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Old April 16, 2007, 07:57 AM   #1
DCougar
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Good rifle for groundhog hunting?

I figured I would throw this question out for everyone. I do a lot of groundhog hunting in the late spring and summer. I'm on a huge farm with lots of open land. Right now I'm using a Savage .22 mag.
Was wondering if anyone could think of a better rifle I could use?
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Old April 16, 2007, 08:46 AM   #2
boltgun71
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Depends on the range you plan on shooting them at. If you keep your shots within 150yds, then your current gun is fine. If you want to extend your range out a little bit I would recommend a .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .204 Ruger, or 22-250. These will all at least extend your accurate hunting range out to 300yds at least, as long as your personal shooting skills are up to the task. I prefer a good bolt action from Remington or Savage, but a AR platform would be a good option also. Hope this helps and good luck hunting.
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Old April 16, 2007, 09:24 AM   #3
marlin
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varmint round

a nice 223 would be good for ground hog
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Old April 16, 2007, 09:46 AM   #4
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At what range are typical shots taken? Is it windy often? Is ammo expense an important consideration? Do you want a dual purpose rifle, or is this one dedicated to small vermin?
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Old April 16, 2007, 10:01 AM   #5
Art Eatman
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If the muzzle blast upsetting the neighbors is no problem, the .223 would work just fine.

Cartridges like the .22 Hornet and the .218 Bee were quite common for shooting groundhogs in the smaller farms of Pennsylvania. An equivalent cartridge, today, is the .17 HMR. I'd call them 150-yard cartridges, insofar as a clean kill.

Then came the .222, which extended the range but still wasn't all that loud. The .223 is basically a .222 Magnum, but with a shorter case neck.

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Old April 16, 2007, 05:14 PM   #6
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The kicker for me on purchasing a rifle would be do I want to reload or not. If you don't want to reload go with .223 Rem, the cheapest thing out there for volume shooting in a center fire rifle cartridge. If you reload I'd look at the Ruger or CZ in .22 Hornet, with some of the new lighweight varmint bullets out there for a .22 cal I think owning one would be a blast.

I'm seriously considering getting a .22 Hornet in the next year. Right now my budget is kind of tied up on a hunting trip. All of my .223 rifles have too fast of a twist to use the .36 grain Berger of Barnes Varmint Gernades.
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Old April 16, 2007, 09:13 PM   #7
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Remington 700 in .22-250Rem trim.
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Old April 16, 2007, 09:17 PM   #8
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Model 700 in 22-250 will do wonders.
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Old April 17, 2007, 12:59 AM   #9
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There isn't much better than a Savage .22 mag. Had one long ago. However, it does get expensive to shoot. So will any centrefire, unless yo ureload. Anyway, decide how much money you want to spend and have a look at a Savage in any .22 calibre centerfire. One thing though, before you consider a .204 Ruger, make sure you can get ammo locally. And answer, for yourself, the questions fisherman66 posed.
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Old April 17, 2007, 01:10 AM   #10
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Out to about 200yds a .17HMR is a whistle pig's nightmare. They're fun, cheap to feed, and they're a small caliber laser. Beyond about 250 it starts getting real touchy and you'll want something a little bigger. Personally, I really like the effect of a Remington 700 in 6mm Rem. or 7mm Mag for the ones waaaay out there. There's an old chinese proverb about not using a cannon to kill a mosquito--obviously they never tried it, because it's a whole lot of fun!
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Old April 17, 2007, 10:31 AM   #11
DCougar
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I was thinking of the .17, a friend of mine has that gun and it's very accurate. I hunt out in "Amish Country" more or less. It's a nice family of Amish famers who love when I'm up there to deal with the ground hogs. The shots really do range though from 10 yards all the way to 150. Rarely do I take the long shots because it tends to be windy up on the hills.
As far as the response to fisherman66, the rifle will be for groundhog only, ammo is not that big of a deal; so long as I'm not spending $20 for a box of ammo.
If I were looking at a .17, any suggestions?
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Old April 17, 2007, 10:49 AM   #12
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A .17hmr should do fine up to 150 yards, but you are not giving up a ton of yardage with the 22 mag rf.

I understand some 22 mags can take a barrel swap for the 17. You might want to explore that avenue if money is tight (when is it not?). I don't know if you can swap with the Savage rimfire, but I understand you can with their centerfire offerings.

