Varmint Rifle

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Jun 11, 2007
Well - I'm going to buy a varmint rifle - but there are too many choices - what a nice problem. Anyhow - just trying to wrap myself around the idea. While my heart leans towards an AR15 - sold my Colt 6-7 years ago :banghead: I'd really like another one, but is it going to be a decent varmint rifle? My friend has land nearby and a nasty yote population - so it's time to buy something.

I'm leaning towards (no particular order)

.223 (ar15)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Oh and I do plan on reloading :)
If you are going to go with an AR stick to the 223 I think. Your goot out to 200 or 250 yards with it. you have a wide range of bullets you can use with it. You can use them new famn dancy Dead Coyote Bullets.

If you are going with a bolt gun by all means go for that 22-250. You will be able to reach out and touch a yote with it. More speed and you do not need to worry about barrel heat like Pdoggers do. That or the 220 Swift are the big 22 I would go with in a bolt gun.

While I love the 204 Ruger. It is smaller and lighter leading to bullet drift at longer range from wind. I would limit it to no more than 200 yards on yotes. This is looking to be a good round for the least ammount of pelt damage. If you are going to sell them.

Don't forget GOOD Glass to top that puppy with either.
I would also take that Benelli 12ga along with me too. Load it with some Dead Coyote buckshot I have seen the 3" mag loads curl up a yote at 65+ yards.

If you want more info try looking over at
Nothing wrong with the ar-15, but get this. For varminting, I could get an H&R varmint rifle, single shot, for a whole hell of a lot less (probably around $200).
I prefer .223 due to the abundance of cheap brass for reloading and much longer barrel life compared to 22-250. I shot a dozen coyotes last year, all of them at distances greater than 200 yards, and 8 of them dropped instantly, the others ran a short distance (less than fifty yards), and then collapsed. The 22-250 is loud and heats up barrels much faster than the 223. Depending on your type of shooting, this might not be an issue however.
.223 or .22-250 if you don't reload, .220 Swift if you do.

Why the Swift? You can run .22-250 velocities at lower presssures than the .22-250 (longer throat life), or you can exceed the .22-250 by 200+ FPS.

My .220 loads fall in the middle. I typically run 55 gr. moly-caoted V-maxes at 3850-3900 FPS. It's a bona-fide 600 yard rat rifle. I chose a Ruger M77VT as the platform (one of two options in factory .220 rifles, unfortunately). I would've preferred a Remington VLS because lightening the trigger is easy and free, but this Ruger has proven to be quite a performer, running average 200 yard 5-shot groups (allowing 1 flyer) of 1.56" from a sandbagged rest.
I recently built myself a dedicated varmint gun on the AR platform pretty cheap, went with a model 1 sales upper with the 24 inch heavy barrel in .223, shoot 75 grain black hills in it and nothing else and the thing shoots the lights out, you wouldn't believe it. I haven't taken it past 300 meters yet, but the performance has been amazing so far. It has a 1 in 8 twist.
Remington 700 VS SF in 22-250 with 50 grain V-Max's. If you load down to 223 velocities you will see longer barrel life. If your yote hunting you probably won't be shooting that often so barrel life shouldn't be a problem.
As Remington rifles their 22-250's with a 1 in 14 twist you need to stay with lighter bullets. Mine won't shoot anything heavier than 50 grains.
I took some friends varminting in Wyoming, shooting prairie dogs on our cattle ranch. My 22-250 vs their .223s was no contest in the Wyoming winds. For shorter ranges, the .223 is a cheaper alternative but at range and in the wind, the 22-250 wins hands down.
If you like the 22-250, you will love the 204 Ruger. It bucks the wind every bit as well as the 22-250 (according to the charts), and uses less powder.

Now, for coyotes or larger critters it might not be enough medicine, but for varminting it is the bee's knees
The .204 also has less muzzle rise than the 22-250 so that you can watch your shots but my 22-250 has a special place in my heart :D
My son in Texas has been using a .204 and a predator call to put the skids on coyotes and bobcats at the ranch. He told me about a month ago it has closed the curtain on about 20 coyotes since last April.


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I vote: Get the AR. I love to varmint hunt with it. I need to get a 16" upper for home defense, though.

This is a 24" 1-12 .223 match chambered furry-thing-killing machine. The 77 grains hold close groups out past 400 yards. I plan to eventually learn to shoot solid 700-800 yard shots (paper punching, people; i just want the skill, I'll use the RUM on the deer past 600).

Pictured with my wife taking a yote on a cold southern Idaho day:

nice rifle, you don't know how lucky you are that you married a women that will shoot with you. good choice.
An AR in .223 sounds like it would be just about perfect. I wouldn't shoot a coyote past 250 yards with the .204. And the .223 gets much better barrel life than the 22-250 and the .220 swift.

But if you are a little low on cash, the H&R varmint gun idea sounds great too.
I love my 700 in .223 so you know which way I lean, and it shoots better than I do. Not to mention the wide variety of rounds in this caliber.
is a heavy barrel necessary for a varmint rifle? I found a 22-250 w/o a heavy barrel. I would say no, but that's just my opinion, but I'm not an expert - therefore, the questions.

An AR in .223 sounds like it would be just about perfect. I wouldn't shoot a coyote past 250 yards with the .204. And the .223 gets much better barrel life than the 22-250 and the .220 swift.

Why would a 204 not be suitable past 250 yards but a 223 would?

This is a 24" 1-12 .223 match chambered furry-thing-killing machine. The 77 grains hold close groups out past 400 yards.

This might just be a typo, but do you really mean 77 grain bullets out of a 1 in 12" twist barrel? I always thought the high-60's was getting to the upper limit of a 1 in 9".
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