Target/Varmint Gun


December 29, 2009, 02:41 PM
I have some Christmas gift money burning a hole in my pocket so I thought I might pick up a new rifle. I want something I can use to practice long range shooting and occasionally help with the prairie dog overpopulation in Amarillo.

I went to a local shop today and they have a Ruger 77 MII (SS, black synth stock) in .204 for $596. The girl behind the counter said they could do better on the price. After doing a little looking around online, this looks like a good deal.

Should I get it?

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December 29, 2009, 03:13 PM
if i was you if you want a small caliber i would go with 223 or 22-250. its a heavier bullet so wind wont bother it so much and brass is a lot cheaper and easier to find. you can get a great 223 for that much money also.

December 29, 2009, 05:28 PM
For prairie dogs I'd go with a .223 in a good bolt action rifle. The .204 is good but how easy is ammo to find and how expensive? The .22-250 is a real nice cartridge too and I owned one for awhile.

However, for prairie dogs where you will see a lot of shots during a day you don't want something that will turn the gun barrel cherry red. And that means a .223.

December 29, 2009, 09:21 PM
I think the ammo is about the same price as .223, but you're right about it being harder to find.
Would it really heat the barrel up that much more?

If the wind effects it more that would really be a problem in Amarillo.

December 29, 2009, 09:49 PM
22-250 is the tops here in Lubbock for prairie dogs. I do not think anything will do any better. I had a 223 it is a good cartridge but not as good as the 250. I have a cousin that really likes his 204 bit I have no experience with them. I know guys that like the 17HMR but I think the wind plays to much havoc on the lighter bullets. The 250 is so fast it does ok all the way to deer size game. I do reload though so if ammo cost is a problem then 223 is cheaper on factory fodder. I only roll my own which work great. Hornady 55 gr VMax over Varget is deadly.

December 30, 2009, 12:17 AM
So what brand should I be looking for/avoiding? I am looking to spend $500-600.

I found a Husqvarna Model A for less but I don't know if I should get anything that old.

December 30, 2009, 12:39 AM
Savage in 22-250!

December 30, 2009, 01:00 AM
I've heard good things about Weatherby Vanguards/Howa 1500s. I plan on buying a Howa 1500 in .223 this spring unless I'm convinced otherwise.

December 30, 2009, 01:41 AM
I've heard good things about Weatherby Vanguards/Howa 1500s. I plan on buying a Howa 1500 in .223 this spring unless I'm convinced otherwise.

Had one in .223 (heavy barrel). Remington 700 Copy, very accurate rifle. I sold it to fund my .220 Swift, as I needed more reach. But if I'd had the money, that rifle would still be in my possession.

December 30, 2009, 02:03 AM
Go find yourself a Remington 700 SPS Varmint in .223. You can find package deals in Dicks Sporting goods where you get the gun with cheap optics already on it. If you're trying to keep costs down, that's what you want. If you have money to burn, buy the same thing but pick up nicer optics and buy a Choate Ultimate Varmint for it. You'll spend about $1200 estimating you pay $600 for the gun package $220 for the stock, $300 on optics and $50-100 on a bipod depending on which style is your favorite. This is a deadly setup for everything from prairie dogs to coyotes. Works for me anyway.

December 30, 2009, 02:23 AM

you need one of these.... CZ 527 Varmint in HS precision Kevlar stock.....:Dwearing a Bushnell 4200 :cool:

you wont be disappointed.

December 30, 2009, 04:41 AM
I am in this same boat right now. Intended use of the rifle is for fox and coyote. After debating the calibers, I am going with 223. Just need to figure out the platform. I have a Remington 700ADL Varmint in 308 that is awsome. But for this I want something a little lighter. Right now I am seriously looking at the Howa.

Uncle Mike
December 30, 2009, 07:22 AM
Ruger 77 MII (SS, black synth stock) in .204 for $596. this looks like a good deal.
Should I get it?

New?, used?, what?.....
If 'new' that is a good price.

December 30, 2009, 07:30 AM
Between the 204 and the 22 250, I'd choose the 204. Flatter shooting, faster, hell on prairie dogs and adequate on coyotes. It is also reputed to be more barrel friendly than the 22 250. I'd also go with the CZ rifle, though I prefer the walnut stocks on those rifles to the plastic ones.

Also, spend the $25 to get your bolt handle recontoured rather than purchasing the awkward "high" scope rings. It is easier to use with a scope mounted closer to the bore. Just my opinion.

Here is a photo of the recontoured bolt handle so that it clears the enormous ocular lens bell on this IOR scope:

December 30, 2009, 10:07 AM
The .204 wouldn't be my first choice for a varmint caliber. It's a little bit too light for my taste. I've got buddies who say that wind has more of an effect on the bullet than they thought. If it's your first varmint caliber, I would go with .22-250 or .223. Availability of ammo will be better than with .204. But if you've already got another varmint caliber, the .204 wouldn't be bad to add to the collection. I'd like to have one, but it wouldn't be my first varmint caliber.

