prairie dog rifle, what would you go with?

Discussion in 'Small Stuff--22s, 20s, and 17s' started by Buzzsaw, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. DennisH

    DennisH Life Time NRA member Gold $$ Contributor

    May 11, 2010
    Agree, I still like my 22-250 and my 243 with NBT's in the 50 to 55 range, "very" explosive!
    Idaho-Lefty likes this.
  2. steve123


    Mar 16, 2008
    Okay so 223 is covered. You can still shoot down to the 40's, etc, if you want with that twist, but might need to experiment to see which bullets hold up. Those 69's, etc, do better in the wind at 500Y.

    The go-to right now for me is my 5mmFBI which is a 20-221AI.
    I like the low noise, low recoil/rifle upset - which makes for easier self spotting, low powder consumption, extended shooting without excessive barrel heating/within reason of course, and long barrel life. Lastly it's a very accurate cartridge and a efficient one. My current load is 32's in a 11 twist at 3735 fps out of a 21" barrel and it's not topped out. I chose H4198 because of it's temp insensitivity but with other powders I could probably be near 3900 fps.

    I had two rifles in this cartridge actually, the other was a 18lb benchrest rifle. Talk about fun to shoot! Mine not having a coned bolt was a pain to feed though, I had to maneuver the cartridge into the chamber with my finger. That rifle is now a 223AI which is more suitable and a surprising performer with 88's at longer distances.

    One of my favorites was a 6-284 with 75's but it was a bit excessive IMO. I went to 6x47L which I preferred.

    Had many of the standard overbore varmint cartridges, For me I just think less is more.
  3. Rustytigwire

    Rustytigwire Gold $$ Contributor

    Mar 20, 2017
    Buzzsaw. 2 things a guy thinks about, fishing and.... 21 replies so far it seems you hit the nail on the head for one of them.
    20, 22 and 6mm are the fave here and i agree. My 20p is yet to be assembled but i suspect it will be fave number 3.
    I like my 6mm for the reach out for now but im sure (fact not sarcasm) others here can best my abilities with a slingshot.
    It all good!
  4. Hippy


    Feb 7, 2006
    For "No Fuss " the 204 . If you want a little work either the 20 or 6 BR. Everything else is just a compromise

    Boyd L. and Tommie like this.
  5. Hotshot

    Hotshot Gold $$ Contributor

    Mar 9, 2011
    Your two best friends in a prairie dog rifle will be velocity and high ballistic coefficient bullets. I've been shooting prairie dogs for 60 years. I shoot 1,000's of rounds per year in several calibers many cartridges. You can get too much of a good thing with the two best friends. A real high bc bullet for any given caliber gets heavy so you have an arcing trajectory that's hard to deal with going from 225-316-401-511 yards and back and forth. Really high velocity bullets will shoot a very flat trajectory for a distance and then loose their stability, energy and accuracy. Great big cases burn so much powder it seems you're always cooling and cleaning the barrel.
    I shoot 10 different cartridges right now many of the ones listed previously. For me they all have a place. If I had to just choose one it would have to be the 204R shooting 39 grain Sierra bullets at 3900 fps. Remarkable performance to 500 yards and capable of efficiently going to farther distances.
    My $.02
  6. B23

    B23 Gold $$ Contributor

    Jun 20, 2017
    If you're looking for something with a high "splat factor" and good aerials then thin jacketed varmint bullets like the Vmax and Blitzkings, along with velocity, is what you'll want. The 204 works well for a lot of people because you can get factory ammo for them and most of it shoots very well. I just recently sold my CZ 527 Varmint model 204 and it shot the Hornady Superformance 32gr Vmax ammo very well. But, if I was going to build a 20 cal something or other, and I didn't already have a few other varmint guns, it would be an easy choice and I'd go with a 20-223 aka 20 Practical. Since I have, umm a few, varmint guns I recently had a 20-222 built because I was looking for something that wasn't a super hot rod and would kind of bridge the gap between some of my other hot rods.

    There probably should be some kind of public warning statement attached to these types of threads that advise members to the addicting nature of small caliber varmint guns because I've yet to see one I didn't like. :D
    rookie7, 17VLD, JSH and 1 other person like this.
  7. Woodchk

    Woodchk Gold $$ Contributor

    Mar 15, 2009
    .20 Vartarg
    Evan, daniel brothers and 17VLD like this.
  8. moondog

    moondog Gold $$ Contributor

    Jan 17, 2011
    Had a 204, I can't control myself enough to stop shooting. Just one more, just one more.
    Converted it to a 20 VarTarg, now I don't have to stop. Damn thing never gets hot!
    I know, bring more than one rifle. I don't have to now.
  9. long40shot

    long40shot Gold $$ Contributor

    Feb 20, 2006
    I'd vote for a 204. Low recoil, accurate, high velocity. I love mine.
    DennisH and ranger3 like this.
  10. Buzzsaw


