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Old November 20, 2011, 09:57 PM   #1
MrDontPlay
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Best long range varmint rifle for the money.

I'd like to hunt prairie dogs next year but don't have a rifle for it. I'd prefer 223 because it's so common but you can try and talk me in to others because I'm new to rifles.

Go!
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Old November 20, 2011, 10:00 PM   #2
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Old November 20, 2011, 10:18 PM   #3
MrDontPlay
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That's a little pricing for me since won't get to use it much.
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Old November 20, 2011, 10:34 PM   #4
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I got invited to go on a pasture poodle (prairie dog) shoot with a group of guys about 15 years ago. Back then money was tight, so I bought a N.E.F. Handi Rifle in .223 with the heavy barrel. Found a load that worked good with it and off I went to South Dakota. It was a blast, and I did it on the cheap. Plenty accurate out to 300 yards, and my longest shot of the week was 429 yards.

I then wiped a coat of grease on the rifle and put it away for 12 years. Got it back out, cleaned it up, worked up some new loads, and it still shoots 0.6 MOA all day long. This past year I shot more rounds threw it then any other guns except .22 LR. It’s a bunch of fun to shoot, and I have less then $400 in it including the scope.
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Old November 21, 2011, 12:59 AM   #5
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Savage 12
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Old November 21, 2011, 01:06 AM   #6
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Heavy barrel Savage
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Old November 21, 2011, 01:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
I'd like to hunt prairie dogs next year but don't have a rifle for it.
"The best rifle is the one you have."

How about your deer rifle: handload some lighter bullets to similar velocities that your deer load is doing...... a couple of afternoons in June at a prairie dog town with your deer rifle and a hand press kit...... makes bambi a ridiculously easy target come November.
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Old November 21, 2011, 01:14 AM   #8
MrDontPlay
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I've been looking at some savages. I'd like to get the long range presision varmint rifle but the price is up there. I'd like a gun with lots of after market support also, because I can't just leave something alone.
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Old November 21, 2011, 02:08 AM   #9
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Stevens 200 in 223 Rem. Slap a cheap scope on it and you're ready to go.
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Old November 21, 2011, 07:41 AM   #10
MrDontPlay
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How about your deer rifle: handload some lighter bullets to similar velocities that your deer load is doing...... a couple of afternoons in June at a prairie dog town with your deer rifle and a hand press kit...... makes bambi a ridiculously easy target come November.

My only rifles are a 22lr, 22wmr, and an AK. I'm needing a long range center fire gun.
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Old November 21, 2011, 10:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
I'm needing a long range center fire gun.
Define "long range'........

7-08, .260 Rem or .243 Rem, and a handloading set-up. Excellent high BC bullets available......

.223 bullets are too short, generally, to be efficient- even the sleekest .223 does not have a G1 BC of much more than .400 ......

.223 is not sufficient for deer at longer ranges, IMO .... and many places have a .243/6mm bore caliber minimum.

For future versatility, I'd go with the 7mm.
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Old November 21, 2011, 10:17 AM   #12
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What cartridges would you guys recommend? I'm not a real good shot right now but I don't want to be limited by the cartridge as I get better. I am set up to reload.
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Old November 21, 2011, 12:35 PM   #13
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Probably the best for the money -new-is the current Rem 700 SPS-Varmint models. Dicks Sporting Goods sells a special blind magazine version of the SPS-V for about $450, that usually includes a package scope (which sucks). Since it's still a 700, you can tinker with it ad nauseum, adding bottom metal, replacing the stock, rebarreling it,etc. But as it comes from the factory, it's a usable rig.
Just about any heavy barreled Savage or Remington will be a good starter rifle that can be built upon,however.
For long range precision varminting, get a 22-250 or a .243Win. The latter can also serve as a decent deer rifle.
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Old November 21, 2011, 12:59 PM   #14
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The new issue of RifleShooter (Jan/Feb 2012) has an article on the 6.5 Creedmoor. How it is "the new .270 Winchester" and can be used for practically anything. More efficient than the .270 and originally designed for long range target and competition. Lots of extremely good bullets available for the diameter. Just a matter of figuring out what rifle to put it in. You could get a Ruger No. 1 or M77 Hawkeye. A Savage M16 Weather Warrior or Model 12 LRP. T/C is chambering it in the Icon. Or you could get an Encore barrel for it.

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Old November 21, 2011, 01:17 PM   #15
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I only have about $500 in this Rem 700 Varmint Spl. 243. Bought the rifle w/4x12 Redfield second hand (but still new), then added Stocky's thumbhole stock, Jewell trigger. Under 1 moa any day and with most factory ammo (which you can find 243 even at "Bubba's Beer Bait & Ammo". A 22-250 would be a good reasonable choice too.

