“Are you sure they’re touching” I asked in disbelief as I trudged up the sandhill towards Ashton and the target? As I stared in disbelief she just grinned. “See, I told you they were touching!” We high-fived and then loaded up the gear to go shoot a few prairie dogs. I still couldn’t believe she could shoot a group like that her first time ever shooting with a scope.
Santa brought one of my daughter’s a Marlin XT-22 magnum rifle for Christmas a couple years ago. It shot great at the range and on the neighborhood prairie dogs. When my 2 youngest started asking about shooting prairie dogs with it, I decided to buy a scope. Although they both shot pop cans and targets accurately, I knew their accuracy would increase dramatically on varmints with a scope. After lots of research we ordered a Vortex Diamondback 2-7×35 Rimfire scope and rings. The V-Plex Reticle is perfect for the shooting situations we would use it in. Waterproof! Fogproof! Shockproof! Throw in the Vortex VIP Warranty and I’d have been crazy to look anywhere else. This scope is more than adequate for the types of abuse we would run it through.
After bore sighting it at home we headed to the portable range, my F-150. We set up the target at 30 yards and walked back to the truck to see how it would perform. My first shot was 2½ inches right and 1½ inches low. I made a couple adjustments and 2nd shot was 1 ½ inches right and height was perfect. I made another small adjustment and fired a 3-shot group. They were touching. Ashton then wanted to fire so I made one more minor adjustment and let her slide in behind the gun for 2 shots to finish out the clip. Perfect! And yes, they were touching. After shooting off the “bench” rest, I then grabbed the Easton Ballistix shooting sticks to help Ashton practice from a sitting and then kneeling positions. The Ballistix provided a solid rest for both applications and she shot awesome. We were both confident that the prairie dogs better be wary.
We then drove around the BLM ground by our home and found a couple prairie dogs that were a little too pre-occupied with the first warm rays of spring sunshine. They apparently couldn’t believe she could shoot like that either. Fatal mistake!
After shooting her 3rd dog in a row, Ashton sheepishly grinned and said “this scope almost makes it unfair.” When I asked if we should quit and turn around she said not until we were out of ammo. So much for unfair advantage…………………….. Her last dog of the day acted like he’d been shot at before and would only stick part of his head out of the hole. I ranged him at 70 yards so I knew where to have her hold. Apparently, “right on the top of his head” was correct. No way would she have made that shot with open sights.
Several months later, my youngest daughter decided she was ‘big
enough’ to shoot a prairie dog. We loaded up the rifle and headed for the hills. We pulled onto a 2-track and immediately had to stop the truck when a dog decided to show himself 30 yards off the road. By the time I got the rifle and her both situated he had run to two different burrows to survey the situation. At 60 yards, he felt safe. I thought he was safe as well since Rainey couldn’t see him. She was snuggled up to the gun but couldn’t find him in the scope. I finally slid right behind her and had her move her head a little so I could look through the scope from a couple feet away. I found him and held the gun tight as she moved her head into position. That worked! She could finally see him. She snuggled into the rifle and kicked dust in front of his nose with her first 2 shots. Third shot, she held a little higher and WHUMP! She was so excited about her first prairie dog that we had to take a picture with my phone and text it to all her uncles and grandpa. We all laughed (in all seriousness) that if we would have had that scope on our .22’s growing up, prairie dogs and ground squirrels might be extinct.