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Got my first Groundhog Today

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by lazarus, May 24, 2004.


  1. lazarus

    lazarus
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    Hard to Kill

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    A friend from church asked me to come over and help exterminate some groundhogs on his farm. He knows me to be a serious shooter. I had never hunted the buggers before, but I was excited to give it a try.

    I hadn't been set up five minutes, when I glassed this one with my binoculars. I quickly switched to my rifle and took him with a clean shot through the upper chest. I stepped off the range and it was almost exactly 75 yards.

    http://www.uberwarrior.com/groundhog1.jpg

    I used my Remington 700 ADL Synthetic chambered in .30-06 and paired with a Leupold VX-II 3-9x40 mounted in Weaver see-through rings with integral basis. The load was 150 grain military ball.

    I know this seems like a strange load, but they shoot really nice groups in my rifle. I have been trying to work up a load using some 100 grain Honrady Spire Points I bought, and I can't get them to group worth a damn (6-7" at 100 yards, best case). A friend suggested it may be an issue with the barrel twist rate.

    Anyway, I was stoked to get my first groundhog. I hunted for several more hours until it got dark. I saw one more, but I wasn't comfortable with shot. There wasn't a good back stop, and if the bullet had skipped off a rock or something it would have gone off the property, and there are some houses in that direction.
     

    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
  2. Perry F.

    Perry F.
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    AHH, SPRING CAME EARLY for him.;P
     

  3. vafish

    vafish
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    You need to get a .17 HMR for those groundhogs instead of that 30-06!
     
  4. Michigun

    Michigun
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    Miss Michigan?

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    Why? It's not like you're looking to eat them after the kill! ;)

    The .17 HMR does pretty well on chucks, but can leave you without a confirmed kill if not placed almost perfectly.

    The only issue I take with lazarus’s rifle set-up is with the “Weaver see-through rings”… I hate “see-through” rings… they put the scope too high…

    Here’s my main woodchuck rifle:
     
  5. vafish

    vafish
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    Why?

    Compare the noise and range of a 30-06 with the .17 HMR.

    Fastest way to lose a nice hunting ground is to have all the neighbors complaining about your shooting.

    Besides the .17 has the accuracy to place the shots well.

    It was Lazurus's first groundhog, I'm sure he used what he had, but the 30-06 is way over gunned on groundhogs. Besides, he needs a reason to buy a new gun:)
     
  6. Michigun

    Michigun
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    Miss Michigan?

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    Now that we can agree on vafish! ^c

    We'll have to disagree on the rest though... I don't believe in overkill, (especially on woodchucks) I only believe in under-kill! (A favorite caliber for woodchucks here is the 22-250)

    (FYI, most of the landowners around here will pay you a bounty on any woodchuck you kill for them… I’d hate to be around if a neighbor complained to them about a few loud cracks here & there! ;))

    17 HMR ballistics -vs- .30-06 (150-grain) ballistics:
     
  7. ILikeFtLbs

    ILikeFtLbs
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    Good work man. No more horsetraps will be dug by him.
     
  8. mpol777

    mpol777
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    Feral Member

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    Since OH is shotgun only for deer guys who want to hunt with a particular rifle use them on chucks. Everything from the little rimfires up to .458 Win Mag. As long as it's accurate enough to kill cleanly, it's a chuck gun.
     
  9. vafish

    vafish
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    I can live with some disagreement. :)

    I'm well aware of the power differences between the 30-06 (I have one I occasionaly drag out for deer hunting) and the .17 HMR. As weak as it looks compared to a 30-06, the .17 HMR is plenty powerfull for taking groundhogs well past 200 yards. Heck a .22 rimfire works just fine out to 100 or so which is more than I need for most shots around here. Around here a 100 acre property is a big place to hunt. I hunt on one property that is only 35 acres, another is only 17 acres. The neighbors have horses and they don't care for the sound a a 30-06 going off (The neighbors also don't seem to mind the groundhogs. I brought up the point about horses breaking legs and they claimed horses were smart enough to not step in a hole they knew was in their small paddock. They claim in all their years of horse ownership they have never heard of a horse breaking it's leg in a ground hog hole. I have no specific cases to argue that point.) The .17 HMR or .22 LR are better choices under the circumstances.

    But I do believe in over kill. A small animal like a ground hog can only absorb so much energy, anything that is left when the bullet passes through the ground hog is a waste and creates a hazard via ricochet's to nearby people and buildings (something that is very common in rocky clay soil we have).

    Forgot to add,

    Congrats Lazurus on the hog! Also even bigger pat on the back for not taking a shot you were unsure
     
  10. Michigun

    Michigun
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    Miss Michigan?

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    Now all of that I can agree with vafish... especially if I was in your situation. ^c
     
  11. lazarus

    lazarus
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    Hard to Kill

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    Thanks for all the responses.

    I have not been idle. Two days ago I took shots on two more chucks. I think I got them both, but they slipped back down their holes before expiring.

