ARs for Varmints--Pros and Cons

Discussion in 'Varminter & Hunting Forum' started by Forum Boss, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. shootist7

    shootist7

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    Two thumbs up for a varminter AR! I built one with a 24" Wilson Match heavy barrel 1:8, a Magpul PRS stock topped with a Leupold MK 4 4.5-14x50. Gun shoots just fantastic! Shooting PPU 69gr. match that just turns the yote inside out (I don't save the fur). I also now have uppers in 300 AAC Blackout and 458 Socom so in minutes I can switch out uppers and hunt just about anything!
     
  2. sscoyote

    sscoyote

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    385
    I can hardly leave them lay anymore they turn out so nice garment-tanned--
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    Badger from earlier post is on the right. Almost all of these (and a few more) were taken with my AR last year, but this coyote below is one of the nicest I've ever taken with the AR and will be going on a stretcher soon. Big, beautiful well-furred, brown back, white underside, and white-tipped tail. Shot just 3 days ago, 69 TMK at 3075 mv--
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  3. WindSurgeon

    WindSurgeon

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    I shoot multiple rifles and shotgun for "varmint" hunting. Of the four guns I use, the AR15 is the most versatile. My bolt actions have barely seen action on coyotes and PD's since I started using the AR. Contrary to what the non-hunting public thinks is usual, I USUALLY shoot 5 round magazines for hunting. Not the 30 rounders most of them think of when they think of an AR. I like the fact that I built the rifle myself which has come in handy when out in the middle of nowhere. It shoots coyotes and prairie dogs equally as well, and if I don't have my shotgun it will take the close in 'yotes and doubles as well. Whether shooting one shot at long range or close in fast shooting, it works equally well. I put the money where it needs to be in the AR varmint build: Barrel (Wylde, bull, 8-twist), trigger and fit. It shoots .5 all day long with less than precise reloading technique, .25 if I pay attention at the bench.
     
  4. sscoyote

    sscoyote

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    Yes WS, that's it! The most consistently accurate/precise gun I own. The old DPMS VLD magazine I use holds 9 single-stacked and I keep it full during coyote season, and it's more than enough walking 4-5 miles/day. Couple years ago I was out hunting and was watching a couple coyotes from a distance away, and as they made their way toward me when one got to 250ish I stopped it with a bark and nailed it with a 65 JLK Low Drag. The other took off and ran about 50 yds. further before it stopped and the 2nd 65 LD took it as well. Always makes the rancher's happy when they see more than one down, +/or skinned. Nothing quite like a super accurate semi-auto for predator hunting applied judiciously. Nothing else can touch it. Here's mom's 3-shot 425-yd. group 65 JLK LD--

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    Ma and wife shooting their favorite gun from the bench--

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  5. Paddyd

    Paddyd

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    For me the beauty of the AR is that it is completely modular. It can be an M4 type carbine one minute and a fully loaded super match rifle the next and a million different configurations in between. I'd say it is the ONLY rifle platform that can be damned near anything you can dream up for it to be. No, you won't find one that can win a serious benchrest match, but an AR can be made to hold it's own with some very high end bolt guns. My only bitch about my particular AR is the gas tube leaves lots of carbon in the bolt carrier, but that really isn't so bad that I'd say it is a detractor to me owning one.
     
  6. JarheadAZ

    JarheadAZ

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    That modularity is precisely what I have grabbed onto. I have a good lower (basically the lower half of my Stag Model 6 Super Varminter). In addition to the Model 6 Upper (24" 1:8" Stainless heavy barrel), there are two others. One is a CMMG 16 Bull Wasp, and a Stag Model 3 16" 1:9" Barrel built into a barebones/elcheapo upper that shoots 55gr through 64gr factory ammo (including Federal M855) into a single ragged 1" hole at 70 yd off a bipod with a SPARC and no particularly heavy load of concentration. That's heading to AZ with me this Summer.

