Dedicated Varmint Rifle for Groundhogs caliber Choice [Archive] - Varmints Den

: Dedicated Varmint Rifle for Groundhogs caliber Choice


Danny
04-20-2008, 09:55 AM
I've been getting rid of my right hand rifles and will probably soon get something in a left hand rifle that will be a dedicated varmint rifle for groundhogs in Ohio. Since this will be a new to me rifle, I can make a new choice on caliber. I'd like to find what people consider to be the best overall groundhog rifle cartridge for what you'd find in Ohio and would like to limit the choices to factory rounds, but would consider the .17 Mach IV if someone thought that was idea. Also, the cartridge does not have to be a factory option in say, the Remington 700, or the other left hand rifle factory models. I would possibly consider rebarreling to get what I want.

Thanks,

Danny

glenn asher
04-20-2008, 10:46 AM
For me, it would be the .22/250, since it's well-nigh perfect for that use. I like a slightly faster twist than most factory rifles, so I'd pick a Savage with the 1-12" twist barrel (most brands use 1-14"). I like the VLP stock about as much as anything, too, so it would be a natural for me. I can take, or ignore the Accutrigger (use a SSS trigger, most likely). But, that's just me, and you might not like Savages, so Browning or Remington would work, too. I don't know if the "new" Winchesters will be lefty-friendly or not............

jonmdavis62
04-20-2008, 11:24 AM
l would go 223 up to 300
22-250 up to 450. past that the
6mmRem.
these can be had on about any
action you like.
Good hunting.J.D.

Zeus
04-20-2008, 12:01 PM
Having owned most factory varmint rifle calibers I would choose the 22-250 for an all around "low volume" varmint round. Groundhogs are a low volume type critter....If you were going to shoot lots and lots of rounds in a day I would choose the .223. But the .223 is cheaper to shoot and you could get much more trigger time at the range for a lot less.

VaBoy
04-20-2008, 02:02 PM
22-250 or better yet the .220 Swift. I take my Swift just about every place I go. If you have the area to hunt it's hard to beat.

udiablo
04-20-2008, 02:43 PM
I'm a believer in the Swift, and have been for many years.

I like to hunt coyotes and groundhogs, but we probably have more wind to contend with (eastern OK, western AR) than you do in Ohio.

Nothing quite compares to the way a hot loaded 40, 50, or 52 grain lets the air out of a groundhog.

Long live the Swift.

But, the .22-250 is also a fine choice.

And the .22-250 Ackley Improved is essentially the ballistic twin of the Swift.

I am not a fan of calibers smaller than .22 because I have enough difficulty handling and loading .22 bullets with my big hands/fingers.

FVA
04-20-2008, 09:26 PM
When it comes to putting the smackdown on woodchucks, if I could have only one cartridge it would be the 243. As a previous poster mentioned generally woodchuck hunting is a low round count afair.
The 223 just doesn't smack them with enough authority,paricularly at 350+ yard ranges to always keep them from getting in the hole.
the 22-250/220 swift are great but handicapped by their twist as the high BC bullets, 75/80 gr. A-max, offer so much at 500 yards on and a custom tube/twist is the only way to shoot them.
The 243 on the otherhand can drive 55's at warp speed and has the twist to shoot 105 A-max's at good enough launch speeds to be really meaningful. It does it all. Moving up to the 25's high BC varmint bullets are in short supply to non existent and can't outdo the 243 while burning alot more powder to try.

glenn
04-20-2008, 10:24 PM
I'm lefthanded and can tell you good factory rifles in varmint calibers are limited. I have a remington 700 varmint rifle in 22-250 that shoots very small groups, also have a couple of savages, one in 223 and the other is custom barreled for a 25 caliber wildcat based on the 6.5x68s rws case. Both are very accurate and fun to shoot, but my remington seems to be with me more than anything else. loading for the 22-250 is easy and there is a lot of good factory loads out there too.

