Cheap; long-range; high velocity gopher cartridge


November 22, 2008, 06:21 PM
What's the best option? I see a sea of various cartridges, what's the one that's the best bang for the buck? If it comes to reloading I can do that too. But I want one I can shoot a lot, that will reach out hopefully 500m, and it'd be a bonus if it's common enough to be available. I suppose the higher velocity ones will probably require frequent barrel changes, so that's a factor in cost.

Afaik I can't reload rimfire on my press, and I haven't had the best reliability with them in cold weather. But I'm not closing the door to them, in fact there are legal advantages to RF over CF.

What do you guys have?

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November 22, 2008, 06:22 PM

November 22, 2008, 06:39 PM
.22-250 or .243. it is not possible to reload rimfire, at all. No rimfire will go 500 accurately anyhow.

November 22, 2008, 06:47 PM
Thanks, 22-250 looked popular, but why's it better than 22hornet or 22ruger?

November 22, 2008, 06:52 PM
Um... 223? Cheap + high velocity + great for gophers...

November 22, 2008, 06:53 PM
At 500yd, the .223 does not have the velocity to 'blow up' on varmints.

I do not know what the .22 Ruger is (maybe you meant .204 ruger?), but the hornet cant go to 500 either.

November 22, 2008, 06:53 PM
22-250 is a notorious barrel burner!

Most any necked-down 22 cal in extreme high velocity is going to erode the leade in a barrel. That's just physics.

November 22, 2008, 08:52 PM
220 swift. most of the br shooters are getting well over 1500 rounds out of the barrels before setting them back. let the barrel cool & it will last a long time.

November 22, 2008, 08:59 PM
223 is an easy answer. Price 22-250 compared to 223, for shiggles. 223 pierces body armor to 700m, do you suppose it will work out to 500m?

22-250 is a hotter cartridge, albeit more expensive. The answer belongs to you... do you need that extra boost around 4-500 meters? I'd suggest learning your drops at various distances, and getting familiar with your optics. 223 can do the job, you just need to learn it's parameters.

November 22, 2008, 09:04 PM
I use my Savage 10FP chambered in .308 for varmint shooting. A 150gr .30cal bullet will be effected alot less by the wind compared to a 40gr .22cal bullet. So longer distances like 500yds might be more suitable for a heavier bullet. Not only that, but you can also buy mil surplus ammo for the .308, to help reduce the cost or be able to shoot more. just my $.02

November 22, 2008, 09:25 PM
I use my Savage 10FP chambered in .308 for varmint shooting.

You could go all day shooting a 2-250. You would be sore after after like 40 rds of that 308.

Plus, the 22 hornet is better suited for inside 250 yards, the 22-250 has better bunch (pretty significant) than a 223 at 500m.

As well, the 22-250 really doesn't cost too much more than the 223... maybe a dollar

As for barrel burning, you're not going to burn out a barrel past the point of hitting your target, generally. Unless your looking to keep those .5" groupings, just keep the same barrel until it gets way outta hand.

November 22, 2008, 11:38 PM
No rimfire will go 500 accurately anyhow if there is NO and I mean no wind it can be done but even a .5mph wind and you can forget about it.

I say get a 223 and be done with it

November 22, 2008, 11:58 PM
You could go all day shooting a 2-250. You would be sore after after like 40 rds of that 308.

Not really. I have shot 120 rounds while shooting whislte pigs, on an afternoon. I usually shoot ~90 rounds and that will last 3-4 hours. Im more tired from holding the gun up and being sunburned than my shoulder is being sore from shooting. 110gr vmax's will do nasty things to a whistle pig and isnt hard on the shoulder at all.

November 23, 2008, 12:29 AM
I would suggest the .223 or perhaps get a rifle and chamber it for 5.45X39mm. There is surplus ammo that comes close to the .223 velocities for about ten or eleven cents a round.

If it was me though, I would get a .220 swift....Sadly, we have few ground squirrels and similar varmints here in South Texas.

rust collector
November 23, 2008, 12:51 AM
When price is a factor, the 223 is hard to beat. For more oomph, the 22-250 is a fine cartridge, but you will pay a lot more for brass and a bit more for powder. 220 swift is wretched excess, but some live for that.

November 23, 2008, 01:14 AM
There is surplus ammo that comes close to the .223 velocities for about ten or eleven cents a round.

Surplus 5.45x39 is probably not going to produce the type of accuracy one is after to shoot P dogs and the like at five hundred yards.

.223 is the winner on price as others have said. When I last priced new brass it was around 12 dollars per hundred cheaper for the .223 than the .22-250. I still like the 22-250 more however. If the difference in ammo price is not a huge concern it would be my pick.

November 23, 2008, 02:12 AM

Looking for a bolt gun or semi-auto? Lots of choices out there either way.