    I got my second confirmed kill today at just over 65 yards. The landowner had inidcated an are where he new a Groundhog was residing. I set up on him, and got him with a head shot. Only his head was sticking up, but it was a close shot, so I took it.

    After failing to make instant stops on the two from the other day, I switched to my match loads: 168 Hornaday boat tail hollow point over 57 grains of IMR 4350. The result was devastating. I won't describe the outcome in detail for fear of offending someone, but it was decisive. Here is a politically correct picture. I posed the critter to hide the rather dramatic wound.

    http://www.uberwarrior.com/groundhog2.jpg

    As to the comments about rifle selection, I am going to look at a different rig if I do much more of this. I own a couple of AR-15's but they both have unmagnified red dot optics. My other bolt gun is also a .30-06. I do have a .22, but the trajectory isn't as falt as I might like.

    The .17 is an interesting idea, but I guess I'm not convinced it will be truly decisive. I'd like to recover the hogs as much as I can. I have a stripped AR receiver that might make a nice varmint rig. Someone convince me that the .17 will get it done.

    It sounds like Vafish and I live in the same neck of the woods. We have lots of rocky clay soil around here as well as horses, but also lots of hills, which help with safety.
     
  12. mpol777

    mpol777
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    The .17 rimfires would be great for sub 100 yard shots. over that you'd need to bump up to a .17 centerfire, of which only the .17 Remington is supported.

    Don't count out what a little 25gr bullet can do. I've seen coyotes go down harder with .17 centerfires than with just about anything else. A good chest shot is like a bolt of lightning. Something about a little piece of lead exploding at 4200fps that turns 'em off like a light.

    The thing your '06 is lacking that a smaller caliber will provide is the shock at impact. Those .30 pills are just going to push through, whereas a tiny, fragile bullet will pop. Not only do you save your shoulder a bit, but a belly shot with a fast moving small caliber will ripple it's energy up to the good stuff, where a larger bore will just make a hole. Either way it's a dead chuck.

    Or just keep shooting them in the head. ;f If you get your practice in shooting chucks in the head a deer is going to look mighty big in the scope when the season rolls around.
     
  13. vafish

    vafish
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    Lazrus,

    I'm in Northern VA (Fairfax).

    If your nearby I'd be glad to demonstrate the .17HMR to you. It's accuracy is amazing. I have a $169 Savage heavy barrel with a $49 Tasco 6-24x scope on it. And with the low recoil you can see the bullets hit through the scope. Pretty cool firing off the bench and seeing holes appear in the paper.
     
  14. firminw

    firminw
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    I dont know whats wrong with eating groundhog, I have several good recipies jus' fer them hawgs. I'll eat ground hawg before I'll ever eat possum. Just think varmints you can shoot and eat. If thats not ethical I dont know what is.
     
  15. lm921

    lm921
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    The Stampede

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    I like my 222 for GH. and yes they are good to eat. GH are very clean and quite lean :)
     
  16. lakota222

    lakota222
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    I have a T/C Contender 222 Carbine as my chuck rifle. It will shoot sub 1/4" M.O.A. with handloads, and the 40 and 50 grain polymer tipped and soft point pills are devastating on chucks, not to mention my T/C is one fine looking rifle!

    As for the .17 HMR, my buddy had one and it was a very accurate rifle, but as someone else above stated, it was just not decisive.

    There was an article a while back in Handloader magazine I think, entitled "Anthing the .17HMR can do the .17 Remington can do better."

    I have always been intrigued by the .17 Remington, and I think I will pick up a T/C barrel for it this summer.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the .204 Ruger?

    happy chuck hunting.
     
  17. uncowboy

    uncowboy
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    I work in Conshohocken. I finish early, Around lunch. If someone wants to turn me on to a farm not too far away I would be glad to help remove some chucks. J.Michael
     
  18. firminw

    firminw
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    The edges of soybean fields and alfalfa fields are prime places to look for groundhogs. Unlike corn fields, which are good also, the vegatation allows them to be seen easier. In the fall turnip patches are prime hawg, as well as deer, hangouts. Groundhogs like to be able to feed easy and if you can find their feed sources you'll find them. My formula for hunting success for any animal is, 1) Sex, 2) Food, 3) Rest or 4) Fellowship. If you can intercept an animal involved in anyone of these 4 endeavors you're gonna have success. This plus concealment, surprise and skill is good hunting success Gare On Teed.
     
  19. lazarus

    lazarus
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    Hard to Kill

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    OK. So I decided to try a .17 HMR. Today I bought a Marlin 917VS. I got the stainless model with the laminate stock. It is topped off with a Tasco Tactical 4-12x42 mounted on Weaver rings and the bases that come with the rifle.

    The dealer had the scope in stock used, and they basically threw it in with the gun to close the deal. I normally stick with Leupold glass, but I'll give it a try for the price.

    What range should I zero the rifle at? 100 yards?

    Thanks.
     
  20. uncowboy

    uncowboy
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    Sighted in at 25 yds it should be dead on again at 100. Depending how high the scope is.