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Old March 23, 2006, 12:45 PM   #1
M14
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Reduced Varmint Loads

I'm planning on purchasing a varmint rifle soon. Although I live in the country, muzzle blast is still a concern. I was thinking of either getting a rifle chambered for the .17 Remington or the .204 Ruger & using less than full throttle loads. With the flat terrain around here, I thought they would be less ricochet prone too. Any comments?
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Old March 23, 2006, 01:42 PM   #2
Leftoverdj
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I have my doubts about the effectiveness of those cartridges with reduced loads and a natural aversion to re-inventing the wheel. Figger out what your needs are, and there will be an existing cartridge to meet them.

I'm partial to the .25-20 WCF for suburban varminting. Low noise and very effective to 150 yards. For a bit more range, the .221 Fireball is making a modest comeback.
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Old March 23, 2006, 06:20 PM   #3
M14
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Interesting that you mentioned those 2 calibers. I had tried previously to find a 25/20 within my price range but couldn't. I've given some thought to the .221 but I'd like to hear one fired to assess the muzzle blast. The .221 seems to be between the .22 Hornet & the .223 baliistically. I suppose I could load a .221 down a bit if noise were a problem. I should admit that after firing many, many rounds as a youth sans ear protection I'm also thinking about my hearing.
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Old March 24, 2006, 02:16 AM   #4
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222 is still a real accurate low noise round you can down load it a bit and it still goes well .
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Old March 24, 2006, 07:23 AM   #5
MADISON
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Reduced Varment Loads

LEE has a cute little program called "SHOOTER' on CD that has a way to reduce your existing load[s] with your normal powder.
I have a reduced load for my .223 Remmington.
55 grain bullet and 5.6 grains of UNIQUE. I estimate the velocity at about 1850 fps.
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Old March 24, 2006, 10:55 AM   #6
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The demand for .25-20s is sufficient to keep the price of existing rifles sky high without being enough spur new production. I don't really count the Marlin because it's both expensive and not likely to give the kind of accuracy I expect. I lucked into a Savage 23 bolt action many years ago, but never expect to see another I can afford.

The current way into a .25-20 is a T/C frame and a custom carbine barrel. You could also get a .256 Mag that way. Be worth considering for those who shoot a T/C anyway.
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Old March 29, 2006, 12:43 PM   #7
2400
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Quote:
I should admit that after firing many, many rounds as a youth sans ear protection I'm also thinking about my hearing.
No matter what you shoot, hearing protection (headphones, plugs, or both) is your friend.
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Old March 29, 2006, 03:41 PM   #8
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If you are using proper 'varmit' bullets, and not FMJ military bullets, you have done a lot to reduce the risk of ricochet already. Varmit bullets are designed to come apart when they hit a relatively small, soft varmit. That means they should come apart when hitting a rock or anything else. That means they don't ricochet very well.

That doesn't mean it can't happen, but its probably less likely that getting a ricochet from a reduced-power load using a FMJ bullet.
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Old March 29, 2006, 03:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Varmit bullets are designed to come apart when they hit a relatively small, soft varmit. That means they should come apart when hitting a rock or anything else. That means they don't ricochet very well.
At the velocities for which they are intended.

Reduce the velocity enough and they ricochet.

I shoot 75 grain Sierras in both .25-06 and .25-20. There is about 2000 fps difference in the muzzle velocity. They explode on impact from the .25-06 and barely expand from the .25-20.
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Old March 29, 2006, 05:43 PM   #10
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Reduce the velocity enough and they ricochet.
You're right. I should've thought of that.
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Old March 29, 2006, 07:14 PM   #11
M14
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About the hearing protection

Quote:
No matter what you shoot, hearing protection (headphones, plugs, or both) is your friend.
2400, you couldn't be more right about hearing protection. I'm very lucky to be able to hear normal conversation after the stupidity of my youth. Besides shooting, I worked in a pre OSHA factory while going to college around jet turbines & large stationary diesels. When I was in the Army, I was in the artillery although not on a gun crew. My audiogram is a poster for hearing protection.
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Old March 29, 2006, 09:12 PM   #12
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Dave, you're kinda right, too. There are a few special extremely fragile bullets that will break up at fairly low velocity. There are Hornet bullets for the .22s, .25-20 bullets for the .25s, and that Speer Plinker for the .30s. I did not think of those immediately.
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