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Combined range and hunt report.
Caution, thread involves holes in paper, holes in dead things and enabling........
Took the Tikka T1X to sight it in a couple of weeks back with Bloodhound. As per usual with my experience with Tikka rifles, it proved to be extremely accurate. Had it on paper with 2 shots at 50m and then moved to the 100m target. After adjustments, it was shooting 1/2" groups with the standard Hornady 17gr loads. I I reset the turrets to 'zero' and then tried the 20gr XTP loads. For some reason I couldnt get it on paper at 100 with those loads........eventually found that I had a brain fart and somehow inadvertently turned a full revolution on the turret. Finally got it back on paper and got it shooting 1/2 groups with that load..
As it was late afternoon, we decide to go try it out on whatever was available. I handed the the rifle to BH and said ' You can blood it".......First up was a Carrier pigeon that lost its head at around 80m. Next up were a pair of Magpies at 75 and 90m, causing BH to exclaim " Its like a Laser!". ( My plan was working)
A couple of rabbits were next, followed by a Pea Hen........and BH progressed to " I gotta get me one of these". ( enabling completed)
We saw 4 rabbits in a group about 400m away and decided to deal to them and stalk in closer. BH handed me the rifle and said "You had better have a shot" Lol. After walking up a parallel gully until we were opposite the rabbits, we cautiously 'poked' our heads over the intervening ridge to find them gone. As we searched for them, BH pointed out a wild cat about 115 metres away sneaking through the Lupins. Dropping prone on the ridge, I sent a 17 grain on its way and ended its life. Next up was another rabbit over 120m away that lost its head. Final targets were more peacocks and BH dropped another Pea Hen at around 80m followed in quick succession by this Peacock.......
We figured we had had enough fun for the day and headed home.
The Tikka lived up to its reputation, was extremely accurate,( tweaked the trigger when I got home to drop it to around 2 1/2lb), with the DPT suppressor it was as quiet as an unsuppressed .22 shooting subsonics and was light and easy to carry.
5 days later, BH called in to see me and over a coffee he said he really needed to get a 17HMR.......so I simple gave him the LGS ph number and said "Ring them". They had sold out!! I gave him the number for another shop and 5 minutes later he asked me if I wanted to accompany him to pick up his new rifle that afternoon! ( Dont you love it when a plan comes together )
Fast forward to Sunday........We decided to head up to his block to deal to some more wildlife, including deer and to sight in his 17HMR. My chosen rifles were the 17 and my tikka in 7mm08,( some of you may see where I am going with this), his were his suppressed 300 Blackout and his 17.....Weather was crappy with strong winds and heavy rain. After settling in at the 'Hut' and a quick hot drink accompanied by conversations around the efficiency of the 17HMR we split up and headed out to chase deer, BH with his Blackout,..................and me with the 17HMR loaded with 20grXTP's!
After scrambling up a steep muddy slippery ridge I cautiously poked my head over the top to see what was around........Hmm, no deer so I crested the ridge and followed it. After 4 -5 steps I saw a white object about 140m away in the tall pines. A closer look through the scope showed a very bedraggled yearling Fallow taking shelter. By using the bigger pines for cover I started closing the gap and managed to take these 2 pics with my ph on my way in.....( apologies for the crappy pics, I had to zoom in to get them)
Got to within 80m when I was 'sprung' by a mature doe that 'coughed' a warning and then I watched as 14 deer broke out of the brush behind the white yearling ( which was a spiker btw) and they headed away from me and down towards the creek. They didnt seem too alarmed, so I followed at a leisurely pace. 40 minutes later I approached the creek cautiously ( the wind had dropped considerably by now) and sure enough, spied the same group of deer feeding about 150m away on the other side. I watched them for about 10 minutes while I planned my stalk and saw that they were skittish.....then set off.
20 minutes later by walking from tree to tree after waiting for their heads to go down to feed I was within the self imposed range I had set of around 70m-80m. The problem I had was that they were milling around in one big group and as the mature does were all pregnant I couldnt get a clear shot at any of the yearlings. (We dont normally shoot pregnant Does at this time of the year). I watched the 4 yearlings 3 spikers and a doe) for about 15minutes as they slowly moved along the bank and kept pace with them using whatever cover I had. Could have shot the white spiker a couple of times but figured I would leave him be, which cut down my options by 25%....Finally they settled down a bit and strung out along the bank.......with the yearlings furtherest away at around 90m.....Damn. That meant I had to sneak past parallel to the more alert mature animals to get within my 'comfort' zone. Another 10minutes of adrenaline filled stalking and I found a rest leaning up against a mature Pine. The 3 yearling spikers were just starting to enter some low scrub which ruled them out so I focused on the yearling doe......She stopped just short of the scrub at around 70m away and put her head down while broadside on. I had already decided that a head or top of the neck shot was imperative as the 20gr projectile didnt have the energy to use any other POA......Trouble was that her head was obscured partially by a clump of grass but I had a clear shot at the top of her neck, which I took.........At the shot, her legs crumpled and she dropped on the spot DRT. A few spasmodic reflex kicks caused her to slide down the bank into the swamp while bedlam ensued with the rest of the deer bolting.
Made my way over and dragged her up on the bank. Went to cut her throat and found that the 20gr projectile had hit exactly where I had aimed and had completely shattered the first neck bone below her head..the damage was so complete that her head was only attached to her body by skin.
All the research, planning and ballistic testing on smaller critturs had payed off and I had taken my first deer with the 17HMR!
As it was raining quite heavily I decided to dress her out without taking pics and get her across the creek before it got too difficult.
It was a bit tricky carrying her, my rifle and pack across the creek but I managed it and got back to the hut and hung her from a post, then took these 2 pics....
You can see from the first pic that the neck bone was completely shattered by the 20gr projectile. According to the ballistics, it is moving at over 1700fps at 100yds and carries approx 137fpe......More than enough to drop a medium sized fallow deer with correct shot placement.
Is it going to be my 'go to' deer rifle?
However, it is nice to know that I have confirmation that, under the right conditions and with correct shot placement out to 100m, it will do the job if the opportunity presents itself.
Been reading up on the 10 Eichelberer Dart......Hmmmmm.......
Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....