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Old November 21, 2011, 07:20 PM   #16
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I would get one of the Remington 700 SPS in .308. There are bullets you can load for everything out to just over 1000yds. Pretty versatile and as your skill level increases you can add things to the rifle to increase the accuracy. I bought one a few years back and it shot sub-MOA out of the box. You can load 110 gr. bullets for varmint hunts, 165's for deer and such, on up to 175 SMK's for targets out past 1000. Over the past few years I have added a B&C Medalist A3 stock, Burris Signature rings, a Vortex Viper scope, and a Harris bipod. It shoots much better now, primarily due to the new stock. I have a Savage Precision Carbine in .223, and it's a great rifle that, at 100 yds., will place 5 shots in an area that a dime can easily cover, but it's nowhere near as versatile as the .308. Just my 2 cents.
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Old November 21, 2011, 07:28 PM   #17
MrDontPlay
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I looked at a savage 12 and a remington 700 side by side today. I liked that savage a little more but I'm no expert. Either will work for me I think. I just need to decide on a caliber.
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Old November 21, 2011, 07:31 PM   #18
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I just bought a Savage Model 12FV in .223 with a 4-12x40 Nikon prostaff for around $600 for the gun and $200 for the scope. I traded my DPMS for it. I had about 500 rounds left over of Ultramax 55 grain nosler balistic tips from my AR. The gun loves them, I have always shot this round for everything from gophers to deer. It hasent failed me yet. When I run out of this load I wanna try to find some heavier bullets and see what it does. But for now they work just fine.
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Old November 21, 2011, 09:04 PM   #19
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Savage Model 12

I have a Savage model 12 with a 26" SS Fluted Varmint barrel... Sweet short action, jeweled bolt, 4 round DBM, nice balance It's a bit heavy but is a tackdriver...
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Old November 21, 2011, 09:42 PM   #20
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How far have you guys shot your savage 12s?
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Old November 21, 2011, 10:17 PM   #21
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If its purely for smaller varmints I'd be looking into either 223, 204 ruger, 22-250 or 243.
Anything else is just extra money for basically no gain.

I'm sure people will tell you that you need a 6.5-284 or a 7mm WSM, but if its just for smaller varmints out to around 500 yards then the calibres I said are all you need.

Personally I'd look into 204 Ruger, thats a sweet little cartridge.
But 223 will do you good too.

Howa also makes some nice rifles, and I think you can still get the CZ 527 Kevlar, they're nice too.
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Old November 21, 2011, 11:31 PM   #22
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Quote:
How far have you guys shot your savage 12s?
The farthest Ive shot an animal at is 623 yards and that was a p-dog, it took me 3 shots cause the first I didnt judge for wind and the second I overcompensated. The farthest Ive shot a gong at is 800. I wouldnt be able to shoot that far being that accurate if it wasnt for the scope I have.
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Old November 22, 2011, 08:54 AM   #23
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An important consideration in varmint hunting (as with any hunting) is bullet ricochet. A slow heavy bullet is more likely to stay intact and continue on for some distance whereas a fast light bullet will most likely disintegrate on impact with the critter or the ground. I once shot a crow sitting in a plowed field with a 25-06 and Winchester 90gr PEP "Positive Expanding Point". Of course the crow exploded but so did the bullet. I expected to find a hole in the furrow just past the crow but instead found many small holes from the bullet fragments. Testimony that it is a good choice for hunting varmints.

Deer season comes around and I had not re-sighted for a different load so on the first day I loaded up with the same 90gr PEP's. First thing that morning I spotted a nice buck (5x5) trashing a small bush. When he raised his head again I was ready and took a neck shot. He dropped and I quickly moved in for second shot, which wasn't necessary. However, when I went to bleed him out I noticed that the bullet did not pass through his neck but blew up, shattering his spine. It was a clean quick kill but would not be a bullet choice for a shoulder shot.
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Old November 22, 2011, 09:10 AM   #24
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I hunt coyotes with an AR. We're talking $600 if you look around hard enough.

I also can't say enough good about the AR57 variant. Some aren't fans of the 5.7 caliber, but i find it incredibly accurate. There are people all over message boards almost giving those uppers away in classified sections.

Something cheaper, the Remy 700's can be had for $400, and are known as some of the most accurate rifles around. Maybe that's overkill, but hey, get it in .223.
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Old November 22, 2011, 01:00 PM   #25
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How far have you guys shot your savage 12s?

Mine is a .223 and I have never hunted with it, too pretty and too heavy to lug around I've shot bench out to 300 yards.
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