For a "no gunsmithing" 17 Rem, 204 Ruger, or 223 Varminter Shilen makes a nice 24" heavy barrel complete with matching bolt. Available from http//www.midwayUSA.com. You'll also need a gas block and gas tube but they're standard sizes. I have one in 17 Remington. In 223 just about everyone makes 223 24" heavy barrels. Krieger offers a 26". Pricy but excellent. For less money Model One Sales has 24" heavy SS ER Shaw barrels. They also offer a 24" 6PPC but that means using a 7.62x39 bolt and a little adjusting of the magazines. Still nothing I'd call gunsmithing you can't do at home.This is going to be pretty much a prairie dog shooting only gun. Looking at the 300 yard range for it also, if they get out past 300 I'll switch to a different gun as I have 223, 6br and 7mm mag bolt guns with heavy barrels for longer more windy shots.
I was thinking the 20 practical because it would use the same 223 brass that works in any of my magazines, but offer a little more speed than the 223 and since our average p-dogs are 200 and under I think would work great on the little vermin.
Unless you have other ideas on a good round for my uses.
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