Marlin 25MN 22WMR Field Test
25MN on table
Saturday 07/29/02 I finally got to give my new Marlin 25MN a proper field test. I had shot a few crows and several chipmunks on previous forays with it but really hadn't shot any vermin worthy of such a nice setup I though I had. Well my uncle finally called me early that week and told me that the wheat on the farm would be cut by the weekend so I cleared my schedule for the weekend. I stop at the local Gander Mountain and got lucky and manage to get two boxes of Remington 33gr V-Max 22WMR for my Marlin and I was all set.

So here's my hunting setup. Of course I had my new Marlin 25MN with sling and Simmons 3-9X32 matte finish black powder scope using the included Simmons rings (I got a deal on the scope at Natchez) and Butler Creek flip-up scope covers. I also carried a pair of 12X25 compact binoculars, and a set of homemade shooting sticks. All my yardage measurements where taken after the shots with my Garmin GPSMAP76 GPS. So when I quote a yardage its probably on only good to about +/-5yds. One of these days I will have to get me a range finder.
Well I managed to get six hogs that day. It was a new personal record from myself. My old record was nine hogs in one day with my little brother, I got five and he got four. Now that was a heck of a day but this one was pretty good too. Only one got away in his hole from a low hit and another I didn't find until later that day after the bailer got him (yuk!) I got three in the morning. Started hunting about 8:00AM and finished about 11:30AM and then came back out about 6:00PM were I got another three before 8:30PM. The evening hunt was far better no wounded animals. I anchored all three hogs very nicely. I think anticipation and hog fever was getting to me in the morning and I was rushing and making bad shots.
Crows
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The morning started bad I had missed one hog and hit another low and he got into his hole. A few minutes after I lost that hog I ran into a large flock of crows picking on a young red-tailed hawk. Well these two crows were paying more attention to the hawk then to me. That was a bad choice on their part. After shooting these two the rest left the hawk alone and paid a bit more attention to me. Both were shot a fairly close range about 25-30 yards.
hog3
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This was the third hog I got that day and the last one of the morning hunt. The first one manage to get back in his hole after I hit him low because I rushed an off-hand shot. The second hog of the day was the one I hit early that morning but did not find him until later that day after the bailer ran over the carcass. It was not a pretty scene and I did not take pictures. He was also pretty ripe after lying in the 90-degree sun all day. The one pictured here is the third groundhog I shot that day he was a young (probable last years) male hog. I manage to take this one left handed. He showed up further to my right then I expected when I setup in some cover on the edge of the field and I had to switch hands to get the scope on him without moving a lot. It was about an 80 yard quartering away shot. The bullet entered between the bottoms of his shoulder blades with a few fragment exiting around the opposite side of the neck.
hog3
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hog3
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This was the fourth groundhog of the day and the first one of the early evening hunt. It was a young female taken at about 95yds. Notice in the close up picture the small entrance wound just below the eye at the base of the jaw there was no exit. The hog never moved just waved her tail in surrender. I have read on the forums about guys saying they could hear the bullet hit the target when using .22 and .17 caliber rimfire rifles and this was the first time I ever noticed it. I usually hunt hogs with my dad's browning 1885 highwall in 6mm Rem. but with the 22WMR you heard the crack of the gun and then the slap of the bullet hitting the hog.
hog3
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hog3
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This was a cool shot. I was scanning the field with my binoculars and saw this groundhog with just his head sticking out of a hole that drop almost perfectly vertically down about 3 feet before it turned horizontal. It was one of his side holes his main hole was a few yards away and had a huge mound next to it. He was a very busy digger. I waited a good 5-6 minutes for him to show more that his head and, well, I got impatient and shot him at about 70yds. Notice in the close up another shot to the head. No exit wound and I was holding right on his eye when I squeezed the trigger. It was a sitting shot over my shooting sticks. He slid back down that vertical hole and I had to reach down about two feet to pull him back out to take his picture.
hog3
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hog3
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This was the last, best groundhog and longest shot of the day. She was a huge sow groundhog very worthy of the title of an "Eastern Ground Grizzly". I shot her at about 115yds after stalking her in the open from a range of 185yds when I first spotted her. I would move a few steps along the edge of the field when she put here head down and would freeze when she looked up. It took about 15 minutes to cover the 70 yards without spooking her. I took the shot kneeling with my sticks. It was a nice shot to the shoulder breaking that shoulder and anchoring here nicely. She never moved after I hit her. She had to tip the scales at little over 20lbs. She was to heavy to be picked up by her tail.
hog3
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I took this picture the next day while trying to find some big woods groundhogs. I was near a cluster of really big holes near the top of a ridge and caught motion off to my left. Well I thought I had caught a big woods groundhog away form his hole but it only turned out to be this nice bright yellow headed box turtle crunching through the underbrush.
hog3
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I was over at my parent eating some lunch and had to take some pictures of these humming birds coming to the feeder. They didn't pay me a bit of attention but then again the Marlin was in the truck waiting to go back over to the farm for the evening hunt. This male would run off the other ones if they tried to get some food. He was amazingly aggressive for being such a small fragile looking bird.
hog3
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This little female slip in while the male was chasing two other hummers around.
hog3
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Wish my camera had a better zoom but despite the poor quality I thought the profile of the humming bird in fight made a cool looking picture.
Well overall I was very please with both the Marlin 25MN and the Remington 33gr V-Max ammunition. When I started doing my part the combination performed flawless on the groundhogs. This was the first time I tried hunting with shooting sticks and I loved them. They definitely helped a lot. I usually hunted with centerfire rifles but using the 22WMR was a lot of fun having to stalk the hog to get them in range of the 22WMR. There are many places on the farm where you can take 200-300 yard shot but to get with in 100 yard become a bit of a challenge. I had a wonderful day hunting. I can't wait to get another free weekend to get a few more.
GPS is a bit of a hobbie of mine and I have included a map here of the farm with all six shot located on the map. The blue dot is where I shot from the red dot is where the hog was. The yellow line is simple line of sight. I used my Garmin to collect the waypoint and a piece of software called USAPhotoMaps. This is pretty cool software. It will download the tracks and waypoints from your GPS and display them on the aerial photos downloaded from the TerraServer web site. The extra text and line were simply added later with PaintShopPro.

map
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