Onehole
04-20-2008, 10:24 PM
It all depends on the yardage. I have shot or shot at ground hogs in Ohio at ranges out past 800 yards. Once you determine the max range that you anticipate your shots will be you should get a cartridge that will kill a hog cleanly with the minimum recoil.
When I started 300 yards was a long poke and a .223 was good enough. Once I started shooting out to 600 yards I used a .243.
Now I have a 6mm AI and consider shots out past 800 yards possible.
Always tailor your rifle/scope/cartridge to the type of hunting you will actually be doing.

sscoyote
04-21-2008, 12:13 AM
I would also look at the 243 Win. or 6mm Rem. I'd go right to the 87 V-Max if shooting a factory barrel, and see how it shoots. I'd get a decent optic for it (either tgt. turrets or ballistic reticle), maybe a cheap wind meter, and a Leica 1200 CRF laser. I'd calculate and test long-range dope, and see just how far i could get out there with it.

DuaneinND
04-21-2008, 08:58 AM
Here wold be my choices by caliber.
22 cal- A 22/243 Middlested- 9 twist- 75gr A-max
6MM- Factory choice- 243 win
Custom- 6mmAI or a 6/284
25 cal- Factory- 25/06
Custom- 257 DGR ( of course) or 250AI, 257AI
6.5- 260 Rem or 6.5/284
I think you need to plan for the "long" side of your shooting ability. You can shoot the close ones with anything, but you owe it to the GH to "clean his clock" at the longer ranges.

www.duanesguns.com

MDhogger
04-21-2008, 04:46 PM
First decide your style of hunting. Will you be setting up in one field for a extended period of time using a table. If so you can get by with a heavy rifle that will allow you to see hits better. Or are you going to do alot of walking, then you need a lighter carry rifle that won't wear you out lugging it around all day. Decide what range you can accurately shoot. Shooting off a bench you range is greatly extended. If shooting off hand or prone then maybe you can get by with a smaller caliber with less recoil, sound and powder use.

Alan in GA
04-21-2008, 07:10 PM
I've never had the opportunity to hunt and shoot ground hogs although I'd love to do it. Being that I have shot a lot of Montana ground squirrels, I always thought groundhogs would involve something of the order of a 25-06 or something with enough horsepower to lift and POW a ground hog. Not so?

HEAD0001
04-22-2008, 12:41 AM
I am also a lefty. I am in the process of putting together my first custom(or semi-custom) rifle. It is a LH Reminton Varminter that I am having rebarreled with a 1in8 Krieger barrel in 22-250 so I can shoot the 75's. Tom.

Stormbringer
04-22-2008, 12:38 PM
As others have stated it really comes down to range. If you are going to shoot over 500 yards very often then stepping up to a 243 would be a good choice. Recoil and the lack of spotting your hits/misses becomes a factor when shooting the 243 and bullets heavier than 65 grains.

My choice would be a 220 swift or 22.250. Try to get a 12 or even better a 10 twist. I have shot thousands of chucks and find the 40 and 50 grain bullets at swift, 22.250, 22.250 AI velocities to be very effective out to 500 yards and beyond.

Savage, Remington, Ruger, Tikka, CZ all make reasonably priced rifles that can typically shoot great.

Don't skimp on optics. The best compromise between cost and quality in scopes is the Bushnell Elite, Weaver or Nikon.

Mike.

deathwind II
04-23-2008, 12:05 AM
Since you mentioned factory ammo only; this can be purchased at a relatively low price. My little Rem. LVSF sporter is this Ohio 'hogger's rifle of choice out to about 275 yds., after that wind and knockdown/killing power become an issue. The lack of muzzle jump is pretty neat, too. For a lot of low-to-medium quantity hunting, this might bethe only rifle needed. Otherwise, a heavy-barreled .22-250 would be the way to go.

