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 Antelope Contents
 1. Introduction
 2. About The Animal
 3. Hunting The Pronghorn
 4. Rifles, Cartridges & Optics
 5. Shot Placement
 6. Conclusion
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Pronghorn Antelope

Chapter 4. - Rifles, Cartridges & Optics

In This Chapter
- Requirements Of A Pronghorn Rifle,
Choosing The Right Cartridge, Optics For Pronghorn Hunting

Requirements Of A Pronghorn Rifle

The best rifle for antelope is one you handle very well. It should be capable of tight, consistent groups at 300 yards -- the type of shooting that requires a high performance, precision rifle. Choose one with a light, crisp, trigger-pull. Also, weight should be reasonable as you'll likely be carrying your rifle for many miles before the hunt is over. Equip it with a wide sling.

Levers and pump actions are not usually found on antelope range and semi-automatics are best left at home. A bolt-action from a reputable manufacturer is probably your best choice. What you want is superb accuracy, not firepower. A high quality rifle with a single shot action is at home on a pronghorn hunt as well.

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Choosing The Right Cartridge

Because of their sharp vision and their open habitat, antelope are generally shot at long range. Shots at less than 200 yards are the exception. Opportunities out to 300 and 400 yards are common. Also, an alerted antelope's erect rump hairs create an illusion of size, especially when running. The lead necessary to intercept them at extended range is often underestimated, causing you to shoot back of your aiming point.

Choose a high performance cartridge with exceptionally flat-shooting bullets of reasonable weight. The best antelope cartridges are those shooting bullets of at least 100 grains, preferably 120 grains and over. Lot's of retained energy and high velocity at ranges up to 400 yards is also necessary. For those of you that are one-gun hunters, choose a cartridge in the .270 or .30 caliber range. Although antelope are not big animals, don't discount their ability to carry a lot of lead if marginally hit. With their oversized lungs and heart, pronghorns can run a long way if hit with a marginal bullet from an inadequate cartridge.

Our choices for availability, reliability and ability to do the job are in bold.

.243 Winchester   100 gr.   Low recoil / high accuracy
.25/06 Remington   120 gr.   Open country / long range
.257 Weatherby Magnum   100 gr.   Fast and potent
.270 Winchester   130 gr.   Hits hard, excellent round
.270 Weatherby Magnum   130 gr.   Overkill for antelope
7 mm Remington Magnum   150 gr.   Long range
.30/06 Springfield   150 gr.   Heavier recoil, versatile
.308 Winchester   150 gr.   Accurate, does the job

The 7mm Remington Magnum and .270 Weatherby Magnum cartridges are fine for hunting trophy antelope, but have an excess of power. They'll work well for one-rifle hunters who must use their firearm on larger game. Much has been written of the hot 6mm cartridges, such as the .243 Winchester and the 6mm Remington. With 100 grain bullets, such caliber's are fine for antelope up to 250 yards. Beyond 300 yards a more potent cartridge is desirable.

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Optics For Pronghorn Hunting

Your rifle should be equipped with a good scope of 4 to 6 power. If your preference is a variable, 2 1/2 to 9 power do nicely. The crosshair should be fine as you could be shooting at animals out to 400 yards.

The best single piece of equipment for the antelope hunter other than an accurate rifle is a pair of good binoculars. Minimum magnification should be at least 8 power. Purchase the best lightweight pair you can afford -- you'll use them a lot. Additional equipment should include a light spotting scope. This is best used in sizing up individual animals after locating them with your binoculars. When you start your stalk, leave the spotting scope in the vehicle.

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... on to Chapter 5 - Shot Placement

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