looking for a cheapish varmint rifle.

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by sn112, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. sn112

    sn112 New Member

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    Hi, i just started looking for a new rifle today. ive wanted a nice, accurate smaller caliber rifle for awhile but havent really put much time into finding one.
    this will mostly be for fun and getting rid of pests. usually within 100 yards, but id really like the ability to shoot up to 200 yards accurately, and further is always nice.

    i was looking at some 22 mag lever actions at the gun store today, the henry golden boy was very appealing. i know i should be looking at bolt action if i want accuracy, but a lever action 22 mag seems like it would be on of the funnest guns i could find for under 500 bucks. i wouldnt use a scope, just keep it cheap simple and fun.

    as far as bolt actions there are sooo many out there and in different calibers, i have no idea where to start. .17hmr seems like an awesome round, better distance than 22 mag, just not sure about stopping power.

    im about a year into owning my first firearm, so im pretty new to guns. and id like to keep in mind sharpening my skills when choosing. i do plan on getting a .308 or 30-06 bolt action in the future. and it would be nice to "train" with something before then.
    id just like a couple rifles to decide between, as i really dont know where to start. and any advice on caliber or anything else would be great.
     
  2. sn112

    sn112 New Member

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    forgot to add, i was also considering getting a lever/revolver in the same caliber, probably 357 mag, as im planning on getting a revolver soon, and it would be pretty neat to have a lever action to match. and though its a bit larger than something like 22 mag, its still something id consider. and it could be nice for any larger pests i need to take care of.
     

  3. DrumJunkie

    DrumJunkie New Member

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    I use a 22lr,22 mag, and 17hmr for getting rid of furry creatures that wander into my sight. Depending on the size of the critter and the distance I'm looking at would dictate what I want to shoot at them. A 17hmr does not have much trouble at all making short work of varmints. But wind does play a factor in how the round flies being it's pretty small. On a relatively still day I've picked off crows out around 150-175 yards and it's kind of like a feather bomb going off. The hills around me make longer shots not all that common. More wind I would rather have the 22 mag as it's a little harder to push around. The Remington Premier Magnum is a great round for critters. I've been trying the Dynapoint rounds form Winchester too but they are not quite as good. They are cheaper though and make fun shooting a little easier. Out to 100 yards it's a 22lr. I have a few different ones and none has a problem at all at that distance. I figure if I can head shot an opossum and it stops right there it's done plenty good enough.

    There's a lot to be said for a revolver and rifle in the same round. I've got the combo in 22lr and 44 mag and am looking for a pair in 38/357 at some point.

    Everything comes down to what are the distances you are really going to shoot and what is the critter you are wanting to make fall over. I have an AR that works wonders at great distances compared to the ones I mentioned earlier in I need it or am looking at something a little bigger like a coyote. The smaller rifles get most the work though being I really don't see many coyotes around here anymore and I'm in no shape to hunt them these days.
     
  4. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    The 22mag will handle anything small game wise out to 100 or 150 yards same with the 17 hmr. Now when I say small game I mean varmint. Fox and Coyote are not on that list. This is my personal point of view as well. The 22 map and 17 hmr require a large step up in ammo cost over the 22lr.

    Anything over 150 yards is moving into centerfire territory. If you can afford it a Ruger 17/22 Hornet would make a great 250 yard and under varmint getter. Not much louder than a 22 mag not any more recoil but an increase in power. It can be reloaded to bring cost of ammo down but the pesky 22 hornet brass is thin and fragile expect to destroy a bunch when starting to reload. If you don't reload they can cost more than the 222 or 223 round.

    The 223 is like the chevy small block of the varmint world. You can get it in just about any flavor you want. It comes in bolt actions semi-autos (Mini-14, AR-15). It can be loaded with bullets as low as 35gr all the way up to 80gr (1:7" twist required). The nice thing about the 223 is factory ammo is out there for just about anything you want to do with it. Want to shoot a bench rest match Federal and black hills make match ammo loaded with 53gr Sierra Match King bullets. Varmint hunting I prefer the 50gr Hornady V-Max it will make a huge mess of a varmint out to 400 yards. I shot a ground hog at 350 and the little 50gr pill ripped his guts out and spread them over 5 or 6 feet.

    I right now have 2 223 a Remington 700 VLS topped with a Nikon Monarch 6.5-20x42mm and a Rock River Arms Predator Prusuit Rifle both are super accurate but both set ups have over $1000 into them. With scopes mounts rings and rifle cost plus the extras like aftermarket trigger (On my Remington) and other goodies.

    Here is my 700

    [​IMG]

    A picture of my RRA AR-15
    [​IMG]
     
  5. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    I so totally forgot to address your cost factor.

    Take a look at Howa 1500 for a lower cost bolt gun. If you need something that is even lower cost take a look at the H&R handi rifles. They have a varmint line. I would go for the 223 myself. If you really want a varmint snuffer they make a 500 Smith Mag that sure would be hell on squirrels and what not.
     
