Snowy Mountain Rifles wants your input on ideal walking varmint rifle


Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2008
Snowy Mountain Rifles would like the input of the members of LRH for an ideal walking varmint rifle. This would be a rifle to take after coyotes, chucks, prairie dogs, etc. Specifically, we would like to know what the majority of the members here would like in this type of set-up. This isn't going to be a vote or poll type discussion, but rather we would like for you to just post your favorite or ideal specs. We do have some general "must haves" that include the SMR 3600 action (produced by Defiance Machine with one piece bolts) and we'll utilize a Benchmark barrel. Please post the following:

1. Caliber/cartridge:
2. Twist rate:
3. Barrel contour (please reference Krieger contours as I don't have Benchmark's contours, so we'll get one that matches)
4. Barrel length:
5. Specific bullet to be used:
6. Stock of choice:
7. Stock color/camo pattern:
8. Stock options (adj. LOP or cheek, sling studs, etc.)
9. Trigger:

We'll gather input through the end of the year and then we'll build whatever the majority of the members here would like and offer it for sale. If there is enough interest, we'll build several. This idea was actually mine as I have been contemplating this build for myself. Here are my specs:

1. Standard .223 Rem
2. Twist 1:9
3. Krieger contour #6, Heavy Bull Sporter, fluted
4. Length 20"
5. Hornady 55gr. VMAX
6. Manners MCS-T3
7. Molded in Desert Sage
8. Spacer LOP, 2 flush cups left side, 1 bipod stud, lightest fill available
9. Timney

Please chime in with what you would find the ideal walking varmint rifle whether you have any interest in buying one or not. We would really appreciate your input.

Since this is a long range forum, I would like to see a 7 or 8 twist and a 24" barrel. Heavy bullets and high BC"s.

Any particular caliber you would like to see? Stock? What would your ideal LR walking varmint rifle consist of? Thanks.

I'm a spry young man and routinely pack an 18lb rifle + gear on a typical "walk" so my idea of a walking rifle is probably to heavy for your average Tom, Dick or Hairy. I only choose the WSSM because it can be fed in the true short actions. (.223 size) If we're looking at a "medium" action, things may be different.

1. Caliber/cartridge:
2. Twist rate: 1:8
3. Barrel contour : #10 with deep nasty flutes
4. Barrel length: 24"
5. Specific bullet to be used: 105 Amax
6. Stock of choice: Manners T5A
7. Stock color/camo pattern: Desert Sand or Coyote Tan
8. Stock options: Flush Cups, Atlas rail, Tubbs 4 way butt plate
9. Trigger: anything adjustable down to 1-2 lbs

Thanks for your input. We all have a bit different idea for this type rifle so it's good to get different opinions.

1. 22-250
2. 1:8
3. close to a Sendero contour with deep flutes
4. 25"
5. 75 grain A-MAX
6. Dont have enough experience with to make a choice
7. Dont have enough experience with to make a choice
8. Dont have enough experience with to make a choice
9. Dont have enough experience with to make a choice

weight somewhere around 9-10 lbs finish weight.

I thought you were strictly chambering the 223. But I'll stick with the 223, fast twist, and the longest barrel....24-26".
To me a "walking varminter" is the same as "predator calling rifle". Lots of carrying involved. Shots from 10 to 400 yards with the potential for fast action. Maybe a short stop at a prairie dog town but no barrel melting sessions. Maybe even some high country marmot action.

1. Caliber/cartridge: .22-250 AI
2. Twist rate: 1-12"
3. Barrel contour : #2
4. Barrel length: 24"
5. Specific bullet to be used: 55 grain SGK (1365 or 1390) maybe 55 grain NBT
6. Stock of choice: McMillan Hunter
7. Stock color/camo pattern: Desert MARPAT
8. Stock options (adj. LOP or cheek, sling studs, etc.): plain old sling swivel studs.
9. Trigger: Timney
I'm thinking a 1:7 twist 6XC with a 26" barrel. Would like to see the big chubby muzzle break so I can spot my own shots. Use the 115 DTAC, or Berger. Manners MCS3 or HTG with adjustable cheek rest. A karsten would do fine for adjusting ability, cost and weight savings. Barrel would be a Savage varmint contour with interrupted flutting. Timney trigger set to around 1.5#. Rifle should weigh in at around 10-12#. I personally enjoy classic woodland camo, with an olive drab ceracote on all metal above the stock including the scope. Scope would be a S&B or Premiere. If your going to use for pdogs, then a minimum of 32x would be my request.
I don't think one single rifle will cover everything from prairie dogs/gophers to coyotes. You are either stuck with overkill on the smaller critters or under gunned on the bigger critters. With that said, it's pretty tough to build a true long range rifle for semi fragile animals like fox and bobcat if one cares about the fur damage. While a 17 Remington is great for minimal fur damage it's not much of a long range rifle. It just plain runs out of energy as the distances get stretched. Not to mention wind drift is crazy bad. A .243 or 260 Remington make a great round for coyotes beyond 300 yards, but neither are ideal for prairie dogs, fox, and bobcats. So I guess a guy has to decide whether just hitting one's target is more important or if he wants to not destroy the fur. For a strictly coyote rifle I would have a hard time not picking the .243 with a barrel twist that would stablelize heavier bullets. Perhaps a 1:7.5 or there abouts. Hard to beat an MCM HTG stock with an adjustable cheek rest, though I'm also very fond of the A-5, but it may be a little too heavy. Whatever the stock design I would prefer a desert camouflage or better yet M2D camouflage finish. Something blends in well with the prairie grass. Then there is the struggle for the ideal barrel weight and length. Frankly an ideal "carry" weight and an ideal "long range" rifle in my mind are two different things. Factors such as how walking/hiking distances and having to actually carry the rifle need to be considered. If one covers a lot of ground there is no way a rifle that weighs 12 lbs or more is going to be comfortable for most people. If one only has to walk a 1/4 mile or less to each stand for coyotes then a heavier rifle would be fine. For me a true carry rifle barrel weight maximum for me is Ruger's medium bull barrel. It's right between a standard weight and a heavy contour. The barrel they have on their new M77 Hawkeye Predator is close to ideal for contour and weight for me. Granted, I know there are some guys out there that can tolerate carrying a heavier rifle and I can too, but I'm talking about a "comfortable" carry-rifle. I don't want a sore neck, shoulder, or back at the end of the day because of a heavy rifle. I'd rather have sore muscles from hiking and dragging coyotes out. ;) I personally have become very fond of two-stage competition grade triggers for coyote hunting. I like that little bit of slack before hitting the wall. It's good for getting one's nerves/excitement settled a little before committing to trippng the trigger. Lastly, if a rifle like this can be created for $2500.00 or less then you'll really have something. However, I'd say the market for a $3500.00+ long range coyote hunting rifle would be extremely narrow.
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