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Varmint Rifle

  • trophy19
    Participant
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts: 1160
    #2118953

    Thinking of adding a rifle to the arsenal for yotes, dogs, plinking, etc. Current rifle arsenal consists of 22s and a 30-06. Thinking .223 would be a good optionan; any other suggestions for rifle (bolt vs AR style) or optics – thinking 5-15 would be a good option.

    Thanks

    Pete

    Beast
    Participant
    Posts: 845
    #2118966

    Take a look at a ruger .204 ballistics and see what you think.

    Red Eye
    Participant
    Posts: 716
    #2118971

    Depends how much you are going to be shooting it? .223/5.56 probably the cheaper choice.

    TheFamousGrouse
    Participant
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 9541
    #2118976

    For ammunition availability and cost, it’s hard to beat a .223. Gun options are everywhere and the ammo is cheap and (in normal times) readily available.

    And now I will unceremoniously place the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons by saying that the .223 is not a true varmint rifle. shock shock shock Yep, as they say on YouTube, leave your comments below…

    Stepping up into the realm of REAL varmint rifles is a different thing entirely. These are the muscle cars of the smallbore scene, they are big, fast, freaky-flat, and loud. And once you have one, that .223 seems like the rifle equivilent of a Honda Accord. Yeah, it’ll get you to the grocery store in that really basic car way…

    The .22-250 is The King of the Varmint Rifles and for good reason. Fast, freaky-flat, easy to shoot, and with my sincere apologies to Marvin Gaye, there ain’t no varmint far enough…

    Ammo for the 250 is readily available almost anywhere and if you’re not reloading, please send me the empties!!!!!

    Next up is the choice if you’re one of those guys who just HAS to have something different. The .220 Swift. It was doing the .22-250 thing long BEFORE the .22-250 even was a thing. Varmints tremble at the mere mention of this death from unseen distances.

    The Johnny Come Lately to the scene is the .204 Ruger. As much as I didn’t want to like this new kid in town, the reality is that when you shoot one, you will reapeat after me. “Ho-leeeeee freakin’ ##!t.” Yeah. It’s like that.

    From here, things get weird pretty quickly with wildcats and 6.5s and all kinds of not-varmint-rifles that really wanna be included in the club. The above are the REAL contenders.

    Bolt vs AR. As you can now probably tell, I am a varmint rifle guy. Here’s all I’m going to say about ARs in the varmint world. It will cost you many, many times more to get even a .223 AR to shoot as well as a boring old base level bolt gun will shoot right out of the box. Not that a .223 is a real varmint rifle. I done did it again. lol lol lol

    I can take a Savage Axis out of the box and for LESS than $500 (plus optics) I can have it shooting FIVE SHOT MOA groups at 100. Ain’t gonna happen with ANY box stock AR anywhere anyhow for $500. And not to mention the fact that ARs are difficult to chamber in real varmint cartridges like the 250.

    Yes, yes, I own ARs and enjoy them for what they are, but when the heat mirage is flying and the wind is blowing, the real varmint rifles come out to play and they ain’t ARs.

    TheFamousGrouse
    Participant
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 9541
    #2119004

    bigfatcroixbaby wrote:
    .17 H&R

    This is what we use.

    What is a .17 H&R and how will I know it when I see one in the wild?

    Are we, by chance, talking about the .17 HMR here?

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 10341
    #2119012

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Bearcat89 wrote:</div>
    bigfatcroixbaby wrote:
    .17 H&R

    This is what we use.

    What is a .17 H&R and how will I know it when I see one in the wild?

    Are we, by chance, talking about the .17 HMR here?

    I thought I fixed it the first time. Spell check got me again.

