Best varmint gun out to 400 yards

Discussion in 'Small Stuff--22s, 20s, and 17s' started by BobbyJ, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. BobbyJ

    BobbyJ

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    Yes I ended up getting a .204 from Thompson Center firearms. Its good enough for me and I can get cheap Fiocchi Extrema Ammunition 204 box of 50 for $24.00.
     
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  2. jcm24m

    jcm24m Silver $$ Contributor

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    I have taken over fourteen different calibers out shooting prairie dogs and my most accurate and fun rifle to shoot is the 22 PPC with a 12 twist and 53gr VMAX bullets at 3500 FPS (BC .290) . It is accurate out to 500 yards and bucks the wind better. No fireforming is needed with factory Norma brass that I buy on sale at $45.00/100. These 53gr VMAX are the best ! Here are some of the calibers I shoot out WEST.
    17 HMR - 17 Ackley Bee - 17 Jet - 17 Fireball - 17 Remington - 204 - 20 PPC - 222 - 22 BR - 22 PPC - 223 - 22/250 - 6mmBR - 25/06
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  3. ranger3

    ranger3 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Good move
     
  4. urbanrifleman

    urbanrifleman Site $$ Sponsor

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    My bad.

    223 without a doubt. Heck, they have frontier Hornady 223 at Academy Sports dirt cheap!!
     
  5. Texas10

    Texas10 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Best....now that's pretty hard to nail down. Lots to consider however, if we're talking about varmints and cheap, accurate off the shelf ammo the list diminishes considerably. The 223 is about the cheapest and most plentiful ammo on the shelves for varmint shooting.
    The best shooting 50 grain varmint ammo I've found is American Eagle 50 gr Tipped Varmint. These seem to be made with some unusually rare fairy dust. You won't find much info on the net for this ammo, and it's not on Federals website. I had to email Federal to get a spec sheet, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I have several targets shot at 100 yds with 3 and 5 shot groups measuring in the zeros out of an inexpensive totally stock (except for the stock) Savage model 12 FV.
    Next is Australian Outback 69 SMK. Shoots very well and is quite deadly, despite Sierra's warning about not using match ammo for hunting.

    Hornaday makes 75 grain loads in various velocities. If your barrel is an actual 9 twist or faster, or you're shooting above 3000 ft altitude, its golden.

    Eventually as you start hand loading, the 223 offers plenty of options. It's not powder sensitive, eats most bullets with aplomb (great stability), has great barrel life and cheap components. It's a no-brainer for the first time hand loader.

    The 53 grain V-Max at about 3300 fps in a 26 inch barrel will make 4 inch clay targets disappear at 500 yds just as fast as you can aim and shoot.
     
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  6. moorepower

    moorepower

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    AE 50 grain tipped is 50 Vmax..
     
  7. long40shot

    long40shot Gold $$ Contributor

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    Good move on getting a 204. I resisted my buddy's advice to buy one for years. I finally did this spring and love it. Which model Thompson Center did you get?

    Matt
     
  8. Montana89

    Montana89

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    I would get a .223 with a 7-8 twist, shoot the 75g eld and be done. I have shot this combination at Precision Rifle matches, and placed in the top ten "4th being the best" in the open class. Hitting prairie dogs consistently out to the 700 yard mark should constitute "wow factor".
     
  9. hawkeyeshoooer

    hawkeyeshoooer

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    Here's what i'd do (if u want to use the same gun and optic). Have somebody take a coin and run the turrets back and forth on that optic, then back to the zero setting again. If it's repeatable and holds zero, and gives u good range of vertical travel (as u watch the reticle while it's being turned), then get a Stoney Point Target turret, and check the zero settings at the range. See how bad parallax is with that optic also. Sometimes the cheaper optics work OK--they have for me.

    I'd load the 87 V-Max if it shoots accurate as that BC will get u to 600 better than about anything else using std. 24 cal. twist rates. Chances are that optic is the plex-style reticle. Find out where the lower post tip's zero is (@ 10x), and then just use the reticle out to that range (as a 1-stadia ballistic reticle) and turret for longer.

    Have a buddy that's shooting a 243 AR-10 for coyotes and he made every 1st shot connection attempted this year on coyotes (except 1) beyond 400-785 yds. with the 87 V-Max.
     
  10. varmintshooter

    varmintshooter

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    I just got home from shooting pdogs and have a few observations. I shot quite a few with a 20 vt (you must reload) and it was no problem out to 400 yds and I hit some over 500 yds. On the last day I used my AR. I think what I noticed most was the hangtime/airtime when shooting the AR. My 20vt is a 12 twist and it was great with 39 gr bullets but my AR is an 8 twist and with 50 gr vmax @ 3300 the pdog would go higher and spin/flip a lot more when hit. The rpm's of the bullet have a big impact on the target as much or more than velocity, within reason. The problem is if you spin the bullet to fast it won't make it to the target
    So many choices, so little time.
     
