Any varmit shooters out there?


November 25, 2008, 04:47 PM
I am trying to get into varmit hunting and just wondered what you guys think. I have been shooting my whole life but the varmit hunting has really been interesting me lately. I got a couple buddies that are deep into it. I haven't even bought a gun yet, and that leads me to my question. I have several .22 LR and a .308, and a 30/30. I just don't think these will cut it, and it would give me an excuse to buy a new gun. I am leaning toward the 22-250 or the .223, prolly give the nod to the 22-250, due to the cost of ammo and it's better knock down power. I also am also on a budget preferably under $400. I have looked at the Savage 200, and with scope I'll be over $500. What do you guys think? Thanks:D

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November 25, 2008, 04:57 PM
If you are giving yourself $400 for just the gun you will be looking for a savage, stevens, or some used remingtons. Most guns from savage and stevens are good buys for the money. With remington you should stay away from 770's or 710's and will probably end up with a 700.

Why would the cost of ammo lead you to the .22-250? It costs more than the .223...

November 25, 2008, 05:03 PM
I haven't really price compared the two. Just what I've heard. Is the .223 cheaper? Does it have comparable knock down?

November 25, 2008, 05:04 PM
I have about talked myself into the 22-250.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
November 25, 2008, 05:06 PM
22-250 is an excellent choice for varminting. I have a Savage that has been gone over completely and I would estimate that I have about $1,200 into the gun, Leupold scope and the work I had done on the trigger. I glass bedded it myself with excellent results.

You might want to buy the rifle now and then a good scope later. The more you spend on a scope, the better off you will be (in most cases).

Eventually, you may also want to put some money into the gun to accurize it (glass bedded receiver with free-floating barrel and a trigger job). A lot of times (not always), the gun will shoot unpredictable groups and one reason is that the barrel might be "resting" on a high spot where it contacts the forward portion of stock. You shoot, it is on one side of the high spot, you shoot again, and then it's on the other side, so basically the barrel is not returning to a true "zero" position. You then wonder why you consistently have several shots "here" and two or three shots "over there."

Some people are satisfied if their rifle is shooting a 3" group at 100 yards. To get it to shoot 1/4" group to 1/2" group, you will most likely need to do some work on the rifle and reloading is how you can really "tune" a load for the rifle.

dagger dog
November 25, 2008, 05:07 PM

Don't forget to check out the new Marlin bolt gun it's in your price range.

November 25, 2008, 05:11 PM
Yeah, trigger work will be first on the list. I have looked at the Savage 200, kinda cheap gun, but for what I want it might be ok. I havn't seen the Marlin, whats the model and maybe a link about it? I would like to find a decent used Remington 700

November 25, 2008, 05:37 PM
They don't really come in 223 or 22-250...

November 25, 2008, 05:57 PM
Never shot a varmit.

Varmints are another story.

Sorry that is a pet peeve of mine.

November 25, 2008, 06:24 PM
Really sorry indianaboy, you know what my pet peeve is? People who let me know what their pet peeve is.

November 25, 2008, 06:41 PM
Aha mon ami, touche'.

Try to get the 22-250, you won't regret it.


November 25, 2008, 06:46 PM
A mind range Loaded 22.250 will equal a Hot .223 say 3200 Mzl Vel

22.250Ex: 55g SP w/32.0 Varget is 3260

.223Ex; 55g SP w/27.0 Varget 3216
Speer Manual #13

I own Both the 22.250 in a REM 700 VTR More Accurate than the 16" DPMS AR15 in .223

when I go out Varmint Huntin I take both, the Ar is for the Brave closeup Vermin. The VTR is for the Far out Hair ballls.

Coyote's are different, I use the Colt AR15 w/24" stainless for the simple fact of follow up shots.:D

November 25, 2008, 06:56 PM
i do a lot of long range woodchuck shooting myself. i have a savage 112, bought it used for $400, had it rebarrled at savage, a timney 2lb trigger installed, glass bedded, restocked w/ a d&b supply laminate wood( i have no tollerance for synthetic), a leupold FX-III 12x40mm w/ fine duplex reticle finished off the package,i figure it cost me a little over 2000 total, i but would rather shoot chucks at long range than any other form of hunting, i have hit them past 600 yards with that savage, that gun will group into 2.5" at 600 meters(if their is no wind) and under a quarter inch at 100 yards is expected

November 25, 2008, 07:02 PM
Remington 700 SPS Varmint in .223 is a good place to start. You can modify the gun plenty to suit your needs as you continue to develop your varmint hunting skills.

