View Full Version : need help choosing a .223 for brush hunting varmints

April 10, 2007, 11:49 AM
I hate to beat a dead horse, but I need unbiased opinions as it relates to sporting use.
Mini 14 or AR 15 or Remington 700

I like everything the AR offers, but I am concerned with toting an "evil black" military rifle around my deer lease. Is its image thretening? Does it apper un-sportsman like? Will it freak out the old-timers?

I've shot minis before and they are ok...nothing impressive. They are accurate enough and they look more like a hunting arm, but for almost the costs of an AR.

And then again, I almost want to say screw it and just get a bolt gun.

Please help and keep in mind that I dont care for a SHTF gun or a battle gun or tacticool gun. I dont care about high capacity mags or .5" groups at over 100 yards. I am looking for a gun to carry with me and in a truck at the deer lease where other hunters are present. Main uses would be varmint hunting at night and general brush cary.

Thanks guys

April 10, 2007, 12:01 PM
For a walk around / do everything .223 find a fairly light weight shorter barreled bolt .223 rifle.
Remington, savage and others make sporter weight or ' light varmint ' configurations. even the remington police tactical series ( SPS or is it PSS ? )would fit the needs too.

I love the stability of a heavy 26" barreled bench rifle but they are a major PITA when you have to carry them all day, particularly in brush like you are likely to hunt in.

An Ar is a good choice if you are interested in them, however some tend to be fairly heavy and in most cases you really don't need a super fast followup shot on varmints, with coyotes being one exception.

April 10, 2007, 03:30 PM
Ahh... so you want a Terrorist weapon eh? ZZZZZZiiiiiNG!!!

Sorry, couldn't resist :p ;) :)

April 10, 2007, 04:55 PM
Sounds like a job for the Mini-14 Target? I've been eyeballing this a little myself.


April 10, 2007, 06:20 PM

April 10, 2007, 07:20 PM
I'd go Mini with a 20rd mag. It looks a little scary but you'll be in thick brush. Although I'd prefer a Rossi Puma in 357.

April 10, 2007, 07:48 PM
I would sugest an AR rifle, while they are visualy more threating than some bolt action rifles. I dont see that being much of a problem around hunting people. you can also get them for the price of a mini or some bolt actions and there just fun to shoot.

April 10, 2007, 08:46 PM
Definitely go turnbolt to fit in the guys, if you're not one to "rock the boat". Yes, an EBR will probably scare the old guys. Plus, you'll get better accuracy as a rule also, from a turnbolt. Many many choices of short, light .223 guns. Good example is CZ 527:


Or you said Remington 700:

How about the Light Varmint Stainless Fluted:

Or the budget plain "SPS" or "SPS Stainless":

Or, not a 700, but the model Seven CDL sounds perfect for your use:

Remington also now sells the Zastava mini-mauser, called the 799:
Would be an excellent choice for a quality walk-around rifle in .223.

For a walk around / do everything .223 find a fairly light weight shorter barreled bolt .223 rifle.
Remington, savage and others make sporter weight or ' light varmint ' configurations
+1 to that.

Sounds like a job for the Mini-14 Target? I've been eyeballing this a little myself.
I think the reason why *I* eyeball that one is because my eyeball instantly freezes in place for a few moments, due to the shock of seeing the most hideously ugly gun on face of the planet. Looks like the hi-point carbine, the M3 grease gun, and a gamo airgun had a bastard child rifle as a result of an unholy threesome. Oooooh [shudder]

Double J
April 10, 2007, 09:37 PM
Have you checked out the CZ 527 carbine? Pretty nice little rifle.

Art Eatman
April 10, 2007, 10:05 PM
"Varmints": Coyotes or smaller?

Distance: Under 200 yards, maybe?

If so, a Mini will do as good as anything else. I always put a Weaver K4 on mine, and did in lots of jackrabbits and a few coyotes. I still have my ten-round factory magazine, for if I get another one. :) But a few five-rounders did me just fine, one day during a population explosion hunt for jackrabbits in northern Nevada. Shot over 50, in not much over an hour.

I currently have a Ruger Mark II lightweight sporter. 1/2 MOA for three-shot groups, regularly. Old Leupold Vari-X II 3x9, Weaver mounts. Great for prairie dogs to 300 yards.

I've hunted in fairly thick and jungly cover, and never really noticed that "brush gun", as in light and handy, was of much importance.


April 10, 2007, 10:05 PM
yea, I've been looking alot at the CZ 527's online and stuff, but I havent been able to find one in a gun store. The Carbine looks nice.

Been also thinking about the mini..not the target though. Concerning the looks, I think it looks like all the other whacked out benchrest rifles out there. Not really what I want.

I'll look into the Saiga some more.