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  11. hawkeyeshoooer

    hawkeyeshoooer

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    About all the calibers mentioned will work on prairie dogs and coyotes. The 204, 22-250 and 243 are 400 yard plus guns the 223 is a 300 yard plus gun.

    Bull Barrels work fine for a PD gun, but are to heavy for packing to 8 to 20 coyote sets a day. Same with scopes, I use a 2 by 7 or a 3 by 9 for coyote calling guns and a 6 by 24 or 8 by 32 for Ground squirrels.

    The Stevens 200 is just a Savage 110 sans the accu-trigger and with a less polished finish. They seem to have excellent out of the box accuracy and lots of folks are using them. My only suggestion is get the Savage if you can afford a little extra for the fine accu-trigger that comes on them.

    I've been plunking coyotes and other varmints now for better than 45 years. I've used just about every .224 caliber available and most of the 6 mm's. For 30 plus years my go to the woods varmint rifle was the 22-250 then for the last five years the 243.

    Last year I bought a 204 Ruger. The 204 shoots as flat as the 22-250 and seems to kill as well. So far it's accounted for 7 coyotes with my longest shot at 385 lasered yards. The recoil is so light you can watch your hits thru the scope. I think the 204 is probably the best new varmint cartridge to come along in the last 50 years.

    Right now I shoot three different varmint Rifle, a CZ 527 Varmint in 204 Ruger, a Ruger #1B in 243 and a Rem 700 VLS in 243. I sold the 22-250 about five years ago when I started shooting the 243. For pure splat factory there's nothing like a 55 grain Nosler Ballistic tip at 4000 fps on ground squirrels from the 243, but the 204 with a 32 grain Hornedy V max at 4220 does a dandy splat job also.
     
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  12. BobbyJ

    BobbyJ

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    Got a steal on a Dimension for like 380.00 (retails for 700) came with extra rail, 3-12x scope and a case.
    Its kind of a cool gun in terms of versatility. I took it out to the range and was doing .5 MOA at 100 with factory ammo. Can't ask for much more than that.

    It has a 1/10 twist (I think most are 1/12) found out that will stabilze 40-50 gr where some .204s can only stabilize 32-39gr. Not sure what is best 32gr or the 40gr. From videos the 32gr looks to be more explosive at 4200 fps.

    Took the money I saved and bought a Ruger Scout 450 bushmaster for deer.
     
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  13. tstowater

    tstowater

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    Save the brass from the 204 to reload when you get set up or sell if you are going to keep shooting factory. Before you get wild, buy a box of the factory that you are planning on shooting and see how it performs. If acceptable, buy as much of the same lot as you can find and/or afford. Based on your restrictions, I believe that you made the right choice. I love the 22-250 and the Swifts, but too much recoil for the scope you want to use. 223 would work and lots of ammo options. If you are going p-dogging, you are going to need at least one more gun, if not several and plan on loading your own ammo to give you the best options.
     
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  14. BobbyJ

    BobbyJ

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    Right now I have a .204 and .17 wsm for PD. The .17 is cheap to shoot and good out to maybe 300 yards and has a bull barrel. The .204 heats up fast, like 8 shots and that barrel is pretty hot. Not sure when to let it cool down.
    for .204 ammo I find the Fiocchi to be the best bang for the buck. Like half the price of others and shoots great. I talked to a guy that went PD hunting and they shot 9,000 rounds of fiocchi there they love it.

    I have hornady ammo too but don't see much of a difference in accuracy they all shoot well out of my TC Dimension.
     
  15. JSH

    JSH

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    Best,......right tool for the job. Which is a reason to have more than one cartridge or caliber.
    I will always have a 223, no brainer to easy and handy.
    I like the 204 for sure. I am still tinkering with bullet weights and twist.

    17 Remington, I had heard nothing but how bad and quickly it would fowl a barrel. Just goes to show you how a cartridge or caliber can be haunted by writers. Have spoken and visited with several that have had a 17 Remington since first year it was introduced. All said to shoot it with some common sense.
    I have used 20 grain in mine, but the 25's really shine at distance in the wind. I am anxious to get a new barrel in a twist that will allow me to run heavier.
    Also have an itch for a 6-223 to use 60-75 grain bullets.

    I am going to give the 17wsm a try as well. If it performs as I hope it will replace my 17hornets place. No, not as fast, but I'm not chasing brass in the grass either.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  16. Steve Ladino

    Steve Ladino

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    To great a "Dandy " to wear out shooting PD's.....The new plastic magazine latches are chinsey, you may be better served with a single shot or a rifle that readily accepts a single shot follower insert.
     
  17. sundance

    sundance Silver $$ Contributor

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    I originally was told in the 1980's to hold your hand over the chamber of your barrel and if you can't hold it there for 5 seconds it was too hot to shoot.
    After burning my hand a few times too many I found the temperature strips from McMaster Carr. A much better solution.
     

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