November 23, 2008, 02:34 AM
Very cool then, .223 has it, others sound better but time to quote Voltaire "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien."

Now for a tricky bit - is there any way I can get it in a 700, long action, so later I could use the action for .338's?

November 23, 2008, 03:12 AM
"...can't reload rimfire on my press..." Not on any press.
"...22-250 is a notorious barrel burner!..." Who told you that nonsense?
"... get it in a 700, long action..." No. .223 Rem 700's don't come in a long magnum action. There are other cartridges based on the .223 though. The 6mm x 45, for example.
A .223 is not a 500 meter cartridge. A 69 grain Remington factory bullet sighted in at 200 drops 45.4" at 500 and has 473 ft-lbs of energy. A 90 grain .243 isn't much better.
In any case, a gopher at 500 yards is smaller than this. '.' Hitting something that small takes a heavy barreled, bolt action, varmint rifle with carefully loaded ammo and a whole bunch of wind reading skill. Mind you, there's not many beasties that can teach you how to stalk as well. Every predator eats gophers and they know it. Makes 'em very wary. Being able to get close enough to kill 'em with a .22 is an extremely valuable hunting skill.
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November 23, 2008, 03:19 AM
223 works around to 300-400 yards..

If your serious about 500m I would get the 25-06 or the 243..long barrel life..high velocity..reloaded cheapish..

November 23, 2008, 05:47 AM
22-250 would be my first choice. But i would not overlook a good value on a rifle in .223, 25-06, or .243. The .270 can also be an excellent varmint gun but is a little more expensive to shoot.

November 23, 2008, 07:26 AM
If you want to do a lot of shooting, .223 Rem is the answer. Moderate your outer distance specification to something like 300yd and .223 Rem will do the trick. An action well-suited to .223 Rem won't fit the larger cartridges. You'll have to buy a separate rifle for that. A Savage Model 10 bolt gun chambered in .223 Rem is good value for the money. There are others.

November 23, 2008, 07:59 AM

November 23, 2008, 09:08 AM
Doping range is much easier with a 22-250 or lighter bullets in the 243. The 223 is good for 300 yds or so unless you have specialized equipment, and it's only advantage is availability of surplus practice ammo and components. :)
A 22-250 barrel will often outlast the owner so that should not be a concern. Use of ball powders may hasten throat erosion, so be advised.


rust collector
November 23, 2008, 09:27 AM
Returning to your original post...

You are talking about 22 rimfire as if you don't own one currently. Most have killed more gophers and small varmints with the rf than anything else by far, and it is essential for building skills. If you don't have a good, accurate rimfire rifle, I'd sure recommend starting there. Cost is miniscule.

Next up would be a varmint gun, if you don't hunt larger game such as deer. If it might be used for deer, or for very long distances, you'll be happier with the 6, 6.5 or 7mm rounds. For shorter distances and small game only, the preceding recommendations are good ones

If cost is a factor, you won't be shooting 338s. The gun you will want for that would be significantly different in respects other than the barrel. Once you have many rounds' experience, you will have a better idea of the specifics (or desirability).

November 23, 2008, 11:38 PM
Thanks guys.

gvnwst yes I meant .204 Ruger. Of the SPS Varmint available calibers it seems to have the highest retained velocity at 500m (just over 2000fps). But I take it of the offerings, .243 would have the highest retained velocity further out?

Sunray thanks too. RE CGN btdt, it's too commercialized for my liking. Nothing wrong with sponsorship, until it becomes censorship.

November 24, 2008, 12:35 AM
I think it's hilarious when people say a 223 is only good to 300 yards. Geez. Thousands of high power shooters competing @ 600 with a 223. Mine shoots sub MOA @ 500. A 22-250 is a great round, and we should all be lucky enough to shoot out a barrel. Buy a Savage, you can change it yourself when it does butn out. Just buy a fast twist so you can shoot heavy bullets.

November 24, 2008, 01:02 AM
So it's easy to change Savage barrels?

Art Eatman
November 24, 2008, 08:39 AM
Lucky, when two cartridges have different diameters of case heads, interchanging barrels is one part of the deal; you also have to change bolts.

Next, the varmint cartridges are much shorter than a .338, particularly so with the .223. You easily could have feeding problems. You would need a spacer block in the magazine to shorten it to the proper length.

If you're serious about 500-yard shots in the field, get a laser rangefinder. The trajectory difference between 400 yards and 500 yards is around two feet. A 50-yard error in range estimation by Mark I eyeball would mean missing the target by a foot.

November 25, 2008, 12:57 PM
At 500yd, the .223 does not have the velocity to 'blow up' on varmints.

Well that's it folks, .223 is out of the line up, it does not have the velocity to 'blow up' on varmints... I guess we need to set charges where the critters frequent so we can blow them up.:scrutiny:

This is the first time I've ever heard that .223 wasn't enough gun for gophers...:banghead:

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