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Posted: 6/13/2009 10:08:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2009 3:33:09 PM EST by kdmoore]
Friend of mine has a place down by the river they use in the summer. Ground hogs moved in under an outbuilding (shed), and so I've tried to irradicate the pests with a couple of trips out there.

Last time I had 4 confirmed dead, and a couple others ... well you'll see. But very odd stuff going on (at least to me). Thought I'd share.

I am looking to irradicate these, but try to do so with quick/clean kills. I take my AR (5.56) shooting winchester white box fmj (the old stuff walmart used to sell in 40 round boxes) and a 12 ga. I also take a .22 for backup.

OK, here's some observations, and I'd love any thoughts on this.

#1===================

One particular shot was ~20-25 yards away. I had the .22 handy, it's scoped in. put the xhairs on his chest, pulled the trigger but he ducked out. It was the first I'd shot that rifle in a half year. Afterward I shot a couple of shots freestanding (as I was for the GH) and they were 1 inch group around the point of aim ... so I think the rifle is still dialed in as I expected. I had a very steady hold for the shot, and waited for a firm center of body hold. I watched him in the scope. No indication he was hit. No indication of a flinch. No sound of a body hit.

I saw the same hog the next day, so I'm pretty sure no damage was done. So, how did I miss? Or did I? I've heard that beaver are fast enough to dodge a slow round like the .22 Are ground hogs too? GH's don't seem fast .....

#2===================
Was walking the place, came around the corner of a shed. Couple of young ones 5 yards away (foot long, ~5-8 lbs). One down in the hole facing me. One outside of the hole, a foot back from entrance, at the 1 oclock position. He was facing me too. I froze and raised the shotgun slowly, they stayed. So, I held aimed shot on the hole dweller. Then visually confirmed his buddy. Then, I double tapped them. I do 3 gun, this was typical gun handling (I've done this 100's of times) Bam Bam I'd guess a .3 second split. I shot to the spot of the second one, didn't want to take the time to acquire him visually. After the second shot, I searched visually for the second gh. Took a split second for the dirt to settle... there's no movement! and he's not there. wall on his left, lawn to his right 4 yards straight back before he could run behind the shed. I see nothing, hear no movement. I glance down and see a little movement of fur in the hole, so I throw another round down there, and the movement stops. then I go to try and find the second critter. He's just no where!

I think there are several things that could have happened. Here they are no particular order.
A. he vaporized. Full choke tube at 5 yards didn't even leave his feet behind ... but where was the red mist he was turned into....
B. He was (literally) 10x faster than what I thought, and was smart enough to go straight back and turn the corner on the shed. He moved on the first shot and was far enough away to avoid the second shot (mark in the ground says it went where it was intended). And he made NO sound even tho he headed thru some weeds.. This is the obvious answer, but if this is true I'm amazed at the speed of this young one.
C. He advanced on the first shot heading towards me one foot to go down this close entrance. Again, a lot faster than I'd thought possible. Maybe I tagged him with my third shot if he was hurt to boot, but ???

#2 continued==================
even wierder ... I went out later that day to see if I could pull the dogs out of the hole so they wouldn't stink up the place. I was thinking I'd get the closest one out, but might have to dig to find the other (if I had killed two), but they weren't there. I showed a light down the hole and there was a spot of blood and goop the size of a silver dollar. I watched my third shot land and stop the twitching .... ??? So, did mama move them? There was no crow/buzzard feeding going on. So either mama moved them, or I didn't dispatch them as I swore I did, or they are very tough and wearing kevlar ... Would mama drag her dead pup(s) deeper into the burrow????

# 3 ==========================
There is one wary one. I believe I've seen this one last year, had a poor shot I didn't take outside of this den, it retreated never to reappear. The others are so fearless/clueless they've always come back out if spooked). Full sized, I'd guess 2 feet long and 20 lbs.
This year, he surprised me as I turned a corner. I had 12ga. Extra full choke. #4 turkey loads. I couldn't get a clear shot (he was into a cut field that had just enough cover). I didn't want to wound this guy and make him/her even harder to approach. He stopped on the edge of the field and stood up to look at me. My estimated distance was 45 yards, and I often underestimate. My question, do we think #4's (they are lead, not steel) would have been lethal on a ghog at that range.

I decided to go back for my AR for a shot at this guy from within the house (I've shot numerous ones from within the house, upstairs windows), but he was gone when I got there.

#4 ==========================
Last year I passed on some shots where the hog was on the bank of the river. The bank is 20 feet above the surface of the river. A miss would put the bullet into the river. There's a house across the river. I checked the map, and it turned out it's over a mile away. I feel pretty safe that a bullet can't be skipped off water and arrive with any energy at all, and I don't know if I'd pass that shot up if it presents itself again. I've taken similar shots when the dogs had dirt behind them.

Anyone have any guesses at how far a bullet could skip off turf?
How far if it skipped off the water?

I'm just leary of worst case scenarios. I'd guess that the bullet might fragment most times, and certainly would expect any bounced bullet to tumble ...