Sonny Pruitt
04-23-2008, 08:23 AM
I've tried them all, just about. Had a project 17 Remington, but it ran out of gas on longer shots. Used a 223 for a long time, then started getting the urge to go longer, 300+yds. The new 204 worked, but had to reload for it to get the best performance, had a few crawlers that would get back to the den on occassion with factory ammo. I was always taunted by my shooting buddies, why don't I just bite the bullet and go ahead and get a 22-250. I discovered they were right. It has the best reachability and whackability once it gets there. The 204 was the only one that could come close to staying with it for distance and regular kills, but I never made it past 400 yds with a 204.

In all honesty, I never tried the Swift. Bet I would like it though.

FVA
04-23-2008, 09:02 AM
The thing about the 22-250,and I love it, is it is hampered for real long range whackadoo by it's twist rate. the 243 can shoot 55's with a higher BC than the 22-250/swift 50's as fast as either can shoot the 50's. It also will handle the heavy, high BC offerings as well if you want to really reach out there. Hard to out 243 a 243 without going to higher capacity offerings.

eggman
04-23-2008, 06:15 PM
My choice for a built rifle would be a 20 Tac and for a factory rifle it would be a 204 Ruger. The Twenties are low recoil, flat shooting ,economical, accurate and deadly. I own rifles chambered in 20 PPC. 20 Tac, 20/22-250, 243, 22 Dasher, 6 Dasher 22-243 Rocket and the 20 Tac's are used while the other's sit in the safe. Each caliber has trade-offs and I believe the 20 Tac just makes more sense. FWIW

Rodney

Danny
04-23-2008, 06:37 PM
Ok, guys. Thanks for the help. Any other help beyond this is appreciated, as it's a good topic for me, as I havne't hunted in a long time and I've had to "Internet Hunt" through you guys because my shooting interests have led me to other areas that have taken a lot of time.

I think that my post may have been confusing. I meant to write that I wanted to stick with "factory chamberings" as far as round choice, which I think that most people got. I can't remember what exact terminology that I used then, but it was misleading enough to look like I might want to use factory ammunition (when I read it again). I strictly handload.

I have a few right hand rifles that I'll probably not ever get rid of because they are in a caliber that I seem to like a lot, and those are the 6mm Remington, .22 Hornet, .17 Remington and the .223 Remington that probably everybody has an example of , as well as a Swift that's shot out. I will likely use some of the smaller cartridge rifles for Groundhog as I start to get back into the game, but will want to get at least one Left Hand Bolt Action and when I do that, I'll get it in one cartridge that will be the best all around for what I think I might find here, and that might be one of the larger sized chamberings that I see mentioned here, but probably/maybe (but that depends upon what actually happens) more like the .220 Swift or the 6mm Remington, as I already have some gear for them. Had I not been already set up, .22-250 and .243 would have been just as good of a choice, and maybe simpler (and maybe it still is).

Did I miss anything, or does this spur more debate on?

Thanks,

Danny

sscoyote
04-24-2008, 04:48 PM
If i'm not mistaken Savage now produces a 9 twist 22-250. I'm not sure if they make it in both right and left bolt options, but that would be another option to consider. I have an AR 223AI that i used to run the 69 Nosler Comp in for coyotes and it gave decent terminal ballistics to 550 yds. There are a lot of .3-.4 BC 22 cal. bullets that'll work out of a 9 twist rig the best of which, IMO is the JLK 65 gr. Low Drag with a BC of .4. That is a fun area to experiment with for intermediate-range varminting -- the faster twist, high capacity 22's.

Catfish
04-24-2008, 04:55 PM
Danny,
For a groundhog rifle for use here in Oh. I think you have 3 excellant choices with factory loaded ammo. The old .17 Rem., the new .17-221, which is basicly the old .17 Mac 1V, and the .204 Ruger. I like to play with wildcats myself and have a .17 AH, a .17-223 to go with my .17 Rem. and they all slam groundhogs, even the little AH is good to over 300 yrds. with .19 gn. Calhoon bullets. Right now .204 ammo might be the easiest to find ammo for right now, but that could change.

