Is a Varmit Rifle only for varmit.


November 7, 2010, 01:13 AM
Here's the thing I am looking at the Remington 700 and I see the there are plenty of caliber options and not so on barrel length(2) that I see. I will be using it for target shooting and that's why I am going with the .308 caliber(cheap&accurate). I know the the longer the barrel the more accurate the rifle. That's why I am inclined to buy the Varmit (26"barrel) but what if I decide to try hunting? Does the barrel length or the fact that it is a varmit mean I cant take a deer or since it will be a .308 I can go back and forth between deer and targets?
Basically just because it is called a varmit rifle does it mean you cant take a deer?
It all depends on the caliber of the round. And yes I am new to the rifle scene.(should be able to tell).
Thanks for the help!

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November 7, 2010, 01:16 AM
if im not mistaken the .308 is a popular hunting round.........i see no reason why you couldnt use it to hunt with.

Buck Snort
November 7, 2010, 01:00 AM
Actually, I'm surprised to see a .308 caliber gun described as a "varmit rifle". It was my impression that varmit rifles were generally the smaller caliber guns such as .257 and less. I guess a .458 Win. mag could be used to kill varmits but that'd be awfully expensive ammo for shooting groundhogs. A much more appropriate gun would be something like the 6mm Remington (.243" caliber) that'll fire a 75 gr. bullet in excess of 3500 fps. This article by Chuck Hawks is informative:

November 7, 2010, 01:17 AM
Your selection would good for most North American game animals. I'd shy away from moose, caribou, and big bears. It would probably be okay with proper shot placement, but I'm a "Use enough gun kinda guy."
The only times I've had a problem with long barrels was in built up areas, and thick brush. Of course the "game" was of the two legged kind at the time.
On the other hand, when you need to make that occasional long shot, the balance, sight radius, and steadiness of the heavy barrel will pay you back in spades for lugging that heavy beast over hill and dale.
Another thing, pick your bullet weghts carefully when taking smaller game. You don't want to tear up to much meat. Grandpa was a Cherokee. He taught me to respect the game, never kill for pleasure, and eat what you killed.
On a lighter note, welcome to the wonderful world of shooting sports. Feel free to ask any questions. Ain't no stupid questions, but the ones left left unasked
Again welcome to the forum, and we look forward to hearing from you again.

November 7, 2010, 01:38 AM
The "varmit" you're describing is the model Remington 700 rifle. Varmint rifles tend to be heavy rifles with long barrels, intended for shooting small pests at distance. In most respects, the Remington 700 Varmint is similar to the 700 PSS, a sniper rifle.

Longer barrels are inherently LESS accurate. They do, however, allow the fired bullet to build more velocity than a shorter barrel. For the same weight, a faster bullet means less drop, so it's easier for a shooter to make a long-distance shot.

Rifles intended for deer hunting will have shorter, lighter barrels and stocks to allow for quick shots at deer. They should also wear a less powerful (lower magnification) scope than dedicated varmint rifles.

The .308 is not primarily a varmint round, unlike the .22-250. Some .308 varmint ammunition can be found, and it is easily identified by much lighter weight and higher velocity.


November 7, 2010, 01:38 AM
I have a Rem 700 SPS with a 26 inch bbl in .308 and it is a joy to shoot. But, and this is a VERY big but. It is hell to carry. At port arms it's ok, one handed in the mag area it's ok for a while but I've not found a good way to sling it. The normal way has the long heavy pipe wanting to fall away from you and take you with it. Upside down is no better. It's just not handy. I'm only bout 5'8" 175, maybe if your a really big guy it wouldn't seem so bad. That's the only bad thing I can think of about the rifle.

November 7, 2010, 02:20 AM
"...the longer the barrel the more accurate the rifle..." Nope. The .308 isn't exactly a varmint cartridge either, can be, but no varmint rifles aren't just for varmints. Heavy barreled .308's are usually used for target shooting(think 168 grain match bullets out to 600, 175's past there. And a 165 grain hunting bullet. All using IMR4064 or Varget.) As daft as it sounds, calling one of 'em a varmint rifle lets the marketing types sell it for less than a heavy barreled target rifle.
In any case, a Rem M700 SPS Varmint in .308 will be just fine for deer when hunting from a blind.
" & accurate..." Accurate, yes. Cheap, not so much, unless you're reloading. If you're not now, you will be. Especially if you're target shooting. Factory match ammo is far too expensive to shoot regularly. Starts at around $25 per 20. Adds up fast. You'd have to try a box of as many brands as you can to find the ammo your rifle shoots best too. Reloading lets you tailor the load for your rifle. Mind you, match bullets aren't cheap. Sierra MatchKings, for example, run about $30 per 100 from Midway. Buy components locally though. Shipping will hurt.
"...not found a good way to sling it..." Padded sling across your back for going to a stand. A 700 SPS Varmint is still a 8.5 lb rifle without a scope though. Even with the injected molded plastic stock. Mind you, any rifle gets heavy towards the end of the day.
"...I'd shy away from moose, caribou..." Hi. See many of either in Mississippi? Are you suggesting that the .308 isn't a moose/caribou cartridge? Both are regularly killed with .270's and other mid 25 and 26 calibre cartridges. Use the right bullet and it'll kill a big bear with no fuss too. Shot placement, naturally.