Mini's are getting more expensive and closer to the price of an AR, but they still are not near as expensive. Sure, you can build an AR from pieces found all over the internet or buy a fixed carry handle model, but in my opinion, those routes dont get you a high quality, dependable, scope ready, sporting arm. For that, you would need to drop a minimum of $850 which is almost $300 more than Mini's are running for in my area.

April 11, 2007, 10:35 AM
brush hunting yotes is something I do often. My advice is to purchase a light weight rifle to make carrying and walking easier. Also, unless you buy an old wood stock rifle that is already scratched to he$# then you will not want to buy a fancy looking wood stock rifle because after your first outing in the heavy brush your gonna be sick when you get back to the truck and find that purdy wood all scratched up.

I prefer the AR-15 in a 16" sporter barrel or even semi-bull to be my most effective walking varmint rifle. They are indestructible and very effective on varmints plus allow for quick follow up shots just in case you have more than one dog come in at a time.

I love my CZ rifle and think they are about the best bolt gun offered in that price range but they are not a rifle you want to go tromping through heavy brush with. Or at least I don't.
My $.02 for what it's worth.

April 11, 2007, 07:08 PM
I think a Saiga can be had for less than $300. They are purported to be way more accurate than the mini.

PTR 91
April 11, 2007, 07:55 PM
I have a saiga 223 very good rifle and extreamly accurite, especialy for the great price, for me it cost little over 300 $. The fit and finish is great the action is very smooth.

April 11, 2007, 09:36 PM
Shot a Ruger Mini 14 this last weekend (a co-workers), let me say you would'nt be disappointed... A fast, flat shootin, accurate little rifle... What a pleasure!!!The pic is of the proud owner


April 12, 2007, 09:52 AM
Can you mount a scope on the Saiga?

I've found Minis to be plenty accurate for what I want to use it for.

I'm leaning more and more away from the AR. It feels / handles too much like a battle rifle instead of a sproting arm (of course).

April 12, 2007, 12:10 PM
Lots of Saiga info here:


April 12, 2007, 02:51 PM
a ruger ranch rifle is a pretty good 223 i think.

April 12, 2007, 06:30 PM
That CZ looks nice that some are suggesting... Savage makes some models you may be interested in as well. You mention hunting at night; here in Michigan it's my understanding you can only do this with a rimfire or shotgun. Your state may be different, but something to look into if you haven't.

Desert Heat
April 12, 2007, 06:32 PM
A bushmaster would be sweet.

April 12, 2007, 06:55 PM
Won't be threatening if you use this!


April 12, 2007, 07:44 PM
That poor gun LOL.

April 12, 2007, 08:07 PM
You wouldn't be laughed at if you showed up to register your 6x6 trophy buck with somthing like that. Would shame all the other hunters in the area :rolleyes:

April 12, 2007, 10:16 PM
If you are hunting brush you want something short, light and fast to point.

I would go with a ruger M77MkII frontier rifle. It looks like a sweet little brush gun.

April 13, 2007, 08:30 AM
The Ruger Frontier isnt offered in .223, otherwise I'd be all over it. I like .223 because it is cheaper and quieter, and recoils less than many of the other "varmint calibers".

There are few regulations regarding hunting non game animals at night in Texas.

April 13, 2007, 09:51 AM
The .223 Scout

Steyr recently announced a .223 Remington (5.56 x 45 mm) version of their Scout Rifle. Because of its diminutive cartridge it is fast becoming known as the "Cub Scout" probably to the chagrin of the marketing folks. It should make a handy rifle for those who's main shooting is at varmints and small game.



in .223

April 13, 2007, 10:16 AM
For brush hunting varmints or even whitetails, I would suggest you consider a Marlin 1894 in 357 mag, 41 mag, or 44 mag. These are lever action rifles and really point nicely. Everyone that has one loves them. Go scopeless for true brush hunting.

My other choice would be the Ruger Mini-14. They are fast pointing, fun to shoot, accurate enough, and are light enough for toting in brush. They have essentially minute-of-coffee-can accuracy normally.

April 13, 2007, 12:41 PM
I see your dilemma there, if you look at the compact M77 there is a version offered in .223 with stainless/laminate and only has a 16.5 inch barrel. The ultralight version has a .223 with a 20 inch barrel and would likely fit you better than the compact.

April 13, 2007, 08:54 PM
Sounds like you need a Howa. I have one in 22-250, inexpensive, short barrel 22", easy to manuever, and did I mention, very, very accurate?:)

April 15, 2007, 08:23 PM
I think that if you have not ever tried one before you should try a Ruger 77/22 Hornet , they are accurate and very light weight . I have one and they do a fantastic job on the exact type of hunting you are talking about. I use Rem. 45gr. soft points and they are very accurate and work perfectly.No matter what you use it's where you hit that counts.

April 16, 2007, 07:58 AM
Get the Evil Black Rifle if you want it. Who cares if someone's sensibilities are offended by you hunting with one? If someone is visually threatened by seeing one afield, that THEIR problem.
Live to your own expectations not someone else's.