Caliber & Bullet...really 2 posts in 1 lol

Discussion in 'Varmint Hunting' started by Greywolf18, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. Greywolf18

    Greywolf18 Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking of building a long range varmint rig good for out to 600-750 yd which is about as long as I'm going to be shooting for a long time, but must also be good for as close as 50-75yd. It will be mainly for prairie dogs and groundhogs and possibly yotes. I was wondering first off which caliber and secondly which bullet. I have heard nothing but good for VLD's and got some on order for my AR (70gr). Was going to make 2 seperate posts, but the bullet selection goes in hand with the caliber selection due to bullet weight restrictions.

    Going to be built on long action (-06 gun). Looking at the 6mmAI, 25-06, and 6.5-06AI. Trying to pick the caliber and bullet at same time to get the flattest shooting system, but also take into consideration barrel life. I know I have seen somewhere a 6mmAI shooting a small VMax @ 4000fps! I don't have a ton of money to rechamber every year so this option won't work for me. Was looking at a little heavier bullets for this. If I go with a VMax in 6.5 I can go with a 97gr VMax, but VLD's lightest one is 130's. So the heavier bullet has better BC but not nearly as flat. This will be a varmint gun only so heavier bullets not needed. So if I go with VMax's, 6.5-06AI might work. However, if wanting VLD's, then either 6mmAI or 25-06 since they have lighter VLD bullet selection.

    I've seen the VLD videos and read a lot on them and it seems that they need 2-3 inches to expand. Will these work on prairie dogs? I was shooting 75g Hornady BTHP's on prairie dogs and some of them didn't expand and they just went straight through them, and they crawled away to die. Will the VLD's perform similarly? If so, would you just stick with the VMax's or still shoot VLD's?

    If you have experience with these please let me know which you prefer and help me decide! Given these choices, which would you prefer for flattest shooting, but still relatively good barrel life that will take down varmints?
     
  2. acloco

    acloco Well-Known Member

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    Thought about the longer/skinnier/higher BC bullets in the 22 caliber range?

    I use 222 Mag AI with a 1:8 twist Shilen that provides 3150 fps with 80 gr AMax.

    or....

    22/6mm AI that provides 3700-3900+ fps with 75 gr AMax. This chamber is called the "half mile 22".
     

  3. Greywolf18

    Greywolf18 Well-Known Member

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    I have an AR that is my 223 round so I wasn't really looking into another 22 round although the 22-6mm intrigues me now lol
     
  4. acloco

    acloco Well-Known Member

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    Don't write off the "little" 22's....look in your reloading catalog and bullet manufacturers. Compare some BC, add a little speed, then punch into a ballistics program.....you just might find your answer.

    Do I think these are THE cartridge....well...no...but maybe.

    Anytime a long, skinny bullet is sent with a little speed behind it, the reach and whop on the other end is rather dramatic. :)
     
  5. loaders_loft

    loaders_loft Well-Known Member

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    don't rule out the 243win. With a 243 I can shoot 55gr ballistic tips just over 4000fps in a 23" barrel and it shoots amazingly flat, accurate and hits "right now" with authority on dogs. If you bump up the twist, you could shoot the 105 amax which should perform good way out there. The problem with a 243 in a dog town is HEAT. After 5-10 shots on my sporter barrel (tikka), that barrel is HOT! If you do that very much, that barrel will be toast. Its understandable, shooting 51grains of H414 per shot!gun)gun)

    I can shoot my 22-250 VLS alot more than that before it gets that hot. In my opinion, the 22-250 is the ultimate prairie dog / squirrel gun. Am I going to shoot 600 yards with it? No, but I'm more likely to sit in one spot, clear everything within 300 yards, then walk up the prairie a bit further and do it all over again. The walk gives my rifle a chance to cool off.