    Greg
     
  7. Shynloco

    Shynloco You can lead a horse to water, but ........ Silver $$ Contributor

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    Let me state from the outset, that I was never all that thrilled with AR's in the past. In the military, I carried a .45 Colt, a 30 Cal Carbine and an M14. After leaving the military and joining Law Enforcement, I was exposed to my first AR and several other tactical weapons. I was always a bolt gun guy, chasing ultimate accuracy and the AR's of old, didn't have the accuracy I'd become used to seeing from bolt guns. I even bought an AR back in the late 70's that I ended up giving to one of my son's once I got into Benchrest Shooting. But I did follow the remarkable improvements to subsequent AR's, although my Benchrest rifles were still my pride and joy. Then about two months ago, a local Gunsmith (and someone who I'd competed with in Benchrest Competition) showed me a target he'd recently shot on a 600 yds range using a custom built STTAR15 (San Tan Tactical Upper/Lower with JP Precisions parts/22" Supermatch 1:8 barrel and a Geissele 2 stage trigger/PRS Magpul stock. That target showed me an AR CAN and DOES produce a very respectable group, something even a Benchrest shooter would like and appreciate. So after seeing that target, seeing and feeling that AR Rifle, I had him build me one. Though not cheap in comparison with an across the counter AR, my new BABY shoots, probably better than I'm capable. So HELL YES, AR's today are worthy of being used for hunting, depending on the prey you seek. Know the limitations and be reasonable in your expectations. But give the AR the credit it deserves as there are many folks out there shooting AR's that put together some very impressive targets you can be proud of. And I'm now a BELIEVER for sure and am actually spending more time lately with my new AR than even my Benchrest rifles.

    Alex
     
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  8. JarheadAZ

    JarheadAZ

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    I shoot a few bolt guns, primarily for projects these days. But my fun guns are the AR's/Uppers I mentioned just above.

    They have become my accuracy training/practice rifles, replacing my .22LR's, primarily due to ammo (un?)availability issues. I reload my .223's several hundred at a run. More controllably accurate and maybe even more economical than .22LR. My ammo starts out off the shelf as PPU 55gr ball ammo.

    Greg
     
  9. bow shot

    bow shot

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    Feb 20, 2013
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    Anyone looking for a 0.3" shooter (bipod and bag), my .204 Ruger 100% RRA upper is for sale here.

    I'm an AR guy and wanted an varmint upper for it (also shooting .22lr, 6.5 Grendel, and .223 with it), but it has to go, I can't afford to keep it. Under 300 rounds, the WTS post here is pic heavy.

    And to answer the question: I shoot bolt and ARs for accuracy. I've matched my bolt guns accuracy every time with the ARs. What's not to love? Just this: I hate the stupid brass catcher that I have to use to keep my precious, coveted Nosler, Norma and Lapua cases, lol!!!

    Otherwise, I can't see doing better unless I go bench rest and that doesn't turn me on at all. I'm a 100% bipod and bag guy.
     
  10. bow shot

    bow shot

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    Oh yeah, my 6.5 Grendel has a JP barrel. after sighting in, I immediately moved back to 300Y and dialed in. The very first 300y group (sorry, after 3 shots I chickened out, lol!) with Hornady Match 123 Amax placed under 1".
     
  11. TheOtherZilla

    TheOtherZilla

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    Oct 24, 2010
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    Here's my take on my AR and varminting.. My varminting consists of Pdawgs and coyotes. For Pdawgs my complaint is that I shoot too much ammo. Miss one? Keep pulling the trigger.. I use a brass catcher so that isn't an issue.. But for Varmints I use range brass and no biggie if a few get away..
     
  12. stosh

    stosh

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    A few years ago I would not have thought I would have ever used an semi auto to hunt varmints with because of there inaccuracy. I had my mind changed when I went prairie dog hunting with a couple buddies that had AR's. After seeing how they shot, I just had to have one! I bought a RRA EOP in .223 and it shoots in 1/2" and out to 400yds it is deadly on Dogs! I still shoot my bolt guns but the AR is a ton of fun!
     
  13. Intell

    Intell

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    I used mine last month on prairie dogs in Wyoming and was very pleased. It's a home rolled seekins with a 22" rock creek .936 dia. I didn't have time to work up a hand load for it so I bought the 50 rd boxes of 50 grain V Max fiochie " I'm sure I spelled that wrong" and it shot consistent 1/2" groups, some smaller but none larger. It also shot the black box federal varmint load well. Not bad for 50cents a rd. I was planning on using it out to 500 yards and my surgeon rifle in 6.5 creedmoor beyond that. 400-500 yards hit ratio was probably 75% and I was happy with that considering we had 10-15 mph wind. 600yds is where it pooped out and hits were no more than 50% maybe less. 250 and in, it would produce head shots like a laser, dialing all the shots. 650 yards was the longest first shot kill I got with it and that was only once, so we'll call that luck.All in all I was very happy the way it performed. I think that's about all I could expect from a 223. I think the high altitude helped a lot, not wind drifting the little bullets as far as I was expecting. I was shooting it suppressed with a nightforce scope. The suppressor helped not scaring them down their holes as quick. Follow ups on long shot misses is where the Ar15 shines on varmints when the dirt kicks up beside him you can make a quick adjustment and finish the job. Mine has a adjustable gas block and JP silent buffer spring, with gas turned down it lays the brass about two feet away and is very smooth shooting. I will always take an Ar on every dog hunt from here on. To much fun!
     
