Best versatile rifle round?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by FearTheFree7, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. FearTheFree7

    FearTheFree7 New Member

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    My buddy and I are planning a trip to South Dakota for a prairie dog hunt. I need to buy a new bolt action rifle and was wondering about some opinions on versatile rifle rounds. My intentions for this round will be for varmints at distances of upwards to 500 yards. And then for possible deer hunts in open range country as well. I do plan on reloading for this rifle as well. And if you have and suggestions for a good rifle with a price tag of upwards to $700 I would appreciate it. Thanks for all the replies.
     
  2. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

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    Free 7

    To address all the topics above it definitely rules out rounds like the 223/5.56, 22-250 and the normal closer range prairie dog calibers. By adding in the facts of deer hunting and in open range country the brings another area to the table. In addition to the mention of 500 yard ranges. A lot of it has to do with the budget of reloading and what you want to do in that area. Obviously purchasing larger caliber ammunition for a lot of shooting is very costly and particularly for prairie dog hunting where it is nothing to shoot several hundred rounds in a day. For an all around rifle caliber although there are others that I like better would be the 30-06 cal. You can shoot 110 grain varmint loads in it 150 grain bullets for deer for example and up to around the 220 grain bullets and specialty bullets for bigger game. Another thing that you must contend with while shooting in the open range country is "Wind". Next for a basic caliber gun I would suggest the 270 Winchester round. You can find a good rifle in the $700.00 range but do not forget that the optics and mounts are as important if not more important than the rifle you are mounting it on. So do not skimp on the Scope! Remington in the 700 Models, Howa in the 1500 Models, Savage in the 110 series are all great choices. Personally I hunt prairie dogs with a 6.5 Grendel and deer,and bore with a Remington 700 CDL 7 MM Remington Magnum. Sometimes a 223/5.56 Rock River Arms 20" Varmint Gun for closer work up to 200-300 yards. I have found the wind out on the planes really affects the 223/5.56.

    Good luck on your choice!

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  3. FearTheFree7

    FearTheFree7 New Member

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    Thank you for the huge amount of information! How do you feel about the .243 Winchester? I should mention for using this rifle for deer I would be looking for max distance of 300 yards. Just starting out with this type of hunting so I don't want to get to overboard. I'm used to northwest Indiana deer hunting where my shots don't go farther than 100 yards from a tree stand.
     
  4. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 New Member

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    for 500 yards on a small prairie dog how about the 7mm mag? its flat shooting which will help at the longer distances.

    .308 or 30/06 gives you good choice for loading varmint to deer rounds.

    wind and ballistics effect these two more than the 7mm.

    300 yards with a 243 is very do-able. but i would rather have a little bit more rifle at that range. anything closer than 300yards and the 243 is great.
     
  5. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The 6MM Remington would be a better choice than .243 to address your needs. A good heavy barrel 6mm loaded with 85-90 grain bullets is fully capable of 500 yard varmint hunting if the shooter is up to it.

    But if you want to shoot 500 yards at small targets, a scope capable of that will cost you over $500.

    And the choice of scope is even more important than the choice of rifle.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  6. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

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    The 243 Winchester is an good round for both, providing you have excellent shot placement on Deer and staty within or close to 200 yard range. Farther out it is a little light for deer sized game. But a very accurate round. I have shot 243 Win. for years in my Sako Finnbear Varmint Rifle and it is certainly a good round for coyotes and varmints and deer but not a long range caliber for deer. For deer shot placement is critical as it is important with any caliber. But with the 243 it is slightly more important. And also to select the right ammunition for the game you will be shooting. For example for deer the 85 gr. or 100 gr. bullets. It is also a veery flat shooting round and averages in the area of 3500 fps. velocity range and higher with light varmint loads. Not a bad choice!

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  7. farmallcrew

    farmallcrew New Member

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    22-250, 243, 308, 30-06. I've seen 308 and 30-06 hit their mark at 1000yrds.
     
  8. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member

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  9. cottontop

    cottontop Guest

    Pick from one of these: .243, 6mm Rem., 6mmx.284, .250 Savage, .257 Roberts, .25-06, 6.5x55, .260 Rem., 6.5x284, 6.5-06.
    ct
     
  10. FearTheFree7

    FearTheFree7 New Member

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    I think I'm going to go with the .243. I still want to do a little more research on loading possibilities for it and maybe a few other possible rounds. Thanks again for your help.
     