The .223 would almost double the range of your 22 mag at the expense of more muzzleblast and more expensive ammo. It would give you a good coyote gun too. That's the route I would take if I were you. But I'm not and the 17hmr will do what you need at less expense.

Best of luck
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Old April 17, 2007, 11:11 AM   #13
MDman
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ive got a .17Hmr from savage, its got the bull barrel, and I can do wonders with it. At 100 yards all my shots are inside a dime prety easy, course if its windy I got problems. ammo is something like $13 for a box of 50
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Old April 17, 2007, 11:33 AM   #14
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My .17HMR is by NEF. It IS just a break-action single shot with a heavy barrel, so rapid "pot-shots" at a runner wouldn't be an option. On the plus sides, I picked it up for a paltry $110, I can get change-out barrels for it in any rimfire caliber they offer, and it's so accurate that shooting the caps off a soda bottle or spent shotgun shells at 150yds has gotten boring. It's a serious "prairie dog sniping rifle."

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Old April 17, 2007, 07:52 PM   #15
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Lots of open land...might be long shots. I'd say some .223 would be ideal for the longish shots, to buck the wind better than a .22 mag. If that's too loud, something like the .22 hornet or .218 bee would be an excellent choice, too; perhaps the best choice. For that matter, .221 rem fireball as well. As for rifles, take your pick. Since you like Savage, how about a Savage or Stephens short action turnbolt?
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Old April 17, 2007, 11:03 PM   #16
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here where i live, only rimfires are allowed on state land, and no 22mag. So 17hmr is king. I'd like to see a little more weight in the bullet maybe a 25 grain at 2200fps
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Old April 18, 2007, 07:21 AM   #17
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I love my 22-250 for them long shots but the 22-250 can be expensive if your not a reloader.
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Old April 18, 2007, 09:58 AM   #18
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I've heard mixed reviews on the 22-250 to be honest. I'd prefer to stay away from the .223 just because of the noise factor. I'm not to concerned with ammo because I don't go through that much when hunting. Afterall, I only take a few shots. Most of the hunt is walking, glassing and sitting. Just like any other hunt, ha ha!
Let me ask this, if you had one rifle choise for groundhog hunting, what would you choose?
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Old April 18, 2007, 10:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
Let me ask this, if you had one rifle choise for groundhog hunting, what would you choose?
If ammo cost were not a consideration I would go with a 243. The higher BC would buck the wind better.
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Old April 18, 2007, 10:48 AM   #20
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..I've heard mixed reviews on the 22-250 to be honest....

The .22-250 is THE long range varmint round. Any mixed reviews that you have heard are in error

Since a .223 is too loud for you the .22-250 is going to be off the menu anyways as it is louder than the .223 rem.

A .22 hornet or even a .17hmr rimfire would be nice options. There are a ton of bolts from savage and marlin in the .17hmr and they are all good and affordable.

Not too many manufacturers make a lot of models in the .22 hornet but it is a good mild mannered varmint round.
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Old April 18, 2007, 11:07 AM   #21
fisherman66
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Quote:
The .22-250 is THE long range varmint round.
and I thought the 220 Swift was THE premier varmint round.
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Old April 18, 2007, 11:11 AM   #22
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good point, but the swift is no where as near as popular as the .22-250 and for all practical purpose isn't factory loaded much faster than the .22-250. not too many new rifles are chambered for it, compared to the .22-250.

If you handload the swift shines like a bright new penny.....
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Old April 18, 2007, 11:33 AM   #23
fisherman66
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The 223 wssm has one laser flat trajectory too. Just admit it Mikejonestkd, the 22-250 is a dead cartridge.
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Old April 18, 2007, 12:31 PM   #24
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A dedicated groundhog rifle might just be the perfect excuse to get this little beauty:

http://www.savagearms.com/40Varmint.htm

Then maybe ream it to K-hornet dimensions.
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Old April 18, 2007, 02:11 PM   #25
DCougar
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All this talk of hog hunting is making me wish I was back on the farm right now!
I think the furthest shot I've taken at a hog was 150 yds, to much wind so I missed. That's why I'm thinking I might want something that will handle a little better, which is why I'm leaning more towards that .17

One other thing I forgot to ask, what are some good .17 rifle makes? Any websites or recommendations?

Last edited by DCougar; April 18, 2007 at 02:52 PM.
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