    By the way, blued barrels have a way of "starting hot" in the summer. Go with a matte finish stainless barrel to minimize the heat starting out. I think the ultimate would be a white coated heavy barrel. Or some kind of liquid cooling system!lightbulb I'm sure you can find it on the web...:D

    What I need is a gun caddy then I could tow a couple extra guns and ammo...
    Webb EZ Gun Caddy :rolleyes:
     
  6. Greywolf18

    Greywolf18 Well-Known Member

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    I had thought about a 22-250, but my AR is good for the 300-400 yd range with really fast follow up shots. My dad has a .243 that he loves but said the same thing about heat. How many rounds are you going to get out of that barrel shooting them 4k fps? I was thinking the 6mmAI or 6.5-06AI for a little heavier, a tad slower, but much flatter shooting for the long 500+ shots. I was planning on doing a desert camoflage pattern with light desert tan colors which will help with the heat on those really sunny/warm days. Thanks for the advice guys, keep the ideas coming!

    Brian
     
  7. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    The thing with the 6mm Acklies and the 6.5-06 are such that they burn barrels. The AI's are going to give you 500rnds of .25MOA accuracy and fall off from there. They offer really flat trajectories but at the price of the barrel life. From there you will get 1 to 3/4MOA or less to around 1200rnds then it is a gamble as to how long it lasts after that. Remember, more powder= more heat+high velocities= limited barrel life.

    So here are some thoughts. There is the 6x47 Lapua and the 6.5x47 Lapua. Both of these calibers have proven to have excellent qualities in accuracy and the speed you desire. A ruff guesstimate of barrel life should be around 2500 to 3000 rounds. It could be higher and they perform well with lighter to medium weight bullets in there perspective calibers. Some other options may be the 260 Remington or the 7mm-08. The .308 is always a good option using the 110 V-max. The .308 should get you roughly 5000+ rnds of good accuracy and set up correctly give you speeds of 3200 to 3300 fps.

    Of the ones you picked, I would choose the 25-06. You will be able to run the 75grn V-max well over 3400fps and get decent barrel life. It will be explosive and flat. The trajectory will really nose dive and get pushed by wind right around 600yrds, but will be fun to shoot. I have used the 25-06 with results in deer season and have no problems promoting its ability.

    Tank
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  8. loaders_loft

    loaders_loft Well-Known Member

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    Liltank, why would a 25-06 get better barrel life than a 6.5-06?
    For that matter, why would the 25-06 be a better choice?

    Lets run the numbers and see.

    Using the lightest Vmax available in each, Hornady lists the following max charges for IMR4350 with 24" test barrels on both cartridges.

    25-06, 75gr Vmax: 56.7gr, 3600 fps
    6.5-06, 95gr Vmax: 52.3gr, 3400 fps

    Doesn't quite fit your theory, "more powder= more heat+high velocities= limited barrel life."

    Using the nosler drop tables, compare performance. The BC's are (75gr Vmax) .290 vs. (95gr Vmax) .365 so with a 200 yard zero, look at , the 25-06 has 57.4" drop and 1746fps terminal, and the 6.5-06 has 56.8" drop and 1927fps terminal velocity.

    Looks like you get more for less with the 6.5-06 than the 25-06. Since this thread is about varminting, I've compared varmint bullets.

    Consider the heavy for caliber bullets available in 6.5cal; the 6.5-06 will really shine over the 25-06.
     
  9. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    I stand corrected. Thank you. I've always considered the 25-06 a very efficient caliber. From what I read from this site, I guess I thought the 6.5-06 to be a barrel compared to the 25-06. My theory is sound though. Just have the wrong idea's on the cartridges. I guess I was thinking over bore issues. My bad. Again thank you for correcting me.

    Tank
     
  10. Greywolf18

    Greywolf18 Well-Known Member

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    I had seen an article on the 6X47 Lapua for varminting on 6mmbr. The only problem is I was going to build the rifle on a long action and some people from here have said that I may have feeding issues. If I decide on the 6x47 over the others I'll just get a donor action and go from there. This project won't happen for awhile so I was just trying to get some ideas for possibly my next build. Thanks for all the advice and suggestions guys!

