Varmint Hunters Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As retirement commences, I’m eager to get started on a varmint rifle build. I have two options:

The ruger #1v (currently in 223). I have owned this since the 80’s to control a robust ground squirrel population for decades. This year, while sighting, I experienced destabilization of two proven loads, with keyholes being printed on several shots and poor grouping. I’m hopeful to rebarrel in 204?

The P64 M70 (currently in 30-06) Originally, my Godfather’s rifle, sold to my father and passed on to me as a teen it’s dark bore is the result of my failure to take appropriate measures after firing surplus, corrosive ammo. A sin of my youth that needs to be resolved.

I mostly enjoy jackrabbit and beldings ground squirrel at distance with the single shot/bolt guns and jump shooting with handguns and auto loading rifles.

So far, I’ve dropped an email to the folks at ruger; standing-by for their response and seeking advice from members on either project re potential barrel/caliber choices and providers.

All the best!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
20 Practical would utilize the 223 brass you have if still in good condition, close to the same performance as 204R. 204R brass is $$ and hard to find.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Staying with the 223 case head is a good idea. Decide what bullet weight you want to shoot and go from there. I have 223,204 and a 19 Calhoun. Calhoun offers their build kits that supplies everything you need. Welcome aboard lets hear from you later. Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,987 Posts
Do you reload? I take it you do....a pre 64 in say 220 swift be awesome.
A number 1 in 204 would be awesome as well!....hell its all good you just have to jump in the waters fine 🙂
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
12,745 Posts
Not familiar with Beldings, are they colony varmints where there will be long strings of shots and barrels heating up? If so, the smaller cals shine. A 20 Vartarg, 20 Practical, 20 Tactical all use 223 brass as the parent case (more or less) and will be great. What distances are you talking? I would do a 20VT on the #1 and like George said, a 220 swift or even 22-250 Ackley would be fun on the M70 for long range.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,358 Posts
You said "Build." That probably means a Rem 700 or custom action rifle with an aftermarket bbl in whatever caliber you choose. I like .20 calibers but if you aren't a handloader you will be going with a .204 barrel. I like the .204 and have had several.
The M 70 is worth more original, and I wouldn't mess with it.
Ruger #1 would be a project in frustration.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,122 Posts
Lot’s of luck with whatever. Just me, but the 223 case with a 20 caliber pill just works… Rebarrel the M70 to whatever, and THEN just build you a good custom whatever. We would be glad to help you on that too. Just remember “you can’t take it with you”. ….except JR.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grandad

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I like this place! Thanks for the replies. I do hand load and lots of 223 once fired brass. The sage rats “belding’s” act like ground squirrel, one or several dozen per “town”. Barrel temperatures need to be monitored. I inherited a custom 22-250 Mauser from an neighbor that was elderly in the 70’s. He said he had it built as a young man. It will get hot when working squirrel towns. The only 20cal. I ever owned was the Sheridan blue streak (actually several) responsible for wheelbarrow loads of starling over the years. Something about the .20 that made it a hoot to shoot!
Still based in central Kabul-fornia, hopeful to locate a responsible gunsmith to work on the M70. Any suggestions?
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,590 Posts
Got curious and dug out some of my books. There were no pre-64 M70s with the small, 222/223 bolt face, and in fact, I think all were long or magnum actions. There were 220 Swifts made in the pre-64 M70s. The most common calibers were 30-06 and 270 Win. It would be a lot extra cost and work to make it into small boltface. I agree with George in Ky, keep your M70 classic and go with a 220 Swift. No. 1s can be very accurate, but it needs a really good No.1 smith. A friend has several, and all were smithed by Mark Penrod (Penrod Precision in North Manchester, IN), including some wildcats in 20 caliber.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,122 Posts
Agree with TinMan….if you want a long range rat gun, go with the swift for the M70….and somebody who knows what they are doing to work the Ruger #1. Anybody with a vise can screw a barrel on, but takes a lot of knowledge to get that #1 to punch little holes that stay together.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grandad