Jim Watson
December 30, 2009, 10:19 AM
Lotta stuff you can shoot varmints with, what do you call "long range shooting?"
(NRA says 300-600 yards is Mid Range, 800+ is Long Range.)

Uncle Mike
December 30, 2009, 10:52 AM
Lotta stuff you can shoot varmints with, what do you call "long range shooting?"
(NRA says 300-600 yards is Mid Range, 800+ is Long Range.)


December 30, 2009, 11:05 AM
my harrington richards cost me 280 out the door and i put a brunton lite tech scope on it. i thing the whole set up is only 400 total. the gun is a great rifle and is great for accuracy also, if you decide you want a different caliber you spend 130 bucks on a barrel and there you go. its like a poor mans encore lol. fits me perfect
this yote was just a tad over 200 yrds with a 50 gr v max

December 30, 2009, 12:41 PM
As a guy who just traded off a CZ .204 I would recommend against .204 ruger. It is such a specialized round that it might as well be called .204 prairie dog. I shot mine for two prairie dog trips and it gave the most animated kills but it wasn't worth a dedicated rifle. It's too small to hunt bigger game or reach out to 300+ in the wind. The wind always blows in prairie dog country. It's too expensive to shoot things you would with a .22 LR or a .17 hmr. Barrel seems to heat up faster than a .223. Many older cleaning kits, reloading equipment, and funnels didn't work with it.

I think of it as a rich mans gun. It makes a fine rifle for someone who can afford a separate gun for every task. Everyone needs a .223 and after that a .308, 30-06, or 300 win mag with a muzzle break comes in really handy for those serious long range dogs. Couple dozen rounds through the .223 and then 4-5 shots with one of the cannons and back to another .223. Seems to have served me well.

December 30, 2009, 12:45 PM
204 is a great varmit gun, but if you get a 223 with a fast twist barrel, you can shoot bullets up to 80 grains... making it a much more versatile gun than a 204.

I think in 204, there are only a couple different bullet weights... with 223 (or 22-250) you have everything from 40 to 90 grains. I shoot the 40 grain in mine for varmits, and they are awesome. I also shoot 60 grain noslers for deer, and it works well also...

I'd buy a 204, but only after I had a good .22 caliber centerfire...

December 30, 2009, 01:09 PM
Thanks for all of the great input. I knew I was hanging out at the right forum for me. :D

As good of a deal as it is for that new rifle, I think I will hold out until I find a more versatile caliber unless they come down on their price to a point where I can't pass it up. It seems like they have had it for a while and really need to sell it.

.223 and 22-250 are both looking pretty good. I guess I need to keep shopping around.

January 3, 2010, 05:45 PM
I went to Dick's yesterday and picked out a Rem. 700 ADL in 22-250. It came with a cheap scope that I will put on my son's .22. I was very excited until I found out I was on hold for my background check. Same thing happened to me a few months ago with my 1911. Very frustrating.

January 3, 2010, 07:55 PM
Congrats on the purchase. Post pictures please. :)


January 3, 2010, 08:08 PM
I will as soon as the gov allows me to pick it up.

January 3, 2010, 08:20 PM
A .204 is short-medium range, not long range. a 5.56/.223 is good for 5-600 yards, a 22-250 for more, the 22-250 will buck the wind better.

Its advantage is in its velocity. Just understand that you can ONLY get the hot performance from it in factory loads, you can't get the full velocity handloading.

I've decided to spend a lot of time on the range with a .22. I want to get back in the habit of making quarter-sized holes with iron sights again, I need a lot of work on fundamentals.

January 3, 2010, 08:25 PM
Hey There ;
I have shot my share of P-dogs. A good .223 will seve you well.
It is up to you on what you want from it.
Many of the newer rifles out there are {for some reason} going to faster twist.
Mine are all 1-14 twist and will shoot the 40s and 55s very well. I have shots that are in the 700 plus yard range on P-dogs with my .223s. All Remington 700s. Good scopes and good Bi-pods will help.
I do not care for the faster Twist . Some do.

My .223 Rem PSS will shoot very well at 500 to 600 yards with a good scope and you knowing that scope. I handload only and can not coment on factory ammo. I also am not a fan of max loads.
The 22-250 will work also but gets warm fast.... They also wear faster.
The noise is much harsher too. But , still a very well designed and good shooter.
The .223 is easy to reload for. The .204 is small and gets harder to reload for .

January 3, 2010, 08:34 PM
I like the Rem 700 in .243/6mm for varmint. And plenty accurate for non-competitive target use out of the box.

January 5, 2010, 04:00 PM
My vote is for .223

Get the most CZ 527 .223 you can afford. I would watch the used guns though, as some guys can wear out a 22-250 bore in one summer. They don't last as long as the .223. Walmart has a good buy on new .223 HP loads that work ok.

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