Best Varmint Gun/Caliber?? [Archive] - Varmints Den

: Best Varmint Gun/Caliber??


PainterJohn
06-13-2007, 10:57 AM
Never thought I would get into it, but I like varmint hunting. What caliber is best for woodchucks etc. at most ranges? I want to buy one gun, kind of an all arounder, and shoot it affordably. Perhaps even a barrel and scope for my T/C Prohunter?? Would you do that or just buy a complete rig?Thanks for any opinions.

Dog Buster
06-13-2007, 11:11 AM
Laminated wood w/SS action....Get it in 223...or consider the 204 if you hand load...Very good starter platform....223 is cheap to shoot...9 twist will shoot 40-75 grain bullets...s/shot is all you need...will hold up to after market heavier tube when you decide on another barrel someday...if you don't like it...would be an easy one to sell....

skruske
06-13-2007, 11:24 AM
Dog Buster is right on track & I agree.

A Savage in .223 will cover a broad spectrum of shooting requirements. Reloading for .223 can be done quite cost effective as well.

C.T.
06-13-2007, 02:09 PM
If I understand your post correctly, go for a .243 Win. in Rem. 700 Mountain Rifle, varmit loads for G-Hog to bullet's/load's for deer, mild to moderate recoil and factory ammo readilay aval. Fact I own no .243 but appreciate the utility of the cal. love my .223. 308 and .250AI but if I had started years ago with .243 probably would have not owned any other cal., also I do not own any Savage (great rifles, accuracy, price=value), but a short action Rem. 700 is like a small block V-8 engine, very universal for maintance, parts and customization should you choose

charlie sterner
06-13-2007, 03:02 PM
depends on your style of hunting. This really is one of those questions where you could get a hundred different answers.

If you're the walk-about type or like calling predators, you'll want something light to carry. If you're the kind that likes to sit and watch a field for groundhogs or for shooting PD's from a bench, go for a heavy barrel rig. Your intended shooting distance makes a lot of difference too.

As for calibers, it depends on what you're shooting. Groundhogs don't take much to kill, but for anything over 300 yards, you'll want a 20 cal or bigger to anchor them. 17's don't carry the punch needed to anchor a big hog at 300 (ask me how I know). :)

For a good starter gun, that isn't going to be too heavy to carry, yet will have a heavy barrel for longer distance shooting, I'd suggest a Remington SPS Varmint in either 204 Ruger or 22-250. The SPS varmint is a great value right now (about $500) Either caliber will handle most varmints out to 500 yards easily. And, as stated before, you can build on the action at a later time and have a great custom gun.

Just my humble opinion.

Charlie

Rhys
06-13-2007, 03:10 PM
I'd go along with the idea of a 223, but rather than getting another rifle I'd just do another set up for your T/C, and not worry about another complete rifle until you want to make a serious long range rig.

Ackman
06-13-2007, 03:11 PM
What caliber is best for woodchucks etc. at most ranges......one gun, kind of an all arounder, and shoot it affordably. Would you.....just buy a complete rig?Thanks for any opinions.


There's no way of knowing what you mean by "etc". And "most ranges" is much too vague. There's no "best" varmint caliber anyway. What's really good in one situation can be less than good in another. Lots of different .22cal centerfires would be fine in lots of different conditions, but with "etc" and "most ranges" who knows? Even to a non-handloader, if you're talking mainly woodchucks ammunition price shouldn't be much of a factor. And yes, buying a complete used rig is a good way to do it. New guns cost a lot more but have the advantage of what you want being more readily available. Used guns happen along only when they happen along, and what you want isn't necessarily available when you want it.

Ackman
06-13-2007, 03:27 PM
I'd go along with the idea of a 223, but rather than getting another rifle I'd just do another set up for your T/C, and not worry about another complete rifle until you want to make a serious long range rig.


I agree. Unless you can spend time checking pawnshops / gunshops and going to gunshows, this would be a good way to go.

eggman
06-13-2007, 06:09 PM
That's simple a Savage rifle and as far as the caliber the 20 Tactical for a reloader and the 204 Ruger for a non-reloader and use 40 gr. bullets in both. The 20 Tac will work for groundhogs at most any distance or in any weight rifle . Very accurate, very flat shooting and kills them DRT.I just keep going back to mine.

Rodney

David Lee Valdina
06-14-2007, 03:32 PM
I read a good book on the subject titled "The Woodchuck Hunter" by Paul C. Estey, one of the classics originally published in 1936. Reprints are available from Brett Boyd, 711 Ormand Road, York, SC 29745 for $27.50 which includes mailing. I found it a good read. One of the points made has to do with how much noise the rifle makes and the effect on the farmer's animals, neighbors etc. which all relate to permission to hunt. The last word on high velocity and flat shooting cartridges may make so much noise that swat teams are called to investigate and permission to hunt denied forever. A .22 Long Rifle, .17 HMR, 22 Mag or a 22 Hornet may do you just fine. My 2ยข worth.

