Prairie Dog Hunting with a 243 WSSM

243 WSSM Model 1885 on bench hunting Prairie Dogs
243 WSSM Model 1885 on our portable shooting bench.
Dallen shooting the 243 WSSM Model 1885
Dallen having a little fun with Dad's 243 WSSM Model 1885.
Dallen's first Prairie Dog
Dallen and his first Prairie Dog taken at 245 yards.
243 WSSM shells on rifle stock
Dallen on his first Prairie Dog hunt

Dallen and I really enjoy taking a day every year to go on a prairie dog hunting trip. It offers a great opportunity to really sharpen our shooting skills. Dallen has really been getting good at making the shots. It also offers the opportunity to have a wonderful time and make memories with my son.

Dallen has been using his 223 Rem. A-Bolt Stainless Stalker and I use the "Death Ray", Model 1885 in 243 WSSM. When I chronographed this 28 inch barreled rifle shooting the Winchester 55g Ballistic Tip, it spit them out at 4240 fps on a 65 degree day. It also shoots this load under an inch at 100 yards every time I check the rifle on paper.

The first year we went Dallen struggled a little at locating the prairie dogs in the sage brush and then finding them in his scope. However I was very impressed that he hit his very first prairie dog from a bi-pod at 245 yards on the very first shot.

This past year he was picking out the critters hiding in the sage brush just as fast as I was. Better yet he was able to quickly get them in his sights and drop the hammer. This is one of the main reason I like to go prairie dog hunting. It really helps sharpen my shooting skills with a little more added pressure. It definitely has helped Dallen and when the pressure was on elk hunting his first year he knew just what to do thanks in part to his time hunting prairie dogs.

Two years ago I made my furthest one shot kill at 432 yards. I admit I got a little lucky on this shot because there was a heavy cross wind and I had to estimate windage and drilled him. A prairie dog when standing only offers about a three to four inch horizontal window to hit. Not the easiest to do at 400+ yards and with a cross wind.

Rock Chuck Hunting

243 WSSM Bullets on Model 1885 Stock
243 WSSM bullets on Model 1885 stock

243 WSSM Model 1885 sitting in my lap while rock chuck hunting.
243 WSSM Model 1885 sitting in my lap while rock chuck hunting.

Every summer I like to take a trip or two up the mountain to sharpen my shooting skills shooting rock chucks. The last couple of years I have been taking Dallen. Since the area we hunt takes a half day to hike into we pack along a tent and spend the night and make it a two day trip.

Dallen has been taking his Browning A-Bolt Stainless Stalker in 223 Rem. and I take my Winchester Model 1885 in 243 WSSM. We enjoy the hike and Dallen just loves spending the night in a tent.

This past year Dallen found his first moose antler while we where on our chuck hunting trip.

Dallen usually takes chucks in about the 200-250 yard range. Anything under 200 yards just is a little too easy even for a 10 year old. I like to find chucks in the 300 and beyond range to give me a little challenge.

This past year I took my furthest rock chuck across a huge canyon at 682 yards using my Model 1885, 243 WSSM. My Model 1885 shooting the Winchester 55g Ballistic Tip bullets at 4240 fps puts new meaning to flat shooting. I top this rifle off with a Bushnell Elite 4200, 6-24x Mil-Dot scope, one varmint hunting machine of a rifle. 

A good friend calls small bore flat shooting rifles like the 243 WSSM  "Death Rays." I definitely think my Model 1885 in 243 WSSM meets "Death Ray" status. You can view a video of this 243 WSSM "Death Ray" in action on a rock chuck in my 243 WSSM Rock Chuck Hunting with Video in 2010 journal entry.



Additional information