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Caliber for Varmints

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by red rick, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I am getting into varmint hunting , to help my rabbit population some on my property . I have noticed a decline in the number of rabbits that my dogs jump this year as compared to last year . I was deer hunting and got a nice gray fox a few weeks ago and I let my nephew and one of his in-laws hunt the other night and they got a bobcat .

    What caliber would you choose ? They were using a 17 hmr , I think that is to small , but I do like that it is not so loud . I didn't even hear the shot from inside my house when they shot the bobcat behind my house . I figure a lot use a 22-250 and 223 . I reload 223 so that is a plus , but both of them are loud . I was thinking 17 hornet and 204 ruger . Biggest varmint would be a coyote and distance , max 300 yards .
     
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  2. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    IMO .17HMR if fine for Bobcat and Fox out to perhaps 150 yds (but better at distances 100 yds. and under). If you expect to hunt Coyotes (especially at longer distances) then certainly something more powerful is needed. Of the two you mentioned...I'd pick the 204 Ruger.
     
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  3. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    OK so the way I see it, 1. get a suppressor, or 2. Accept the noise, or 3. Shorten your distance expectations. That being said......
    For 300 yards your .223 would work dandy. The .22-250 is a hoot but unnecessary for your given parameters and will definitely increase the noise levels. The .22 hornet will also do your job, and somewhat quieter than the .223, then there are the 6x45 and 6x47......faster=louder, you could load your own 17, but I'd not trust it to 300 if the wind blows in your neck of the woods. Good luck and keep us posted!
     
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  4. somethingbenign

    somethingbenign Member

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    I was researching this here recently and before 223 and other modern 22 cal rounds 22 hornet was the go to for varmits apparently. No experience with the round but what I'm seeing is it can be moderately effective with light recoil and a mild report compared to 223 and 22-250. Perhaps that is something you should look into, I know I am.
     
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  5. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    .22 WMR will work to 100 yards. I like the little round in my very accurate Remington 597M. My little Bushmaster M4 puts .223s into an inch and a half at 100 yards. My .257 Roberts can put down anything inside the county lines. LOL It would be a little much I'm guessing, for what you want.

    I'm not a varmint hunter, but being a handloader, I've always liked the idea of a .22 Hornet. Centerfire .22s have taken a back seat to the tacticool stuff in .223 in recent times, but back in the day, there was the .22 Hornet, the .218 Bee, the .219 Zipper, all sorts of really nifty cartridges in this class. This class of cartridges was once popular.

    Nothing wrong with the .222, either. If any of these is too loud, you might wanna consider a suppressor, but I don't have one. Noise isn't a big deal for me and jumping the red tape hoops of getting a suppressor just ain't worth it to me.
     
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  6. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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  7. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    In the areas I hunt 'yotes, the little .17 is my favorite. Most shots are under 100 yards when being called and the little bullet kills song dogs quite easily. The best thing about it is that the little bullet pretty much self destructs when hitting the ground, either frozen or thawed fields and thus the chance of ricochets is very slim. Since the area I hunt is checker-boarded with small farms, hobby farms and recreation properties with cabins, ricochets over open ground are not a good thing. In areas out west or in heavy cover, it would not be such a good choice. Without knowing your exact scenario, it would be hard to suggest much, but a loaded down .223 might be a very viable option.
     
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  8. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    I second MCgunner, can't go wrong with 22 magnum.
     
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  9. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I use a .223 Rem 700 heavy barrel for rock chucks. To me it is a perfect all round varmit cartridge. Especially since you already load for it. If the sound is really a concern for you a silencer on your .223 will probably be quieter than a non-silenced smaller cartridge.

    For under 50 yards I just use my heavy barrel acurized 10/22 with quality target ammunition.

    When reloading I personally find fewer different cartridges better than a wider variety of cartridges. It just seems to make life easier for stocking bullets, brass, powder, reloading dies, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
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  10. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I like my .204, but I feel like it's about maxed out on coyotes.
    If I go out specifically for coyotes, I generally take a 5.56 or .243.
     
  11. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    I am not saying these are the only good choices but just my preference.

    1. For fox, bobcat, raccoon, groundhog, crow, etc. inside 80 yards, not much can beat the 17 HMR in my opinion. This is especially true where noise or ricochets would be a bother or hazzard to neighbors. If it was what I had at the time, I would try it on coyote but it would't be my first choice.

    2. For longer ranges and even for deer, I've found the 204 Ruger to work very well. I wouldn't hesitate to use it at 300 yards for coyote. I've also used the 243 Winchester, 223 Remington, 222 Remington, 22-250 Remington, 300 Winchester Magnum, 44 Magnum, 357 Herrett, 12 Gauge Shotgun, 20 Gauge Shotgun and 458 Lott on varmints and they also work very well.
     
  12. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    17wsm is another good option.
    Personally, for night hunting, all my shots have been inside 130 yds.
    If it's day time, a 22-250 is hard to beat.
     
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  13. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    I'd use what I already have. You reload 223 so that would be it. Yes it's a little loud but how many shots will you be taking. You won't always see varmints so a late shot shouldn't be too much of an issue. As was stated earlier you could always down load a bit and decrease the report.
     
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  14. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I don’t have the rifle anymore .
     
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  15. Dibbs

    Dibbs Member

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    I purpose -built myself a varmint rifle last year, an AR-15, of course. Used a 5.56 barrel, 1:7 twist, and shoot .223 with it.
     
  16. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Sounds like a good use for a .223, 300 yards is stretching it for a rimfire.
     
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  17. Gumby0961
    • Contributing Member

    Gumby0961 Contributing Member

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    For anything 250 yards or less I love my rifle in 221 fireball. Its accurate, no recoil you can see where your shots land, 18 grains of powder makes it very economical.
     
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  18. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    22 magnum under 100 yrs is my go to.
     
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  19. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Everything you described I would use 223.
     
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  20. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer Member

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    .223 is my go to for Varmints, as well. If you already load for it, then you have options for 40 gr. bullets at 3,700 FPS down to .22 long rifle ballistics/ noise level. (If you have a bolt action, the Blue Dot loads won’t cycle an AR action). If you opt for the AR route, you can shoot the heavier bullets for longer range fun.
     
  21. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    The ideal cartridge for varmints is 222 Remington and anyone who disagrees is doo-doo. I'm not biased. Really.
     
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