Appropriate firepower for my western pronghorn trip needed to be completely different from what I was used to in the Midwest. For help, I leaned on some experts.
“Pronghorn hunting is usually done in open, arid country, so your rifle caliber will be the most important aspect when hunting Out West,” said Aaron Smith of Weatherby. Most people think shots at pronghorns are typically beyond 250 yards. But in reality, you’ll get plenty of good opportunities well within 200 yards.
“My first choice is our .257 Wthby. Mag.,” Smith continued. “It’s very flat-shooting and is more than sufficient for pronghorns and mule deer. It’s also very easy to shoot from a recoil perspective. The outfitter we usually hunt with in Wyoming always shoots a .257 Wthby. Mag. for everything from coyotes to elk. I think that example speaks volumes for the caliber. The rifle I recommend for your hunt is a synthetic Sub-MOA Vanguard. It’s an accurate rifle that can endure the elements.”
“For Western hunting, it’s important to have a cartridge that shoots flat, yet expands rapidly,” explained Preston Bunker of Barnes Bullets. “You want a bullet that shoots flat because shots can be anywhere from less than 100 yards to beyond 400 yards; it’s good to be prepared for anything. But pronghorns are smaller and thinner skinned than white-tailed deer, so you need a bullet that disperses energy rapidly, being that you don’t have a lot of body cavity to penetrate. “A 100-grain is the best choice,” Preston continued. “I recommend our Barnes Tipped Triple-Shock X Bullets (TTSX) 100-grain loads. These all-copper bullets feature multiple rings cut into the bullet’s shank to reduce pressures, minimize fouling and significantly improve accuracy. A polymer tip also improves long-range ballistic and provides even faster expansions for exceptional accuracy and penetration.”
“We make many riflescopes that are ideal for hunting pronghorns,” explained Shannon Jackson of Carl Zeiss Optics. “My first recommendation is the Zeiss Victory Varipoint 2.5-10X42mm scope with our new No. 60 illuminated reticle. This reticle has crosshairs in the first image plane and an illuminated red dot in the second image plane. The wide power range and optional red dot offers a versatile solution for almost every hunting situation. “Also, when you’re in Wyoming’s wide-open terrain, it’s important that you have a high-quality rangefinder with you in the field,” Jackson continued. “A laser range-finding binocular like the Zeiss Victory 10X45mm RF is ideal. With a Victory RF binocular, you don’t have to carry both a binocular and a rangefinder, which not only lightens the load on stalks, but also allows for much faster ranging because you don’t have to switch back and forth between the two.”