Hunting the Prairie Dog Opener with an Anschutz 1517 in 17HMR

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 Arizona has a prairie dog season that opens July 1st, so I decided to get out and hunt the opener with my new Anschutz 1517 HB in 17HMR.  I may be a bit late to the .17HMR party, but I’m definitely not late to the fun.  I had some other rifles with me, but I only wound up hunting the Anschutz.  It was just too much fun.

I probably bought my first Anschutz rifle around 40 years ago.  It was a model 54 in .22lr.  That thing was just stupid accurate.  Well, in keeping with the Anschutz tradition, this model 1517 is also stupid accurate.  I’ve included a picture of a target I shot with it while testing different brands, and types of ammo.  Five shots into .466 at a hundred yards works for me.

I was into the towns by 8:00AM.  I was a little surprised that I didn’t see more prairie dog activity than I did.  Maybe it was just the day, or maybe the Game & Fish folks were right to delay the opener two weeks, and a lot of them are still under ground.  I got enough shooting to keep it interesting, but it wasn’t a barnburner for sure.

I’ve included pics of the first few critters I took with the 1517.  There’s also a picture of a prairie dog I dropped right at 150 yards, plus it shows the grain of the stock quite nicely.  Anschutz put a nice piece of walnut on this rifle.  For the most part, since the gun and load are new to me, I limited my prairie dog shots to between 100, and 150 yards.  The first two kills were a couple of prairie dogs.  One was at 107 yards, and the other was at 133 yards.  The third kill was a jackrabbit at 89 yards.

Prairie Dog Taken at 150 Yards with the Anschutz 17HMR

Prairie Dog Taken at 150 Yards with the Anschutz 17HMR

Anschutz 1517 HB - 17HMR with Two Prairie Dogs

Anschutz 1517 HB – 17HMR with Two Prairie Dogs

On my way out to get a few pics of the dogs, I see this jackrabbit slipping off through the sage.  I set up on my tripod and waited for him to make his next move.  Sure enough, after a few minutes, he slips out from behind some sage he’s been hiding behind, and made the mistake of pausing for a couple of seconds.  I stuck a 17 grain V-MAX behind his right shoulder, and he was DRT.  Impressive performance from such a light bullet.

Jackrabbit DRT by the Anschutz 1517 and Great Shooting!

Jackrabbit DRT by the Anschutz 1517 and Great Shooting!

Along the way, I hit one of my favorite dog towns, and the damned plague has wiped it out.  But other than that, it was a fun day.  Really impressed with the accuracy of the Anschutz 1517, and the terminal performance of the Hornady 17 grain V-MAX.  The temp hit 97, and I was out of there by noon.  Depending on the weather, I hope to get out again next week!

Cliff Tharp

Cliff Tharp

Cliff Tharp is a long-time varmint hunter, small caliber shooter, reloader and airgunner.He has been documenting his hunts for years on videos and in articles, educating numerous hunters and shooters.
Cliff Tharp

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