Please help me pick the right Caliber

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by RustyN1stcav, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. RustyN1stcav

    RustyN1stcav Member

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    I just joined LRH and I am looking for some help. I am in the Army and when I get back of course plan to make a new rifle purchase. I am looking to get into some prairie dog hunting, but also want a caliber I can still use for Squirrel and other small game and all the way up to coyotes and fox, etc. I have read about all kinds of calibers and different manufactures of rifles. At this point I have read so much my head is spinning. I want a flat shooting varmit rifle. So I turn to all of you with your wealth of knowledge to help me out. Here is what I need. I am looking for the best caliber and rifle to accommodate these needs in order according about to the importance to me;
    -Accuracy at long range (taking into account all undesirable factors)gun)
    -Function
    -Durability
    -availability of ammo
    -Cost
    -Fun Factor

    If yall could help me pick the best caliber for this I would appreciate it, and if you have a rifle suggestion let me hear it. Thanks
     
  2. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    243, 260, 708, 308 based on the info supplied. 243 and 308 will offer the most readily available ammo.

    BTW, welcome.
     

  3. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    I immediately thought about the .243win when I read your post, but it is a bit overkill for the squirrels etc.

    How about a good rimfire for "the fun factor", like a 22mag or 17hmr. That would handle all the small stuff and closer range fox etc. Ammo is cheap. Then a more purpose oriented longer range rifle. Depending on the number of rounds you want to fire, a 204ruger would be awesome for a barrel burner. .243win would be great and would double as a light deer rifle.

    AJ
     
  4. JPRITT

    JPRITT Well-Known Member

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    Hello and welcome! I'm sure you are very familiar with the 223 remington aka 5.56 nato. It seems like a good fit. Lots of possiblities with this round. Great in bolt guns or in a AR platform (fun factor) The one problem you might have is finding a cartridge that is a good squirrel gun AND a good long range gun. the 233 can be shot well out to 500 yrds+. even farther if you handload. Just my thought.
     
  5. Gene Jr.

    Gene Jr. Well-Known Member

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    It's not very flashy but a .223 would do everything you want. A little light for dedicated LR coyote but otherwise fits the bill nicely.

    I'm becoming more of a quality over quanity kinda guy so a fast twist 22-250 or 243 would suit me fine for what you want but your costs will go up and barrel life will come down. Especially if you focus on p-dogs.

    I think the amount of rounds you plan on shooting will play a big part in your decision. I'd stay on the milder side if your thinking of high volume p-dog shooting. If you're thinking more along the lines of low volume precision shooting, then a more intense round would be a better choice.

    Best of luck in your choice!

    Gene
     
  6. long450

    long450 Well-Known Member

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    How far you want to kill them squirrels?
     
  7. 3fingervic

    3fingervic Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the site. Thank you for defending our freedom. Now the question at hand. I like the .243.
     
  8. Booney

    Booney Well-Known Member

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    Most bang for your buck and versatility I would go with a 243. Bolt action would get you by, but as far as fun factor I would get that 243 in a ARgun)!!!!!!!!
     
  9. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

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    if your concentrating on p-dogs, go with the .223. but for the most versitile, fun, effective caliber I would say the .243.
     
  10. RustyN1stcav

    RustyN1stcav Member

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    Thanks for everyones input so far. Its sounds like I might have to make two rifle buys. From what it sounds like there isnt really anything to go long range for prarie dog hunts, coyote, etc and also not be over kill for the small game like squirrels. Is it legal to use a .243 for squirrel?
    If I do end up buying two, right now I am looking at getting probably a .17 HMR and a .243 to take care of business on both ends of what I want.
    If anyone had any opinions on what good rifles there are for these calibers let me hear what you think. Also whats a good twist to get for these. Thanks again guys.
     
  11. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    A 17hmr and 243win would be a nice way to start, that would cover most varmit needs pretty well. I've shot a couple of the Savage 93 in 17hmr and they were very accurate, they have the Accutrigger and are very reasonably priced.

    If you went with the Savage 17hmr, you could get a Savage in 243 with the same trigger.

    I'm sure it would be legal to use a 243 for squirrel, but you'd need to really be aware of your backstop with the 243. (of course you need to be aware of your backstop regardless, but a .243 shooting a 100gr bullet is a but different than a 17 shooting a 17gr bullet)

    AJ
     
  12. flyin lizard

    flyin lizard Well-Known Member

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    I have a 17 hmr and a 22-250 both are savage with the accu-trigger and they are great shooters. Also if some years down the road the barrel in the 250 goes south ,it is very easy to replace .
    I also thankyou for your service to our country..
    Paul
     
  13. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for defending our freedoms! I have to say that good options have been offered, but legality of cartridge for squirrel is limited. I suppose you could do some outlawing, but I know in Pennsylvania it is illegal to use anything bigger than a .23 caliber on squirrels. You can only use a rimfire no bigger than .22 during Fall Turkey and Muzzle Loader season.

    My thoughts would be toward the .204, with head shots only on squirrels. I guess this would be a good marksman practice at picking off little targets. If you want to go extreme range on Pdogs, than I am on board with the .243. I also like what Kirby had said about thinking about projectile and what you want to accomplish.

    Have Fun,
    Tank (C 4/1 FA, Fort Riley 1997-2000)
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2009
  14. RustyN1stcav

    RustyN1stcav Member

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    Can anyone tell me what twist rate I should me looking for in a 243 and explain to me why. Thanks guys