November 25, 2008, 07:54 PM
Hey Grassman check out this site.

This guy seems to use a 243 quite a bit. I think he made a good choice. If you are shooting a lot of prarie dogs I would go with a 223. But if bigger stuff like woodchucks and coyotes are what you are after the 243 would be a dandy. Reloading will let you do a lot with this caliber.

You can get 55-60 grain bullets and push them close to 4000fps. Or slow them down a little and save some wear on your barrel. The bullets in the 80gr range would give you good long range penetration and could work on deer if a nice buck jumps up on a coyote hunt. Loading up with 100-105gr bullets makes a good deer and antelope load. You can't do that with a 22-250. A 22 may not be legal for deer everywhere either.

November 25, 2008, 08:22 PM
I think mostly we will go after yotes here, maybe the occasional bobcat, thats about it. I think I'm sold on the 22-250. Ok, next question, scopes!

November 25, 2008, 08:34 PM
That is a great website, Ratshooter thanks.

November 25, 2008, 09:04 PM
I mostly use a long barreled .243 (Savage 12 FV), but I also use an AR in .223 for close range varminting under 300 yards or so. I really like the energy of the .243 on Coyotes, and it's handy when a deer gets in the way.

November 25, 2008, 09:15 PM
.223 good out to 300 yards & seems to cost a bit less if you don't get premium loads; .22-250 has more snot & good out to 500 yards (with a shooter that isn't prone to pulling shots -- I'm not one of those shooters)

if you are going to utilize the same rifle for slightly bigger game like coyotes, whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorn sheep, mountain goats, et al, then you might want to consider a slightly larger diameter caliber that shoots heavier bullets; .243 Win, .243 WSSM, .257 Roberts, .25-06 Rem, .25 WSSM, .257 Weatherby Mag; reasoning is that you have a caliber that is 'dual purpose' and stretches the practicality of your rifle; I am not saying that .223 or .22-250 won't humanely take game larger than groundhogs or prarie dogs, but they are not often associated being medium game calibers;

personally, I ended up with a .25-06 that was a great deal since it was leftover stock & the consignment .22-250 rifle that I bought from the shop had some stock damage that wasn't disclosed at the time of sale, so I returned it; I got to do alot of internet research & alot of folks felt that .25-06 was a bit too much for varmint control & made a better plains hunting caliber for medium sized game...they were promoters of .22-250; I dug a bit deeper & discovered reloading recipes for bullets as light as 75 gr (Hornady V-Max) and 87 gr (Sierra & Speer); heck there are even 85gr Ballistic Tip loads manufactured by Winchester & Federal;

I came across the Winchester 90gr Positive Expansion Point load (pre-ballistic tip fast expansion design) that my particular rifle likes; come time for deer season & the Remington 100gr CoreLokt load is just about the same POI at 100 yards as the Winchester PXP is at 200 yards; one rifle for 2 purposes...saves money on having to feed another rifle, especially when trialing loads is finished

**note about your choice of rifles...Savage/Stevens 200 is a Savage without the AccuTrigger; great choice; you can get a good trigger job for @ $50 done by a competent gunsmith & you can get a better stock or customized stock later on as your budget allows**

November 25, 2008, 09:24 PM
I have a Savage 12FV in .204 Ruger that really serves the purpose well. It has the accutrigger and that works pretty good. It shot great right from day one with no work, .5MOA. It's as flat a shooter as the 22-250, something else to look into, under $400 and ammo isn't bad.

November 25, 2008, 09:37 PM
The Savage with an Accutrigger, will not need trigger work:) My Sons Savage .22 has a 2# trigger out of the box. The best non custom trigger I've felt.

November 25, 2008, 09:49 PM
Last year I bought a Kimber 84m in .204- Best damn varmint rifle I've ever owned. A little more than your price range but well worth it.

November 25, 2008, 10:13 PM
Thanks men, that's a lot of information to mull over.

