Going to be purchasing a new rifle in the semi near future, and so the research has begun. This will be varmint hunter as well as a paper puncher. I want it to be fairly flat out to 250-300y, accuracy is obviously very important for a varmint rifle, and being able to subdue a two legged vermin in a potential SHTF would be a huge plus. I have a few ideas, although nothing is set in stone at this point.
Ive narrowed it down to 3 possible calibers. .223 rem, 22-250, and .204 ruger. Im 99% sure I want it to be a bolt gun. Max price for rifle (optics seperate) is in the 5-600 range, although the cheaper the better. I know I can get a savage in that range and am leaning in that direction due to the out of the box accuracy. I personally love the accutrigger on my mkII and it has proved to be quite accurate even with bulk ammo. I will say that my experience is very limited and am definately open to suggestions.
Back to the topic, my thoughts on the listed calibers based on what I have read over the past couple weeks.
.223- Flat out to 200y then the drop starts, still manageable at 300y but more of a challenge. Ammo is cheapest, with factory ammo easy to find at a decent price and cheap to reload, probably cheapest out of the group due to bulk bullets being available as well as bulk once fired brass. For this reason it is also probably the best suited for SHTF, more than capable of handling 2 legged vermin.
22-250- Basically does everything the .223 does, and does it better. More energy, shoots flatter, although brass is more expensive and it does take more powder uses the same bullets as .223 and again bulk bullets are cheap and easy to find. Only bad thing I have read is that it can shoot out a barrel quick, not sure how much of an internet myth this is or if there is some truth to that. Granted I will probably not be shooting thousands of rounds a year, but getting close to 1k in a year give or take is possible.
I was pretty well sold on 22-250, up until I started reading about .204 ruger...
204 ruger- Seems to be about on par energy wise with .223, but shoots flatter than even the 22-250 out to 300y. Ammo cost if reloading is pretty much on par with the 22-250. Less recoil as well. This caliber sounds very promising, however with such a light bullet 32g is it a viable option against two legged varmint for SHTF? I know the energy is pretty even with .223 out to 300y and .223 is certainly capable, but is there more to it than just energy? Upon looking there is a pretty decent selection of bullets available for the caliber. Even up to 55g bullets available. Not sure if that would be the best option but the options are there none the less.
Things I am really not sure about. Popularity of 204 ruger caliber? Is this a caliber that could die out, and I will need to stock up on components to ensure I will be able to feed my rifle? I know .223 is obviously going to be around forever which also means 22-250 will be around so long as you have brass. .204 ruger I really know nothing about.
At this point I am leaning towards the .204 ruger. If it is able to fill the long range SHTF void that I am currently trying to fill then I will be completely sold. If not it could be a deal breaker.
Any thoughts and reccomendations on caliber as well as rifles in the 5-600 range would be greatly appriciated.