  14. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    Guess I'll join in since it is my plan to start hunting varmints with 20 cal ARs...

    Just put a new X-Caliber SS 20" bull barrel chambered in 20 TAC on a SOTA Arms upper, Kaiser Defence Lower, and Rock River Match trigger.

    Below are two of my best 5 shot groups at 100 yards so far. Damn wind always seems to be blowing, but it still shoots very well for an AR. Can't wait to lay waste to gopher towns next year :)

    Pics of rifle and 2 groups below. Both groups shown with dime next to them and a dime covering all 5 holes. Speeds are suspect because Chronograph was acting funny with direct sunlight overhead. Will test again on a cloudy day with infrared light kit.

    My 20 TAC AR-15. Brake is a Harrels. Brass catcher is a "Brass S.H.A.R.K." Absolutely the best brass catcher on the market.
    2016-07-03 16.06.42.jpg 2016-07-03 15.58.54.jpg 2016-07-03 15.53.49.jpg 2016-07-03 15.59.33.jpg 2016-07-03 15.54.37.jpg
     
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  15. JLT

    JLT Gold $$ Contributor

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    Nice rig! How's the balance? That's a lot of steel up front. And I HAVE to get me one of those brass catchers! I won't have to worry about the Lapua brass I run through my Grendel with one of those.

    I think an HBar/Bull-barreled AR in .20 TAC or .20 Practical is the ideal predator rifle. If I'm running a call and a couple of coyotes show up, my bolt rifle will account for one, maybe a decent shot at the second, but the second has a good chance of getting away. If I have my .20 Practical AR, both of them have a serious problem. I've had my share of triples on coyotes with the AR - I could never manage that with a bolt rifle.
     
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  16. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    Yeah gun is pretty front heavy, but it could be shot off hand if need be. I put the 3" bag rider attachment on the forend so I can use my BR style front rest. Have a bipod adapter as well if I need it.

    The brass catcher is the best I have ever found and well worth the $40 plus shipping. Love them so much I have two. Very tough high quality parts and well thought out to allow for fine adjustments of position that don't interfere with firing or magazine release. Comes with 1" scope rings to attach the fiberglass rod to your forened, but i put cheap "quick release" rings on it so mounting and removal is much faster and doesnt require any tools. It is called the "Brass S.H.A.R.K" and can only be found on ebay. You must type in the "." after each letter in the word "shark" when searching for it.
     
  17. 284winner

    284winner Silver $$ Contributor

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    Nice tip on the brass shark. Definitely periods after each letter in shark. Otherwise you WILL be looking at brass sharks. I'll try one out on my DPMS. My only remark on the AR platform that's possibly a negative for varmints is, shooting prairie dogs is SUPER expensive when that trigger finger don't have a kill switch. Holy hell. When your on a dog town with literally hundreds of dogs and wind is ripping at 20-30, walking bullets to your target is necessary. Sometimes you'll shoot 5-8 rounds at 1 dog before busting him. A bolt action rifle will make you more patient that an AR will. Love them for coyotes tho. A running coyote is almost always a dead coyote with an AR in hands. I do love them by the way. Just leaving it home on my next prairie dog venture.
     
  18. powderbrake

    powderbrake Silver $$ Contributor

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    For Prairie dogs, I started with a bolt gun, went to a heavy barreled AR, but found it much harder to use on the bench. Went back to a bolt gun and I prefer it. I went to heavier bullets, and spend more time ranging and wind checking. I have a more laid back hunting process.

    Several of my PD hunting buddies are using AR's in .204 Ruger. They work very well, and the rapid follow up is helpful. They are much preferred if you are crawling around on the ground to sneak up on them. Requires chasing that valuable brass.

    AR vs bolt gun is an opinion, and both are fine for prairie dogs.
     
  19. itchyTF

    itchyTF

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    FWIW, I found a catcher that I like (have 2) - www.3bucc.com
     
  20. BigBamBoo

    BigBamBoo

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    Aug 15, 2008
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    Here is what happens here in Calif. when you leave your Remington 1100 and a AR-15 alone in a dark safe together!

    Since we are limited in how we can configure our AR's, this is an answer that allows us to freedom to drop the magazine and until the first of the year....use our "hi-cap" magazines.

    I put this one together just for coyote hunting and for my traveling
    /trunk gun.

    Shoots VERY well using 50gr Vmax's over a case full of TAC.



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