    I guess you’ll know when, well I don’t have a smart ass comment back.

    slowpoke
    Participant
    Perham Mn
    Posts: 200
    #2119016

    x2 on the 22-250!! Thats my rifle of choice for yotes and anything smaller than deer.But the AR 15 in 223 Wylde allows you to shoot either the .223 or the 5.56 in the same rifle. Those rds are usually cheaper and more readily available than most others. While they are great for target shooting, I’ll take the 250 anyday over the 223 for hunting. They are .223 on massive steroids 22-250 rds cost a fair bit more than 223/5.56, but I hand load so its alot cheaper and accurate than store bought! If you are looking at cost per round for plinking and occasional varmint hunting, .223 is the way to go.

    Timmy
    Participant
    Posts: 1017
    #2119018

    Another oddball fast-n-flat shooter for fox sized critters and below is the old 17Rem. It throws a 20gr pill at about 4000fps. Its hell on rodents and small stuff, and a fun gun to putz around with.

    It wouldn’t be my first pick if chasing yotes, but will get the job done if you can avoid hitting the shoulder bone…

    snelson223
    Participant
    Austin MN
    Posts: 409
    #2119019

    I would say 204 or 223 would be good option. Coyotes are pretty tough you want to be shooting a 40gr bullet or bigger. We have killed lots with a 17 Remington but the 204 does a better job.

    tornadochaser
    Participant
    Posts: 740
    #2119039

    I can take a Savage Axis out of the box and for LESS than $500 (plus optics) I can have it shooting FIVE SHOT MOA groups at 100. Ain’t gonna happen with ANY box stock AR anywhere anyhow for $500. And not to mention the fact that ARs are difficult to chamber in real varmint cartridges like the 250.

    Yes, yes, I own ARs and enjoy them for what they are, but when the heat mirage is flying and the wind is blowing, the real varmint rifles come out to play and they ain’t ARs.

    Pre pandemic price increases, 5 shot MOA wasn’t hard to do for $500 in a factory AR. Palmetto and Radical both had models with EPT triggers and 1/8 twist .223 wylde barrels for under $500 and shot tight with premium factory ammo. 5 shot sub MOA was definitely easy to do with a build when Larue triggers were $65 and BA .223 wylde barrels were $100. I have a $500 build not including optic that I can almost get 10 shot sub MOA with 69gr SMKs. I’m not patient enough to keep from sending a flyer.

    If I was just going to buy a bolt action to hunt mainly yotes, with maybe an annual prairie dog hunt, I used to recommend .22-250. Now I’d say .223 or .243. Very hard to find .22-250 on the shelf right now around my area at least. If in an AR-15 platform, .223 or .224 valk, simply due to ammo availability.

    it’s like anything though, either you’ll be content with one gun in one caliber that does enough, or you’ll go down the rabbit hole and eventually find yourself laying in bed thinking “now that E-file form 4’s are turning around in 90 days, I should build a suppressed 6.5 grendel or 6 ARC upper for my AR pistol.”

    trophy19
    Participant
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts: 1160
    #2119044

    Didn’t realize the .204 Ruger and 22-250 had that kind of velocity. Throw in 220 Swift as another speedball. .223 isn’t far behind.

    Thanks for the comments; certainly giving me some options to go check out.

    The .204 Ruger is a descendent of the .222 – haven’s seen one of those for many years.

    Pete

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 4139
    #2119074

    I agree with Grouse. Now if we could just get TFG to chime in more on some of the topics about truck and trailer size, properly sizing an outboard to the boat, etc. we’d really have something.

    Ammunition costs aside, I’d be looking at a 22-250 as well. Smooth, crisp bolt action rifles are fun to shoot especially in long range applications. I’m no expert varmint assassin or anything, but do like to plink around once in a while at the local range or take long pokes at coyotes in our fields.

    AR platforms are fun, but the craze of them in the last decade with everyone and their grandma wanting one seems to have ballooned prices even more than other options considering what you get.

    catmando
    Participant
    wis
    Posts: 1809
    #2119124

    Savage 223 and a Marlin 22mag, I just like rifles that I can get ammo for anywhere, and tack drivers they are. DK.

