Bored with .223 (.22 cal in general) for varmints/preadator hunting


February 4, 2011, 02:51 AM
Let me explain....I dont think there is anything wrong with .223/5.56 for a varmint rifle. I am just wanting more.

More range and less wind drift and long range energy for coyotesis what I am looking for. And possibly to use on antelope and maybe even mule deer at shorter ranges than my main deer/elk rifle (see below) And maybe some informal long range tgt work with friends. Think 400-800 yds at steel plates out in the Idaho desert.

My battery consists of:
CZ 452 varmint in .22--superb accuracy (1/2" @ 50 yds easily), but could do with some trigger work

Weatherby Vangurad Varmint special in .223--awful trigger and ok accuracy--best I can get is 1 moa @ 100 yds.

AR-15 (Stag Arms)--only used iron sights but seems quite accurate, trigger is typical GI

Browning A-Bolt composite stalker in .270 WSM--ok trigger (might like a bit lighter) and quite accurate (3/4 MOA at 100 yds)

Now you know what I have. What I am looking for is a bit of what I stated above. Keep in mind I DO NOT reload. I amy at some point in the future but not anywhere in the near future (my spare time is spent dog training and tying trout flies :o). So ammo must be available over the counter from local Cabelas or Sportsmans etc. so no wildcats or hard to find commercial ammo in varmint bullets (think Vmax etc) and wanting reasonable priced as well, my .270 WSM is not cheap! I do prefer short action calibers too. I am looking to bridge the gap between .22(.223/5.56) and .270 WSM. Not interested in .308 either at this time. As far as bullet weight I am looking for 80-100 gr range on the low end. Recoil is also a consideration as I want to see my hits (misses) in the scope to adjust as needed at long ranges on coyotes or steel. As does weight of the rifle. I dont particularly want to carry a 15lb bench rest gun. My Weatherby Varmint is about 8lbs with out scope and that is about ideal. However going up or down 1-2 lbs will be considered. I am planning on scoping my AR-15 for a walk around coyote gun and/or to be used for quick close up shots.

I am leaning towards .243, but have also looked very hard at the .260 (the BC of that round is amazing!) .25-06, has also been a consideration but as mentioned I prefer a short action caliber.

So thats what I am looking for in a far as rifles I have looked at a couple of Savage.
Model: 12 Long Range Precision
Model: 10 Predator Hunter Max 1

I even considered getting a Rem 700 or Savage action and buying a shilen barrel with something like a Jewel trigger and HS precision stock....but that looks like it may get out of my price range (below $900) and the more affordable the better so I have $$ for a better scope than the Cabelas one I use now. I am looking at a Leopold VXIII with varmint reticle (I have a VXIII B&C and love it)

I appreciate any info on calibers, ammo selection for predators and informal steel, barrel life, recoil, cost etc
As well as rifle suggestions to include a my thoughts on a shilen barreled savage or Rem 700 action.

Also does anyone shoot either of those two Savage's? Is the Accustock worth it, or am I better off with something like the HS precision? What is the typical trigger pull weight and quality (creep, gritty, break) of the accutrigger?

Thanks all!!

BTW the Weatherby Vanguard will most likely be sold to pay for this. May not be this varmint season but hopefully for this summer/fall.

If you enjoyed reading about "Bored with .223 (.22 cal in general) for varmints/preadator hunting" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
February 4, 2011, 03:06 AM
.243 is reasonably priced and available in bullet weights to fit well for all of your listed game, and an occasional steel plate.
Any of the Savage line with Accutrigger would be exceptional an economical by comparison to some of the others out there.

The only Accutrigger that I have Direct experience with is on a Mark 1 single shot 22 and is SWEET. 3.5 # is as low as it goes, but is very smooth and predictable.

i loves my gun
February 4, 2011, 03:17 AM
i feel the same way, i have a rem.model seven .243, along with a .223 and couple .22s, but i still feel the need for something more..

