Got my first Groundhog Today [Archive] - Glock Talk


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05-24-2004, 21:30
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.

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.

Perry F.
05-24-2004, 23:09

05-25-2004, 06:13
You need to get a .17 HMR for those groundhogs instead of that 30-06!

05-25-2004, 07:51
Originally posted by vafish
You need to get a .17 HMR for those groundhogs instead of that 30-06!

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:

05-26-2004, 05:52
Originally posted by Michigun
Why? It's not like you're looking to eat them after the kill! ;)


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:)

05-26-2004, 06:24
Originally posted by vafish
Besides, he needs a reason to buy a new gun:)

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:

05-26-2004, 09:33
Good work man. No more horsetraps will be dug by him.

05-26-2004, 12:19
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.

05-27-2004, 08:09
Originally posted by Michigun

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:

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

05-27-2004, 09:30
Now all of that I can agree with vafish... especially if I was in your situation. ^c

05-27-2004, 19:00
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.

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.

05-27-2004, 19:25
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.

05-27-2004, 20:28

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.

05-28-2004, 21:54
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.

05-28-2004, 23:45
I like my 222 for GH. and yes they are good to eat. GH are very clean and quite lean :)

05-29-2004, 10:51
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.

05-29-2004, 12:26
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

05-30-2004, 23:45
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.

06-01-2004, 20:55
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?


06-01-2004, 23:17
Sighted in at 25 yds it should be dead on again at 100. Depending how high the scope is.

06-03-2004, 20:48
I think it would be better to say that you need to site the .17 HMR in at 100 yards, and it will be flat from 25-100. Minor errors in scope alignment show up when shooting at 100 that are hard to detect at 25.

I got it dialed in, and I took a Groundhog with it today-- my third confirmed kill. :)

I will post the picture tomorrow. I shot the pig at 106 yards with a nice clean headshot. While the result was not as dramatic as with the .30 caliber 168 grain hollow point, the bullet did expand and the critter was DRT (dead right there.)

Of course, it _was_ a head shot. ;)

06-04-2004, 07:58

Check out Varmint Al's .17 HMR page. He has a nice chart on the trajectory of the .17 HMR a little ways down the page.

If you zero it .75 high at 100 yards you'll be within 1.5" all the way out to 150 yards. If you zero 1.75" high at 100 you'll be within 2" all the way out to 175 yards.

I can hit 8 ounce water bottle consistently at 200 yards. But they are not as impressive as hitting them at 50 or 100 yards. .17 HMR is a lot of fun.

06-04-2004, 11:28
when i was in high school a doctor allowed me to hunt deer on his land as long as i killed groundhogs

this definately made up for a few slow days deer hunting and i did come up on a few while still hunting. i never really shot at any during the gun season because i didnt want to spook my hunt

id shoot them with my compound bow. they are about the most wary creatures out there too. all my shots were within 35 yards and i was shooting 30" aluminum shafts with 145 grain cutting tip broadheads at that time. this worked well but hitting a ground hog meant a lost or completely destroyed arrow which was pricey while i was in highschool

i killed the most around the wooded edges of the horse pastures but have also seen them a little deeper into the woods.

all shots were of course pass throughs.

06-04-2004, 13:44
Being a reloader you might want to go to and try some of their sabots. They work well and will save you the price of a new CF rifle.

A 30'06 I've experimented with will cut one hole groups @ 100 yards when used with the sabot/55grn. WW SP's.

06-16-2004, 18:17

Didn't take more than an .22 from 5 yds. Now thats stalking!

06-16-2004, 23:25
Originally posted by ILikeFtLbs
Good work man. No more horsetraps will be dug by him.

For sure!

07-06-2004, 21:17
My first ground hog was at 146 yards (laser) with a .243Ruger VT.

Someone told me ground hog hunting was the nearest you can get to being a sniper and not get locked away forever.

Sandy: Carl I want you to kill all the gophers on the golf course
Carl Spackler: Correct me if I'm wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers they'll lock me up and throw away the key.
Sandy: Not golfers, you great fool. Gophers. THE LITTLE BROWN, FURRY RODENTS.
Carl Spackler: We can do that. We don't even need a reason.

07-06-2004, 23:57
Originally posted by mpol777
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.
;z for sure mpol777. I don't get to shoot many groundhogs out here. We have woodchucks (whistle pigs), prarrie dogs, gophers (richardson ground squirells) and the occasional badger. No matter what you shoot with a .17 Rem there is no guessing when you hit and when you missed.

Last winter a friend and I were out shooting rabbits. I took a shot about about 80 yards and reported to him that I missed. He said "Are you sure? Do you want to walk over there and check?" I said "No, I missed." Then next rabbit I saw was about 70 yards. I had hair about 6 feet in the air and my friend said "Yeah, you missed that last one all right."

I still am not sold on the .17 HMR but I will reserve my opinions until I actually get to shoot one. There are a lot up guys who seem to love um.

--edit-- I just learned the other day I can get a .17 Rem upper for my AR-15. What would that make it? An AR-17???;f

07-24-2004, 05:57
Well its' time to be mentored again...I try to shoot GSSF and will be taking up hunting for deer with a handgun again this season. I finally broke down and bought a Thompson Encore .50 caliber muzzleloader. It's been 7 years since I've used a muzzleloader and I had been using sabots, THE QUESTION is how much fouling can I expect, I will be using the 150 grain combo of pellets, pistol bullets( probably Hornady 250 gr. hp/xtp) and of course the 209 primer, BUT what sabots do you suggest and IF I recall after about 3-6 shots you had to clean (I do not mean just run a patch down the bore) the barrel. With the hotter loads (150 grains) I am wondering how often that plastic is going to heat up and start changing things?;f

07-24-2004, 06:01
Sorry about that last post it should have been a new thread;Q

07-25-2004, 15:38
I'm sorry, I think the .17HMR is way too little gun for a big hog. Yes, you place them in the head you're OK but they are frequently by their den and I want PROOF they're dead. I want them shredded where they stood. A .223, 22-250, .243 etc are vastly superior rounds for the job. One comment was that a .17 Remington was sometimes more effective than a larger bore. Well duh! The answer to the originator of the post is to find a nice, fragile 130gr .308 slug and drive it hard. That will scatter ghogs and any varmint in a violent fashion. I love ghogs, my kind of game, they come out in good weather, sleep in so you can too, and no one cares if you clean up after the shoot. Don ;f ;f

07-26-2004, 21:12
I've been busy with some other things, so my chuck hunting has slowed down, but I di get oen more a couple of weeks ago. I took it at 50 yards with the .17 HMR. Head shot. DRT.