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Pacific NW Blacktail Deer, 6.5x55 Swedish

31 Oct 2016
@ 02:48 am (GMT)

Prefer Anon

I very much appreciate the information that is on this site, it has helped me immensely. I have come late to hunting and I had no childhood guidance on the matter, so this has been a great resource. I chose to hunt because I feel that I should take full responsibility for what I eat, and I haven't had mammal in a dozen years because of this (many consider goofy) rule.

I took a Blacktail in NW Washington State today. One shot and he dropped, though I did hurry over and do a mercy shot to the head just in case it wasn't quickly fatal.

Rifle: CZ 557 in 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser.
Handload data:
Powder: Hodgdon H4831sc, 43.2 gr
Bullet: Hornaday 140 grn SST
Case: Federal
Primer: Winchester Standard Large Rifle
BTOL: 59.60 mm
Velocity 10 ft from muzzle: 2450

This was the fasted load I could make that would shoot under a MOA at 100 yds. Once I picked the load, I practiced on the bench and then from practical real world positions. After I settled on this load, and too late to redo it for hunting season, I bought a chronograph and found out it was pretty slow.

I took your advice about shooting for the autonomic plexis outlined in this article because I figured I wasn't going to get any hydrostatic shock effect: The deer was standing almost exactly like the deer-like animal with a crosshair diagram in that article - maybe the head was pointed toward my position a little more.

This was actually the second deer I had a chance at. I chose not to shoot the first one for reasons I'm still trying to sort out in my head. He and I spent about 30 minutes looking at each other, the last ten at about a 50 ft apart. At one point he even stomped his foot and huffed at me. Most of the time he just kept coming toward me while eating thimbleberry leaves -- he knew I was there, I didn't surprise him in any way to get that close. He just walked right up. I took a bunch of pictures, even with the flash and he didn't care. Anyway, maybe I watched too long -- I just didn't feel like I wanted to shoot him.

Here is a picture of the one I did not shoot:

The second deer I had a shot at, I did shoot, without hesitation once I had a nice clean line of site (probably because in the ensuing two weeks I've been humping all over the mountainside seeing nothing at all). He was about 100 yds distant. He's a small deer with just two prongs, but I'm fairly glad about that -- he was heavy and bulky enough that I had to go get help to get him to my vehicle.

Entrance wound:

I looked inside to find the bullet, but all I could find was a about 3 finger widths filled with crumbs and what appeared to be vertebral splinters forward of the heart. The heart and lungs were untouched. There was no exit wound. I have the gutted deer hanging and tomorrow plan to butcher it -- maybe I will find something then.


31 Oct 2016
@ 02:50 am (GMT)

Prefer Anon

Re: Pacific NW Blacktail Deer, 6.5x55 Swedish
Trying pictures again

neck wound
31 Oct 2016
@ 03:05 am (GMT)

Prefer Anon

Re: Pacific NW Blacktail Deer, 6.5x55 Swedish
Figured out the pictures, sorry about that.

Ordered as follows:

1: deer I did not shoot
2: deer I did shoot
3: entrance wound
4: internal wound

31 Oct 2016
@ 04:37 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Pacific NW Blacktail Deer, 6.5x55 Swedish
Nicely done, Prefer. Animals are strange sometimes. They confuse the shit out of us that are supposed to be smart. That one that you didn't shoot should have been the one to run, as he was older. But then, maybe he was sizing you up as a competitor for the does. The young ones, sometimes they are just stupid, never been shot at, never seen or smelled a human. They just don't know.

I had a bull elk do the same thing one fall, middle of the rut. Called him in to about eight feet, didn't pull the trigger, but played with him for about an hour. It would have been an easy kill, but I couldn't convince myself that his antlers were legal measurements. They do strange things when they are interested in only propagating the species.

Good on you that you joined the hunting fraternity. Welcome and congratulations, well done.
30 Apr 2017
@ 03:23 am (GMT)

Alan Agurkis

Re: Pacific NW Blacktail Deer, 6.5x55 Swedish
Nice photos, nice deer. I also hunt blacktails in Washington. My sons and I have taken deer here with a wide assortment of weapons but I seem to always come back to the 6.5x55. With it I have taken deer from 20 ft to 200 yards which is about as far as I will shoot. The Swedes always seem to do the trick but after using various bullets we now stick to 140 gr. Nosler Partitions. Also, I once had a 2 point at 20 paces with a .44 mag aimed at his chest. I had put some hot doe scent on a stump there and he was so confused and comical I just didn't have the heart to shoot him.


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