  6. ballfan4141

    ballfan4141 New Member

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    mossberg makes some smaller caliber rifles. they are a decent price also. how are these rifles?
     
  7. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

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    You could buy my mini 14.
     
  8. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    Now that is funny right there.....
     
  9. sn112

    sn112 New Member

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    i plan on getting a 700 in 308 in the future, so for now im looking for something cheaper.
    does anyone have some experience with a lever action in 22 mag or any other small caliber? if i could be accurate up to 100 yards, id be happy. henry makes one in 17hmr which is pretty tempting, though id consider going with something bigger like 357 mag or similar as it would be much better for slightly larger animals, ive got a sig 522, but i dont trust it to be accurate much past 50-70 yards, and id rather not use it on anything bigger than a rabbit.

    if i can find a cheap .223 bolt action today when i look around i might consider it, but id still rather have something smaller to fill the void when i drop much more money on a .308 700.

    and a lever action seems like it would be an awesome gun for under 100 yards.
     
  10. sn112

    sn112 New Member

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    so after more looking around ive got a good idea on what small caliber bolt actions to consider.
    but i know a lot less about levers, so if anyone could help me out with finding some lever actions, and choosing a good small game round that would be great.
     
  11. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    If you are really set on a lever gun, why not go ahead and buy your pistol caliber gun now? But, at 200 yards, you're really pushing the envelope of even a .357 from a rifle. A .44 magnum will get there, but it's more costly to feed. Anyway, 200 yards is more of a .30-30 distance.

    .30-30's are as common as trees and are very affordable because they are so plentiful. Maybe go with a .30-30 and expand later as your skill and budget allows.

    BTW, if you want to reach out much more than 200 yards, you'll have to go to an even larger caliber.
     
  12. sn112

    sn112 New Member

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    im not necessarily set on a lever action, its just that as a under 100 yard gun, i think i might like a lever a little more, as id rather spend much more and get a nice .308 bolt action. even if its extremely accurate, having a bolt action that cant be very effective past 150 yards seems a little silly to me.

    id just like a couple bolt action and lever action options to narrow down.

    i dont really need to be shooting much past 100 yards. obviously the longer the range the better, but if im getting a large caliber bolt action later on, i dont feel like i need this gun to be very effective much past 100.
     
  13. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    sounds to like you have your mind made up. Smaller bolt actions are stupid and silly and levers are the way to go.

    Henry is making levers in 22 mag. They are about the only one your going to find.

    As far as bolt actions there are a bunch out there. Ruger, Savage, Marlin, Browning, CZ and others all make bolt action 22mags.

    As far as a pistol caliber lever gun your never going to reach 200 yards with it. The power is just not there. It takes a lot of energy to throw a brick 200 yards and the 357 and 41, 44 mags bullets are just that little bricks. Might get 200 out of a 500 smith rifle but 500 smith revolvers are big heavy and expensive.
     
  14. oneeyedmac

    oneeyedmac New Member

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    I don't know a ton about lever guns so I'm going to restrict my comments to bolt action rifles; other than to say this, you can get some pretty sweet deals on lever action rifles in 30-30 or even 32 special if you are willing to go used. My brother got a Winchester 94 from 1967 in 32 special in unfired condition last year for somewhere around $500.

    If you choose to go with a bolt action and the budget is under $1000 it's very hard to beat the Tikka T3 line of rifles. The T3 Varmint is available in 204Ruger which will take care of any varmint you have in mind at the range you want and it is, of course, available in 223R. You can see it here Tikka T3 Varmint and there are several other variations of the T3 if you want a wood stock or a thin barrel. The Tikka will shoot extremely well and the action is as smooth as silk soaked in hot butter.

    Another excellent rifle right out of the box is a Howa and they have several varmint models and hunting models available for the $500-$600 range. If you want to modify the rifle there is not limit (almost) to what you can get for a Remington 700 and Savage makes a nice rifle for reasonable money as well.

    For plinking or shooting short range there isn't much as fun as a good ole Ruger 10/22 and if I'm not mistaken you can get a 17HMR barrel for it for reasonable money.

    Sorry for being long winded and I hope this helps.
     
  15. DrumJunkie

    DrumJunkie New Member

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    If you're converting a 10-22 then you will want to do the 17MII think. Change the bbl and bolt spring.

    I had overlooked the 30 30 and that amazes me. That's one fine round.
     
  16. dteed4094

    dteed4094 New Member

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  17. Eric0424

    Eric0424 New Member

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    If 200-yards or more accurately is what you're looking for you should skip the rimfire rifles and look into the the 204 (mentioned earlier), the 22-250 and the 243. All three have a nice flat trajectory and should stay on target at 200 yards and beyond.

    The only drawback to the 204 Ruger is there are not a lot of options in regards to rifles chambered in it and the ammo available for it. That may have changed a bit since I looked into the 204 Ruger.

    The lever action rifles are a lot of fun the shoot, but I don't know of one cambered in the three rounds mentioned above, but the 30-30 is an excellent medium game cartridge and the ammo is reasonably priced.