From where I live in western Colorado, a buddy and I have been on 3 and 4 day prairie dog safaris within a few hundred miles, where we would each fire over 500 rounds a day. You have to have 2 or 3 rifles each. Some hotspots you get into, you can easily overheat just one. I have varmint rifles in 22K Hornet, 223, and two 222s. Have had two other 222s which I passed along years ago. Tried a 22-250 a while, but too much recoil, lose the picture in the scope when you shoot, and actually extends practical range from nothing to very little. I'm building myself a 17 Hornet right now to add to the artillery. ----- My suggestion: Start with the 223. If you like to shoot the prairie rats, and are in a place where there are lot of them, you will soon be wanting a second rifle, and that is the time to start branching out into something less common and more expensive to shoot.