dmnelson15
04-27-2008, 02:03 PM
The thompson center encore rifles are a good idea to look into as they are not left/right handed specific. they are a break action so they can be used by either one. mine has a factory 26" heavy barrel in 7mm rem mag, and although thats a bit much for ground hogs, it shoots no larger than 1 inch groups @ 100yds all day with a factory barrel. the barrels are interchangable by removing the front forearm and pivot pin, so you can have several different calibers with one reciever without affecting accuracy, as the optics are mounted on the individual barrels. factory barrels are a little over $200 and precision made ones that would be more accurate yet are a bit over $300. as far as caliber choice, since ground hogs arent a high volume varmint, 220 swift or 243 would give you the most long-range ability, but the swift would have to be custom ordered and the 243 is only available in the pro-hunter barrel as far as i know. for twist rate- 1 in 12" for the swift will be best for 50-55 grain bullets, and 1 in 14" for the lighter 40-50 grainers. the 243 would need a 1 in 10" for the lighter varmint bullets up to 80 grains. i'm from upstate new york so we have ground hogs as well and my swift has made plenty of kills beyond 200yds quite easily. good luck

dmnelson15
04-27-2008, 02:14 PM
The thompson center encore rifles are a good idea to look into as they are not left/right handed specific. they are a break action so they can be used by either one. mine has a factory 26" heavy barrel in 7mm rem mag, and although thats a bit much for ground hogs, it shoots no larger than 1 inch groups @ 100yds all day with a factory barrel. the barrels are interchangable by removing the front forearm and pivot pin, so you can have several different calibers with one reciever without affecting accuracy, as the optics are mounted on the individual barrels. factory barrels are a little over $200 and precision made ones that would be more accurate yet are a bit over $300. as far as caliber choice, since ground hogs arent a high volume varmint, 220 swift or 243 would give you the most long-range ability, but the swift would have to be custom ordered and the 243 is only available in the pro-hunter barrel as far as i know. i'm from upstate new york so we have ground hogs as well and my swift has made plenty of kills beyond 200yds quite easily. good luck

Sav-1Shot
04-27-2008, 09:57 PM
..I like the action from a .243 & 70gr. Nosler bt's over a stiff dose of Varget...:eek:...For factory ammo..Try some Hornady 58grainers..lol...:) ...

LanceInOregon
04-29-2008, 02:43 AM
I would also recommend .243 Win, as others have already pointed out how much more versatile it is, compared to the .22-250 It can basically behave like a .22-250 Ackley wildcat with factory 55 gr bullet loads. And it also gives you the option of using heavier bullets if you so like.

Remington did a limited run of their popular Model 700 LVSF ( Light Varmint Stainless Fluted barrel ) in .243 Win this year. For some reason, dealers have been selling these for about $90 less than what the 700 LVSF normally goes for. $790 seems to be a common street price for the 700 LVSF, and I purchase mine in .243 last week for only $700 even. So it appears that there is some kind of promotion going on for that caliber, as I previously saw a number of listings for it on gunbroker.com at that price.

Anyway, the 700 LVSF would make a great walking groundhog gun. I am putting one of the new Nikon Monarch 4-16x Side Focus scopes on mine.

If you wanted a much heavier factory gun with a long full varmint weight barrel, then the Savage 12 Low Profile Varminter in .243 Win would be the rifle that I would take a hard look at.

.

mwatson
04-30-2008, 12:35 PM
Have you looked at left handed Stag arms. You can get the upper in 204 Ruger or 223.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Mike

LanceInOregon
04-30-2008, 09:25 PM
Shoot, I missed the left handed requirement earlier.

Savage's popular Weather Warrior Rifles are available in left hand models. See:

http://www.savagearms.com/16flss.htm

WGI
05-01-2008, 01:12 AM
"I'd like to find what people consider to be the best overall groundhog rifle cartridge for what you'd find in Ohio and would like to limit the choices to factory rounds"

Hi,

Good honest question. I gave it some thought and as an avid groundhog hunter in a nearby state I consider these the "best" in common "factory rounds". However, I feel you will have to pick your game (roving/set) first or replace "best" with "all around". I am not aware of a single caliber that does both roving & distance "best". The "best tweener" for lack of a better phrase would be a .223 IMO. Jack of both games..........if you will........yet master of neither.

