Night Hunting Varmint Rifle

Discussion in 'Hunting Forum' started by Gatekeeper, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    Ive been getting into predator hunting recently--fox/coyote. Do most of my hunting at night. I usually go with my younger cousin carrying a rifle and I carry a shotgun.
    I usually like doing the calling/spotting and let him do the shooting.(surprisingly he's ok with this:rolleyes:)

    In PA you cannot hunt from a vehicle like in other states so must pack gear in and out. So Im usually pretty loaded down. My 22-250 weighs around 15lbs so its out.
    Been thinking about getting a lightweight 223 rifle with a short barrel to use as my hunting setup. I already have the perfect setup (m4) but PA doesnt allow semi:mad:
    Anyone know of any short barreled(16-18") bolt rifles that would suit my needs? Or am I gonna have to go the custom route.
    Feel free to share your setups and even your hunting tips/stories as I am fairly new to pred. hunting and any good advice is welcome.
    Thanks---Ken
     
  2. gloks4life

    gloks4life New Member

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    do you have any certain caliber in mind?
     

  3. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    Pretty much set on 223. Most shots will be inside 100yds, majority will probly be closer than that, dont figure to be shooting 200 unless optimum conditions. .223/5.56 should be perfect.
     
  4. Moss99

    Moss99 New Member

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    Ruger makes a 77 Compact in .223. I have no experience with it but it's a Ruger 77 so it can't be too bad.
     
  5. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    I had a Savage 110 in .223 and it was a great rifle. If I remember correctly (and I may not), it was a 110 E. I also don't remember the barrel length, but it was pretty handy.
     
  6. gloks4life

    gloks4life New Member

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    what Moss said above, 16 1/2 in barrel in .223,,, (ruger hawkeye),also tikka and rem both have sweeet 20 in barrel .223's,ive had both the rem and tikka and for the money tikka is hard to beat(free float barrel,2-4 lb trigger)mine is a 25-06 and is a great shooter!
     
  7. TOP PREDATOR

    TOP PREDATOR New Member

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    through experience i have found that if your dedicating a rifle to NIGHT varmint hunting, use a shotgun with a removable choke, preferrably 3.5" magnums.

    if your sure your shots will be under 100 yards, a few more seconds to bring them into 75 yards will be bring them into range

    use dead coyote loads and choke (expensive, but worth it) and a red dot.

    those coyotes and foxes seem to appear from nowwhere, and sometimes run right in front, to the sides, and in back of you as they are coming in to "finish off whatever is dying (your calling) and get something to eat".

    many times by the time you get the crosshairs with a rifle on target, try to illuminate the target, try to find the crosshairs in the dark, loose you night vision due to the illuminated cross hairs (if you use them), the coyote or fox moved on you.

    a shotgun and patience is to doing this at night, during the day by all means take the .223
     
  8. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    Thanks for the tips everyone, keep em coming!!. I have been using Moss500/red dot with 3" Dead coyote or #4 buck with a hastings extra-full. Good patterns past 50.
    Decided to get rifle with low magnification variable scope for longer shots, plus I just enjoy hunting more with a rifle, thats just me.
    If ya dont mind me asking TopPred, I see you're from PA as well, what type of light setup you using?
     
  9. gadrooning

    gadrooning New Member

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    I got a ruger m77 mark II frontier rifle. It is a 7mm08. Shoots very flat. Barrel length is a little over 16", but accurate. Great gun but the ammo is a bit stiff.
     
  10. TOP PREDATOR

    TOP PREDATOR New Member

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    i was using the night tracker scope mounted clamp setup with pressure switch, however it was a bit awkward and i don't like the idea of stuff hanging on my scope. what i am doing now is using a small rechargable for scanning, and if i spot something i have a focusable beamed flashlight i picked up at walmart attached to a rail i put on the side of my rifle stock / shotgun slide via a 1" scope ring. the flashlight has a tail cap actuater that can be easily operated from how i hold the gun or prone position with the bipod.

    i put a clear flip up scope lense cover over the flashlight lense colored with a sharpie to tone down the amount of flash, i get about 60-70 yards with the yellow cover, 50 yards with red, and about 125-150 without, with fresh rechargable batterries.

    the whole setup cost about $25.00 including batterries, is easily detachable, and is low profile, is not cumbersome, and transfers from one gun to another easily.

    i had a savage 24 combo gun that i was using for fall turkey (.223 over 12ga) that i sold 2 years ago. when using that got a bit "easy" i went to .22mag for birds. i should've kept it as now that i'm into varmint hunting big time, that rifle gives you the long and short distance capability, and could be a solution to the your dilema. only drawback is that it is a heavy gun. advantage besides the long / short capabilty is being a single shot, your forced to use patience and keep the first shot the most important one, which should be the case with any gun.

    i'm also going to start taking a .357 revolver with a red dot on it for those times the critters run up on me.

