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Old October 29, 2011, 11:28 AM   #1
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Best 223 varmint rifle for the money?

Looking for a nice varmint rifle for under a $1000.
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Old October 29, 2011, 11:57 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard- glad to have you amongst us.

You can get quite a few options on varmint rifles, plus scope, plus a fat supply of ammo for your $1k mark.

Before I just jump in and start naming makes and models- I guess it's fair to let you know there are a few things to consider. If you're going to be carrying the rifle for very long or very far- you'll want to steer towards the lighter end of them. If you're ranch shooting from a bench/truck- then it's OK to go with the heaviest out there.

How much shooting? If you're going to be on frequent heavily populated p-dog towns- then you might not want a barrel burner. If you plan on yotes and occasional other critters- then your high-speed rounds aren't a bad way to go.

For one that will hold it's own for just about anything from yote on down, and medium weight- then the options available might make your head spin. If this looks like your goal- then I have to pitch my vote for either the CZ 527 American or the CZ 527 Varmint either/both in .223 flavor. Now if you want to step it up a notch, then the AR's are the way to go- but that will end up over your budget by the time you get some decent glass mounted.

For glass, I absolutely see no reason at all to spend as much for the scope as you do for the rifle. I have several Mueller 8.5-25x scopes that have held up every bit as well as my Weavers and Leupold.

If you can't get a clear deal on a CZ, then take a look at Savage, Remington, or the Howa lines. I'm not real familiar with their models. If you do consider the CZ, aside from their accuracy and overall quality- they have a single-set trigger. The regular pulls are OK at hunting pull weights, but if you thumb the trigger forward and set it- it becomes a matter of a pound or less. It'll really let you get the full useful range out of the .223 round.

Hope that helps a bit.
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Old October 29, 2011, 12:06 PM   #3
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Head straight to Savage.
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Old October 29, 2011, 12:25 PM   #4
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Do you want a heavy barrel? If so go to Dick's, you can pick up the Remington 700 ADL Varmint for under $500. It's a 26" barrel but with a 1:12 twist. If you want to be able to shoot up to 69gr bullets the SPS Tactical is good to go and comes with a 1:9 twist. I have the tactical model. Nice rifle.
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Old October 29, 2011, 12:46 PM   #5
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Do not overlook the AR15 varmint rifles ,they are tack drivers . Armadillo's and cyotes just love a hit from a AR at 200 yards.
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Old October 29, 2011, 12:57 PM   #6
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I second the CZ 527 Varmint.

I absolutely love mine and the set trigger is a nice plus. Shoots 0.5 MOA all day long.
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Old October 29, 2011, 01:08 PM   #7
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Old October 29, 2011, 01:19 PM   #8
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an AR15 clone will do the trick quite nicely. might I recommend the smith and wesson MP15 or the DPMS Sportical? my sportical is a work of art and the base model only costs about $600 that leaves you $400 for optics and upgrades
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Old October 29, 2011, 01:43 PM   #9
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I have two 223 varmint rifles.

First: Remington 700VLS it is topped with a Nikon Monarch UCC 6.5-20x42mm setting in Leupold rings and 1 piece base. I changed the trigger to a timney and adjusted it to 1.5#. I also changed the firing pin from the factory init to a callahan unit. She shoot 50gr V-Max's in to .4" range at 100 yards. She weighs in at 12.5# fully loaded with a Harris 13-23" bipod and sling. I love this rifle for its performance and looks.

Second: Rock River Arms Predator Pursuit Rifle with a 20" barrel it is topped with a Nikon Monarch 6-24x50mm side focus scope in Burris Tactical rings. It has a RRA two stage trigger that breaks like glass. I use magpul PMags in it. It shoots 60 gr V-Max's in to .3" groups at 100 yards. It weighs in at 10# fully loaded with a 20 round mag same bipod and sling.

I live in va and we do a lot of walking when we hunt ground hogs. That 2.5# makes a huge difference by the end of the day when walking around a 300 acre farm..

Howa, Remington, savage and many others make great varmint rifles. But, like a deer rifle for here is totally different than a deer rifle for a person in Nevada so is a varmint rifle.
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Old October 29, 2011, 01:46 PM   #10
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Weatherby Vanguard

The MOA Vanguard is guaranteed to shoot under 1" @ 100 YDS.

I think it is one of the best value/ quality buys in the market place.

They are now into a series 2 , available in stainless with improved trigger and new stock.

I have one in .22-250 and it is real tack driver with 40gr Bullets going 4000fps

PS; Savage, Rem 700, CZ , T/C icon are all good guns. Do not worry too much about which one - pick the one you like the best.

