5mm Remington Rimfire goes Rabbit Hunting

Here’s a hunt report from this past weekend’s Rabbit Hunt put-together by one of the guy’s on a California shooting board I frequent:

I headed out early to miss Los Angeles traffic and wanted to get to the hunting area with time to spare for sighting-in and hunting some Cottontail and Black-tail Jackrabbits.  I was packing only rimfires, with two Remington 591’s and a Ruger 17HMR.  I was eager to shoot some rabbits with the 5mm rimfire, because it had been a long-time since I had gone hunting for bigger varmints with the 5.

The area we were hunting varied from sage brush desert to lush, green grassy areas that bordered a river and various canals.  The shots were not expected to be further than 100 yards, with most being within 50 yards, if I did my part while still hunting.

huntterrainWhen I first arrived at the spot, I met up with two of the guys from the California forum.  Although it was windy and thunderstorms were hitting the area, we all needed to go sight-in our various rifles.  I knew my original 591 was sighted-in, but I wanted to shoot my most recent acquired “Blond” Remington 591.  I had some issues with the scope that I hastily mounted on the newer, “blonde” rifle.  This was okay, because I was expecting bad things when I mounted the scope with the wrong type of rings.  However, I was pleased that the gun loaded, shot and ejected well.

Once we did that, the heat had dropped enough for us to begin our hunt.  At the first area, we split up and went in opposite directions.  Unfortunately for me, the mosquitoes attacked and drove me back into my truck, where I locked the doors and killed about 10 invaders that got in!  At that moment I remembered what I had forgotten at home, my damn insect repellant!!  Needless to say, I was pretty relieved that one of the other hunters had some, so we all doused ourselves and it kept them at bay (until you sweated the repellant off).

While I sat in the truck, I watched as rabbits were crossing back and forth on the road behind us (DWP road).  One of the hunters and I decided to go for a short walk and did not get more than about 10 yards when he spied a Jackrabbit in one of the fields munching on dinner.  He wasn’t that far off, but I offered him my 5mm Rimfire instead of his .410 Shotgun.  He said okay, but as we all know, it is really hard hitting something with someone else’s gun.  Not to mention the fact that the trigger pull is about 18 pounds!  (I should have not said anything and the rabbit would have been dead from his .410)!  At the shot, the bullet zipped over the rabbit’s head.  The Jackrabbit was on the move, but luckily only ran about 20 yards and stopped again.  I pulled up the 5mm and found the rabbit’s head in the scope.  I slowly squeezed the trigger and at the crack of the 5mm, he dropped with a head-shot.  Rabbit #1 was on the ground!!

The bullet hit exactly where I aimed, taking most of the top-front of his head and face off completely.

My Jackrabbit was a young one:

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After the Jackrabbit was recovered, we realized that it had a Bot-Fly Larva embedded within its face fur.  The shot must have shook it loose, because it was working its way out of the fur onto the ground.  Once it dropped, I burned, then stomped it into the dirt!!   Did I mention that I hate those things??:

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YUM!!

Afterwards, we headed over to another spot and watched as the place became alive with Jacks and Cottontail.  Because we were expecting to take a bunch of guys out, we didn’t really shoot that many the first evening.  It was more of a scouting expedition.  We headed to another area to scout and saw some good numbers, so being that it was getting late, we headed back in for the night.  On the drive back into town, a Bull Tule Elk that was running away from something, at full speed, almost plowed into my Tacoma!  It was in velvet and looked to be a 4/5 x 3 ?  I was not sure because it shocked the hell out of me!!

Day Two:

The morning of day two came really early.  I met up with the two other hunters at the campground around 5:15AM.  It was already t-shirt weather, so we knew it was going to heat up quickly.  We made sure to prep ourselves for the coming mosquito invasion, then hit the road.

We headed back to the same area and split up again.  I went down towards the river, pulled out my Remington 5mm Rimfire and blew a couple of shots on a Cottontail and a Jack.  I think it was the rush of seeing 3 rabbits hanging out together in one spot and trying to figure out which one I should shoot!!  I also tried to line a couple of them up for a chance at a double, but that too ended with no rabbits dead.  Sometimes it’s easiest to just go for the best shot offered at the time.

I tried to shake the misses off and headed to another area.  On the way, I encountered tons of rabbits crossing the roads, or hanging out on the edges.  I stopped at one location that offered some open areas within the sage, hoping one of the fleeing rabbits would stop for a shot.  After I walked about 100 yards, a Jackrabbit took off into the sage.  I hopped up on a small hill and watched his ears through the brush.  He finally stopped in an opening about 60 yards away.  I could have easily taken another head-shot, but since there was a clear chest shot, I decided to see what the Centurion bullet would do with a larger varmint.  When the bullet hit, I clearly heard the “pop” of the bullet hitting home. I’ve heard alot of hits in my hunting lifetime, but this one was LOUD!!  As I approached the rabbit, I got to see the damage to the animal and the area around it.  There were chunks of lung and other bloody matter splattered around the rabbit in the brush.  It left a pretty large hole in the chest of the Jackrabbit.

Remington 5mm Rimfire damage:

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As I cleaned the Jackrabbit, I was able to snap some fur-less pictures of the actual damage to the rabbit:

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The back of the rabbit is on the left side, with the hole being right in the heart/lung area of the chest.  As you can see, even at 60 yards, the 5mm Rimfire shooting the Centurion bullets is quite devastating!

I was also able to take a Cottontail rabbit the same morning.  I knew the damage the 5mm would do, so I took a clean head-shot.  Like the Jackrabbit the day before, it took most of the face off the Cottontail!  I loved the clean kills this rifle made and was thoroughly impressed with the performance of the Centurion “White Box” ammo.

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We left after it got hot, stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast, then I headed to the high country to try and shoot a Yellow-Bellied Marmot (Rockchuck) with the 5mm rimfire.  Unfortunately, they were not out in the areas that I searched.  I had a chance at some 9000’+ ground squirrels, but passed on them hoping to get a chance at a Rockchuck.  I didn’t get one, but I got to hang out in one of the most beautiful places on earth:

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Day Three:

Once again, we met up early to caravan to the spot.  I waited, parked in front of a park that was loaded with Cottontail rabbits.  There were tons of targets, feet in front of me, that could not be taken…

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We rolled into the spot and everyone went their separate ways.  I decided to check an area that I hit the evening before, but had poor luck due to a Navy Pilot that decided to buzz the area about 100 yards off the deck.

After pushing a dozen or so rabbits around the area, I decided to head back to the area where I took a new hunter to shoot his first Cottontail.  I pulled down a dirt road and parked about 50 yards from a bowl that held 4 Jackrabbits the day before.  As I walked the rim, a Jack jumped out from behind a bush only a few feet away from me.  Because I had my 5mm again and wanted a sporting chance, I urged him to move further away from me.  Well, it didn’t matter how many rocks, cowpies, etc I threw at him, he wasn’t going to go further out.  Knowing what kind of damage the 5mm can do at that range, I decided to pass on the shot and a couple more in the same area.  After walking the rim of the bowl, I got back to my truck, packed-up and decided to see what everyone else was up to.  As I was driving back, I snapped a picture of the sunrise coming down the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada (just to the left of this shot is Mount Whitney at 14,505 feet):

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I am planning to head back up and spend some time with my two Remington 591’s shooting more Jackrabbits, Cottontails and hopefully some Rockchuck!  I’ll try using both the “White Box” ammo and the “Varmint” ammo so I can compare the differences in performance.

— Eric A. Mayer