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Q:
What is a good flat shooting varmint caliber? Its mostly going to be for coyotes but maybe some fox and ground hogs. Any help is appreciated!

Question by thunderdog512. Uploaded on March 10, 2010

Answers (29)

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from rrmont wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I like the 22-250. It's a very good overall gun for what you listed.

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from libertyfirst wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

You can't go wrong with a .223 or .22-250 for the species you mention.

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from hickboy518 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250 243 or ol reliable 223

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from buckhunter wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250.

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from 99explorer wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

My vote goes to the .243 Win., esp. if you are going to be taking long shots at coyotes.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250 is my #1 choice. If wind is going to be a problem and taking longer shots, then the 25-06 will telegraph on out there allot better than the other smaller diameter bullets. Whats nice about the 25-06, it has the advantages of the 22-250 and doubles as a mighty fine deer rifle!

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

Coyotes, fox and ground hogs? .22-250 is best overall out to 300 yds. If deer were to be included, I'd vote for a .25-06.

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from rocky d bashaw wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

i agree with most above,22-250 or 223,also like to add 6mm to the mix.

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from bat4bab wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250 or a 223 both great flat shooting guns.

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from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

There's a reason why most of the answers you'll receive will recommend the .223 or .22-250; they're excellent choices and .22 centerfire cartridges will stretch your reloading dollar. My preference? You'll find rifles for both cartridges on my profile, and I'd have great difficulty choosing my preference between these two rounds so the rifles I own are configured differently (lightweight and heavy-barreled rifles) and I let the conditions choose the rifle & cartridge combination.

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I have used both a .22-250 and a 6mm and both shoot very well. But I also have a buddy who is getting the a new .223 and I have heard its a great caliber to. If you are wanting to save the pelts look more at the .22-250 and .223.

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from 007 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

.220 Swift, nothing better.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250 any caliber you wish, for larger game if you only plan on one gun 270. Ol' Cactus Jack did well with his!

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from PAShooter wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I have every caliber mentioned so far and they all will suit your purpose. Price of ammo might be a factor, especially if you do not handload.

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from firehawk532 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

My first 2 choices would be

1) 243
2) 223

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from IanS wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250 or 243. 243 you could use for deer too

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from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

It depends on your hunting technique and conditions. I use a 25-06 as my primary rifle for these so I can reach out and touch them if they are a long ways out (my two brothers have shot over a dozen one shot kill coyotes each in the last month between 600 and 900 yards with their 25-06s). If I am anticipating more foxes than coyotes (harder to hit on the run) and close range shooting (inside of 300 yards) I use a .223 in a Bushmaster Varminter... it has very quick follow up shots because of the very low recoil. My other brother uses his exclusively and has shot more than 2 dozen foxes and coyotes in the last month at ranges out to 300 yards. This equates to few varmints escaping. The Bushmaster is more of a varmint irradicator and not many escape. You could substitute a .22-250 or .220 Swift for the 25-06 if your shooting is inside 300 yards. I did that for a few years but prefer the 25-06 because of the longer range under windy conditions. A FAST rifle reduces the lead on running coyotes and foxes to improve your hit percentage. I use 75g JHP bullets at 3750 fps in the 25-06 and 50g VMAX bullets in the .223 at 3450 fps. I used a .243 for a couple of years until I finally got my first 25-06. I never picked up the .243 again after one week of 25-06 hunting. I stacked up coyotes with that 25.

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from rudyglove27 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

Good answer above but I recommend 22-250 as well!!!

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from IanS wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

To Dakota Man

A 25-06 drops over 40" at 500 yards. 900 yards. If you say so!

600-900 yards...pretty broad range don't you think.

I think your next purchase should be a range finder, then start posting how far you can shoot.

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from Hobob wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

.264 Winchester or 22-250

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from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

IanS, I guess I am just too old to be into insulting other site members. I will however advise you that every rifle drops at long range... you just have to figure out how much. You must not be a 25-06 shooter... my 75 grain coyote bullet drops 28 inches at 500 yards and I know its windage real well too. After you shoot about 10,000 rounds, you will figure it out. I will add though, I have noticed that if you hit a little low on frozen ground, it usually ends up as a kill shot on a coyote and have seen this happen more than once. I'm not that good any more myself because I don't get to hunt every day like a few of my brothers do. It might take me a second shot every once in a while. They are the ones that can hit... I have forgotten how to do it that well but I'm here to tell you 600 yards is NOTHING for a coyote with a 25-06. I also have to mention that I grew up losing about 300 chickens a year to coyotes and my family doesn't hesitate at any opportunity to eradicate or scare one to death. I guess I had an bad childhood... I remember when I was about 6 and we were watching a coyote run with one of our chickens and as dad lined up on it with his old 03-A3, I said, "Dad, he must be 600 yards away. Isn't there a chance you may just cripple him?" and he said "Son, that is a chance I'm willing to take!" Then he powdered him. Things got worse as I grew up... before long, he expected me to elimnate them as well as keep the incubators going. I would suggest you lighten up and dump a couple of thousand rounds at a prairie dog town concentrating on just those over 400 yards... then a coyote will look pretty fat in your scope. Its not that hard.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

DakotaMan-
Good one!

