I don't have a truly accurate varmint rifle and it looks like I will be having a couple of hundred acres to hunt this winter.
I could try to nail them with my 7.62x39 DPMS shooting 110gr Sierra Hollow point bullets (308 cal - shoots 1MOA) which I hand load. 150gr soft points in my 8mm mauser sounds a but heavy for the job and I would for sure need a good backstop...
I have a Savage 24 combination gun, but I could not say the scope mount was the best, since the receiver is shorter than many pistol slides and that skinny barrel will probably get squirrelly with fluctuating temperatures.
So I have read quite a bit on the 204 Ruger. It does not appear to be a barrel burner, most say that accuracy is great. It is fast, flat shooting and appears to be deadly on Coyotes and Fox. Given my recent experiences with condensation (air conditioned basement to outside) with the reverse being the case in winter, I think I would want stainless. There are still parts subject to corrosion, but at least not on a blued finish...
Does anyone have experience with the 12TCSS Varmint ? It has a laminated stock, accutrigger, heavy 26" barrel, weighs 10lb at a Buds price of $873 including shipping.
Howa has the Axiom with 24"barrel and a 4-16 Nikko Sterling scope at 11.8lb for $811. But I'm not sure it is stainless.
i dont have any experience with the savage or howa, but i do have experience with this caliber. I bought myself my long range coyote rig last year. I purchased a remington 700 sps varmint in a 243. win topped off with vortex viper 6.5-20x44mm and it shoots a little under 1/2" group at 100 yards and holds 1/2 moa out too 500 yards with a breeze. By far the best shooting gun i have ever owned. it is pretty heavy and wanted a lighter carry around, closer range varmint gun and went out to get either a 223 or 22-250. i came across a 204. ruger and have always had my eye on one, i picked up a remington 700 sps stainless. my personally likes the 32. grain vmax although i haven't really got a good chance to sit down and test things out to my preference. this gun is quick, it is flat, it has so little recoil you can watch the bullet connect with its target through the scope.
the caliber has more power then people realize and i strongly believe it will kill a coyote with a 39 grain out too 400 yards with ease
now i like to use the 204. ruger for my walk around 300-350 yard gun. Great for ground hogs and crows out too 500-600 yards but for coyotes i like to keep her a little closer and then on super windy days or longer ranges the 243. win comes out which is a beaut to see itself.
Like Matt I have zero experience with the model of Savage you are looking at. I will say that Savage, any model, has a great accuracy reputation. Personally, I prefer much lighter rifles for my walking around. I guess mountains and age have a lot to do with that.
My 204 is a Kimber Montana and is one of the most accurate centerfires I own. The 35gr. Berger is a great pelt saving bullet. If I needed to go long range, then I would opt for the 40 gr. Berger. Lack of Bullet drop and wind drift with this caliber will amaze you.
This is one caliber that most don't regret buying.
K22, spot and stalk seems to seldom work on Coyotes with their finely tuned senses. So I was more interested in longer range potential than ease of carrying. At least so far, I do not have a very large range to hunt, so will have to adapt blind position to prevailing wind and safe shooting lanes/backstop.
Some of the videos I have seen showed spot and stalk, but these were sunny winter days and the dogs were sleeping outside the den on land that the guy had permission to hunt in Canada. I'm sure that there are benefits to living and hunting in 1 area all your life (knowing the landowners), but thats just not going to happen for me...
Spot and stalk is not something I would or could do here. I'm a Caller. But I have to get into area's and I do that by walking. Here's a sample of my hunting area.
As you can see, spot and stalk is pretty much out of the question. Especially the "spot" part. A 10# rifle by the end of the day feels like a ton after walking this. Heck, even my 6# rifle is not a pleasure to carry any more after a day of this.
I don't have any experience with a 204 for other than shooting one at the range once, the guy was trying to talk me into buying one and insisted I shoot it, pretty sure it was a kimber and it did shoot great, as far as the savage your looking at my buddy has that model in a 22-250 and can shoot well under 1/2 moa out to 500 yards with it. My 2 guns that I use the most are a remington sps varmint in a 243 for the long range shots, and a RR Ar 15 for setting up and calling, I can hit rock chucks out to 700 yards with that all day long with the 243 and can hit 8 inch plates shot after shot out to 850 yards (need another scope with more adjustment and I would be able to shoot it farther) the only thing I did to it was have a smith work the trigger over. My 243 use to be the one I always took. But as I got better at callin in predators I seemed to start callin in more and more doubles and the quick follow up shots with the AR is really nice, and it shoots 5 shot groups out to 500 in just under 3", the 243 still goes everytime but usually just rides in the truck for when we see one way out there that wont come in or if im calling in flat wide open country, I also have a ruger 223 with a standard 22 inch barrel (probably would consider a 204 if I didn't already have this that shoots great to, its always ridin around in the truck just in case I see one when im not out looking, and my little brother uses it all the time too.
I have a Savage model 12 VLP style, Stainles heavy 26" bbl, I've taken coyotes from 25yds to right at 300yds. I'm using factory 32 V-Max (rifle doesn't shoot 40 very well), all hits have been one shot DRT, the 25yrd shot even had an exit wound?! I've had consistant hits out to 525 yds on prairie dogs in good conditions, as stated above, the 204 is a purchase you won't regret.