View Full Version : Prairie Dog Calibers

December 23, 2005, 02:36 AM
I'm going prairie dog hunting this summer. We've got 3 guys, 2 .223s and 1 .270. Will the .270 be too much? Should I save up until summer and get a .223?

December 23, 2005, 10:27 AM
.270 for prairie dogs entirely too much unless you want a bad sore shoulder I have heard of guys that shoot like 400 to 500 times in a day if I were you save up and get a .22-.250 this is probably the best caliber for this doesn't have that heavy recoil but still has great range:D :D :D

Jeff F
December 23, 2005, 11:06 AM
I used a .338 win mag once, shot like 85 rounds that day. Most shots were prone off a rolled up sleeping bag at ranges out to about 250 yds or so. I was a little sore for a couple of days. My two buddys were shooting 22-250s. They tried my .338 and after 1 shot gave it back and would not shoot it again. I had a .220 swift with me and it never came out of its case.

December 23, 2005, 11:54 AM
I used to eat lunch at work every day with a guy from west Texas. He talked about everything from a .218 bee to a 22-250 but seemed to like the .221 fireball the best. If I ever go hunting with him I think I'll take my .17 HMR.

A 270 is good gun for antelope, so I hear.

December 24, 2005, 11:35 AM
I went on my first PD hunt this year in SOUTH DADOTA, had a great time. I used a 19 CALHOON, and a 17 HMR, one day I fired 200 rounds in less than 3 hours, one thing nice about the small calibers is that they don't get hot, the CALHOON burns only 13.5 grains of powder, and I'm not sure what is in the 17HMR,( what ever powder they use it is VERY dirty) but I fired them as fast as I could aim and load without either gun getting hot. If you're not into reloading the 17HMR is the ticket, mine is the cheapy SAVAGE $149.00 at DICK'S, with a TASCO PRONGHORN 3X9, which is I believe about $30.00?, one thing I found out very quickly you can have just as much fun with gun that costs under $200.00 as you can with one that costs $900.00. If someone told me the 17HMR was disigned for PD hunting I would believe it, out to 200 yards it will ruin a PD'S day, good luck!

December 24, 2005, 05:22 PM
Has anyone tried the .204 ruger or a .243 winchester with some varmint loads? How do they work and to what range? And with the 17 hmr how far can you shoot them before you start to get some crawling away?

December 25, 2005, 09:52 AM
243 with 55 grain ballistic tips.....oh baby!! You will become a member of the red mist society! Best shot todate on a PD was 600 yds. Took 3 rounds to get the range right. The 55 grainer did what it was designed to do even at that range.

December 25, 2005, 10:08 AM
Hello Koyte that 55 grainer is very nasty have taken yotes heads off at 200 yards with it no bull one of the nasteyist rounds on the market today I love them the .204 would be a great one also:D :D :D

December 25, 2005, 05:54 PM
223 this fall with 55 grain ballistic tips. Those dogs were like pinadas!!! I actually shot 2 dogs with 1 shot at about 150 yds :) I liked that shot!! My opinion is the 270 is WAAAYY too much.

December 25, 2005, 08:29 PM
Ideally, you would have at least two rifles. Something like a .223 and a .22-250. You could use the .223 for the short to mid range shots and the .22-250 for the long range ones. By switching rifles, you would avoid overheating the barrels and causing undue wear.

I agree that a 270 is a bit much for prairie dogs, but if that is what you have, go for it. :)

December 25, 2005, 08:42 PM
.270 will work but it's expensive, loud, kicks, and is really too much for p-dogs. IMHO, the .243 falls in this category, too.

I'd stick with a 17 HMR under 150 yards and for my money, the .204 out to 500 yards. 22-250, .220, etc will also work for the longer shots.

December 26, 2005, 11:55 AM
Should I save up until summer and get a .223?


Here's mine.


Gun: $269.99 + tax (NEF Handi Rifle Ultra Laminated .223 rem, with scope rail)
Optics: $199.99 (Mueller Eradicator, free shipping from opticzone)
Rings: $20.99 + shipping (Burris Zee)

Total: approx. $491 + Shipping/Tax. Also have an AR15, but that's quite a bit pricier to get into, and it's only wearing a 1.75-5x scope, so not ideal for little target sizes.

Or get something in .17 HMR. Here's my NEF Sportster in this caliber:


Sportster, Bushnell Scopechief 6-20x40 AO, forget which rings, and bipod. This is a really inexpensive setup. Any .17hmr rimfire is going to be less to purchase than a centerfire, of course.

Big Yac
December 26, 2005, 12:51 PM
Id have to say my favorite of my groundhog guns is my Winchester Model 70 in .243. I reload and came up with a nice load using IMR 4895 and Sierra 85gr hollow point boattail bullets which is very accurate. The scope on it is a Leupold 3x9 which seems to be all I need since we have very few places to shoot much over 300 or 400 yards (that is where I go). I also regularly use a Remington 721 in 30-06 that my dad got years ago. Again I handload for it and have a sweet load using IMR 4895 and Sierra 180gr hollow point boattails. I know this is way overkill for groundhogs so I am playing with some Hornady 110gr screamers (3200 or 3300 fps I believe). They are of the ballistic tip design so maybe I'll get some red mist now:D I am about to start loading for my 25-20, hopefully I can come up with a decent load for it to use out to 100 yards. If you have a .270 I wouldnt feel over gunned, just try a few different types of ammo and see which works best for you, then use it, if you reload you can load up some light bullets. Or maybe you want to use prarie dog hunting as an excuse for a new rifle...which to me is a pretty good one:D

December 26, 2005, 08:57 PM
The most commonly available ones:
.22lr (limited ability)

the .270 is a great round, dont get me wrong but please oh please in the name of decency dont shoot anything smaller than a coyote with it, youll want to shoot deer with a .50BMG for the same type of spectacular and catastrophic deaths.

.243 is also a great varmint round but if youre gonna be shooting lots then go with something smaller for your shoulder and wallet

December 26, 2005, 09:13 PM
If you are going to save up and get a rifle do take a look at the .204 ruger.

I would only recommend this if you reload as the factory ammo is pricey, around $12 for 20 rounds.

But you could whip up 500 brand new rounds for under $150.

Otherwise get a .223. They are great out to about 200 yards. If you reload you can put together some 40 grain blitzes or VMAX rounds which are excellent for PD's. The lighter bullets are serious fun with the .223.

The .204 Ruger shoots 1 1/2 inches high at 100 yards and is spot on at 300 yards with the 32 grain hornady VMAX bullets.

I had mine out today getting some hand loads dialed in. The rifle is a laser beam out to 300 yards and there are many fellows taking coyotes at 400 yards with them.

December 30, 2005, 07:41 PM
I use a .243 NEF Handi-rifle with varmint loads of Michigan woodchucks and out west on Prarie Dogs. It also doubles as another deer gun with heavier loads. Pretty affordable too.