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from IanS wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

To DakotaMan

I was looking at the Remington ballistics chart on their website where the lightest bullet they have listed is 100 grain which drops a little over 40" at 500 yards. I'm sure you can see why I would think 900 yards (well over half a mile) is a little hard to believe.

You're right. I'm not a 25-06 man.

I offended you (I obviously did) I'm sorry.

Clearly you have done your homework and have the experience to back your statements.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

No problem Ian, your appology is accepted and I respect you for it. I realize that long range shooting is pretty foreign to many. I'm zeroed for 200 yards so I only need to concern myself with the drop from my zero. A good scope with fine cross hairs and mil dots really helps. I know that most factory ammo is in the 100 grain to 120 grain range for the 25-06 too. Unfortunately most people don't even know that it shoots 75 grainers so well for varmints. I've shot over 40,000 rounds through my 25 and am on my fourth barrel. I don't shoot deer with it beyond 600 yards because the bullets lose too much energy for me; however my brothers, cousins, friends and I do shoot coyotes and antelope beyond that range and it powders them.

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from warren frazier wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

i have a ruger mark VII in the .223 and I wouldnt buy anything else. Ive killed them at 400 yrds and that is far enough for where I am. If you are out west i might get the 22-250 bc of the distance boost. But all my kills have been 1 shot kills and probably killed about 25 this year. I also just picked up a savage .17hmr and at close range >100 yrd that is a fun round to shoot them with. You have to be able to shoot your rifle though, one slip and he's gone.

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from varminthunter wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

223 cal. or the 17hmr.

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from Sarge01 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I use my 223 and my 22-250 . I use my 223 most of the time and if I want to try to make some super long shots I try my 22-250.

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from grant77 wrote 3 years 40 weeks ago

.243

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from Joe Moon wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

I hunt South Texas Professionally as a Varmint Hunter. I go onto ranches, and clear out a coyote population that a rancher has problems with. I use a Savage 93R 17FV in .17 HMR or a Weatherby Vanguard S2 in .257 Weatherby Magnum. I prefer the .17 HMR because the ammo is cheap, (CCI ammo seems to group better in the rife), and killing 4-10 coyotes a day, it is less damaging on the shoulder to shot. When they get warry, I go to the Weatherby Vanguard S2 in .257 Weatherby Magnum. I have Nikon scopes on both rifles...the Nikon Monarch Rifle Scope, 4x-16x, 50mm Obj with BDC Reticule. I have killed over 200 coyotes with these two rifles, but if I had to I would chose the .17 HMR as a great Varmint Cartridge!!

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from hickboy518 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250 243 or ol reliable 223

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from rrmont wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I like the 22-250. It's a very good overall gun for what you listed.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

My vote goes to the .243 Win., esp. if you are going to be taking long shots at coyotes.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250 is my #1 choice. If wind is going to be a problem and taking longer shots, then the 25-06 will telegraph on out there allot better than the other smaller diameter bullets. Whats nice about the 25-06, it has the advantages of the 22-250 and doubles as a mighty fine deer rifle!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

Coyotes, fox and ground hogs? .22-250 is best overall out to 300 yds. If deer were to be included, I'd vote for a .25-06.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from firehawk532 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

My first 2 choices would be

1) 243
2) 223

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from IanS wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250 or 243. 243 you could use for deer too

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

It depends on your hunting technique and conditions. I use a 25-06 as my primary rifle for these so I can reach out and touch them if they are a long ways out (my two brothers have shot over a dozen one shot kill coyotes each in the last month between 600 and 900 yards with their 25-06s). If I am anticipating more foxes than coyotes (harder to hit on the run) and close range shooting (inside of 300 yards) I use a .223 in a Bushmaster Varminter... it has very quick follow up shots because of the very low recoil. My other brother uses his exclusively and has shot more than 2 dozen foxes and coyotes in the last month at ranges out to 300 yards. This equates to few varmints escaping. The Bushmaster is more of a varmint irradicator and not many escape. You could substitute a .22-250 or .220 Swift for the 25-06 if your shooting is inside 300 yards. I did that for a few years but prefer the 25-06 because of the longer range under windy conditions. A FAST rifle reduces the lead on running coyotes and foxes to improve your hit percentage. I use 75g JHP bullets at 3750 fps in the 25-06 and 50g VMAX bullets in the .223 at 3450 fps. I used a .243 for a couple of years until I finally got my first 25-06. I never picked up the .243 again after one week of 25-06 hunting. I stacked up coyotes with that 25.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