    Jeremy
    Participant
    Richland County, WI
    Posts: 575
    #2119137

    For coyotes I would have to choose between my heavy barrel Savage 223 or my CZ 527 in 17 Hornady Hornet. I reload for both so I can make my own ammo, the 17 HH uses about 10 grains of powder for a 20 grain bullet leaving the muzzle at about 3600 fps

    Randy Wieland
    Participant
    Lebanon. WI
    Posts: 12948
    #2119147

    There’s no doubt that the majority of calibers listed above will do a superb job. One thing I think you should strongly consider is what your true intent with it is. If you want something that you can go on pop 400 500 rounds a day, You’ll get more longevity out of the 223. If you want some thing that you can reach out 400 to 600 meters And have much less Windrift than absolutely a 22-250. I have multiple varmint guns, so it gives an opportunity for the barrel to cool down. I find myself limiting how much I shoot with my 250s. I really try to stay in that 200 to 250 rounds per day per gun. But if you want something to spit a 55 grain pill and do some vicious damage that’s the gun for you.

    I think a 22 to 50 is the ultimate practice rifle. It has just a little bit of kick and a loud crack. I shoot frequently throughout the year to minimize my reaction and maintain my trigger touch. I am a diehard bolt guy And have minimal use for anything in semi automatic. But that’s just my personal use.

    As for glass, I prefer a 5 to 25 power. I have one set up with a 40 power F class. It’s truly sickening what you can accomplish with that 250

    snelson223
    Participant
    Austin MN
    Posts: 409
    #2119169

    The 204 is pretty tough to beat out to 500 yards. Shooting a 40gr bullet with high B/C will have less drop and less wind drift.

    If you had the right barrel twist for a bigger bullet in 22-250 or 220 swift that would be good.

    I use a 204 with 40gr bullets and a 243 with 55gr bullets and both are good to 500 yards. They are both going the close to the same speed so switching between rifles is easy to do.

    E4mo
    Participant
    Posts: 56
    #2119173

    I can testify to what the grouse is saying.

    I recently sold my 204 Ruger APF AR-15. I bought it to be my coyote sniper rifle, but when it was -20 degrees at 2:00am during the January full moon it didn’t always want to cooperate. I was never satisfied with the groups I got either, usually 1.5-2MOA.

    Instead, I bought a Savage Axis in .223 Rem with a Boyd’s stock that I found at a pawn Shop for a good price and a roll of the dice. Had my gunsmith chop the barrel to 16″ with 1/2×28 threads for my can and I was off and running.

    I shoot MOA or better groups with 53 grain Superformance V-max Hornady factory loads. Many coyotes have died since, as well as one fox, which I regret shooting–they’re so rare these days.

    That said, I love all the calibers mentioned–I wouldn’t hesitate to take any of them out after varmints.

    maddog
    Participant
    Park Rapids Mn.
    Posts: 131
    #2119178

    Gun auction online in Sartell MN Oberman auctions They had a 22-250 and a .225 cal with ammo, I went down and looked at these and they are in pretty good shape auction ends tue night I believe

    Bill Sackenreuter
    Participant
    Devils Lake ND
    Posts: 194
    #2119182

    If buying ammo off the shelf 223 bolt,and 223 Wylde in ar,probably cheapest route.But I have always been a 22-250 bolt guy,but would be hard to beat a Brenton Ar chambered in 224 Valerie or 22 nosler.My sons Brenton 15 is considerably lighter than my DPMS 10,usually his goto for hunts.I prefer 4.5-14,him 20+.
    Lots of good options mentioned here.

    Ryan Scholl
    Participant
    Posts: 116
    #2119269

    I run a Bergara B14 Ridge chambered in 22-250 with a 4-16×44 Vortex Viper for glass. I upgraded to a Trigger Tech trigger and it is by far my favorite rifle. From my experience, if you hit a coyote with a 250 it either drops in its tracks or only makes it a short ways. I have shot them with a 223 and noticed more runners. A 223 will definitely get the job done though. That being said, with the way ammo has been I wish I also had a 223 because the 22-250 is hard to buy for.

