I thought I would sit down and try and write an informative post for those who are getting ready or wanting to get into long range varminting. By varmints, I mean squirrels, PDogs, Coyotes, Groundhogs, Woodchucks, ect.
Lets discuss long range shooting. For some, long range could mean 100 yards depending on what type of cartridge and set up there using. However, for this post we will consider anything over 500 yards and a maximum of 1000 yards.
So lets begin;
A) The first thing you will need is a quality rifle fit for long range shooting. A custom set up would be awesome, however, not necessary. There are some fine factory rifles that will help you accomplish your rifle needs and 1000 yard range requirement.
Here is a list of factory rifles I would recommend;
1. Remington VSSF II or Remington VLS, both are excellent rifles and both are capable of 3/4 MOA to 1" MOA at 100 yards. Plus, if you decide to have work done to your action, the Remington 700 action is a great action to customize.
2. Savage Model 12 Long Range Precision, very nice rifle for around $1000.00. I would say this rifle is pretty close to being a semi-cutom factory rifle. I would highly recommend the 12 LRP for 1000 yard varminting. Savage also makes the 12BVSS and 12FVSS. These two rifles are producing excellent out of he box accuracy, and for the price they are awesome. The word at the range is Savage varmint rifles are producing better accuracy than the Remington line of varmint rifles. I ve seen the Savage 12BVSS in action and it is very accurate to say the least. I would say 1/2 MOA at 100 yards.
3. Ruger M77VT MKII, another excellent rifle.
4. Kimber LongMaster VT, nice.
There are more factory rifles to choose from. I mentioned the few I have had experience with, and they have all proven to be excellent factory rifles for long range varminting.
B) The next thing to consider is caliber and cartridge choice. This is very important. Remember we are talking long range varminting out to 1000 yards on small varmints, so a large magnum is not necessary. We are going to need a cartridge that is capable of making a clean kill at 1000 yards on the above mentioned varmints, and be comfortable to shoot, i.e recoil. Here are some cartridges, listed by caliber, I recommend for 1000 yard varminting. Some will be avaliable in a factory rifles while others will have to be built ;
.22 cal family
1. 22-250-Avaliable in factory rifles
2. 220 Swift-Avaliable in factory rifles
****If you decide to use a .22 cal for 1000 yard varminting, your going to need a rifle with the proper twist rate to allow you to shoot the larger bullets. I don't recommend .22 cals for 1000 yard varminting, however, you can use a .22 cal with the right bullet if you choose to.
1. 243 Winchester-Avaliable in factory rifles
2. 243 AcKley Improved
3. 6mm Remington-Avaliable in Factory rifles
4. 6mm Ackley Imroved
1. 25-06-Avaliable in factory rifles
1. 6.5x284-Avaliable in the new Savage F-Class rifle
The above mentioned calibers are perfect for this practice. Most of them will have a little recoil but not much. If you add a muzzle brake
to your rifle, recoil will be nothing.
So now that we have discussed your rifle needs, cartridge and caliber selection, lets discuss equipment needed for these long shots.
C. Scope, I would suggest at least a 4.5x14x50mm. For better magnifacation, something in a 6x20x50mm. In order to make a shot at a 1000 yards, on a small varmint, you have to have quality optics. Here is scope brands I recommend;
1. Nightforce NXS-Excellent scope and glass, however, they are expensive.
2. Leupold-Excellent scope and glass, however, they are expensive too.
3. Nikon-Nice scopes and affordable
The above scopes will work very well. There are many more brands to choose from, I just listed a few. Remember, when it comes to optics, you get what you pay for.
D. Rings & Bases; It's important that you purchase quality rings and bases for proper alignment of your scope. I would recommend the following;
1. Badger rings and bases
2. Nightforce rings and bases
3. Leupold rings and bases
E. Shooting platfoms, such as Bi-pods and benches allow for steady shooting at long range. I recommend the following bi-pod and shooting bench;
1. Harris Bi-pods are excellent
2. Coyote Jake's bench-Nice, however, expensive
*****An old table and sand bags will do the trick too.
F. Binoculars; here is a list I recommend;
Once again, you get what you pay for, however, Leupold and Bushnell make some excellent binos for an affordable price.
F. Range finders-this is important piece of eqipment for long range varmint hunting at 1000 yards. You need to know your exact range to make the right elevation and windage adjustments. There are some excellent range finders. Some are very expensive, while others are affordable. Here are list of range finders;
1. Swarovski-Very expensive, but worth it.
2. Leica-Expensive, but worth it.
3. Bushnell-Work well and affordable.
4. Leupold-Work well and affordable.
5. Nikon-Work well and affordable.
G. Ammo and Bullet selection. For long range type bullets, it might be hard to find factory loads. I think Black Hills makes loaded ammo with high BC bullets. I have not checked, because I reload for my rifles. Also, when choosing your bullet, make sure the twist rate in your rifle will shoot the bullet your wanting to use. If you decide you want to reload, it's pretty easy to get into. RCBS makes a kit that has all the equipment you will need to get started. The RCBS reloading kit cost around $250.00.
The bottom line, you can get a quality long range varmint rifle with scope, bases, and rings for around $1,800.00. The other equipment listed will cost you extra, but you will need it for 1000 yard varmint hunting, trust me.
I hope this helps those of you who are considering getting into long range varminting.