IanS, I guess I am just too old to be into insulting other site members. I will however advise you that every rifle drops at long range... you just have to figure out how much. You must not be a 25-06 shooter... my 75 grain coyote bullet drops 28 inches at 500 yards and I know its windage real well too. After you shoot about 10,000 rounds, you will figure it out. I will add though, I have noticed that if you hit a little low on frozen ground, it usually ends up as a kill shot on a coyote and have seen this happen more than once. I'm not that good any more myself because I don't get to hunt every day like a few of my brothers do. It might take me a second shot every once in a while. They are the ones that can hit... I have forgotten how to do it that well but I'm here to tell you 600 yards is NOTHING for a coyote with a 25-06. I also have to mention that I grew up losing about 300 chickens a year to coyotes and my family doesn't hesitate at any opportunity to eradicate or scare one to death. I guess I had an bad childhood... I remember when I was about 6 and we were watching a coyote run with one of our chickens and as dad lined up on it with his old 03-A3, I said, "Dad, he must be 600 yards away. Isn't there a chance you may just cripple him?" and he said "Son, that is a chance I'm willing to take!" Then he powdered him. Things got worse as I grew up... before long, he expected me to elimnate them as well as keep the incubators going. I would suggest you lighten up and dump a couple of thousand rounds at a prairie dog town concentrating on just those over 400 yards... then a coyote will look pretty fat in your scope. Its not that hard.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from libertyfirst wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

You can't go wrong with a .223 or .22-250 for the species you mention.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rocky d bashaw wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

i agree with most above,22-250 or 223,also like to add 6mm to the mix.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bat4bab wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250 or a 223 both great flat shooting guns.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

There's a reason why most of the answers you'll receive will recommend the .223 or .22-250; they're excellent choices and .22 centerfire cartridges will stretch your reloading dollar. My preference? You'll find rifles for both cartridges on my profile, and I'd have great difficulty choosing my preference between these two rounds so the rifles I own are configured differently (lightweight and heavy-barreled rifles) and I let the conditions choose the rifle & cartridge combination.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

.220 Swift, nothing better.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from PAShooter wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I have every caliber mentioned so far and they all will suit your purpose. Price of ammo might be a factor, especially if you do not handload.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rudyglove27 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

Good answer above but I recommend 22-250 as well!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

No problem Ian, your appology is accepted and I respect you for it. I realize that long range shooting is pretty foreign to many. I'm zeroed for 200 yards so I only need to concern myself with the drop from my zero. A good scope with fine cross hairs and mil dots really helps. I know that most factory ammo is in the 100 grain to 120 grain range for the 25-06 too. Unfortunately most people don't even know that it shoots 75 grainers so well for varmints. I've shot over 40,000 rounds through my 25 and am on my fourth barrel. I don't shoot deer with it beyond 600 yards because the bullets lose too much energy for me; however my brothers, cousins, friends and I do shoot coyotes and antelope beyond that range and it powders them.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Muleynut30.06 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I have used both a .22-250 and a 6mm and both shoot very well. But I also have a buddy who is getting the a new .223 and I have heard its a great caliber to. If you are wanting to save the pelts look more at the .22-250 and .223.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

22-250 any caliber you wish, for larger game if you only plan on one gun 270. Ol' Cactus Jack did well with his!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from IanS wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

To Dakota Man

A 25-06 drops over 40" at 500 yards. 900 yards. If you say so!

600-900 yards...pretty broad range don't you think.

I think your next purchase should be a range finder, then start posting how far you can shoot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hobob wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

.264 Winchester or 22-250

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

DakotaMan-
Good one!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from IanS wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

To DakotaMan

I was looking at the Remington ballistics chart on their website where the lightest bullet they have listed is 100 grain which drops a little over 40" at 500 yards. I'm sure you can see why I would think 900 yards (well over half a mile) is a little hard to believe.

You're right. I'm not a 25-06 man.

I offended you (I obviously did) I'm sorry.

Clearly you have done your homework and have the experience to back your statements.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from warren frazier wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

i have a ruger mark VII in the .223 and I wouldnt buy anything else. Ive killed them at 400 yrds and that is far enough for where I am. If you are out west i might get the 22-250 bc of the distance boost. But all my kills have been 1 shot kills and probably killed about 25 this year. I also just picked up a savage .17hmr and at close range >100 yrd that is a fun round to shoot them with. You have to be able to shoot your rifle though, one slip and he's gone.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I use my 223 and my 22-250 . I use my 223 most of the time and if I want to try to make some super long shots I try my 22-250.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from grant77 wrote 3 years 40 weeks ago

.243

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from varminthunter wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

223 cal. or the 17hmr.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe Moon wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

I hunt South Texas Professionally as a Varmint Hunter. I go onto ranches, and clear out a coyote population that a rancher has problems with. I use a Savage 93R 17FV in .17 HMR or a Weatherby Vanguard S2 in .257 Weatherby Magnum. I prefer the .17 HMR because the ammo is cheap, (CCI ammo seems to group better in the rife), and killing 4-10 coyotes a day, it is less damaging on the shoulder to shot. When they get warry, I go to the Weatherby Vanguard S2 in .257 Weatherby Magnum. I have Nikon scopes on both rifles...the Nikon Monarch Rifle Scope, 4x-16x, 50mm Obj with BDC Reticule. I have killed over 200 coyotes with these two rifles, but if I had to I would chose the .17 HMR as a great Varmint Cartridge!!

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