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,200 Posts
If it was me I think I would leave the Ruger and M70 original and build a remington 7 or 700 if you can find an action with a small bolt face or a Savage action and do a 20vt or a 20prac or 20tac. Prefits can be bought for either then you can swap them yourself if you want to change caliber or you burn one out. If you have piles of .223 brass then your pretty much set.
The 20vt or even a 221 Fireball will shoot for a while before getting real hot if you can get into a good bunch of squirrels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
All great information folks. I think I’ll start with Dads M70. I am blessed with a Son that is interested capable and responsible. Other than my Dads “corn cob” 870, the old M70 is the most important firearm for me to pass down. I was broken-hearted when I realized the damage I did with the use of surplus, corrosive ball ammo, so many years ago. I’m not so much concerned with resale value. I can’t imagine this one ever leaving the family. So the 220 Swift sounds great and If I recall correctly, it was once available as a factory chambering?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,122 Posts
still is. Another option would be 22-250, but little more whiz out of swift. Another option would be 260 (love that round). Hang around, we can get you totally confused.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
I once owned a pre 64 in 220 Swift.
It had a factory stainless barrel, it was correctly stamped on the underside of the barrel as such. It was a dandy. Might have to build another one, one of theses days.

I sold that rifle to buy my son a bronc saddle when he started college.


///
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ruger replied today to issue an RMA# and to confirm they will only re barrel in the original configuration. I’m thinking this will be the way to go. If it shoots, I’ll keep it. If not I won’t feel bad about selling it as a sacrifice to the marriage gods (in advance of the purchase order of a “build” receiver?)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I once owned a pre 64 in 220 Swift.
It had a factory stainless barrel, it was correctly stamped on the underside of the barrel as such. It was a dandy. Might have to build another one, one of theses days.

I sold that rifle to buy my son a bronc saddle when he started college. And was happy that he rode it all the way to the pay window most of the time. 😉

View attachment 27856
///
Nothing compares to the pride we take in our children. So sad to see so many of today’s youngsters lost in their alternate reality ….
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,276 Posts
FWIW-I may as well add my thoughts on your plans. I'm not much of a collector of old rifles, although I do have a couple including a Savage 99 made in 1936. While the 220 Swift is ceratinly a fine chambering and a classic, it is definitely overkill for ground squirrels. Like a couple others, my suggestion would be a 20 Vartarg, 221 Fireball or maybe a 20 Bobcat. I most surely wouldn't use the Ruger for that project. A Savage would be OK, but my preference would be a Remington 700. 722 or an XP 100 in rifle configuration. A retired benchrest rifle would be a great choice. You can get the Vartarg and the Fireball from Shilen or Northland Shooter Supply in a Remage style that would allow you to install the barrel yourself and save a couple hundred $$. The remington platform will allow you to change to a much better trigger option. Whatever you choose, welcome to the GGVG board.

Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the kind words and insight Rick. Yup, I expect the 220 swift would be a lot of gun for these little buggers, but good medicine for their more robust (PD/RC/JR) brethren. One of the aspects of shooting the beldings ground squirrel that I enjoy most is the ability to view impact. I loose this ability when shooting my 22-250, I guess because they are such a small target and even with the substantial weight of that rifle, I’m unable to maintain target visibility after a shot. That’s why I like the 17HMR for these chipmunk sized targets. The center fire rifles don’t create so much of a problem with jackrabbit-sized targets. I have an early 700 police in 308 that is an amazing rifle. No argument from me to add another 700 action to the family to create that 20cal rat gun!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,276 Posts
You will find that the 20 VT with a 32gr and the 221 FB with a 40 will allow you to see your hits. Worst case, choose a 223 AI and add a muzzle brake....same result.
I take a 20 VT, 221 FB, 223 AI & 20 Practical with me to MT and SD every spring/summer. I rarely take shots much past 250, with an occasional 300 or so. Hits are easily seen and accuracy is excellent.

Rick
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top