  11. Apex-Predator

    Apex-Predator New Member

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    The 243 is pushing it's limits out at 300 yards for deer even with streamlined poly tips, the .264 cals are easily a better choice for that. Run the numbers through a ballistic calculator and you will see what I am talking about. I grew up hunting with a 243 but my 6.5x55 walks all over it at range simply because of the much higher BC bullets, a 95gr .243 SST has a BC of .355 while a 123gr 6.5mm SST has a BC of .510 and they can be driven to about the same speed using about the same amount of powder, same story with the 80gr 243 vs the 100gr 6.5mm for varmint, the 6.5mm enjoys a HUGE advantage at range. While I can understand a non-handloader enjoying the availability of common 243 but for the handloader the mid ranged 6.5s are very popular because they are simply remarkable in terms of external ballistics. 260 Rem, 6.5x55, and 6.5 Creedmore are all good choices and are so accurate they are common chamberings for 1,000yd F-Class shooting, plus since they are using a similar powder charge through a larger bore barrel life is much longer then a 243 if you are going to be doing alot of shooting, I shoot ALOT and my 6.5x55 is still on it's original barrel and shoots great despite years of regular use (it is my most accurate and favorite rifle)
    Edit: There is one area where the 243 outshines the 6.5mms and that is with their ultra light 55gr bullets at 4000fps speeds simply because they don't make 6.5mm bullet in weights that low, the value of such light bullets is questionable since they have poor ballistics and are highly sensitive to crosswinds at range.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  12. Steel_Talon

    Steel_Talon New Member

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    A couple of other things you need to think about . P=dogs can be hard to pick up at greater distances. (even more so if they are gun smart) So the better optic you can afford the better things will be for you. When you increase magnification above 10x, and as the sun continues to rise you will have a torrent of movement going on with heat waves, wind and grass movement.

    Take more than one rifle, if your in a target rich town, you do need to let your rifle cool a bit. Depending on caliber you choose. Heavier = more recoil which will wear on you also. I myself wouldn't be using a 7mag;) I'm a dyed in the wool 22-250 man, but its not for deer as a general rule...

    Good-luck
     
  13. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Active Member

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    I always like taking a couple 223's as well as a 25/06-260-6.5 Creedmoor or other heavier caliber rifle for longer shots on p-dogs.
    Depending on the wind,the 223 is very good on them to 350-400 yards,going farther I use a bigger caliber.
     
  14. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    6mm/ .243 are a decent compromises, but IMHO, you are asking for a rather wide spread of use in one rifle. Sort of like looking for a 0-60 in 4.0 seconds car that can also pull your 5th wheel camper.

    P-dogs are usually hunted with a small caliber very fast/ very flat shooting light bullet. I use a .220 Swift. And yeah, 500 yards on a target about the size of a Budweiser Tall Boy is a challenge. A day of running a LOT of 30-06 or 7mm Magnum downrange from the prone is going to leave you looking like an ad for a personal injury lawyer. And the calibers most commonly used for P-dogs are just too light to (ethically) use for deer.
     
  15. Apex-Predator

    Apex-Predator New Member

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    ^ That is why I recommended the .264 calibers, perfectly suitable for deer out beyond reasonable ranges (400-700yards effective range depending on the bullet), accurate enough for small furrys as far as you want to shoot and light kicking enough to shoot as much as you like, I am no big guy and I can handle full bore 6.5x55 all day long without a sissy pad even in my little featherweight rifle, put a decent recoil pad on it and any child could shoot it.
     
  16. mtnbadger

    mtnbadger New Member

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    A .204 ruger is very flat shooting I shot prairie dogs in Nebraska with a ruger model 77 mark II with it and they did backflips at 400 yards it was awesome
     
  17. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    Shooting Prairie dogs at 500 yards with any sporter weight rifle is a challenge. The White Tail Prairie dog provides some 4 Sq. inches of target at 500 yards that is less than 1 inch of target.
    Anyone who can set and take the pounding and expense of any "Dog" rifle above a .25 caliber is, Well!! A typical day here on the High Plains we run 100 or more rounds per man per trip.
    A Prairie dog and deer rifle is a poor compromise at best. I think Locutus also an old High Plains Drifter gave you the best advise. The 6MM Remington with a good quality scope. My choice is the .220 Swift and any .284 or larger deer rifle.;)
     
  18. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Unless you have a diploma from a military sniper school, and a couple of years using that training in the sandbox, I would question the 400-700 yard deer shooting regardless of caliber.
     
  19. Apex-Predator

    Apex-Predator New Member

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    I am no sniper just an experienced shooter and 400yds is a chip shot off the bipod. I have never personally taken anything near a 700 yard shot on game, nor do I ever intend to but the range is there if I ever need it. My point was that if he were looking for 300 yard effective range the 243 would be pushing it's limits and a good 260, 6.5x55 or 6.5 Creedmore would just be getting warmed up, and all that extra range/performance for a hardly noticeable increase in recoil, and considerably improved barrel life......sounds like a good trade off to me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
  20. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    he is looking for a caliber versatile enough to hunt deer with as well. a 204 Ruger would be a poor choice for deer sized game.