View Full Version : Best Varmint Load?

June 8, 2009, 08:34 AM
I was looking at Remington's 700 SPS varmint rifle and was trying to decide if I should go with the .223 or the .22-250. I've been doing a little research and the .22-250 looks like a better choice, unless there's another load that I haven't looked at yet. Just wondering what you guys thought.

Brian Pfleuger
June 8, 2009, 08:47 AM

Higher velocity
Less noise (slightly)
ZERO recoil

Art Eatman
June 8, 2009, 09:00 AM
All three are good choices. I've used the .223 on prairie dogs to 300 yards, and on coyotes to around 100 yards. If you don't reload, .223 generally will be a bit less expensive.

The .204 and the .22-250 both reach out to 400 with little difficulty. Anything beyond that and you're into another, higher level of skill.

June 8, 2009, 01:16 PM
The .223 is not too impressive in my book. The crown has an eleven or so degree target crown, hard to find. Get too be a bit pricey after a while as well.

Happy hunting!

June 8, 2009, 02:32 PM
The .233 if you don't reload. It has a pretty good variety of ammo to pick from and as Art mentioned it's a bit less expensive.

If you reload or don't mind paying a little bit more for ammo, then the .204 Ruger is fun as all get out to shoot.
You also might want to look at the .243 which can double as a deer rifle in states with a minimum caliber restriction.

James R. Burke
June 8, 2009, 04:12 PM
I like the 22-250. I have the Browning varmint stlye with the boss system. It is far more accurate than I can shoot.

June 11, 2009, 11:34 AM
I have a .223 and a .22-250. As others have said, the .22-250 reaches out a good bit further. Another thing to take into account is shot count. The .22-250 will wear a barrel out a bit faster than a .223. In fact I've read that an over excited prairie dig hunter and overheat his barrel and wear it out in a day. If you take care you should get around 3,000 rounds out of a .22-250 before accuracy becomes questionable. If you shoot it hot you may only get 1,000 rounds out of it. The .223 barrel should last around 6,000 rounds.

James R. Burke
June 15, 2009, 07:22 PM
I should have said I had the Browning set up. I do not anymore. Wish I did, and sorry for the typo.

June 30, 2009, 03:14 AM
I bought an SPS varment in .22-250 12 months ago & although it isn't bedded or floated it is very accurate, less than 1" groups at 100 metres. I dont reload yet & went through 6 or 7 factory ammo manufacturers till I found the best round which is Federal V-shok 55gr nosler ballistic tips. I looked over all the ballistics for .204, .223 & the .22-250 & it rated the best to me for long range shooting while still packing a punch.Good luck:)

June 30, 2009, 05:20 AM
I asked basically the same question, i was undecided between the .204 ruger and the .220 swift.

The members made me lean towards the .204, i am pricing one now. Its a savage heavy barrel, fully floated with accutrigger.

June 30, 2009, 06:29 AM
Go with the .223 if you don't reload and even if you do. .223 rifles generally have a faster twist rate that allows you to use a wider range of bullets than the .22-250. Sure it doesn't give the explosive kills on little critters like the .22-250 or .204 but it still kills them just the same.

As far as barrel life goes if you watch what you are doing and don't get the barrels too hot to touch. Any of the above calibers mentiond should last well beyond 5000 rounds and still hold minute of varmint. .223 and .204 will give the slightly better barrel life because of the amount of powder burned.

I own both the .223 and .204 at present time and probably will eventually add a .22-250 to the mix.

July 8, 2009, 10:24 AM
I can tell you that a 34gr "dogtown" grenade from midway in a .223 with 25 grains of XMR 2015, OAL of 2.161" shoots about 3/8" (most of the time all touching) at 100yds with my Remington 788. Something to think about is a .223 is cheaper to load. Uses less powder, and the brass is everywhere pretty cheap. I love my 700 in .250, but I think my .223 is a blast for blackbirds/varmints at 100 to 200 yards.

July 9, 2009, 02:39 AM
All the above listed rounds are good. I have numerous .223's and every once in a while get the itch for a .22-250. BUT... I reload and have come up with a few truly awsome loads for my .243 hvy bbl Remington. A 55gr or 58gr pill in a .243 will do 'just' about anything the .22-250 or .220 Swift can do. In fact, for the kind of hunting I do and in the areas I do it in- I can't even talk myself into a .25-06! So don't overlook the .243 you can load it from 55gr all the way up to 107gr or so and that is perfectly acceptable for just about everything between a PD to deer.

Regular Joe
July 9, 2009, 04:20 AM
These discussions just almost entertain me. Learn a tiny little bit about efficiency, and reloading, and marksmanship, and what makes a rifle work.
I don't shoot varmints anymore, but my pet load was in .223, using 28 gr. of W748 and the Nosler 50 gr. ballistic tip. Velocity was right at 3,500 fps. There is no viable reason to go faster than that, unless you just enjoy burning barrels. My longest kill on a PD was a tad over 700 yards. I shot a magpie with that load from 260 yards, and found his wings, 23 feet apart.
If you want 4,000 fps+, load the Sierra 40 gr. HP with 30 gr. of 748. Accuracy is good only to about 200 yds., but whatever small critter you hit will be vaporized.
.223 is what I consider to be the ultimate .22 cal. cartridge, because it is so versatile. Speer makes a 45 gr. Jet bullet that looks like a semi wadcutter JHP. Load that with 12 gr. of Blue Dot for 2,300 fps for something cheaper, quieter and more effective than .22 Mag. within 200 yds.
Sierra makes a 65 gr. BTSP Gameking. If you can't kill a deer with that, you should be getting all of your meat from Walmart.

July 9, 2009, 09:28 PM
22-250 40 gr ballistic tip.

July 9, 2009, 10:43 PM
But most of all, we're all very very happy that Regular Joe is almost entertained! C'mon, this is an open forum- this is what we do. Share ideas, questions, techniques, stories, hints, tips, and whatever else comes to mind. No need to go all democrat on us and stiffle free exchange of information.

July 10, 2009, 02:35 AM
My mistake-I thought this was a "best varmint load"..I did not realize it had got turned into a deer thread.My response was in regards to varmints.

July 10, 2009, 06:26 AM
Aw, heck; pick your cartridge and go shoot stuff with it.

There aren't many bad choices, when it comes right down to it.

The best? For who? I've owned and extensively shot both the .223 and the 22-250. They're both great cartridges, but the '250 will out-perform the .223 by a bit on long range shots.

And you know what? I don't own anything that shoots either cartridge any more. I switched to the .17 Rem for most coyote work (less damaging to fur), and still have a .243 Win for longer range shooting. The .243 outperforms anything in .22 centerfire that's factory available using 55 grain Nosler BT's, and gives you the option of using bullets up to 100 grains or so. Ammo's likely comparable to '250 ammo in price, but I handload so it really doesn't matter all that much to me.

But that's just what works for me, and there's certainly no reason for others to feel obliged to follow my path. Choose your own, learn to use it effectively, and go shoot something.


July 10, 2009, 06:49 PM
22-250 is about the ultimate for varmits. Flat shooting, hard hitting, low recoil. I use that most of the time, but in a pinch, I have some 135gr matchkings loaded in 300wm that does the job well.

July 20, 2009, 03:06 AM
Google Varmint grenades. Dont feel bad if you laugh. I did too.

Fat White Boy
July 31, 2009, 10:44 PM
For my .22-250, I use the following load- 52gr HPBT Sierra MatchKing bullet over 38.5 grains of IMR 4364...