This is what I am looking for (I think). Being from Pa. most of my varmint hunting is for groundhog. Because of of the lay of the land most shots are well under 300 yards. Also I can't use a semi in Pa for hunting. That being said I have taken one trip west for pd's and plan another. This is not a "normal" chain of events though. I need a versital rifle and not one just for pd's.
I have a ton of .223 military brass and load for .223. I have no problem going to 22 250 but don't want to get into a high maintenance caliber. I know the 22 250 is more expensive round to buy initially but not to much more than the .223 to reload. Not sure I want to get into a rebarrel job every 1500 or 2000 rounds though. To much money at my age.
As for the .243 I like the caliber but I don't need another deer rifle and not sure of the recoil over a long shooting session. Also it take quite a bit of power which is in very short supply. An option, however I haven't looked into it much may be to download my 30 06 for lighter bullets and loads. Not sure about that though. Have to look into it.
Right now the question is .223 or 22 250 bolt rifle. What makes sense for me. I think if I lived in the west where very long shots are reasonably common the answer would be more obvious. I am not trying to talk myself into one or the other just trying to give you my circumstances. If i could load the .223 "hot" for the times I go west (probably only once more) that maybe the way to go. Now don't get me wrong I can still use the 22 250 here in Pa. also.
I was looking at the Ruger American but the twist is 1:14 for the 22 250. I see the Thompson Center Venture is 1:14 with the predator in 1:12. Not sure about the Savage, I do like them also, I have a couple in .17 rimfire.
So that's where I am on this thing. I have no problem with the 22 250 if I can get good barrel life out of it but not if I have to rebarrel after 1500 round or so. I would constantly be worried about the condition of the barrel.
The twist for the Ruger American in 22-250 is 1:10. I have confirmed this with Ruger Customer Service. Though there are not yet pre-fit barrels available for the Ruger, it has a barrel nut arrangement that would theoretically allow DIY barrel replacement just like the Savage rifles. If you are primarily hunting groundhogs, your barrel should last awhile.
The Ruger American in .223 has a 1:8 twist, which would allow for excellent versatility and long barrel life.
While I am personally a 22-250 fan, I can certainly see the potential virtues of the .223. It all depends on how much speed and splat factor you really want.
You could get a Remington SPS Varmint at reasonable price and have great platform to build on with tons of aftermarket parts available. With several companies offering the Remage option now you get the best of both worlds with almost endless options.
I have to agree with tcob68 about the Remage option. You could get a used rifle and pull the barrel. Have a machinist notch the action for a pinned lug and buy all of the components from Jim at Northland Shooters Supply. Replacement barrels are about $300. You would need to get an action wrench, barrel nut wrench, and go/no-go gauges. You get all of the aftermarket support of a Remington with the ability to swap your own barrels like a Savage.
I recently went this route and have been very pleased. I put together a 7mm-08 and its shooting around .6 with 162 SST's and minimal load development.