#5============================
Ok, I knew bullets tumble, but this one surprised me!

I shot a groundhog from the upstairs window. The shot is steeply down. dog was ~20 yards from house. Dog is DRT. But the bullet has made a crater the size of a grapefruit! And, instead of it being in a line directly behind the dog (It would have been inches from it's carcass) the hole is 2.5 feed behind him. That bullet must have veered something fierce inside the body of that young one! Here's a poor description

ME
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxGHxxxxxximpact

Or, to put it another way, if the bullet had flown straight thru the gh, the hole would have been 1.5 to 2 feet closer to the carcass. I actually wondered if the hole had been there before the shot, but wife watched that dog die, and noticed the crater formed.

Again, I knew that bullets bent inside bodies, but this was another baby with very little flesh,

Well, that's about it for now. I'll likely go back out in a week or two and see if I can get the shy one and any others that might be around.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 11:00:07 PM EST
I just dispatched my 4th of the year the other day..all with 22-250....55 gr v-max molys....no worries of movement afterward.....last one was a baby. he must've been tender as the round damned near ripped him in half anf moved him about a foot backwards....left a nice grease spot in the grass!!
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 10:47:20 AM EST
I have never had one not run off with a 22. I can tell you I took one with the 17HMR at about 140 yards about a week ago, I didnt see it drop or run It just disappeared. When I went out to look for it I couldnt find it! I felt the shot was on, I would have swore on my life it was a hit. I turned around to head back and almost stepped on it.

Still had food in its mouth, I know they can be fast after a shot. I think all GH hunters get run offs from time to time. I also know that they are a tough little critter, but so far all of the shots I have taken with the 17 that I knew were good shots were dropped where it stood.
Just some of my observations...
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 10:49:02 AM EST
Originally Posted By TacticalHillbilly:
I just dispatched my 4th of the year the other day..all with 22-250....55 gr v-max molys....no worries of movement afterward.....last one was a baby. he must've been tender as the round damned near ripped him in half anf moved him about a foot backwards....left a nice grease spot in the grass!!


I popped one years ago with a 130 gr hollow point from a .30-06 at about 150 yards.

The largest single piece was the separated head.


Link Posted: 6/14/2009 12:35:53 PM EST
My thoughts,

#1 - .22LR doesn't impress ground hogs unless you head shoot them. You probably hit the GH and he ran off. The one you saw the following day may or may not have been him.

#2. - My guess is B. for the second half of that momma probably moved him off.

#3. - I wouldn't count on #4 at 45 yards to cleanly kill a GH. You made the right choice.

#4. - 20 feet above the river? So you'd have to miss by 20 feet to start the ricochet? I'd take the shot if the back stop was safe.

As to how far can a bullet go after a ricochet? There was a recent US Army study done on this comparing shotgun slugs to rifle bullets ricocheting off of hard ground.

Here is a discussion of the study:

http://skinnymoose.com/tailsandtrails/2008/01/27/the-slug-gun-ricochet-factor/

According to Mountaintop Technologies of Johnstown, Penn., who conducted a study with the assistance of ballistic experts at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, say that shotgun slugs are much more prone to ricochets than rifle bullets. Because of that phenomenon, shotgun slugs can travel farther than rifle bullets in common hunting scenarios.

According to a summation of the study, when shots are fired holding guns level at 3 feet off the ground, a shotgun slug will travel 0.99 of a mile; 16 percent farther than a .30-06 rifle bullet under the same circumstances. The study asserts that the reason is that slugs tend to hold together better and lose less energy during ricochets than rifle bullets. This leads to the conclusion that slugs actually travel farther than rifle bullets.


I'd say a .223 ricochet would be similar or less than a .30-06. By the looks of that study the .30-06 travels a bit over 3/4 of a mile after a ricochet off of hard ground when fired from 3 feet above the ground.

#5. - Bullets do weird things when they hit animals.

Link Posted: 6/14/2009 1:58:43 PM EST
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Originally Posted By TacticalHillbilly:
I just dispatched my 4th of the year the other day..all with 22-250....55 gr v-max molys....no worries of movement afterward.....last one was a baby. he must've been tender as the round damned near ripped him in half anf moved him about a foot backwards....left a nice grease spot in the grass!!


I popped one years ago with a 130 gr hollow point from a .30-06 at about 150 yards.

The largest single piece was the separated head.




My GF response to that was EEEEEEWWWWWW! LOL
I have seen video of something similar to that
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 3:00:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/14/2009 3:10:11 PM EST by kdmoore]
Originally Posted By VaFish:
#4. - 20 feet above the river? So you'd have to miss by 20 feet to start the ricochet? I'd take the shot if the back stop was safe.


Cmon, this is perfectly clear .................in my mind

When I have the ghog scoped in, the river is in the background all around him. The shot is always tempting as it isn't much distance, and the shots all seem impossible to miss But take enough of them and something wierd WILL happen, so I decided to play it safe.

