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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm confined to having only 6 images in my post and my story has 11 images, so I'll break this up into two parts and post a reply to this new thread to finish the tale.

The weather was supposed to be ideal for prairie dog shooting. The temperature was predicted to hit the low 80s and winds no more than 5 to 10 mph so I headed off for a prairie dog town I last visited on December 2, 2017. I arrived at my parking place on the west side of the prairie dog colonies (there are 5 or 6 colonies scattered out on the prairie) at 9:36 a.m. I had two rifles along today: one was my Savage 12VLP .204 Ruger and my .17 Remington built on a Stiller Predator action. I’d be using the .204 Ruger on my morning hunt. Around noon, I planned to head back to the pickup, have lunch and take a nap before heading out with the .17 Remington for my afternoon outing. Here’s a look at where I parked my pickup.


My Schwinn cart was loaded with my backpack, camera, extra ammo, a snack and a bottle of ice water. My .204 Ruger has a BLACKNITRIDE™ treated 1 in 11 twist three groove super match grade stainless steel Pac-Nor barrel. I use a GEMTECH Trek-Ti suppressor on this barrel that had 944 shots down the tube before today. The load I was using was 27.2 gr. of H4895, Remington 7½ primers, WW casings, and 39 gr. Sierra BlitzKings with an hBN coating. The bullets are seated about .005" off the lands and the muzzle velocity of this load is 3,875 fps. (CAUTION: This load is safe in my rifle BUT may be HOT in yours.) I left the pickup around 10:10 a.m. and by 11:10 I had shot 8 shots and nailed 8 prairie dogs. Shooting opportunities were not super numerous, but enough to keep my interest. I took some time to load the magazine and then the shell holder I have on the stock. I also took some photos. Shot distances were from 40 yards on out to 163 yards. Here’s a collage of two photos showing the bullet entrance side and then the bullet exit side on a 75 yard prairie dog. The bullet definitely did its job—severe destruction!!!


I kept walking east and stopped and shot PDs as they presented themselves. By 12:15 I had only 8 shells left out of the 26 I started out with and began walking to the south. I shot 7 of those shells and then began taking some photos. Here’s another collage showing a prairie dog taking a dirt nap with no visible damage on the left and then the severe damage to the back of his neck. I think he died without much pain.


For those of you who have problems waiting to see the “Hero Photo” at the end of my stories, here’s an early photo taken before lunch time. I put the camera away and headed back west to the pickup. I shot my last shell of the 26 I had along and made a solid hit so I hit on 26 straight shots.


On my way back to the pickup, I spotted some blossoms and snapped a few pictures for those of you who like to see the blossom photos. Here’s a collage of those pictures for you all.


I got back to the pickup around 1:00 and loaded the cart into the back of the pickup as I would NOT use it this afternoon. I drove north to get closer to the creek I had to cross and ate my lunch while sitting on the tailgate of the pickup. I finished lunch and at 1:45 I was ready for my customary nap. I planned to sleep for one hour but woke up at 2:30 and decided to set my smart phone clock to wake me up around 3:00 p.m. I woke up at 3:18 but the alarm had not sounded. I checked it and I had set it to go off at 4:00 instead of 3:00. Oh well, I needed the rest!!!


 

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Discussion Starter #2
ND PD Hunt on 8-21-2018 Continued

Here's the last part of the tale.

I got my gear together and headed across the creek to the north around 3:40 p.m. I had my Predator action .17 Remington with a medium Palma stainless steel 1 in 9 twist three groove super match grade Pac-Nor barrel along for this afternoon. I only took 41 rounds of ammo. That ammo was loaded in my Nosler brass with turned necks and had 21.9 gr. of IMR8208 XBR powder, Tula small rifle magnum primers and 25 gr. V-Max bullets coated with hBN. I get muzzle velocity readings of 4,055 fps readings when I run this load over my Beta Master Chrony chronograph. The acrobatics this load produces are FANTASTIC!!! Before I got to where I could shoot my first prairie dog of the afternoon, I could tell that carrying my 14 pound rifle, and my heavy backpack was going to cause me to have some serious issues with my back and hips, but I ventured on. The shooting was fairly steady, but I had to move to the east after about 4 or 5 shots and follow that procedure most of the afternoon.

Around 5:30 I had come upon prairie dogs that had very dark fur. I shot four or five of them and decided to get some photos of them, but I spied a little bush in a washout that provided some shade and made the decision to rest in that shade, replenish the shells in my magazine and shell holder as well as eat a little snack and have a drink of ice cold water before taking photos.

At about 5:38 p.m., I looked off to the east and thought I saw something moving out on the side hill about 115 yards away where I had shot a couple prairie dogs earlier. I was surprised to see a young coyote out there munching on one of my dead prairie dogs. I chambered a round and crawled up to the edge of the washout. Looking through the scope, I watched him chewing on the prairie dog and was trying to decide if I should take a head shot or wait for a broadside shot to the heart/lung area. In hindsight, I should have been shooting him with my camera!!! When he was broadside to me, I took the shot and he fell over like he had been hit between the eyes with an 18-pound sledge hammer and didn’t twitch at all. Now I had a coyote to photograph as well!!! The yellow arrow points to a tiny white spot that is the dead coyote.


I looked at my temperature strip on the barrel and it was at 114º and I decided to use my BETA 60 barrel and chamber cooler while I was snacking and resting. You can see the black device inserted in my chamber in the photo below.


I put the barrel cooler in the chamber and turned it on. I set my wrist watch timer for 15 minutes to let me know it was about time to turn off the barrel cooler. I settled back in the shade to rest and eat my snack and have a drink of water. When my watch sounded the alarm I loaded my stuff back in my back pack, and walked out to take some photos.

