller than deer, but I have personally hammered one through the front shoulders with a 300win mag and seen it run 200+ yards before expiring, it acted like it hadn't even been hit! i'm no expert, only having taken 10 antelope myself, but i've seen a lot of them killed and they can absorb a hit that would drop an elk in its tracks, I personally try to go for a head/neck shot whenever feesable
wink.gif


congrats on your win Tman! your gonna be hooked for life...

Steve
 

Cinch

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

Any of those rifles will work just fine. Use the one you are most comfortable shooting and are most accurate with. Once you decide, spend as much time as you can practicing under field conditions.
 

psinclair

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

scan0001-8.jpg


Here's my good friend Owen with a super heavy buck he shot a few years back....we bellied up to within 200 yards of this guy and Owen made a nice one shot kill on him with his .243AI. This buck was old and very wary. Notice the broken tip on the left horn...this buck still scored over 80" B&C and had 8" bases.

The .243 is exellent antelope medicine...especially with the high BC bullets being made now. See if I can dig up a few more pics....
 

psinclair

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

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Another super heavy buck taken at 300 yards with a .240 Weatherby Magnum. We scouted this buck pre season. We knew he was only 14" or so but really liked the mass...we were able to slip in on him opening day and collect him. My hunter had him scored and entered into the Boone & Crockett record book.
 

psinclair

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

scan0003-7.jpg


This Florida hunter was really happy with this buck he took with his .220 swift at 250 yards.(Remington Classic)

.22 centerfires are legal to use for big game hunting in Montana....they work very well on shots out about 350 yards.
 

psinclair

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

scan0007-4.jpg


Hide member dyoung poses with a nice buck he shot with my Surgeon .308 at 500+ meters a few years back...he has since had several precision long range rifles built and knows how to shoot them very well. He's hunted with me 4 or 5 times and has taken home some nice animals.
 

mdesign

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

Pat - you kill me every time you start posting that stuff. Don't you know most of us have to work for a living and can't hunt all the time.
laugh.gif


The .243 is good cartridge and the heavier bullets buck the wind pretty well.
 

tman300wm

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

Pat,

Great pics! Thanks for posting those, it's inspiration for me.

Thanks to every one else for the comments and suggestions. Really enjoying all the opinions and info.
 

mdesign

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

or for that matter the 7-08 with a 162 Amax or 168 SMK.
 

psinclair

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

scan0002-8.jpg


A buck I shot with my cousin's 7MM STW at 380 yards....150gr Swift Scirocco. Exit hole is showing. This buck was 15"+ and heavy.
 

dyoung

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

Good choice on the 260...if you are hunting with Pat weight won't be an issue....it will be an awesome hunt with an awesome guide. I go with him as much as I can just to learn what those long range sticks can do with the right guide.
 

Cinch

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

Bring the heaviest one you can find and then have Pat carry it!
grin.gif
 

M700

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

All your rifles go 10.5 - 18 pounds?

Why not treat yourself to a standard 7 - 8 pound hunting rifle that will do the job just fine and be a lot less trouble to haul around? Yes, I make 400+ yard shots with a standard weight hunting rifle.

Just a thought when you go to add to your collection!
grin.gif


Regards, Guy
 

spaniel

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Yeah, you really need a standard hunting rifle added to that collection. I thought my Sendero was a heavy hiking gun, it would be one of the lightest in your safe!!

If I were building an antelope rifle from scratch it would be a 243AI.
 

psinclair

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Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

We run around in a Bad Boy Buggy..........just kidding!!

The terrain is pretty gentle...and only about 3000 feet above sea level. It's fairly broken so a lot of times we can get in real close. And sometimes a good buck is in a spot that is hard to approach so its a good option to be able to take a long shot. I always try get as close as possible. When I'm hunting antelope on my own I carry my gear in a drag bag...on most if not all the stalks we make there is plenty of time to get set up correctly and make a perfect shot.
 

Engine 22

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    Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

    I have had a single experience hunting Antelope and here is how it ended up.
    DSC00012.jpg

    DSC00013.jpg


    It took 8 years to draw the tag for the unit in CO. I never felt under-gunned using my .243 and as you can see, the 115DTAC doesn't disappoint! The 14ish lb rifle was barely noticeable, maybe it had something to do with the excitement??. I started the stalk at over 550, but with the terrain, I was able to get within 170. The shot hit the buck in the heart and he didn't go but 10 yards before falling.