February 4, 2011, 07:12 AM
The 243 is hard to beat, if you reload you can send a 55 grain pill downrange at 4000 + ft.per second. And you load up to 105 grain hunting bullet that works great for deer. And punch out 1/2 minute angle groups, whats not to like!

February 4, 2011, 07:28 AM
Have you looked at the Winchester Model 70 Coyote Light? Link:


February 4, 2011, 07:39 AM
You can find 243 ammo everywhere...260 not so much (and I have two of them). That said, at a gun store or big-box sporting goods shop like Cabelas/Bass Pro/Gander/Sportsmans you shouldn't have much problem.

Loaded 260 Rem ammo is pretty much limited to 140gr soft points, 120gr ballistic tips, or (if you can find it) match ammo with Scenars; 243 loaded ammo comes in a variety of weights & bullet types from light varmint bullets right up through Nosler Partitions.

I *love* the 6.5mm, but given you don't reload I'd have to point you toward 243 at this point. Buy any Savage and you can get a 260 barrel later to swap-on.

February 4, 2011, 08:45 AM
.243 if you want to stay smaller, 7mm-08 if you want bigger. As you said, .260 is great too, but since you don't reload I'm not sure how much you will be able to take advantage of it.

February 4, 2011, 09:14 AM
Savage 12 or the Thompson center Icon precision Hunter in 243, both have excellent triggers and very accurate, and I believe both can be found for under $900.
The edge goes to the Icon for fit and finish shorter barrel 22inch vs Savage 26, can't go wrong with either.

February 4, 2011, 10:29 AM
The 7mm-08 would be worth considering I think. Great for the larger game you mentioned and there is still factory ammo available in lighter bullet weights for the smaller stuff. It is becoming more popular too so ammo availability will only increase I would think.

February 4, 2011, 10:49 AM
For availability of factory ammo in a heavy varmint round, the .243 Win is where it's at. The only place you can't find varmint rounds is at Wal-Mart or Dicks. They tend to only carry 100 grain deer bullets. (Some folks just don't get it.)

Cabelas usually has 80 grain rounds, and most good gun stores do too.

The .260 Rem is a fine round, but very difficult to find varmint rounds. It's billed as a deer round, as is the 7mm-08.

It's funny, but you can probably find more 125 grain, 30-06 cartridges than light bullets for a 7mm-08.

Anyway, I own two .243 Wins and am very impressed with the cartridge. One is a Handi-Rifle, and the other a custom rebarrelled 80's Rem 700 ADL. The second one is a fantastic shooter, as it was when sporting the .22-250 barrel, but now it's much more versatile!

February 4, 2011, 12:04 PM
I've been looking at the .260 Rem myself. From all I read, it sounds like a reloader's proposition. Yes, there are factory loads out there, but few and far between--with the result that they are fairly expensive. In contrast, .243 is widely available. I'd go that route in your situation.

February 4, 2011, 12:20 PM
HS precision takes endorsements from murderers I'd stay away from them.

February 4, 2011, 12:22 PM
HS precision takes endorsements from murderers I'd stay away from them.


February 4, 2011, 12:48 PM
Get a 22-250 or 204. My whole family is full of 22-250 lovers. I have one, my dad has one, my nephew has one, and finally my brother in law just got his. The nice thing about them is you can also cleanly take deer with them if your state allows it. Ours took four with four shots this year.

February 4, 2011, 12:51 PM
Jerkface, elaborate please I would love to hear this.

February 4, 2011, 01:53 PM
Jerkface read some upchunk on atomic nerd

February 4, 2011, 02:09 PM
Get a 22-250 or 204. My whole family is full of 22-250 lovers. I have one, my dad has one, my nephew has one, and finally my brother in law just got his. The nice thing about them is you can also cleanly take deer with them if your state allows it. Ours took four with four shots this year.

Im wanting to stay away from the light bullets.