I walked out to where I had shot some of the prairie dogs with dark fur and gathered one with dark fur and one with normal colored fur and posed them for a photo or two. The one on the left has fur that is a bit darker than normal and the one on the right has very dark fur.


The photo below shows the Predator action .17 Remington and the same two prairie dogs in the previous photo.


Here’s a close-up photo of exactly where the coyote lay and the prairie dog carcass he had been chewing on right beside him.


Here’s a “Hero Photo” of the young male coyote, my Predator action .17 Remington and me. I think you can see that this coyote is quite small, but was very light colored. I probably should have just shot him with the camera, but couldn’t resist putting out his lights.


At 6:21 p.m. I started my walk back to the pickup. I had 8 shells left out of the 41 I started with. I had made a clean miss on one prairie dog and on a 35 yard shot I must have nicked to top of that PD’s head and he swirled around in circles and disappeared down his den hole. I couldn’t recover him. My back was hurting BIG TIME and both hips were VERY SORE as I walked along. At 6:40 I stopped and took two Ibuprofen and drank some more water and rested a bit before moving on. I managed to shoot the rest of the shells I had left and wound up killing 39 prairie dogs that afternoon, wounded one and had a clean miss on one. Total body count for the day was 65 dispatched prairie dogs and one wounded one with 67 shots. I never did have a good chance at nailing a double today. I arrived back at the pickup at 6:58 p.m. and got all my gear into the pickup, removed the bed sheets I had over the windows, stowed them in the back of the pickup and got my suppressor off my rifle and stowed the rifle in its case. I took out the second half of my peanut butter/jelly sandwich, got out my little bag of popcorn and opened up a can of Caffeine Free Diet Mountain Dew before heading off for home so I could eat on the run.

It was 8:22 p.m. when I parked the pickup in the garage. My wife came out and helped me carry in my rifles and other items I had along on the trip. This last Tuesday, August 21, we had been married for 52 years, 2 months and 10 days and I think I’ll keep her around for a few more years!!!

I will see my doctor on Friday, August 24 and hopefully, he will have some specialists lined up to look at me and figure out why I still have back, hip and rib pain. I’m getting pretty well fed up with the pain and not being able to do the things I like to do. Sorry about the complaining. I will appreciate any prayers you can offer on my behalf. Thank you.
 

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A great write up and pictures as usual. Thank you for taking the time. it’s lots fun to go along with you. I also appreciate the technical data on your rifles and loads. It’s good to see the “hero” pictures also!

Hope you get your medical issues addressed. Pain can be a tough master. Prayers sent.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
JC in Calif--It was GREAT to have you along on the hunt!!! My family doctor is trying to arrange an appointment with a surgeon who specializes in the hip and back areas. Also, thank you for your prayers.
 

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I always love your posts and photos. I hope you can get your back and hip problems straightened out so you can continue to do what you love in comfort.
 

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Thanks for the great writeup and excellent photos, Silverfox. How about a picture of your Schwinn prairie cart? I'm always interested in seeing gear like that.
 

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Kentucky Fisherman--Here's a photo I took on my PD outing dated June 21, 2018. I made some improvements on the inside of the cargo area. I put a solid piece of corrugated plastic sheeting across the inside of the back so small items don't slide out the back. I also rigged up some bungee cords so the Caldwell DeadShot Field-pod will ride on the top of the cart and won't fall off. I also modified the hitch a bit and placed the handle from an old pull-type golf bag cart into the black square tubing. This cart was build to be hooked to the back end of a bicycle. One day soon, I will have my son fashion a shoulder harness that will have the handle attached to the shoulder harness. That will allow me to have my hands free.

 

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Another excellent post. Thanks for taking us along. Sorry to hear about your back,hip, and rib pain.

Both of my parents were in a bad car accident a while back. Really messed up both their spines. Luckily both pulled through ok. It was really hard for my dad. For a while, he had to give up a lot of the activities he enjoyed. Lately, I've been working with him to get back out there. I hope the specialist can help you out as well.
 

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Yours are my favorite short stories on this site. Always entertaining, interesting and I never fail to learn something.on your barrel cooler - how does it work? Does it just pump ambient air through the barrel?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Markbo--I'm happy to hear you enjoy my little write-ups.

The barrel cooler just pulls in outside air and blows it from the chamber and out the muzzle end of the barrel. It seems to work OK. If I were inclined to shoot from a bench near my vehicle, I'd probably use a cold wet towel on the barrel, but since I walk around the prairie dog towns, I don't think the wet towel would work very well.

I recently had my gunsmith build a 20 VarTarg for me and while testing loads at the range I have been pleasantly surprised how the barrel DOES NOT seem to heat up much. Maybe I won't need to use the barrel cooler if I use the 20 VarTarg???? :)
 

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Hmmm... probably velocity related? What velocity are gettingnwith the Vartarg?
 

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Markbo--I believe the barrel stays cooler because I am burning way less powder with the 20 VarTarg than I do with my .204 Rugers, .22-250s, and my .243s. The loads I tested with 32 gr. bullets out of the 20 VarTarg were with 18.3, 18.5, and 18.7 grains of H4198 and velocities were around 3,700 to 3,770 fps. Loads tested with the 39 gr. Sierra BlitzKing bullets were 17.7 and 18.0 grains of H4198 and velocities were around 3,450 to 3,533 fps. Whereas, loads for the other calibers start at around 27.0 grains and on up. I'm guessing that more powder gives you the hotter temperatures, but more powder also gives you more velocity. My loads are probably up about as high as I care to go. The 18.0 gr. load of H4198 with the 39 gr. SBK is, in my opinion and the opinion of a few other folks, a HOT load and I'll be testing loads with a tenth or two less powder with that bullet.
 
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