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New Varmint Caliber

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by M.E.Eldridge, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. M.E.Eldridge

    M.E.Eldridge Well-Known Member

    I recently sold my .222 to a friend who wanted to get into varmint hunting, so now I need a new rifle. I want to be able to hunt hogs, coyote/wolf, groundhogs, mountain lions, bobcat, lynx, and other pests. I want to know which caliber would be a better fit for my needs: the .223Rem or .243Win?

    I have shots under 150 yards and usually about 100 yards.

    I want to keep the pelts, so damage needs to be minimal there.

    I also want a flat shooting cartridge with good accuracy.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. dakotasin

    dakotasin Well-Known Member

    because of wolves and mountain lions, i would reccomend a 25-06. i wouldn't be comfy w/ a 243, especially re: mountain lions.

    remove those 2, and 223 is just fine.
  3. danurve

    danurve Well-Known Member

    I can think of two people right off the bat that have .222's and refuse to part with them. I don't belive it's just because they both happen to be 788's.
  4. Steve F

    Steve F Well-Known Member

    What dakotasin said;)
  5. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    +1 (actually +2)

    You can use heavy for caliber bullets on smaller game and get controlled expansion for minimum pelt damage and good penetration on hogs
  6. Live Free Or Die

    Live Free Or Die Well-Known Member

    Hogs?...Mountain lions? I think we're exiting the realm of varmint calibers. Unless you're talking about piglets and mountain kittens. :)
  7. Buzztail

    Buzztail Well-Known Member

    I'd say .25-06 as well. Your talking too many sizes of game animal to just use one caliber, but the 25-06 would be my choice for the lightest round for the heaviest game on your list.
    Throw in a .204 Ruger, and your list is covered. My[​IMG]
  8. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    For shots at or under 150 yards, given the variety of game you're talking about, I'd say .243 should do just fine. IMHO, .25-'06 would be warranted if you were talking about much longer ranges, but at those ranges (in fact, out to 200 yards or more) the .243 will have enough energy to get the job done.

    I would not go with a .223 because of the larger animals on your list. I want a bit more punch when dealing with mountain lion, thank you very much!
  9. epijunkie67

    epijunkie67 Well-Known Member

    I gotta agree with the preacherman on this. Of the two calibers you listed I'd go with .243. Look at the ballistics tables. For example, using winchester ammo and their online data at 100 yards I get;

    .223 55 grain super x soft point, 921 ft/lb, short traject 0.8, long trajec 1.9
    .223 64 grain super x power point, 1003 ft/lb, short traject 0.7, long taject 1.7
    .243 80 grain super x soft point, 1551 ft/lb, short traject 0.7, long traject 2.9
    .243 100 grain super x power point, 1615 ft/lb, short traject 0.9, long traject 1.9

    The energy difference between the heaviest .223 available (from them) and the middle of the road 80 grain .243 is over 550 ft/lbs. That's like getting shot with the heavy .223 (at range) AND a .357 magnum at the muzzle! The energy difference only increases if you use even heavier .243 rounds and bullet placement is within 0.2 inches.

    .243 all the way on this one.
  10. colt.45

    colt.45 Well-Known Member

    .243 is your best bet. people hunt mountain lions all the time with 44mag leverguns, so 243 is just fine. plus its a pretty flat shootig round.

    i think 25-06 is overkill
  11. kennyboy

    kennyboy Well-Known Member

    I would choose .223 since you don't want to damage the pelts. It's not as powerful as the .243, but for the game you plan on shooting and at those ranges, you will be able to place your shots and make one shot kills with ease.
  12. M.E.Eldridge

    M.E.Eldridge Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all of the responses, guys. I think so far the general consensus is to go with the .243. Kepp the info coming.
  13. dakotasin

    dakotasin Well-Known Member

    i stick by the 25-06 suggestion... i watched a mountain lion w/ a well-placed lung shot from a 308 get awfully ornery. i would not mess w/ kitties w/ a 6mm. i know nothing of hunting wolves.

    pelt damage... yep, the 223 and 243 will both do it. the 25-06 won't if you stick w/ big game bullets. if you go w/ varminter bullets, all 3 will destroy pelts. i have busted most critters on the list w/ a variety of cartridges. a 223 can do the job, and so can a 243, but in both instances pelt damage will be pretty impressive - unless you can use a 223 w/ rapid expansion so that it stays inside the animal. if you're serious about pelts, look to the 17 remington. small entrance hole, no exit. and then get a 308 for wolves and lions.
  14. loadedround

    loadedround Well-Known Member

    Have you looked at the new 204 Ruger cartridge? At the ranges you are shooting, under 200 yds, this caliber appears to be ideal for any varmint up to 70-80 lbs. It is fairl quiet and has no kick whatsoever. I have one in a Ruger 1B and love it.
  15. IV Troop