November 25, 2008, 11:33 PM
well, this can be tough, if money is an object, and with the cost of ammo, it must be, then 223 is the way to go. next i would do a 204, little recoil, little bbl burning, compared to a 22.250.
Also you should seriously think about a 17hmr, or 17mach2, for a relay rifle.
Why? Because if you are going to do any prairie dog hunting, you can't just shoot one rifle continously, it will lose it's ability with heat build up. plus a loud centerfire keeps them out of range, they gauge by their hearing, your distance.
a 17 mach 2 or hmr, is quite, they don't know how far away you are, and while you shoot it, your centerfire will cool down.
a 17 hmr, with a 100 yds zero, only drops 7 inches at 200 yds, so you could shoot dead on holds on P dogs, out to 150 yds, easy. a 17 mach 2 is a bit slower, loses roughly 50 yards to the 17 hmr, but ammo is 1/3 the cost.
the 22.250 is definitely the laser shooter of the group, but ammo will cost the most, and bbl life will be shortest, and groups will open up fastest, due to the
faster heat buildup.

November 26, 2008, 12:51 AM
I have 8 heavy barreld Savages and they all shoot incredibly well. So much so, that I just ordered their F-Class rifle in 6mmBR. While I don't own any of the Stevens rifles, they are simply no frills Savages with the old style trigger and, no options other than which caliber to buy it in. I have several rifles with the old trigger and I like them just fine. I also like the accu-trigger quite well. As far as your choice of cartridge goes I think I would go with the 22-250 if your main game is coyotes, 223 if prarie dogs are of more interest. Someone else mentioned the 204 Ruger, and it is a great cartridge, you might also want to consider it, agin depending on what you are gonna shoot with it.

Now, for something that has not yet been mentioned, you might consider getting the rifle in one caliber now and buying a spare barrel in another caliber for different applications. For instance, if you buy the gun in 223 you can rebarrel to a 204 Ruger for the cost of the barrel and about $30 worth of tools. Savage Take-offs can be had for under $100 depending on the style of the barrel. Adams and Bennet makes decent replacent barrels for about the same money. another good combo would be to buy the rifle in 22-250 and get a spare barrel in 243 Win or even 308. You can rebarrel a 223 to 22-250 or any of the other short cartridges mentioned but that will involve either changing the bolt head or buying a complete spare bolt. You might check Wal-mart for a package deal on the Savage. Last year our local store was selling the 243, with the Accu-trigger, and a cheap scope for just under $400. I thought of buying one just for the action. Good used Savges seem to be in abundance around here lately and I have seen the older model as cheap as $200. You might also check gun broker as well as the classified sections of this and other sites. There are some great deals to be had out there.

November 26, 2008, 01:07 AM
I also am also on a budget preferably under $400.

I hate to put a damper on this, but a sub-$400 varmint rig is really gonna limit your capabilities. I have a N.E.F. Handi-rifle heavy barrel in .22 Hornet with a Bushnell 4-12x that set me back about $300, and it's good to 200 yards. But if you want to get them much further than that, you're going to have to up your budget considerably. My two primary varmint rifles are a Remington 700 LVSF in .17 Rem. with a Weaver V-16 4-16x UFCH scope and a Ruger M77 varmint in .220 Swift with a Nikon Monarch 6.5-20x UFCH. Both of those are four-figure rigs. My next will be a 28" barreled Remington 700 action chambered in 6mm-06 improved.

I've been out with lots of guys who tried to use sporter weight rifles with regular duplex optics that would be fine for deer hunting, but they got really frustrated when they couldn't make most of the shots at range. Varmint shooting is loads of fun, but if you're serious about it, you can't be cheap.

November 26, 2008, 01:37 AM
CZ223 makes a good point about barrel changes. Since you're on a budget, you may find more deals on rifles in 223. It looks like you've decided on 22-250 so I'll get off the caliber debate. I like the Savage 12 series (don't have one yet though). I have a couple Burris FF2 scopes and they are a great value. I have the 4.5-14x42 on a 700BDL 30-06 and a 3-9x40 on a CZ452 22lr. Speaking of CZ, my next rifle will most likely be a 550 Lux or FS in 8x57 and they make those in 22-250.

November 26, 2008, 03:37 PM
well sir, for a .222/222 mag/ 223 i like a 6x leupold (if you can get your hands on 1 i really like the 7.5x leupold M-8 on my 222 rem mag), for a 22-250 for long range i like the FX-III 12x leupoldw/ fine crosswire, the bushnell 3200 10x seems to be a good scope, but if your shots wlnt be over 300 yards, a 6x,7.5x, or 8x, or a 3-9 varible would be a good scope. hope this helps.

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