Wheels Afield: Ram 2500 Crew Cab Power Wagon Review

Wheels Afield: Ram 2500 Crew Cab Power Wagon Review

The New Mexico prairie sky is endless. The blue horizon and the cactus-clad ground meet somewhere well beyond the end of my attention span.

Yards turn to miles in this country, so good luck chasing down its four-legged game in August without suffering the long, hot trip that's kicked many a salty cowboy's ass.

But on this hunt, that was exactly the task. Our hunting crew of outdoor writers and other industry folks were facing New Mexico's three-day antelope firearm season, which boasts the biggest heart-horned goats in the Western U.S. and some of the longest hauls any hunter can imagine.


We had free roam on a 60,000-acre ranch owned by Sam Britt, an 81-year-old cattleman who can be described as the aforementioned salty cowboy, save the ass kickings. Britt's got that just-rolled-out-of-the-saddle look going all day long, and he's tackled this Comanche and Apache country since he was a kid. His quote on the upcoming hunt: "The big ones aren't stupid. You've got to work, drive all damn day long to get 'em."


He knew that on this trip, spot-and-stalk was a relative term. Most of the time drive-and-spot or drive-spot-crawl-hunker-and-walk fit the bill about as good as the common antelope hunting tactic. Fact is, it's no secret that a pronghorn affair out West is often simply a road hunt. Dusty ranch roads are gateways to, well, a lot of flatness, save a few far-off canyons and the towering shadows of ancient volcanos that watch you roll through, kicking up dust.


Blood-on-Dodge-RamThese twisting, gnarly roads cut through the prairie in all directions, and you never know when the sagebrush might yield an 80-inch pronghorn. So, when Ram Trucks decided to let me roll out with the newest and possibly most off-road capable truck in their lineup—the Ram Power Wagon—I was confident that those speedy little bastards didn't stand a chance.

Steve Jones' Backcountry Hunts had us set up in a traditional prairie camp, including teepees, cast iron skillets, cowboy stylings and a surly, baritone camp cook with a chihuahua named Munchie. The Power Wagon didn't quite fit this scene with its top-of-the-line looks and Hemi roar, but nobody complained.

This go anywhere, crush anything four-wheel-drive behemoth was built to tackle rough terrain. It's kind of like the Jeep Rubicon on steroids.


The engineers at Ram made this truck for guys that take great displeasure in anything involving pavement. When you get your first look around the Ram 2500 Crew Cab Power Wagon it's patently clear that heavy duty is not a relative term. Its dominating profile includes everything a red-blooded power junkie dreams about, including a 383-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with a six-speed automatic transmission, 32-inch all-terrain tires and manual transfer case.

What's this mean for the hunter? Confidence.

As we rolled through the prairie, both on trail and off, there was not one reason to worry about anything other than glassing for a nice buck. Clearance was never a problem with skid plates on the fuel tank and transfer case, a two-inch lift and 4.56 rear axle ratio, and I didn't once worry about the truck not handling the sharp lava rocks and mounds of cactus that dotted our path.


If we did happen to get stuck or turn sideways, the heavy-duty Warn winch behind the truck's front bumper would crank us back on course with the help of electronically locking front and rear differentials, traction's best friend.

It was only after two days of Ram cat-and-mouse with some over 16-inch antelope that we finally stumbled into the perfect situation. In our first round of glassing on the third day we spotted a nice buck silhouetted against the blue sky not far from the range of my Winchester Model 70 Extreme SS in .30-06.

I don't remember making the decision to shoot him, but the next thing I knew the truck was parked and, with my guide at my back, I was sneaking across the prairie. It felt like we went a mile, as we moved like smoke toward the grazing pronghorn. Finally, I heard the right words: "He's out there at about 276 yards."

I tossed my pack on the ground and let him have it. I heard the customary bullet-to-meat thud right away. The black-horned buck took off running for a brief moment before bucking to a halt and collapsing about 20 yards from where he had stood.