FRED M
06-14-2007, 07:18 PM
All good answers given, but the noise factor is what matters.
Here in New England, a hundred acre hay field is large, most are much less than that and housing development has taken away most of my old haunts.
I use the Hornet,221FB,222 and 223 with a 22-250, 6PPC and 6BR available if needed . But in some places, a 22 LR is pushing it.
You going to walk or set ? A 6lb CZ 527 will carry better than a 10lb Savage 12 LPS. I don't carry 10lb rifles very far, from the car to the bench is about it.
If you make the wrong choice, that's a good reason to buy another rifle and another until you get it right. :D

papapaul
06-16-2007, 09:56 AM
For starting out, a standard weight, bolt action, in .223 Remington with a medium grade 3-9 scope would allow you to see what it is all about. You can buy ammo in 200 packs at some Wal-Marts cheap, and get .223 from many other sources (dirt cheap). This will give you good performance under most conditions (cheap). After much experience you may wish to go to something more cutting edge in some fashion (expensive), but then you will know what you want and why you want it.

222thedeuce
06-16-2007, 11:46 AM
several others have made good comments and although you were a little vague about some things like Ackman was saying. I would recommend a 243 if you are looking at an all around rifle. They are quite accurate flat shooting good for varmints and most (not all) large game found in North America. Also some states have restrictions on calibers used for large game. Unitl this past year TN required 24 caliber and larger. For some idiotic reason this year they allowed all centerfire rifles for deer and large game. I know some folks here have successfully used 223 on deer and larger game but in my opinion it is not enough gun for them. If you want to do coyote size and smaller and do not plan on using this rifle for large game ever then I would look at 223 or 22-250. They are readily available and have factory ammo. The 223 will be cheaper to shoot and have more ammo available for reloading. But for an all around hunting gun the 243 gets my vote hands down. Chad

HEAD0001
06-17-2007, 01:47 AM
I am still working up a load for my 6.5X284 Encore. Barrel was made by MGM with a tight chamber and a MB. It will be my ground hog rifle for this year. If you already have the Encore, just order a MGM barrel, and do not look back. They have barrels in stock, and their order time is not very long. I have mine down to 1-1/4 inches at 200 yards right now. I hope to tighten that up a little, but if not I can live with it for ground hogs. Tom.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o223/HEAD0001/IMG_0316.jpg

Alex
06-17-2007, 11:31 AM
... the early days of thie GGVG board, suggesting 223 or 22-250 as the "best" would immediately generate an immense bandwith black hole.

I can honestly say I have just about one of everything, from 17HMR and 17AH up through 243. Includes 17M4, 17Rem, 20VT, 20Tac, 204 Ruger, 22H, 221FB, 223, 223AI, 22-250, 243. So what's in my varmintmobile right now? The 223, 22" barrelled Cooper Classic topped with a 5.5-16 Nikon Monarch. True, I walk a lot looking for groundhogs and that rifle carries really nicely, but I really think that if I could have only one rifle, it would be the one that I would choose. My cousin has shot more 'hogs than anyone I know, and he has had an ancient 223 banging around in his truck forever. I think it is a pre-64 M-70 "light varminter". Has at least 10,000 rounds down the tube and still shoots. He loads so hot that if the primer is brass, you have trouble deciding where the primer starts and the case stops (this is only a minor improvement on the truth :D ).

Not to suggest that this is the rifle that stays in my truck, as several 223's, 223AI's, one specific 22-250, and various sub-cals (especially the 20VT) come out regularly. Noise is a major consideration in some areas. Range is important in long beanfields, and when weight isn't a consideration when you're shooting off the hood or cap of your pickup, other than noise, anything goes.

If you shoot a fox with a 223, forget about saving the pelt. Last one I shot, the far side fur and guts went everywhere. Sonny Pruitt and Pete Hauer say the 22H is the thing (35 gr VMaxes in a Browning Micro Hunter) for fox. We don't have 'yotes hereabouts, yet, and probably wouldn't be shooting for pelts anyhow, so I can't say what I would use.

My 2c. Probably overvalued.

Alex

PainterJohn
06-17-2007, 12:28 PM
I am still working up a load for my 6.5X284 Encore. Barrel was made by MGM with a tight chamber and a MB. It will be my ground hog rifle for this year. If you already have the Encore, just order a MGM barrel, and do not look back. They have barrels in stock, and their order time is not very long. I have mine down to 1-1/4 inches at 200 yards right now. I hope to tighten that up a little, but if not I can live with it for ground hogs. Tom.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o223/HEAD0001/IMG_0316.jpg

Is taht a Meopta scope on there or a Zeiss?