I really do appreciate the info, good stuff! I'd guess a bullet more likely to bounce off water? and more likely to go further?

Here's a diagram. The yard slopes down a little, and the bank is like a 15 foot drop to the river. I'd guess the distance to the hog to be 40-50 yards. Misses or "thru and thrus" might travel 100 yards to the water. So, the angle of bullet on water would be described as h = 30 feet ... length = 300 feet. I think the tangent gives you the angle .... But it would be pretty shallow angle, but a lot more "steep" than 3 meters off the ground. In fact, the reason I "snipe" from the upstairs is to drive the bullets into the dirt at a sharper angle. And I see a bit more better

x
ME
x
x
x
x
.................................................................GH
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxRRR­RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Where:
Me = Me
GH = critter
x = dirt
R = water
distance across the river is a bit over a mile. Looked closer than that to me ....


Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:28:26 PM EST

i've seen GH's take .22's and keep on rollin. if you don't get a clean head shot he's runnin.

i use no less than .223 for the lil bastards. had some great luck with the BlackHills 60gr v-max. it has been a one shot stopper every time.

we did have one GH that soaked up 8 or more rounds of FMJ. 8 or more cause it was hard to tell what holes were what. the final shot all but severed his head.



i've yet to get one with the .300 but it's on my list of things to do.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:48:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By kdmoore:
Originally Posted By VaFish:
#4. - 20 feet above the river? So you'd have to miss by 20 feet to start the ricochet? I'd take the shot if the back stop was safe.


Cmon, this is perfectly clear .................in my mind

When I have the ghog scoped in, the river is in the background all around him. The shot is always tempting as it isn't much distance, and the shots all seem impossible to miss But take enough of them and something wierd WILL happen, so I decided to play it safe.




Got it now, I say if water is in the background you have a high potential for a ricochet and no idea where the bullet will come down. I'd pass on the shot.

Link Posted: 6/14/2009 7:28:28 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 3:07:07 AM EST

#1 - Chalk this up to a miss. It happens to all of us. :)
If the bullet is hypersonic, there is no way the animal would know to move until after the bullet passed by or made a hit. In other words, the bullet arrives at the animal's position before the sound. Even in the case of subsonic bullets, the time delay between the animal hearing the report of the shot and the bullet arriving is so small it is very doubtful that the animal would be able to move far enough to avoid the hit. This sounds like one of those hunting urban legends.

#2 The other one ran and you didn't see it. The shotgun did not vaporize it.
No idea what happened to the one in the hole. Maybe a fox or other animal carried it off to eat?

#3 You are very likely just to wound the GH with the 12ga at that distance.

#4 A bullet can travel a log ways after a ricochet. That said, if you are shooting a small caliber HP or other type of "hunting" bullet (pretty much anything other than FMJ) at a high velocity, there isn't much of it left to ricochet. The v-max fired from a .22-250 mentioned in an above post, for example, isn't going far after it impacts with something. Again, hardball and/or low velocity bullets (.22 rimfire) can travel quite a ways after an impact.
With the house in the background, better to err on the side of safety. I've passed on many shots like that. It just isn't worth the risk, even a very small one.

#5 The bullet fragments changed direction after impacting the body. Very common.

Randy

Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:07:42 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2009 4:09:38 AM EST by ka-tetof1]
I can honestly say I know how you feel. We had one in our back yard last year that I shot at 5 or 6 times at a distance of no more than 45 yards and couldn't kill the thing. Zero was verified numerous times on the rifle. I was using a .22 magnum by the way. It got to a point where my friends were all haggling me about not being able to hit it, and we had a couple of evenings here where different friends would take turns shooting at it, (yes it would come by if we waited after shooting at it) and during those times, none of them killed the thing either. I think in all it was shot at and thought to have been hit 10 times in all between myself and my friends. Finally this march I got it, when it was inspected there appeared to no marks of being hit except for what appeared to be a graze mark on its one cheek. It made me a believer in their toughness. As well as how lucky they can be.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 7:47:58 AM EST
I've found the .17 HMR and head shots to be very very effective on GH's.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 6:02:27 AM EST
GH's are the second easiest to kill animal. Rabbits being the first. They are slow too. I witnessed my co-worker run up on a GH and catch it by hand. It kept trying to bite him so he carried it far away from its hole let it go and grabbed an ax handle and killed it with one hit. Guns are for wusses
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 7:55:23 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2009 8:34:14 AM EST by kdmoore]
I totally agree. I heard that some dude died of a heart attack when the would be victim yelled at him. Weapons just aren't needed in today's world anymore ....



Except shooting critters is fun!

In all seriousness, I guess I need to spring for some premium bullets, if for no other reason than to further minimize richochets/splatter. With any luck, I'll find something that has a similar POI as my current stash, I shoot three gun with this rifle and don't want to rezero it. Might even just drop another scope on it and switch scopes with bullets if the POI is radically different. Last time I did that with my scope, it returned to within a half inch or so, very acceptable for what I do. And all of my shooting will be closer than 100 yards anyways.
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