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Old 07-20-2022, 07:07 AM
foxhunter foxhunter is offline
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Default what makes the perfect varmint rifle

is it the action size? mini vs 700 size.
is it the caliber? 17 vs 25-06
is it the barrel? heavy vs sporter?
is it semi-auto vs bolt?
i understand calling vs shooting over a dog town calls for a different style rifle though i have definitely killed more prairie dogs with sporter rifles than varmint heavy barrels.
i must admit i have never killed a coyote or fox with a varmint weight heavy barrel rifle.
as an afterthought question for you callers, what is the most critters you have called on one stand?
i'll wait to see what comments we get before i give my personal opinion.
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Old 07-20-2022, 07:31 AM
ben lurkin ben lurkin is offline
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Location: Tooele, UT
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You kind of hit on it already. Depends on intended use. For pdogs, i like a heavy barreled gun for my shooting bench. For Jackrabbits, a nice sporter barrel is dandy. For the 223 family of cartridges, Iím partial to a small action like a Sako L461. Gotta say the 25-06 is a lot of fun on coyotes and rockchucks with a 75 gr vmax!
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Old 07-20-2022, 01:53 PM
varmintshooter varmintshooter is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 241

For an all around varmint gun,
1. I like what I call a heavy sporter barrel
2. Bolt action
3. As far as cal 222 my personal choice
4. Suppressed
Of course if shooting off a bench or walking a lot I would change things up. If shooting long range I would change caliber. If hunting predators like coyote I would go semi auto. Always nice to have choices.
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Old 07-20-2022, 02:17 PM
pertnear pertnear is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2015
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I live & hunt mostly in Texas. I'm not lucky enough to have PD or chucks near by. For me varmint hunting is coyotes & hogs. I like a med varmint weight barrel .22-250 bolt for coyotes although what's in my hands at the time will do. Around here hogs are destructive vermin. For hogs an AR-15 in .223 is ideal for me. When a sounder of pigs show up a medium sized sow is picked out & gets the first bullet in the ear or eye. That one becomes BBQ. After that it is a free-for-all to try to hit as many more as possible. Rifles need to be superbly accurate & wear variable scopes. I like 6x-20x but 4x-18x would probably be a better choice.
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Old 07-20-2022, 02:36 PM
jimreed1948 jimreed1948 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Clarksville, TN
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I like to hunt PD and Sage Rats so therefore, I prefer the smaller calibers, 20 VT, 223 and 17 HMR.

I bought several 700 actions before Remington reorganized. The 20 VT and 223 are based on these actions in single shot. I found by using a single shot rifle years ago, I don't rush my shots and my accuracy is much better.

The 17HMR is a CZ and I'm putting it in an MDT chassis next week. Most of the time I use the standard 5 round magazine. If I happen to be shooting off a bag, the shorter magazine doesn't get in the way of the bag.
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Old 07-20-2022, 02:38 PM
TRnCO TRnCO is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Elizabeth, CO
Posts: 86

First thing I consider is caliber, then weight as far as heavy or light barrel, then action and I rarely take my semi-auto's out of the safe any more. I don't mind single shot for prairie dogs but I won't take a single shot calling. I prefer my .17's for everything prairie dog to coyote and prefer heavy barrel for prairie dogs and lighter for calling rig.

I've called in 7 coyotes at once and killed 4 of them and then one time I called in 6 coyotes on a stand, didn't all come together, but I killed all 6 of them with a bolt action.
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Old 07-20-2022, 04:02 PM
JDHasty JDHasty is offline
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Location: Wet side of Washington
Posts: 540

For years I preferred a 22-250 with heavy sporter barrel. I used a Remington 788, but a Winchester model 70 or Remingotn 7, 600 or 700 short action would have suited me fine. I used that rifle off the bench and the barrels I have taken off show it. But I also used it for going for a hike and shooting chucks along the way. I really never used it for walking dog towns.

These days I shoot more chucks and prairie dogs with a 22 or 17 Hornet and use them primarily for mobile shooting and have a Harris S Series Bipod on them.

We have always shot more prairie dogs strolling around than bench shooting, but we have shot thousands upon thousands of both from benches and continue to do so. I shot a 22 Magnum Savage Anschutz sporter for decades and now days use a CZ 227 American in 17 or 22 Hornet for my strolling around rifle.

I shoot our Winchester Model 70 SA Heavy Varmint in 243 more from the bench lately because my 84 year old spotter can see the bullet strike and call shots easier.

If I had to go with a single rifle it would be something like the original HS Precision stocked CZ 527 Kevlar Varmint in 223. But I could be happy with a Winchester sporter in 223 as well. The CZ 527 Varmint weight barrel is about as heavy a barrel as I would want.

I was looking in barrels that were taken off of my Remington 788 22-250 the other day and they are burnt completely out for eight inches from the chamber. Not that you can't do that with a 223, but it does happens much more slowly when bench shooting and you are laying a lot of fire down than with a 22-250.

Last edited by JDHasty; 07-21-2022 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 07-20-2022, 10:00 PM
Wiserfool Wiserfool is offline
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 93

My fav is a stainless Rem 700 222 with a stainless 5R 20" 10 twist Varmint weight barrel in a chassis for bench shooting rodents. In a different league for accuracy compared to a Hornet, waaay more efficient than a 22-250 and almost unlimited barrel life. I form my own brass by the 1000's out of higher quality mil surp 5.56 Nato brass, weight sorted after forming and trimming.
My fav walking rifle is a stainless 700 223 AI with a stainless 20" 8 twist magnum weight barrel, also in a chassis. Both are fed from AICS DBM's
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Old 07-21-2022, 01:06 AM
Knifeman Knifeman is offline
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 46

I hunt coyotes mainly. I had a 22 Creedmoor built just for yotes. Took a Howa Mt. Rifle had it rebarrel to a 22 Cred. Put a Brux #2 barrel on it. Scoped 6.5 lb. Perfect for walking 10-15 miles a day in Montana. The older I get the more I like lightweight rifles.
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Old 07-21-2022, 02:07 AM
Clint E Clint E is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 176

I have found that the answer to your question is to own one of everything . It just makes life more enjoyable.
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