    As far as bolt vs AR… I am not a fan of AR platforms. Most don’t have a good trigger from the factory. My biggest gripe is even using one with plastic or carbon components, they are cold when winter hunting for coyotes. Carrying them is also less convenient.

    Wayne Daul
    Participant
    Green Bay, Wi
    Posts: 335
    #2119306

    I recently purchased a Savage 17 super magnum and really like it. adds about 100 yards down range to standard 17 hmr and half the wind drift. Cheaper then 223 and much quieter which is a big advantage to 223.

    Wayne

    Steven Krapfl
    Participant
    Springville, Iowa
    Posts: 1123
    #2119324

    I think a 223 is a great round for anything from prairie dogs to coyotes. If you are looking to do mainly yote hunting, however, i would opt for the .243 Winchester. It’s my rifle of choice and I find it does less pelt damage with an 87 grain open tip then my .22-250 did with a 52 grain bullet. Best of luck with whatever you end up with! toast

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7883
    #2119369

    22-250 is my vote. I don’t personally hunt coyotes but I have relatives who regularly do it and they all use this caliber.

    robby
    Participant
    Quad Cities
    Posts: 2491
    #2119468

    .223 is probably your best choice, price wise, and ammo availability wise. If you are not worried about that, I really like my .225-250. I own .223 also. .204 Ruger is also a good choice. .220 Swift. .222. Lots of options.

    stevenoak
    Participant
    Posts: 1354
    #2119482

    Think dogs and yotes are two different guns. My taxidermist takes his biggest vacation of the year to hunt coyote and fox in the Dakotas in January. Can see and shoot long distances, but usually windy. He has every caliber, but 22-250 gets the call. I hunt old mining spoils, that have grown up in brush 125 yards is a long shot. 90% of the time I carry a shotgun and sling my RR AR Coyote gun. for stands. With a good rest 1” groups. But often jump them moving. The RR gun is light, and with the short 10 round mag doesn’t hook on brush and doesn’t add weight. for dogs a 22-250 would be over kill and cashy, even if you load yourself. I’ve never got a chance to go prairie dog hunting. Have always hear guys talk about shooting 500 to 1000 rounds a day. 500 is more than one a second for 8 hours. Been told dogs go down for 5 minutes or so after a shot. Maybe someone that has can speak to that.

    Joe Jarl
    Participant
    SW Wright County
    Posts: 850
    #2119490

    IMO, all you would really need is the Barrett 50! But seriously, a lot of good info and suggestions above. I shoot a .223 and occasionally a .25-06 for yotes. Brother shoots a .204 and that is one impressive round. Plenty capable for coyotes and a dream to shoot.

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    tornadochaser
    Participant
    Posts: 740
    #2119643

    Been told dogs go down for 5 minutes or so after a shot. Maybe someone that has can speak to that.

    Last 2 times I shot pdogs, we started with rimfires, then switched over to the AR’s and bolt guns. Kept the further portions of the towns up and active while we focused on the closer targets.

    Next time we go, we’ll all be shooting suppressed, and there will be a $500 side pot for farthest hit with a suppressed .22lr subsonic. mrgreen

    FishBlood&RiverMud
    Participant
    Prescott
    Posts: 6253
    #2119653

    Gun can be the cheap part. Wait until you start pricing thermal scopes waytogo

    Pdogs, I use 223
    Yotes, 223 or 308

    LOTS of guns to get the job done. Good optics are pricey!

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    Bill Sackenreuter
    Participant
    Devils Lake ND
    Posts: 194
    #2119843

    When fox paid well,I used a 17 rem,almost exclusively.Pelt damage was about as minimal as you could get.25gr corelok or 30 gr berger pushing close to 4000 fps.Wind and marginal hits were not your friends.When coyotes became prevelant,the 22-250 became the goto.Kick myself for selling that 17,one fun gun to shoot(on calm days).

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