And I wouldnt trust a ,22-250 on or Mulies out west in Idaho. They are not your light bodied southern white tails people use the light .224 cal bullets on. Antelope maybe, but then again not at the ranges I see in my area (200 is a VERY close shot--more like 350+ for speed goats)

Yea ammo availability is a big reason I have .243 over .260. MAybe a trip to Boise Cabelas/Sportsmans is in order to look at ammo on the shelf. Its past deer season and the heart of coyotes so I can see what to expect for deer ammo when it should be available and what is not around in the thick of yote hunting.

Another thing with .260. Its a bit closer to my .270 WSM, meaning more heavily used for deer/antelope that coyotes then the .243 is Which sits in the middle of that and .223/5.56. Its just looking at the ballistics of it that draws me to it. Better BC with less drop and wind drift than .308 and even .300 Wn Mag. It would be a SUPERB long range coyote/antelope rifle. I hear it is also easier on barrels (life) than .243. Although I think short barrrel life is exaggerated on the .243.

Tim the student
February 4, 2011, 02:16 PM
I'd go for the .243 just for availability of ammo since you don't reload.

I don't own a rifle with an Accutrigger (yet!) but I've used them a few times. I like them.

Jerkface, elaborate please I would love to hear this.

Here are a couple things to get you started:

February 4, 2011, 02:23 PM
Ok...22-250 too light, 25-06 perfect! 100-120 grain bullets, flat trajectory will anchor even the biggest mulie. If you are worried about the price of ammo go for a 308 instead. 6.5 creedmoor is another option.

February 4, 2011, 02:47 PM
One really needs to be a reloader to take advantage of all the 6.5mm offerings (260, Creedmoor, Swede, x284, etc) have to offer, in my opinion.

Nosler makes .264 100gr Ballistic Tips and Hornady makes 95gr V-Max that would be deadly on varmints at any range...up to 140gr Partitions or A-Frames for heavier game animals and many options in between.

February 4, 2011, 02:59 PM
+1 ... 0n the 25-06......... 85gr and 90gr factory offerings for varmints can be found at the Sportmans Warehouse as well as 117gr for WhiteTail + size game.

You just need to get over that "Long action" phobia of your's ;)

I hope you enjoy whatever rifle you choose,...Tentwing

February 4, 2011, 03:37 PM
add another vote for the 243 on accuracy, versatility, and ease of finding ammo that is usually priced well.

February 4, 2011, 04:12 PM
Add me in to the .243 votes. It seems to suit what you need. Mulies might be pushing it but, it is still doable if at close range with good shots.

My old .243 load for predators and varmints was a 70gr load. I am sure you could find similar. For larger game go with a 100gr. I did load up some 55gr pills and got 4250fps out of them, but why when the 70's work so well? They should meet most of your varmint needs.

If you plan to focus more on mulies, maybe the 25-06 would be better, but I don't care for it. It is just too much for me since it kicks harder than a 7x57. I don't think I would be able to shoot it enough to practice for long range. But for you it might work just fine.

I use a .257Roberts where both the 25-06 and the .243 fit. Not as fast as the -06, but a good bit more punch than the 243. But you would have to load to really use it. I use a 90gr or 100gr bullet out of it for about anything.

February 4, 2011, 04:14 PM
I really like the 25/06,but since you nodded for a short action and want something that ammo is easy to find,I'd say get a 7mm-08.

The 257 Roberts is a great caliber,but ammo can be hard to come by when off the beaten path.

February 4, 2011, 04:33 PM
I have looked at .257 roberts...lost interest after I saw ammo availability
And yes the .25-06 is still up there.

Mulies will be on the bottom of the usage...I have my .270 WSM for that as well as my bow. Antelope is a strong possibility, dont see the logic in getting pounded with that WSM for such light skinned game.

But yes yotes and rock chucks are the main objective.

I think a trip to the the big box outfitters is need to check on ammo...