    May 5, 2007
    OMG so many GREAT suggestions guys, I only make one trip a year its a very long drive from the Dallas area but SO MUCH fun. I may try some lighter bullets in my .223 to go along with the heavies

    oh yes I'll keep an eye out for a deal on that .204 Ruger
  11. B23

    B23 Gold $$ Contributor

    Jun 20, 2017
    I shoot a lot of 53gr Vmax in my 1-9tw 223AI and though I've never shot a PD with one I've shot a lot of coyotes with them and that little bullet opens them up and makes a big mess of things. You should be able to launch them plenty fast and their BC isn't to shabby, that'd be a bullet I'd highly recommend you use.
    JLT likes this.
  12. martini

    martini Silver $$ Contributor

    Feb 5, 2006
    I have prairie dog rifles in 20 BR, 20 Nitro, 223, 204, 22-250, 22-250AI, and 6mm Dasher. I'm currently doing load development on a 20 VT, but expect to use it primarily for ground squirrels although I may take it to Wyoming for PD's this summer. My favorite is the 20 BR, however, if I only had one rifle for PD's it'd be a 204. If I already had an accurate 223 and wanted a second rifle it would be something for longer range, either a fast twist 22-250AI or fast twist 6mm Dasher.
    DennisH likes this.
  13. North Fork

    North Fork

    Oct 29, 2009
    220 SWIFT
    tstowater and drybean like this.
  14. moorepower


    Feb 9, 2010
    IF, you take one trip a year, which is what I am doing this year, you better have 2 guns to take with you. 2 years ago, I got on a place where I shot over 500 Pdogs in 3 days. Their were several spots that I rotated 3 rifles. Most of my shooting was under 200 yards. In the mornings when the wind was not blowing, The .17HH, .22H and .222 got the most use. When the wind started blowing the .223 and .204 were used. From 250-450 I used the .223 and .204. Last season I had less than 20 shots under 200 yards, possibly even less than 20 under 250. This is where the .204 shines. I took shots out to over 560 with it. The nice thing about the .204, compared to the .22-.250, is if shot at a moderate pace, the .204 won't overheat.Run the numbers comparing the .204 to the .22-.250 on wind drift and you will see that the .204 will run right with it in drift and drop. I shoot the 40 Vmax at 3800 with 8208 and Norma brass. Think long and hard at the volume of dogs you will shoot, and the "need" for 2 guns can become a reality. If I had to pick 2 guns out of what I have, it would be the .17HH in a Ruger 77/22/17, .920 Pacnor or the .204,Savage LRPV with a Shilen bull barrel/ tight chamber.
  15. Just Say Moe

    Just Say Moe

    Dec 13, 2016
    Agree with drover. Standard 223 for numerous 100-300 yard shots and an occasional longer one. Better yet, get another heavier rifle (22-250 or a 6mm) for longer shots if you want. Shooting these "cannons" all day is very fatiguing for me at least. I sold my 22-250 for that reason and make due (for now) with a Vartarg and several 223's. Get a R700 223 with an HS precision stock and don't look back.
  16. Coyotefurharvester


    Aug 11, 2017
    I love my 223 for pd, but still think the 204r is better. I don't think you save enough money when buying factory ammo to lean to the 223. If bigger 22-250 is the next inline price wise for factory ammo.
  17. 284winner

    284winner Gold $$ Contributor

    Dec 6, 2015
    Cheapest would be to Ackley that 223 barrel and gain some speed/range. Not tons of explosive results from the 69/77 bullets on PDs but accuracy sounds good. 53/55s will do the job much better. Explosive at 500 for a 223 is a stretch but lighter and faster bullets are the best way to make it happen, especially with the Ackley.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  18. jpx2rk


    Dec 21, 2015
    If you are expecting any splat/red mist factors at 500 yds with a 223, you will be disappointed IMO. My longest shot/kill this year was right at 520 yds, 55g nosler tipped varmageddon, punched a hole thru it and it fell over. Was fun to watch that, but that's about it. 50g Vmax's in a 12 twist 223 are good as well. I took a 204R with me but did not open the case as the wind did not drop below 15mph except for the 2nd morning for just a couple of hours, then back up to 15mph or more.
  19. stacy

    stacy 2 TIMOTHY 2 VERUS 15 Silver $$ Contributor

    Jan 6, 2012
    22BRGUY likes this.
  20. Idaho-45


    May 11, 2010
    If you use your regular 223, I highly recommend trying the 53 grain Hornady V-Max bullet. I've not yet shot a Prairie Dog, but these bullets in my Remington 700 5R 223 work wonderfully on the Columbian Ground Squirrels that I enjoy shooting here in Idaho, in the Spring!!!!!
    JLT likes this.

Share This Page