    P.S. - like Quiet Riot!
     
  11. TOP PREDATOR

    TOP PREDATOR New Member

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    in addition, with you being from pa., you know that our varmint hunting is different from the videos you see. we seem to have more hills, valleys, woods, etc. than you see on the vids, which makes our style of hunting a bit different than what is shown on tv. up here in the northeast region, we also have the strip pits and culm dumps left from the coal industry. therefore most of my night hunting is done under 75 yards.

    we usually do have the big fields also, but they usually get a whiff of you 1st and bolt or use the hedge rows to manuever their way up to the calling station and pop out in front of you anyway.

    i also just thought about if your looking for a rifle cheap, marlin has that xl7 and stevens has the mdl200 which is basically a savage 110 receiver without an accutrigger. both around $300, accurate, affordable, and priced low enough to "modify" without the guilt.
     
  12. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    Thinking what I'll probably do rifle wise is find something like a used Rem Model7and have the barrel chopped and recrowned. Possibly add an ar type flash hider to help cut down blast/preserve night vision.

    You're gonna laugh but I haven't found any cordless lights that I like that hold a charge long enough. I like to turn on red spot and scan continuosly. When I see eyes I keep light on them. So what I use is a plug in type spotlight and carry a marine battery in a rucksack. It weighs about 50lbs but has never gone dead even after 4-5 hours of constant scanning. Think I could have got away with a smaller model battery though.
     
  13. TOP PREDATOR

    TOP PREDATOR New Member

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    marine battery? how the hell big are you?

    usually i'll just look for shadows and do minimal scanning with the cordless spotlight, then when the eys show up, i go to the gun mounted walmart light. it's really not a bad flashlight though.

    i bought a whole bunch of them one night and compared them side by side after dark and found the one i have to be the most effective for my needs. it may be made by Eveready, but i'm not sure.
     
  14. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    6'4 275. A good pack helps.
     
  15. TOP PREDATOR

    TOP PREDATOR New Member

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    holy sh*t!! :eek: you have to hunt at night to help keep the coyotes from seeing you :D
     
  16. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    :D LOL, maybe thats my problem. Havent called any in yet :D
    Like I said before Ive only been out a couple times until last year, when I started in the winter after deer season. Got to go out 8-10 times heard a couple 'yotes never saw any. Called in a few red fox and a bobcat.
    But I've been learning from my mistakes.

    For instance, my cousin dave and I went out and I thought it would to sit a short distance apart, kinda like turkey hunting with a buddy calling for you.
    Seemed like a good idea to me:rolleyes:, until I called in a fox and whispered to dave to shoot. I had followed its eyes moving through the woods for about 150yds and brought it out into the middle of a grassy gas well site.

    When I told him to shoot he said he couldn't see it! 60 yards away standing in a opening in the knee high grass. He said where is it, I said right in the middle of the light, cant you see its eyes? I swear it stood there for a minute or two with eyes glowing and I could see it blinking. He finally found it and killed it.
    Talkin with him afterward he said he never saw its eyes reflecting the spotlight even though to me they looked like flashlights.
    Lesson I learned, If you're not close to the source of the light, you wont pick up the shine of its eyes.:eek:

    Its alot of fun, Im looking forward to get out earlier and more often this year and hopefully learn some more.
     
  17. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    Thanks for the links tango.
    Ive read lightforce makes great lights. Never seen this model before, looks promising. Little pricy but dont mind paying a little extra for quality equipment.
    Any idea on how much burn time you get on a fully charged battery with that kit?
    Any idea on how much that battery/setup weighs?
    Thanks again for the help
     
  18. Biohazurd

    Biohazurd New Member

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    I hunt with an SKS, Its 7.62x39 which is a bit more powerfull then 5.56/.223. The ammo is a tad cheaper also, its not exactly a featherweight, but certain aftermarket stocks are said to weigh much less then the standard wooden stocks. Current modifications only include a aftermarket Butler creek sporter polymer stock, I also swapped out the fixed ten round magazine with a Tapco 20 round polymer mag, which is said to be the most reliable aftermarket detachable magazine... Im planning to buy the tapco t-6 stock for my gun in a few paychecks, along with a choate scope mound and a short scope, the tapco stocks have certain rails similer to Ar-15s for accesories like flashlights for instance which are a vital while night hunting... DUH... Ive downed multiple Coyotes, raccoons, minks and badgers with it.
     
  19. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    Yeah I've got an ak as well as a m4. PA doesn't allow any semi-auto rifles for hunting. Thats why Im looking for a lite weight bolt. Thanks---Ken