Kyle Lamb Dall Sheep
While zeroing my Christensen Arms Summit rifle in preparation for a Dall sheep hunt in Alaska I also chronographed the new ammo I was using. As I did I immediately knew that Prime's 6.5 Creedmoor was going to do the trick. The bullets were averaging 2,834 FPS with a Standard Deviation of 29. The ammunition was loaded with a 130 grain BTHP, just the medicine for a Dall sheep in the Brooks Range. I had chosen this setup for its lightweight, long-distance performance, but I was also pleasantly surprised by the light recoil.
After confirming my dope out to 300 yards I jumped on a plane to Fairbanks. When I arrived I linked up with a couple of friends and we headed to the range to see how much TSA had adjusted my scope. With nary a touch to the dials I was right on at my 200 yard zero, but just to ensure the hunting angels would look out for us we also shot at 500 and 775 yards. I didn’t have any issues even at that extended yardage. Dialing with the Leupold VX-6 2-12 resulted in perfect hits every time.
Once in camp, however, the torture began. It was cold, and with the snow and rain it really was a good gut check. The sun refused to show its face so we stayed pretty damp throughout the entire 12-day hunt. We moved from camp to camp with no legal ram luck until late in the hunt, Dave Morris, our guide, moved us to a valley that turned out to be the honey hole. My hunting buddy Dave Vandenberg shot a nice ram, but I was still out of the game and time was running out. But on the last possible day that I could hunt my luck finally changed.
On that last day the sun peeked its head over the mountains, but those rays wouldn't make it down into the valley and our camp before we were kitted up and climbing the mountains to our west. When we finally walked into the sunshine it helped to brighten my mood slightly, but when it‘s the last day of the hunt and you’re still slogging it out with wet boots and an unpunched sheep tag it can be disheartening.
Several hours later we started up the bottom of a very steep drainage, hoping to catch rams feeding in the snow above us. One of our guides, “Charlie One Whisker,” spotted three rams above our position around 530 yards away. Before I could get my rifle ready and into a shooting position they had fed over the top away from our line of march. We quickly started to climb the steep hillside, hoping to catch the rams as they fed down the opposite side.
We finally made it to the point where the tracks topped the ridge and we slowly slid over to take another look. We could see the rams on the hillside straight across from our position, but the range was long. The guide gave me a range of 650 yards and I adjusted my scope. I took aim and squeezed the trigger, but the wind was whipping and that round just missed. As I chambered another round the guide corrected the distance and said the ram was now at 728 yards. This was a much farther shot than I would normally take in a big game hunting scenario, but to be honest, I was desperate. But I also had confidence. I had shot the Prime Ammunition bullets out to 775 yards with good results so I knew I could make this shot. I adjusted my turret for the extra yardage and as the wind stopped for just a second I squeezed the trigger and watched the ram buckle and start to roll before the satisfying thump echoed back to our ridgeline position.
It came down to almost the last minute, but maybe that made the hunt that much sweeter. Between the ammo, the rifle, the Leupold glass and the company of brothers, it couldn't have been a better hunt.
Sergeant Major Kyle E. Lamb (retired) spent more than 21 years with the United States Army, more than 15 years of which were with the U.S. Army Special Operations. SGM Lamb has conducted combat operations in numerous theaters of operation, including Mogadishu, Somalia (Black Hawk Down incident), and has served numerous tours in Iraq (the current war as well as Operation Desert Storm) and Bosnia. SGM Lamb is now the Founder and President of Viking Tactics, Inc. as well as the author of "Green Eyes and Black Rifles: The Warriors Guide to the Combat Carbine" and "Leadership In The Shadows." Lamb is also a highly sought after military and law enforcement trainer. For more information, go to www.vikingtactics.com.