November 7, 2010, 04:56 AM
Hi Sunray,
I'm well aware that in Northern Europe calibers as small as 6.5 x 55 are considered perfectly adequate for moose, etc. But as I said, I allways like to use enough gun, and I believe I mentioned shot placement. As for what I've seen in Mississippi, it may surprise those who know the state only from Hollywood and media depictions that we have a plentiful supply of planes, trains, and automobiles. In my job in the defense industry and as a civilion security contractor I've seen quite a bit of the world. Usually the worst part of the world.
Shoot, last year I even bought me a pair of shoes and some underwear that wasn't made out of flour sacks.
I thought this forum was for the free exchange of ideas and opinions, I guess I was wrong. I was simply trying to become a member of this community, and offer some advice to a new shooter. I always believed in polite discussion and even disagreement. It's called manners where I come from.
However, I guess your 6,739 posts give you the right to belittle my opinions and sneer at my home state without knowing a thing about me. I bow before your all knowing expertise

November 7, 2010, 05:04 AM
“Longer barrels are inherently LESS accurate.” Why is this? I have always thought that
assuming your bullet and barrel were a good match, faster was better. The faster the bullet
travels the less time for the wind and gravity to have their way with it.
Your thoughts?

November 7, 2010, 05:46 AM
i have the ADL Varmint. With my handloads it will shoot .59moa at 100yds. Shorter barrels are stiffer which should make them more accurate. Still haven't decided if i am going to cut mine down to 20" yet.

November 7, 2010, 06:54 AM
I've owned a Remington 700 heavy barreled .25-06 for 30+ years. Originally bought it for ground hog hunting in OH. Even though it's use is primarily varmint hunting the rifle has gone deer hunting and bear hunting with me. It's not a light gun but you can carry it. I've never regretted the fact of it being heavy.

November 7, 2010, 11:19 AM
The .308 Winchester when handloaded with modern day powder such as Reloader 15, a relatively hot powder has the same velocity and knock down of .30-06 and I don't know any animal that can stand up to that.. Even President Roosevelt shot an Elephant with a .06..

November 7, 2010, 11:36 AM
Usually Varmint rifles have slower twist barrels, for lighter weight bullets ideal for varmints. They may not be ideal for heavy weight target pills.

November 7, 2010, 11:39 AM
I know the the longer the barrel the more accurate the rifle. That's why I am inclined to buy the Varmit (26"barrel) but what if I decide to try hunting?

Can you fill me in on how you know this? I think you have been misinformed on this issue.

The fact that it's a "varmint" rifle doesn't have anything to do with what you can hunt with it....As long as it's the minimum caliber required per state hunting regulations you are fine. But lugging a varmint rifle around during deer season can get old real quick.

Pull up a chair and hand around for a while....There is a lot of good info here to get you started.

November 7, 2010, 11:58 AM
A longer barrel of the same diameter willl tend to have more flex and "whip" than a shorter barrel. There's a good link out there I'll try to find.

Edit -here's a link to one opinion.

November 7, 2010, 12:16 PM
Why do so many leave the "n" out of varmint???

November 7, 2010, 12:25 PM
Longer barrels are seen on 308 "target" guns because it's a popular caliber for 800 - 1000 yard Palma shooting. Outside the US, rules for Palma require you use a 155gr 308. The longer barrels - like 28 - 32" - are usually massive (1.25 all the way to a muzzle turndown for the front sight) since they're only shot in prone and you need that kind of length to keep a 308 comfortably supersonic at 1000 yds.

The Rem 700 SPS Varmint is .820 diameter at the muzzle - not bad for rigidity but not a true bull barrel. As noted above, not a real joy to lug around the woods for a day but nice to setup for a long session of prone shooting.

November 7, 2010, 12:34 PM

Great question! The varmint rifles are excellent big game rifles, of course, depending on the caliber. I used to shoot the 6mm Rem, in a M700V for deer and varmint back in the 80s, and it was tremendously accurate. At present, I am debating if I want to deploy my M700 Police .308 Win or my M70 Stealth .308 Win for deer season. Since I hunt the open bean fields, the heavier barrel is nice both for accuracy and for stability. But the greatest benefit I see to using the varmint style rifle is that of using it year-round. One develops some impressive shooting ability when one uses a single rifle for target, varmint and big game. :D


November 7, 2010, 12:35 PM
It's pretty simple really, if you hunt varmints and predators with lighter, faster bullets, it's your "varmint" rifle.
If you switch over to medium weight bullets, designed for big game, it's your deer or elk hunting rifle.
It will be whatever you want it to be.


November 7, 2010, 01:30 PM
Here is what .308 can do to 3/8'' steel pipe.. This was a 150 grain steel cored penetrator bullet fired out of my 22'' M1A with a mild load. If I had boosted it up to 45-46 grains fired out of my 26'' remington 700 I could have passed on through it.. You think a soft skinned animal has a chance? Not!!

November 7, 2010, 01:32 PM
Is a steak-knife only for steak?

Art Eatman
November 7, 2010, 05:09 PM
If one's interest is in ultra-tight-group shooting, where the goal is for groups of less than one or two tenths of an inch extreme spread, Google for "Secrets of the Houston Warehouse". The conclusion from three years or so of dedicated shooters trying all manner of variants was that a barrel of 21.75 inches is "the real deal". But barrel length alone was not all there was to their success in tiny groups.

If "merely" sub-MOA is adequate, then barrel length is of no importance. I've managed 1/2-MOA from 19" barrels and from 26" barrels. Tweaking the bedding and tailoring handloads to the particular rifle served quite well for this.

November 7, 2010, 07:15 PM
you must read lots of hunting/shooting mags....I kill big hogs, coyotes with a .17hmr, just depends what I choose to pull out of my safe, 22-250, .,308, 7-08 are a grownup, make up you r own mind cause you know what they ssay about opinons. there are so many experts on these sites, bottom line makeup your own mind..aint nothing like experience.

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