    IV Troop Well-Known Member

    The 243 will do quite well even on the kitties. I have used the 243 on big mule deer with no problems at all. I have a friend who is a rancher and has killed a number of elk on his place with his 243, simply because it is what he has. He has never had to shoot one twice. Not my choice for elk but hey I have killed a dozen elk with a 270 with no problems even when all the "experts" say you need at least a 7mm or 30 cal mag:rolleyes:

    The 243 will cover the spectrum you have defined quite nicely.
  16. North Texan

    North Texan Well-Known Member

    A .223 will kill all of the game you have mentioned. I have killed hogs in the 250 to 300 pound range with it. But it won't do it with the same bullet you are going to want to use for varmints. With rapid expansion bullets like the Hornady V-Max, I have always had clean kills on coyotes with no pelt damage. It's good on coyotes out to at least 300 yards, and works on hogs out to 100 yards. It was the only gun I had for a while, and I hunted hogs and deer with it for several years. Had I had the chance to hunt mountain lions with it, I would have used it on them and never thought twice. One of my mentors has predator hunted for many, many years, and has killed probably more mountain lions with his .222 than most people will ever see in a lifetime.

    However, I recently acquired a 25-06 and I am beginning to carry it a little more when I think I may run across something larger than a coyote. It shoots very flat and has a lot more power and penetration. Of course, this is with Accubonds. I didn't get a load developed for it I liked until Saturday for varmint bullets. Hopefully next week I'll get to try it out on some coyotes.

    My recommendation would be to eventually plan on getting two rifles. My problem with trying to get a gun that is the jack of all trades is you also wind up with a gun that is the master of none. Or at least that's how I justify purchasing more guns.:D
  17. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    well if you gotta have it for wolves and the like, the BEST cartridge is the 6mm. it is far superior to the 243, just read a great case study between it and the 243. also you can find an old remmy mohawk in 6mm, and they arebeautiful and unique with their ribbed ultrashort bbl, 16 inches. the case design allow for superior accuracy , super steady pressure curve, burns the powder much more uniformly and quickly, has a longer neck to keep it cooler as the propellant moves toward the chamber and thus far greater bbl life. Plus Academy still sells the remmy factory rounds here in houston for about 9 bucks a box. i woul dfeel more comfy with the different 25's but there you will have to contend with a longer bbl, and i don't know how "handy" you need to rifle to be.
  18. Sharps Shooter

    Sharps Shooter Well-Known Member

    Is hunting wolves legal anywhere in the lower 48? I'm not trying to flame you here Mr. Eldridge, but the way you ask the original question about a varmint rifle for hunting "coyote/wolf" makes me suspect you might think they're the same dogs by different names. They're not. And if you shoot a wolf around here the damage your rifle did to the animals pelt will be the very least of your worries. In fact you'd be a lot better off to follow the 3S rule - shoot, shovel and shut-up.
    But to answer your question, I have no hesitation about using my .223 for any of the animals you mentioned (other than wolves) up to and including mountain lions. But hogs are a different matter. I've never hunted them but from what I've heard they can be pretty tough and even mean. Because you included them, I'd go with the .243. Besides, a .243 makes a fine deer rifle when you're not using it for varmints.
  19. M.E.Eldridge

    M.E.Eldridge Well-Known Member

    I know the difference between the coyote and the wolf just fine. I'm pretty sure that it isn't legal to hunt wolf in the lower 48 but if I ever have a chance to hunt in Alberta( hopefully in a few years) I might have a chance to hunt wolf. I've been told its legal there(I'll confirm with officials before trying anything).

    I just classified them like "coyote/wolf" because they are both canids and I have much less a chance of hunting wolf than I do coyote. Therefore, I didn't want it to be in the "main list". I only wanted it to be a secondary consideration. I can see were confusion would come from as I wasn't very clear.
  20. Sharps Shooter

    Sharps Shooter Well-Known Member

    Sorry if I upset you. That wasn't my intention.
    Since wolves ARE a possibility for you, I would even more strongly recommend the .243 over the .223. The 6mm and the 25-06 as other have suggested would also be good choices IMO.

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