When the dust had settled, post high-fives, and we were sure the buck was down for good, I turned to look back at the truck. We were only about 50 steps from the black and crimson Ram. Note to self: prairie depth perception way off.

I guess the road hunt prediction was just about right, but there was no better way to test the Power Wagon's off-road capabilities. We had spent nearly three days tracking up and down miles of ranch roads and cattle paths, and the truck took every challenge with ease.

But while we were busy running over prairie obstacles with the Power Wagon, I didn't take time to check the dominating features on the inside. Not until I had downed my pronghorn did I put down my Brunton Epoch binoculars and explore the interior.

The first thing I always look for in a truck is space. How many of my buddies can I fit in this crew cab and still comfortably stash our rifles, gear and coolers?

The Power Wagon's smaller cousin, the Ram Outdoorsman (reviewed last year in "Wheels Afield"), has two "Ram boxes" on the side of the truck's bed specifically designed as rifle carriers and/or coolers to help save space elsewhere. But the 2500 crew cab shuns such features in favor of a more straightforward approach.

The full-length center floor console and front and rear split-bench seats couple with other features to provide not just leg room, but gear room and rifle room. We fit four guys, two rifles and packs in the Power Wagon easily and still had the entire 6-foot, 4-inch bed to load up our kills.

The Power Wagon also sports what amounts to an onboard entertainment center. Our test truck came with GPS navigation, a 30 GB hard drive, voice command, satellite radio and an audio input jack. Not to mention heated and ventilated front seats that can be individually controlled and a heated steering wheel. (This, I thought, might be taking comfort too far.)

Overall, though, it seems that Ram has brought the whole package to market with this truck. From the New Mexico prairie to the Eastern hardwoods, hunters need rugged power…and chicks dig a Hemi. Case closed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzUUIZMRsWM&list=UUpvbibQGsx3_NSGfmMHbUDw&index=1&feature=plcp

Recommended for You

Whether you're looking for a whitetail, bruin or waterfowl adventure, Saskatchewan can be the place for you. North America

From Bucks to Bears to Ducks, Saskatchewan Is a Hunter's Heaven

Lynn Burkhead - February 05, 2019

Whether you're looking for a whitetail, bruin or waterfowl adventure, Saskatchewan can be the...

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench. Ammo

Roll Your Own: Best Reloading Supplies

David Draper - April 19, 2019

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench.

Companies in the outdoor industry know how to get our attention. We know, it might seem cheap, but SHOT Show

Booth Babes from the 2012 SHOT Show

PH Online Editors - January 18, 2012

Companies in the outdoor industry know how to get our attention. We know, it might seem cheap,...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Cheeseburger Poppers

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 11: Wheelgun Buffalo

Host Craig Boddington lays claim to hunting more than 100 Cape Buffalo over the course of his 40 plus year career, but he never took one with a handgun. That changed in South Africa when Craig faced down "black death" with a magnum wheelgun.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the whitetail North America

Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States

Joseph von Benedikt - December 18, 2017

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the...

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are created equal. Recipes

How to Properly Grill Venison Steak

Hank Shaw

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are...

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223 Ammo

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

Joseph von Benedikt & David Faubion

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

See More Stories

More Overlanding

Whether you are spring turkey hunting, baiting bears, or heading out to the farm to put in food Overlanding

How to Get Your Truck Unstuck

Mike Schoby - April 08, 2016

Whether you are spring turkey hunting, baiting bears, or heading out to the farm to put in...

Can-Am's Outlander series of ATVs are made to be rugged and powerful, and this year's models are no different Overlanding

Can-Am Outlander: New ATVs for Every Season

David Draper - September 25, 2018

Can-Am's Outlander series of ATVs are made to be rugged and powerful, and this year's models...

When I arrived at the hotel in Salt Lake City, a fleet of KLR650s were being unloaded off the Overlanding

Riding the Beehive State

Eric Poole - August 08, 2016

When I arrived at the hotel in Salt Lake City, a fleet of KLR650s were being unloaded off the

See More Overlanding

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×