    I would suggest building your .243 just as you stated and break it in on your hunt next fall. I have a .280AI at GAP that will be ready this week(fingers crossed). I had it built with a Win L/A, 26" medium-palma Bartlien with deep flutes, Williams bottom metal, and a Manners T. Last time I stopped in, I was surprised at how light the rifle is going to be. I'm sure you would be pleased as I am, with how it would turn out.

    About the bipod, I would ask Pat about the grass were you will be hunting. I had to use shooting sticks because the grass in the field were I ended up hunting was taller than I could get using my bipod or pack. Not my favorite choice, but it worked out fine after all. Good luck on your hunt.
     

    matchking

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    Of the choices listed, i would tote the 25-06. And for the record, there are NO antelope in North America.
    wink.gif
     

    sandwarrior

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    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: matchking</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Of the choices listed, i would tote the 25-06. And for the record, there are NO antelope in North America.
    wink.gif
    </div></div>

    Okay, PRONGHORN ANTELOPE, (Antelocarpa Americana) is not a true antolope like African antelope because it sheds it's horns every year.

    Here's a FWS description:

    <span style="font-style: italic">Although sometimes called antelope, pronghorn are not closely related to the animals of African plains. In fact they are so different from other hoofed animals that they are the only members of the family Antelocapridae. Their head ornaments set them apart from deer and elk whose branched, solid antlers are shed each year, and from goats and cattle whose hollow horns are made from hair and are not shed. Pronghorn have branched, hollow, hairlike horns that are shed annually. <span style="font-weight: bold">They are the only animal with this combination.</span>

    True Americans, pronghorn are found only on the plains and grasslands of North America. Like bison, seemingly endless numbers once covered the west, stretching from Saskatchewan to just north of Mexico City. And like bison, they nearly became extinct. Populations declined from an estimated 30-60 million in the early 1800s to less than 15,000 by 1915. A moratorium on hunting lasting until the 1940s and a federal tax on firearms and sporting goods funding conservation efforts are credited with stopping the decline. Today there are almost 1 million pronghorn. Five subspecies are recognized: American/Common (found in most of range, Canada, and northern Arizona); Mexican/Chihuahuan (found in New Mexico, Texas, formerly southeastern Arizona); Oregon (found in southeastern Oregon); Peninsular (100-250 animals, found in Baja, Mexico); and Sonoran (Endangered, 500 animals found at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and Sonora, Mexico).

    All pronghorn in southeast Arizona are reintroduced populations. The herd at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge was transplanted from Texas in 1987 with the aid of state game and fish departments. After initial heavy losses, the herd has stabilized at around 60 animals. </span>

    But we call them that because we've called them that for years.

    EDIT:

    I thought I would add a little history of the word "antelope":

    The English word "antelope" first appears in 1417 and is derived from the Old French antelop, itself derived from Medieval Latin ant(h)alopus, which in turn comes from the Byzantine Greek word anthólops, first attested in Eustathius of Antioch (c.336), according to whom it was a fabulous animal "haunting the banks of the Euphrates, very savage, hard to catch and having long saw-like horns capable of cutting down trees".[2] It perhaps derives from Greek anthos (flower) and ops (eye), perhaps meaning "beautiful eye" or alluding to the animals long eyelashes; however this may be a later folk etymology. The word talopus and calopus, from Latin, came to be used in heraldry. In 1607 it was first used for living, cervine animal.

    <span style="font-weight: bold">So really, it isn't any real big deal if you call them that.</span>
     

    kyreloader

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    Re: Questions about Antelope and calibers

    Tikka in 6.5x55 shooting 130g Swift Scirocco's (BC 0.571) or 140g Bergers.

    Light, accurate, portable rifle with all the muscle and BC needed for pronghorn. You wont break the bank either.
     

    omurnion

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    My advice for you on this hunt is what we tell everyone that comes on a hunt here. Bring your favorite rifle, the one that you shoot the best. We've taken antelope with everything from a .220 swift to a .338 Lapua. Weight is not going to be an issue , don't worry about that. But I well tell you this for sure, practice shooting in windy conditions. Scenar, Berger, or Nosler accubonds are great bullets for antelope. It's a great area, with lots of antelope...congratulations on winning the hunt, you are going to have blast! Oh yeah, bring a pair of good binoculars, you'll need them.
     

    matchking

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    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: sandwarrior</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> So really, it isn't any real big deal if you call them that.[/b] </div></div>

    Agreed. But, that is one of the things that has been beaten into my head. It is right behind the fact that Canadian geese are only geese that live in Canada. Canada geese are the ones with the black and white heads.
    grin.gif