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Thread: Best Varmint Caliber

  1. #1
    Getting the hang of it

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    Default Best Varmint Caliber

    Looking for feedback on various different varmint cals...

    Was initially looking at 223/22-250/243, but a few people have recommended the 204 Ruger.

    Anyone have experience with this load at all?

    Consideration for me would be capability on coyotes, noise and ammo cost... likely in that order

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  3. #2
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    No experience with the 204 but I did have a .243 for coyotes and traded it for a .223. Noise is a little less for the area I hunt, less pelt damage and easier to see impact.
    "No one's interested in something you didn't do"

  4. #3
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    I have all your listed. The .22 250 comes with me everytime.

    I bought a new one not long ago. Sako 85 stainless laminate fluted varmint with set trigger. Hope it brings me as much luck as my Tikka .22 250 did

    Sent from my SM-G960W using Tapatalk
    "If guns cause crime, all of mine are defective."

    -Ted Nugent

  5. #4
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    I had an uncle that was a really great shooter, he would use a 222 for ground hogs then 243 or 6mm for coyotes, he liked the longer bullet with less wind drift in the winter months over a 22-250 or something with a shorter stumpy bullet, but that did mean shooting heavy bullets for the 243, not 55gr varmint bullets.

    Noise can be an issue, I would not go up to a 270 for varmints but some have.

  6. #5
    Getting the hang of it

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurkeyObsessed View Post
    No experience with the 204 but I did have a .243 for coyotes and traded it for a .223. Noise is a little less for the area I hunt, less pelt damage and easier to see impact.
    Was there a noticeable noise difference between the 243 and 223?

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    I had an uncle that was a really great shooter, he would use a 222 for ground hogs then 243 or 6mm for coyotes, he liked the longer bullet with less wind drift in the winter months over a 22-250 or something with a shorter stumpy bullet, but that did mean shooting heavy bullets for the 243, not 55gr varmint bullets.

    Noise can be an issue, I would not go up to a 270 for varmints but some have.
    I agree, and ballistically a 243 in the lighter bullets is very similar to a 22-250... so for me it would make sense to get something I could also use as a mid size game backup. The 22-250 seems to only have 1 purpose to me.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridger View Post
    I agree, and ballistically a 243 in the lighter bullets is very similar to a 22-250... so for me it would make sense to get something I could also use as a mid size game backup. The 22-250 seems to only have 1 purpose to me.
    When you think about it, a 55gr bullet is really on the light side when you start getting larger, even for varmints. Closer ranges you have no problem but there are coyotes getting up over 50lbs. If you ever have a thought of getting into wolves then you really want to creep into that deer size game type cartridge, at least that is my thought on it.

    I would not have any issues hunting coyotes here with a 6.5x55mm and 143gr ELD-X, no point in changing my scope from deer loads and it may actually do less pelt damage, if the varmint bullet hits a rib or something like that you can get a big hole. Have I had a chance on a coyote with the 6.5? No, have shot some groundhogs with it though, made a mess, the 222 would have been a lot nicer.

  9. #8
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    Our group uses all three cal. .223, 22-250 and .243. I personally use a 243 in 58 gr. V-Max pills. We hunt farm country and there is pretty much zero chance of a 58 ricochet. They can be a bit tough on hides though, depending on where the yotes are hit. I’ve noticed the 22-250 hit yotes tend to run a lot further than those hit by a .243. The increase in noise doesn’t seem to be an issue. Of the three cal.s, the .243 is the only one that can be loaded with heavier deer sized bullets, IMHO....so if you are looking for a multi-use cal., the .243 would be best.
    I have no idea about .204, but it would seem a bit light for coyotes. I don’t know of anyone around here that uses one.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    Have I had a chance on a coyote with the 6.5? No, have shot some groundhogs with it though, made a mess, the 222 would have been a lot nicer.
    I've shot most of the coyotes here with the 6.5 (.264)..it's my go to varmint rifle. Never a big mess, but not really a concern for me (livestock management).

    I do have some 100gr loaded, just haven't had the opportunity to see how they work yet.
    Arte et marte (By Skill and by Fighting)...The RCEME motto

  11. #10
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    I have a .204, a couple .223’s and a 22-250 and have shot several yotes with each. All great coyote calibers. My favourite is prob the .204 but that being said I’ve been using one of the .223’s the last couple years but only because I’m cheap and my .223’s shoot the real cheap loads well. There would not be much cost difference between the 204 and 223 if I had to buy premium ammo for the .223. Don’t think there are any cheap options for the 204. The 204 is fast, flat shooting, fur friendly and very light recoil for faster follow up shots but we are not talking about much difference between the smaller calibers. To answer your question yes the 243/22-250’s are noticeably louder then the smaller options listed. If you are looking at pursuing coyote and smaller game with this rifle I’d stick with the smaller calibers but if you are wanting to possibly use for bigger animals you might want to go with the larger ones.

    Anyone doubting the .204 for large yotes just take a look at the ballistics compared to the smaller calibers, I’ve downed some big yotes with it one shot......bang flop.......and almost have to search for an entrance whole. That being said an azz shot yote with any of the options is going to need a follow up.
    Last edited by duckslayer; June 3rd, 2019 at 02:25 PM.
    I love fishing but REALLY it is just a way to pass time until hunting season!!!!

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