Pronghorn antelope aren’t so hard to kill as they are to get close to. They not only have super vision, but also like wide open areas with little cover for a hunter to use. They tend to favor being in groups, meaning lots of eyeballs keeping watch for danger, and can kick on the afterburners so quickly that they’re frequently referred to as “speed goats,” even though they’re not really goats at all. They’re a challenge to hunt for sure, but you can hedge your bet toward success by using a fast and flat-shooting cartridge in a super-accurate rifle.
I personally don’t like the “large” caliber magnums for antelope, though you can get some really good light weight bullets that positively scream out of a .300 Win. Mag. that will certainly do the job. Instead, I like the “middle bores” like the .240 Weatherby Magnum, which has a cult-like following among pronghorn hunters. It was introduced back in 1968 and sends an 87-grain bullet at a blistering 3,523 fps making it the fastest commercially available .24-cal./6mm bullet available.
Another popular choice is the .25-’06, which is simply a .30-’06 necked down to .25-caliber. It sends a 90-grain bullet at 3,350 fps and, with properly made 117- or 120-grain bullets, can even take elk. Roy Weatherby’s personal favorite cartridge was reportedly his .257 Weatherby Magnum, and it, too, is a great antelope cartridge. It sends a 90-grain bullet at 3,550 fps making it the flattest-shooting .25-caliber cartridge commercially available.
Even with all that speed and string-straight trajectory, a proper antelope cartridge is no good if a gun won’t shoot accurately at long range. One of the things I suggest to folks who think they’re going to be faced with long shots is to choose a rifle that comes with an accuracy guarantee, and fortunately, there are many. Sako, Tikka and Weatherby, for example, all have one-inch at 100 yards accuracy guarantees, and you can even find ones such as Fierce or Proof Research that guarantee even tighter groups. Howa and Savage don’t offer guarantees, but those brands are both well known for their inherent accuracy right out of the box.
Regardless of what rifle/cartridge combination you choose, if there’s any chance you’ll be faced with a shot that’s more than 100 yards, find a range where you can shoot long distance. Practice often, and learn your trajectory. Do that, and your odds of harvesting a buck greatly improve.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”
In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.