Roving/Walking with sticks and or sling, hay bails to fence poles 22 Hornet in bolt action repeater, walnut , sporter, 4x fixed up to 10x variable scope 40mm and under objective duplex wide angle smallish size scope, quality leather shooting strap.

Set shooting/Distance/ long Range done from prone .243 in bolt action repeater, laminate or walnut, varmint, 10x fixed up to 24x variable 40 mm and over objective quality repeatable turrets ballistic type reticle scope, cushy stretch sling, harries bi-pod & bunny ear rear bag for prone set shooting, l.r.f..

You will likely find there are many more hedge rows to walk on the East side of the Mississippi than there are fields large enough, flat enough and crops-hay low enough to allow long range shots safely and more Woodchucks appear at close to medium range than medium to long.


just my .2 cents

Danny
05-01-2008, 07:19 PM
Here's what happened. It's all a compromise between what I could find, what people here had to say, and another part of the equation that I didn't list. I'm a highpower competition shooter, and although I'd probably prefer to probably have a heavy walking varmint rifle/light stationary one, buying something without one of the HS Precision type stocks is a handicap on a rifle used for long Range Prone Competition. The HS Precision stock is not ideal for competition either, but it's a decent beginning stock which can be modified. What seemed to work and what was available was a Remington 700 VSF LH,in .22-250, which I got off of Gunbroker. I was going to get one from my local dealer, but he thought that they were not a current model and he could not find one, so he told me "if you can find one, grab it and do a transfer here", which I did. .22-250 is not something I can use for Highpower Prone, but it's a bolt head on the .308/.30-06 size, and if I burn the .22-250 barrel out on varminting, I can later use this as the basis of a Long Range Prone rifle for Highpower Competition. I think that all around it was a pretty good choice. I don't think I'll mind the extra weight of the heavy rig. either. I think I would have preferred for varminting something like the old Remington 700 Varmint Special with wood BDL Stock, in left hand, of course, maybe probably in .220 Swift or 6mm Remington (However, I do have a regular righty BDL in 6mm that I will keep for now).

Thanks for the help everybody,

Danny

WGI
05-01-2008, 08:53 PM
Danny,

Sure is hard to beat a Varminter /22-250 for Woodchucks. They go together like peanut butter & jelly. The 22-250 really hits them hard and tends to be a very accurate caliber. I liked 50 grain V Max's in mine, seems most 22-250's like them too. Give them a try. It will be many, many years before that barrel is shot out just using it for Woodchucks mostly.

Good choice........enjoy.

LanceInOregon
05-04-2008, 02:23 AM
Here's what happened. It's all a compromise between what I could find, what people here had to say, and another part of the equation that I didn't list.

Danny

Danny:

If you purchased your rifle on April 30th or before, then you quality for a $50 rebate from Remington.

Here is a link to their webpage with details on this rebate coupon, if you are not already aware of this offer:

http://www.remington.com/library/promotions/2008_rebate_roundup.asp

Just make sure that the sales receipt from the gunbroker.com dealer has a date before May 1st on it.

Danny
05-04-2008, 08:00 AM
LanceInOregon,
Thanks for the info. I hadn't known about that, but I just missed it by hours. I bought the rifle on 5/1/08, at 1:36 am. I was thinking about buying it even a few hours before that, and now I wish I had done it then. It would have taken care of the transfer feel and a little extra. Either way, I think I'm glad that I have bought it. Eventually, I'll try to locate a .223 BDL in Left Hand.

Danny

Danny:

If you purchased your rifle on April 30th or before, then you quality for a $50 rebate from Remington.

Here is a link to their webpage with details on this rebate coupon, if you are not already aware of this offer:

http://www.remington.com/library/promotions/2008_rebate_roundup.asp

Just make sure that the sales receipt from the gunbroker.com dealer has a date before May 1st on it.