February 4, 2011, 06:21 PM
Since you already have the 270 WSM why not just start loading for it? You can come up with a load for all your purposes. It will be quite a bit cheaper and you dont have to depend on stores for the ammo you want. Depending on how much you shoot, loading rifle ammo doesnt take that much time. Just my .02.

February 4, 2011, 09:40 PM
Jerkface, elaborate please I would love to hear this.

They put an endorsement from Lon Hirochi on their website. So they'll get none of my money.

February 4, 2011, 10:55 PM
My thoughts are as follows:

The marvelous 6.5mm cartridges (to include the .260Rem., 6.5mmCreedmoor, 6.5mmSwede, et cetera) shouldn't be considered because you don't reload.

The .243Win. (or better yet the 6mmRem.) is simply too light to be effective without very good placement on the large game that you describe. It also exhibits premature wear on barrels, which may be a deleterious aspect for target use (depending upon the frequency of use). Same goes for anything smaller.

I feel the best options for the several uses that you describe is the 7mm-08Rem. or perhaps the good 'ole .30-06Spd. I'd lean towards the former due to lesser recoil whilst maintaining a similar trajectory and good moderate range terminal performance on big game species; but the later affords greater ammunition availability (often can be found cheaper as well), and better terminal ballistics.


February 5, 2011, 11:14 AM
Honestly I think you'd be better off using your current rifles and reloading for them.

February 5, 2011, 11:35 AM
i would also endorse the .243 win. but one might also consider the 6.5x55. that is also one excellent round with light to moderate recoil.

February 5, 2011, 02:27 PM
since you do not reload i would suggest the 243.


February 5, 2011, 03:46 PM
That 270WSM should be fine IMO.

February 5, 2011, 04:11 PM
.257 Weatherby Magnum! Oops, you don't reload...:uhoh: Okay, especially given what you already have, I'll recommend the .25-06.

February 5, 2011, 05:34 PM
.243, more versatile than almost any caliber

February 5, 2011, 06:50 PM
I'm kinda biased, cuz I have a 6mm Remington (think .243 then add 100 f.p.s.), but for your stated purpose and limiting yourself to a short action, you would be best served with a .243. If you're willing to go long action, then .25-06. For sheer ammo availability, both the number of stores that stock it, and the variety of loads you'll probably find, the .243 probably still wins. The .243 has been around for a long time for a very good reason!!

Daniel Boone
February 5, 2011, 06:57 PM
I think that you are one of the most honest people on the internet and that your answer deserves a real answer and not just a opinion.

Let me start off by saying that the 30-60 Springfield is the caliber by which all other calibers are measured. Good enough for just about anything that you want to shoot and cheap enough that you could afford to shoot it more then a couple of times a year without breaking the bank,
With all that said - I would go with what ever gun platform best suits your needs = be it a Remington or a Savage or a Winchester or what ever gun manufacturer.

My second choice would be a .300 Winchester Magnum.
My opinion is - if it is good enough to be a sniper rifle for the military - then it is good enough for me. I do not need the recoil of the .338 Winchester Magnum, nor the expense of the ammo, but I like the stopping power.

The ammo for the .300 Winchester Magnum rifle is just slightly more expensive then the 30-06 rounds and is available at most any store in any state - especially in those small country stores the day before hunting season.

February 5, 2011, 11:01 PM
Being in western Idaho, I would think you'd want to stay away from .22-250 and similar cartridges. I know you already said you wouldn't go for such a cartridge, but I'd just like to reinforce that notion. .22-250 won't zip through brush very well. The .270 WSM that you currently own seems like it would be just fine for mule deer and coyotes, just like jeepmor said. But if you're looking for an excuse to get another gun, I'd personally get something in .308 because I'm a penny-pincher. Also, I think .308 is mildly underrated.

If you enjoyed reading about "Bored with .223 (.22 cal in general) for varmints/preadator hunting" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!