In the world of southern predator hunting AR style rifles are gaining popularity. When the RRAGE showed up at my local FFL for me to test I knew exactly how I wanted to put this gun to the test.
The Rock River Arms RRAGE™ is a lightweight AR platform shooting the popular .223/5.56 NATO. It comes with a full Picatinny rail and a 30-round magazine. The RRAGE is designed for fast action which is often the case for southern predator hunting. While I love the 30 round magazine and have several, I have found when hunting that the 10 round or the 20 round is faster to maneuver. The longer 30 round tends to get in the way of fast action shooting that often occurs. The smaller magazines are much more compact and just less likely to interfere with shooting sticks, or any other accessory. Having said that, the RRAGE is an excellent rifle for the predators we face here in the south.
In equipping the RRAGE™ I knew I needed good quality optics. After some research, I opted for the TruGlo® Eminus™ 4x16x40 Illuminated Reticle Tactical Scope. The TruGlo® Eminus™ tactical scope provided the perfect fit and function for my intended purpose.
For predator hunting in the south there is always the opportunity for animals to emerge that may or may not be your intended target. Long before Coyotes arrived here in my native South Carolina, I was calling foxes and bobcats to the gun. Wanting more to hunt, I took my Mallard tone cottontail rabbit in distress call into the fields and forest and really enjoyed calling in red and grey foxes as well as the occasional bobcat. Few things match the excitement of calling predators regardless of their size. Sitting along a fallow farm field is a prime location for foxes in the southeast. Screaming on a distressed cottontail mouth call can bring them in fast and furious. The fast swinging RRAGE is ample gun for these beautiful little predators.
As coyotes began to gain a stronger population by the mid 1990’s many predator hunters, including myself turned our attention to these larger and more wary predators. Finding the perfect gun for that game became difficult. With our tight spaces and quick shots, a short, rapid firing rifle was needed when the shotgun wasn’t right.
Calling coyotes in the Southeast is different than the Midwest or west. Seldom can we find vistas that extend more than a few hundred yards and when you can it may not be good coyote habitat. Excellent camouflage, sound tactics and fast working guns are a must.
Coming in at a mere 36 inches when fully extended and only 5.7 pounds empty. The RRAGE is the perfect coyote and predator rifle. The ballistically efficient .223 is an excellent round for fox, coyote, and bobcats. The standard adjustable stock allows for easy configuration with heavy or light clothing.
As the shadows began to lengthen, I sat in the corner of an old corral looking across an overgrown pasture. The corral was long abandoned. Trees now occupied locations once reserved for select cattle. In the corner nearest the fallow field was a clump of cedar that provided the perfect hideout. The wind in my face, my Western Rivers Mantis Pro-400 began wailing sounds of animals in distress. After a minute of calling, I stopped the electronic call and waited for several minutes. Then changed sounds and began again for three full minutes of screeching and wailing. Another two minutes of silence. It is often during these quiet times the predator reveals himself as he is looking for the source of the calling. Too often I have called too much and not been patient enough to allow the animals to respond. Sitting quietly will often get the nerve of the predator and get their curiosity up enough for them to reveal themselves.
One minute turned into two, as the silence was broken by puppy whines, a mature coyote appeared across the field on the edge of the woods looking directly in the direction of the caller. My illuminated crosshairs found him quickly and I followed him as he trotted across the pasture towards our location. Each step bringing him closer to our position. As he got to about sixty yards, he paused just long enough for the pressure to be applied to the trigger and he piled up in a heap. As fast as I could I hit the pup in distress call. Within minutes a second coyote emerged, and he too was dropped as he approached the dead coyote.
As the morning drug on, I say patiently waiting for more action. Thirty minutes of silence did a world of good as I enjoyed the peacefulness of the morning.
The RRAGE has proven to be an excellent coyote gun. It is light, fast swinging and deadly accurate. With the simplicity and accuracy of the RRAGE, it may just be the best predator rifle in the arsenal.