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Location: indiana
Joined: 11/14/2005
Posts: 3
What caliber for pronghorn and mulies?

Hello
I will hopefully be visiting New Mexico next year for a pronghorn and mule deer hunt. What caliber rifle would be a good choice for both of these? Would my T/C Encore 50 cal.muzzleloader be good? Any information that you can supply about the hunting and caliber selection would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks

2506deerslayer's picture
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Location: Nebraska
Joined: 12/24/2002
Posts: 118
What caliber for pronghorn and mulies?

I have never hunted in New Mexico, but I would think that your muzzleloader will be fine, if you can get into range, it will have no problem putting down either animal, but if you were going to get a rifle, say anything from a 2506 to a 7mm would be a good choice, these and most guns in between these are good flat shooting guns. I think if I had a T/C Encore I would probably get a 280.

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Location: North Eastern Arizona
Joined: 07/02/2005
Posts: 99
What caliber for pronghorn and mulies?

dms-13,

In no way would I criticize hunting in New Mexico, but if you're going to come out west to hunt, I think I'd consider Arizona first. Yes, I live in Arizona, so I'm a little biased. New Mexico has plenty of nice mule deer and lopes, but land access can be a frustrating issue. Much of New Mexico is privately owned, while 87% of Arizona is either Federal, State or Indian owned lands. The majority being comprised of National Forests.

Arizona just reinstituted it's 10% cap rule for non-resident tags on all species, so drawing a tag will be your biggest endeavor. Check the B&C, P&Y and SCI records to learn the World's records for each species. While trophy hunting is not everyones gig, IMO, Arizona stands the greatest chance of potential record-sized muleys or lopes.

As for caliber/gun choice? Many will suggest the "bigger is better" mentality, but I say ..."not necessarily so". Your T/C 50 cal. will work in most situations, but I would personally suggest something in a center-fire. (Unless of course, you draw a muzzle-loader tag) I don't have any facts or data at hand, but I'd venture to say one of the more popular and versatile caliber choices among deer and antelope hunters is perhaps the .243 cal. The newer WSM and WSSM are gaining more popularity, and their performance is hard to beat or debate. Since Indiana doesn't harbor any pronghorn antelope, I must advise you. Antelope have incredible vision and speed, so getting close is a debacle you'll surely encounter. Many lopes are taken with mz's, (even bows) but depending on your tag/hunt, the odds are heavily in your favor using a centerfire with quality optics. Conversely, the .243 is also an excellent and highly popular choice for mule deer. Good luck in your quest to hunt the southwest.

AZThunder

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Location: indiana
Joined: 11/14/2005
Posts: 3
Thanks for all the info

Thanks for all the info. The reason I'm looking towards New Mexico is that my hunting buddy's cousin lives there and is suppose to be helping us with land access and all of the logistics that come with an out of state hunt. The good news about using a 243 is that it means I can get a new barrel and scope for my Encore. One more thing. Is a this combo hunt very doable? Thanks again.

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Location: North Eastern Arizona
Joined: 07/02/2005
Posts: 99
What caliber for pronghorn and mulies?

I'm not sure if there is such a thing as combo hunts in New Mexico, since I don't live or hunt there. Probably a better question for your hunting buddy's cousin to answer?

I've been wanting a T/C Encore for quite a while, but recently I've been saving up for a high-end spotting scope. I'm tired of lopes seeing me before I see them.

AZThunder

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Location: Misouri
Joined: 11/30/2005
Posts: 365
What caliber for pronghorn and mulies?

No combo hunt in N.M. you can shoot yotes, and other vermin though. Been hunnting lope in N.M. for 6 years and kill the hell out of em. Seen em killed with 220 swift, 223, 243, 2506, 270, 30/06, 7mag, 300mag, 30-404 wildcat and the 50 bmg. Pick one of the many, practice and kill a big en! Have fun and enjoy your hunt.

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Joined: 12/07/2005
Posts: 3
What caliber for pronghorn and mulies?

I would say a .25-06 is almost perfect for those two animals, as it has very low recoil and it shoots really flat. Just my two cents.

Location: Northern AZ
Joined: 07/24/2005
Posts: 80
What caliber for pronghorn and mulies?

I replied to a similar message in the mule deer (I think) forum, but I agree with highck a 25-06 would be a great rifle for those two species.

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