Black Hills Prairie Dog Adventure
Site contributor Chris Long (aka “TechShooter”) has crafted a report about his July, 2007 Prairie Dog Expedition in Wyoming. Ralph and Lenora Dampman of Trophy Ridge Outfitters served as guides for the trip. Trophy Ridge runs ‘Dog hunts near the town of Carlile in the NW range of the Black Hills, near Devil’s Tower National Monument. Primarily big game outfitters, Ralph and Lenora have access to thousands of acres of private ranch land. They run guided prairie dog hunts during their off-season. Chris reports “The terrain is beautiful, a welcome change from the South Dakota prairie, with lots of hills and Ponderosa pine trees. [These] ranch lands are home to some prodigious dog towns.”
Chris continues: “The goal of this trip (besides having a great time) was to get in some long range (1000+ yard) opportunities, and possibly even a shot over 1500 yards, in order to qualify for the VHA 1500 yard certification. I had worked up some really good loads for the 6.5-284 TubeGun and the .260 AI using the new 130 grain Berger VLDs, and wanted to see how they performed at these extreme ranges. I also wanted to see how the trusty 6 Dasher performed as a long range varmint cartridge.”
Chris Long was joined by two friends who came all the way from Virginia. Chris reports, “Our plan was to get in four days of intense, long-range shooting. We were not disappointed! The shooting was from 100 to over 1000 yards, and the dogs were everywhere. There were plenty of targets close in, so there was a lot a variety. It is especially challenging to move in and out in range by these extreme amounts. It gave me a lot of practice estimating range and wind conditions, then seeing if I could get the come-ups and windage right on the scope for the first shot at the new range. By the end of the trip, I was getting it pretty close, with some 1-shot hits out to about 600 yards.”
Chris’s primary long-range rifle was his 6.5-284 Tube-gun (photo above) running 130gr Berger VLDs at 3165 fps. Chris reports the 130s can be shot at 3165 fps with no excessive pressures, and “scary, one hole, 5-shot 100-yard group accuracy.” With a B.C. of about 0.6, the 130s shoot flatter and exhibit less wind drift than the 140gr class bullets at 2950 FPS.
Chris’s second gun was a more conventional bolt-action in a Franklin LowRider stock, set up with both 6mm Dasher and .260 AI barrels. Chris notes: “The Dasher has proven itself in spades as an extremely accurate cartridge for F-Class Open competition, and I was anxious to see how it performed as a varmint cartridge. The performance was excellent, with many hits out past 1000 yards. This rifle is set up as a switch-barrel rig, and is the platform for the 260 AI. I made a portable barrel vise that mounts in the trailer hitch receiver on the Suburban. That, with a rear entry action wrench, makes barrel changes a 5 minute affair. I would shoot until the barrel got a bit hot, then switch and proceed with the other caliber.”
CLICK HERE to read the complete story. It contains more load data, details of hits made out to 1330 yards, and many great photos of the Wyoming scenery. For .260 AI and 6 Dasher tech tips, visit TechShooter’s Shooting Pages.
Photos and quotes copyright © 2007 Chris Long, All Rights Reserved, used by permission.