Have fun JD
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Old October 29, 2011, 01:51 PM   #11
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Savage is great
CZ is great
Remington 700 SPS varmint is great
All of these can be kept under 1000.00 dollars with a nikon scope.
Please visit us at for some of the best delivered pricing on the net. 31,000 items and $4.99 ships your entire order!! No credit card fees! Gun+ammo=$4.99 Ammo+accessories=$4.99 WE MEAN EVERYTHING ON YOUR ORDER!!
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Old October 29, 2011, 01:52 PM   #12
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I've had three Remington varmint rifles and each was quality made and accurate. Then, I bought my current varmint rifle. A short barrel CZ527. It has moved to the top of the list. I'd suggest you search the web for reviews. Then narrow it down and go touch and feel.

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Old October 29, 2011, 03:30 PM   #13
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Here are pictures of mine.

Here it is in a SPS stock.

Here it is with a Leupold scope and the Laminate stock.
Solving Virginia's Ground Hog problems 50gr at a time.....
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Old October 29, 2011, 03:36 PM   #14
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back in about 1989, Rem made a 700 varmint special that came with a standard sporter contour barrel, but it was 24 inches long giving excellent velocity and accuracy. It came with a beautiful BDL stock. You can adjust that trigger to break like glass.
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Old October 29, 2011, 04:46 PM   #15
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Remington 700VLSS, 22-250Rem, Sightron SII 6.5-20X42AO, Talley Lightweight Rings, Harris Pivot Bipod, Glass Bedded and floated.

5 shot group with 50gr V-Max handloads.
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Old October 29, 2011, 05:02 PM   #16
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Smith and Wesson M&P sport. You can get them under $600 and they're accurate and reliable.
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Old October 29, 2011, 06:07 PM   #17
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Had a Savage 12VLP and liked it. Eventually sold it, got a Howa 1500 Varminter Supreme and love it. Fairly heavy at 10 lbs., but as accurate a rifle as I yet shot, with handloads.
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Old October 29, 2011, 07:11 PM   #18
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I don't see that anyone has mentioned the Ruger Hawkeye in 223. I've got one, and now that I've found the bullet/powder combo that it likes, it shoots great. I got the stainless version on sale at one of the big hunting stores. I think I paid $400 for it. I'd buy another one for sure, but I'd also be happy with a Browning or a Winchester or a Remington or a CZ (not a Savage fan, but that's only due to their looks). I don't think any of them would be a bad choice.
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Old October 29, 2011, 07:11 PM   #19
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Tikka's T3 Varmint will probably out shoot most other rifles mentioned here out of the box. They are VERY reasonably priced.
Ask around.

Cant go wrong with a CZ either, especially when you are looking for bang for the buck.
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Old October 29, 2011, 07:43 PM   #20
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CZ 527 .223 Cal. Varmint Kevlar Rifle w/standard/set trigger, H-S Precision Kevlar stock and Heavy, Tapered (.99" -.71"), Hammer Forged, Chrome Moly Match, Recessed Target Crown, Free-Floated, Matte Blue barrel.

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Old October 29, 2011, 09:14 PM   #21
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I have owned several (still own a couple) of heavy barreled varmint rifles, but unless I am shooting at prairie dogs, I use a lightweight pencil barreled X-Bolt in 223. It is easier on the shoulder, easier to carry to the next stand and handy in tight corners with the short 22" barrel.

My vote is a Browning X-Bolt Stalker in 223

You cannot beat a Savage for accuracy out of the box and they are starting to get the looks down, so they are not a bad choice either, just not my first choice.
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Old October 29, 2011, 10:35 PM   #22
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I have a Savage 116 in .270 and, while it's not a varmint, it is phenomenally accurate. The Savage trigger and stock is an absolute winner.
I also have the Remington SPS stainless in .223. It is pretty and very sub MOA accurate. I have a Leupold 4x12x40 on the SPS and I giggle at the accuracy.

Your pick!
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Old October 29, 2011, 11:11 PM   #23
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My Ruger 77mk II light sporter in .223 was half-moa even with the tort liability trigger. Installing a Timney made it easier to get tight groups. No problem with prairie dogs to 300 yards. I guess I've had it maybe a dozen years, now...
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Old October 30, 2011, 02:41 AM   #24
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I have a Remington 700 SPS Varmint that got right about third of MOA at 100 yards out of the box. (Posted pics here a while back.) Then I put a Jewel trigger set at 1 lbs in ... love that rifle!

I have been working out around 200 to 300 yards this summer, now that the ground and water are freezing again, I am going to push out to 600 to 1,000 yards this Winter; and I will see how that goes with this rifle. (Parts of Alaska are much easier to get around in the Winter than the summer.)
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Old October 30, 2011, 04:19 AM   #25
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Here's another vote for the CZ 527 American in .223. Great rifle, great price. The scope is a Weaver 4.5-14x44. I use the CZ on small furry critters and have an AR that I use for predators.The AR can either be in .223, or 6.8SPC depending on the size of the animal I'm hunting. It wears a Leupold 3-9x40 AR.

Last edited by NWCP; October 30, 2011 at 04:24 AM.
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