View Full Version : Varmint and .223s

June 3, 2006, 11:14 PM
I am new to hunting but would like to ease into the action with a gun for medium to larger sized varmint. I am looking along the lines of the Ruger Ranch Rifle. How is the .223 for game like beaver and coyote, etc?

June 3, 2006, 11:20 PM
I'd say .223 should be just about perfect out to medium or medium-plus range. I'd get something more accurate than a mini-14 for varmints, however.

June 3, 2006, 11:23 PM
It should work well for what you want it for. I would say look into an AR15 if they are legal to hunt with in ur area. Other than that, maybe a Rem 700 VSS or something like that.

June 4, 2006, 08:53 AM
If you are looking for a dedicated varmint rifle then there are tons of good bolt rifles out there, some inexpensive and accurate ( savage is a good example ) all the way up to semi custom bolt rifles costing $thousands...

If you want a semi you are better off with an ar-15, but by the time you trick it out and hang good glass on it you are going to be easily over $1500. There isn't much need for a semi in the field, unless you want to try running shots at fast moving coyotes. ( not a very suscessful proposition )

For hunting on a budget get a decent bolt in .223 and good glass. You should be able to put together a decent rifle and scope for under $1000. Spend the extra money on ammo.

My choices would be a savage 12, remington 700VLS or SPS, ruger 77.
I love the feel of a sako but have never shot one.

Art Eatman
June 5, 2006, 06:46 PM
The Mini 14 is plenty good for the first shot from a cold barrel going where the last shot went from a cold barrel. You don't shoot for tight groups on varmints. Well, maybeso prairie dogs. :) I've never had the occasion to shoot at mobs of coyotes and get the barrel all heated up. :D

After my prairie dog hunting this last Saturday, I'd say the .223 is fine to 300 yards; wind and holdover get tricky beyond that. I don't think I'd go for coyotes beyond 150 yards or so, from a clean kill standpoint. Jackrabbits are easier to hit than prairie dogs, so 250 or 300 yards...


June 5, 2006, 07:26 PM
Art, I was waiting to see what you had to say on the forum. You had quite a few impressive kills on on those little dogs with your .223, I would have liked to seen a couple of long range ones with your .220 Swift. I guess when they volunteer for target practice inside of 300 yds there wasn't much of a reason to use the Swift.

silicon wolverine
June 5, 2006, 07:46 PM
I like my mini-14 for all kinds of varmints. Ive taken praire dogs as far as 350 yards and coytoes to 450. (it was a windless day and i got two ranging rounds) If youre just going to be shooting a little id stay with a decent bolt gun. IF you want to shoot alot, go to an auto.


June 5, 2006, 07:53 PM
I tried the Mini 14 years ago. It was the biggest POS I've ever seen. This was my experience. Inaccurate was an understatement. I dumped it and went the AR route. I also tried (luckily, someone else had purchased it) a newer Mini a couple of years back. It showed little, if any, improvement over my first one. I recently built an AR with a match grade 1-9 twist barrel for under $600. This is a far cry from the aforementioned $1500 for an AR. It's accurate ALL the time. Of course, you can spend more money on one, but this is also true as far as bolt guns go too. You'll need fast follow up shots if you call in multiple coyotes at once. You can't work a bolt that fast. YMMV

June 5, 2006, 09:39 PM
My experience with the mini 14 is similar to the rest of the posters here, which is a shame because it's a handy package with good lines and it functioned very reliably. I installed an aftermarket trigger which helped a little but it still got traded off, down the road. I know mini's can be tricked out and accurized but I think you'll save money and end up with a better weapon if you go the ar-15 route. I've been thinking of getting another one, myself, for the same reason. I think I've found some coyotes, locally.:D

You won't go wrong with a bolt gun from one of the major manufactors. If you want a light, quick handling rifle, a remington model 7 or browning micro hunter would fill the bill nicely. If you jumped your caliber to .243 or .260 you could also use it for whitetail.

If you really want a semiauto and don't want/can't use an "evil black rifle", I've had good luck with my BAR. It's available in .243.

Art Eatman
June 6, 2006, 10:40 AM
Aw, I wasn't all that happy with the Swift. I need to do a bit of tinkering on it. The only shot I felt good about was the p-dog across the road, for a Ma Bell shot.

The Rugilator .223 seemed to be working better, that day. :) I think the reason I had to hold low all the time was that I'd sighted in with some of my late uncle's 30+-year-old ammo. The new stuff shot higher.

Funny about Mini 14s. I've had four of them through the years, since they first came out. Always stuck a K4 on. Always had good luck hunting; never worried about group size for more than two or three shots. Never missed a coyote or jackrabbit on account of the rifle; missed a few jackrabbits on account of the "loose nut behind the wheel". :) I don't think they'd work at all well for prairie dogs because of the frequency of shots heating up the barrel. Hot enough with a bolt-action.


June 19, 2006, 12:07 PM
I had my mini-14 accurized and now I can do just a hair under an inch 5-shot groups. If you want a mini, they can be made about as accurate as you need. Yes, the AR is probably cheaper and easier to make accurate and with more accuracy potential, but if you like the mini you can definitely make it shoot as well as you need it to for varmints.