    Brian
     
  11. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    I use a long action donated by a 270 Win. now chambered in .308. The only feeding issues I have is if I don't pull the bolt back all the way to catch the next casing. That is the only feeding issue I have found with my set up. I just have to remember to be very deliberate in running the bolt.

    Tank
     
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Banned

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    Go with a 308 better barrel life and can shoot past 600yds ....
     
  13. loaders_loft

    loaders_loft Well-Known Member

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    no problemo, Liltank:D. It really was interesting for me too, running the numbers. Really, its a wonder the 6.5-06 never took off commercially...

    As far as using a long action for a 6x47, that might be tough. Its a shorter casing than a 308 even, similar to a 22-250 case. Seems like the cartridges would tilt & bind in the mag box, but who knows. One way to find out, would be, test some 22-250 cartridges in a 30-06 mag box. Don't fire, of course, just try cycling. Maybe someone will step in and say this is a bad idea and unsafe, but I'm not saying trying to fire them, just put them in and try to cycle them out.:rolleyes:

    by the way, I wouldn't advise anyone to spend much time in a PD town with a 6.5-06 or a 25-06. With unlimited target opportunities, that thing would be hot in a heartbeat! If anything, a short string and then put it away and go back to the varmint rigs, 223's or 22-250's and such...lightbulb

    then again, I've heard its okay to get your barrel VERY hot shooting varmints, because that's what gunsmiths are for!!gun)
     
  14. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    As a Rancher and long time Varmint Hunter............I've shot thousands of prarie dogs in the last 30 years. Majority of them with fast 22 CF's. Many, Many of them with 25-06 and light bullets. My farthest shot ever was 697 long paces with a 220 Swift. As an added bonus, I've witnessed many people shooting pasture pooches with alot of different calibers, 17's to 300's, some out to around 1500 yds.........maybe I can help.

    Yes, the bigger bullets with higher BC's will perform better at long range when it comes to trajectory and especially wind drift.
    Yes, the faster we push the bullets, and the more powder being burned; the shorter the barrel life will be.
    The bigger and heavier bullets cause more recoil, bigger powder charges cause more recoil..........a few hundred rounds in a day is pretty comfortable out of a fast 22. Not so much out of the 25-06, even with light bullets!!!! The 6.5's with even heavier bullets, will probably kick even more.

    I don't know how many dogs you have in the area where you'll hunt, but if there is alot.........recoil might be a consideration. It certainly is with me! I used to use the 22's for the majority of my shooting, saving the 25 for the windy days.

    Alot of VLD or "Match" type bullets are not really designed to expand on very small varmints, But if you push them fast enough, some certainly will. Alot of the bullets in the 25 caliber and bigger aren't designed to be "varmint" bullets, and a bullet that doesn't expand can make a hit "appear" to be a miss.

    Therefore, I am a proponent of the 6mm/243 calibers. Good varmint class bullets to choose from, better wind bucking ability over the fast 22's, and not as much recoil as the 25 or bigger calibers. Alot of shooting without cleaning or cooling will burn out any barrel, but keeping the MV below 3500 FPS seems to minimize barrel damage. The 6mm class of cartridges will push relatively high BC varmint bullets plenty fast enough.

    Most serious prarie dog shooters I know consider re-barreling an expected and necessary expense of "doing the job". There is also the necessary expense of components. If you want to cut cost somewhere, I'd recommend it be in the components (by using smaller calibers with less powder behind them). Because at the end of the day, your shoulder and your wallet will appreciate it alot more.

    The 6X47 Lapua is supposed to be a highly accurate, highly effecient cartridge. It is also supposedly capable of pushing "varmint class" bullet weights at very fast speeds. I am currently re-barreling my 220 Swift (after appox 5000 rounds) to a 6X47.

    Hope this helps some.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010