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Thread: Varmint Rifle for Deer, Young Boy, Fun on Range

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Varmint Rifle for Deer, Young Boy, Fun on Range

    If you guys we're asked about a rifle purchase that is primarily for Reloading Fun, Poking at Varmints, meaning Fox, Coyote, and long range for fun on targets.......

    Then it also maybe first "larger than Rabbits/Ptarmigan game rifle for young son, and maybe First Blacktail rifle(?)"

    Would you say, .223, 22-250, or all the way up to .243?

    PS don't need to protect ourselves from Brown Bears with it
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member Bsj425's Avatar
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    .223 or 22-250 the .243 will demolish fox and coyotes. The .243 would be better suited for the black tail but the .223 has a wide range of bullet weight and types that will do the job just fine as will the .22-250.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    If you guys we're asked about a rifle purchase that is primarily for Reloading Fun, Poking at Varmints, meaning Fox, Coyote, and long range for fun on targets.......

    Then it also maybe first "larger than Rabbits/Ptarmigan game rifle for young son, and maybe First Blacktail rifle(?)"

    Would you say, .223, 22-250, or all the way up to .243?

    PS don't need to protect ourselves from Brown Bears with it
    Hands down the .223. In fact, I don't think there is even a close second for the purposes you name. Since you mentioned deer sized game I'd consider a faster twist rifle (1:9 or faster) to shoot the heavier bullets in the .223 like the 62 TSX or the 60 grain Nosler Partition. Even the 75 Hornady A-Max is a good killer on deer sized game. If you asked this question even 5 years ago I think a .243 caliber would have likely been a better selection, but the improved bullets make a .223 a deer slayer and it has always been near perfect for foxes, coyotes, etc. IMO the only difference for your purposes in a 22-250 is that you'll use less powder per round in the .223, have less muzzle blast and every animal will be just as dead with one as the other.
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    I am going to go slight off-center on this one. I do not disagree with the others at all, in fact it is refreshing to see guys realising that a 223 with right ywist-rate, bullet etc is quite capable against blacktails.
    However and this is just a thought, and I am not a predator hunter, so anyone is free to question my rationale.
    How old is your kid? My eldest just turned nine, is a great shot and good with firearms, howver strength at his age is an issue and manipulating a good bolt can be just awkward. Also I knew he wanted a lever action similar to my 45-70.
    I bought him a Marlin 1894 lever action in 38/357 and he loves it. The short action is a breeze for him to manipulate, the gun is superlight and with a mix of factory loads he can use it for rabbits right through deer and possible a bit larger.
    I would assume (not really looked into) that the right 357 would be pretty effective on yotes as well.
    As I say, just my $0.02, but I was looking at the Ruger compacts etc until I realised that the weight and action of the 1894 suited my kid better.
    But if you are going bolt in 223 or 243, then Ruger M77 Compact is definitely worth a look.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Well you are defining my son there, turned 9 a month ago, great shot with his Browning T-bolt .22LR, good with firearms, and the T-bolt, he works like a pro but it is a little awkward for him to deal with the length. It's just almost there so I'm waiting for him to grow into it a bit for offhand shooting.
    So I figure he might be ready to go after his first Deer this next August might be another year with his growing into this .22 and chasing a lot of small game around.
    I like the idea of a lever action, I'll think about that for a bit. nbh, any idea if they have any compacts around town, I haven't went down there with the boy yet cause I don't need him getting jacked about another rifle for a while yet.

    On the .223, 22-250 comparison. I've honestly never really got the difference so that is the main reason for asking. I've heard for a reloader the .22-250 is maybe the way to go, can be loaded hotter and be a flatter shooting longer range round. Does that sound right.
    .223 ammo is cheaper and available everywhere, not really a factor for me as I am pretty big on the reloading deal now. So that is a big part of it, having lots to experiment with,
    1 Cor 15, those are good points on the 'less powder, muzzle blast, and "just as dead" of the .223 over .22-250 Thanks that kind of stuff is what i am looking for
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    KR,
    I did not even connect on your Avatar - both of us in Kodiak!! Mack's had a couple of M77 Compacts on the shelves - I think a 308 and either a 243 or 223. Also if you are looking at that, they do a 260 which is a great caliber, especially if you reload.
    Anything you want to look at/fire than give me a holla (PM or email) and I will see who has got what - including trying my kids 1894. I am an NRA Instructor and on the Board and RSO with KISA, so I pretty well know who has got what and would be nice enough for you/your kid to try.

    Neil

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    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    "Varmint Rifle for Deer, Young Boy, Fun on Range"

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe young boys are legal game in the state of Alaska with varmint rifles or otherwise!!! I'm sure you can shoot deer and have fun at the range though.

    Brett

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Hah Barringer, I knew somebody was going to work that title over some, the more I looked at it,

    C'mon BAB's, I know you have something good to add to this thread. What did your Dad start you out with?
    What do you like reloading the most out of that comparison,

    as for my Young Boy, man he's pretty quick, he'd probably have the drop on me and be "tossin' my carcass in the pickup truck," way before I was ever worried about him being legal game......

    oh no, here we go, and it was such a good thread for Dad's, etc.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    Sorry couldn't resist! Unfortunately my dad doesn't hunt and I grew up in Ohio, so centerfire rifles were rather foriegn to my until I was well into my teens. Since I've been 6' 190-200lbs since I was 16......I really didn't have much trouble with managing recoil. When I started hunting WV for deer I bought my first rifle a Montana Rifle Co. .25-06. As far as recoil tollerence I kind of have to wonder if a kid can't handle .243 or .25-06 levels or recoil do they really have any business hunting big game???? Just a thought. The reloader/target shooter in me would say .223 or .22-250. The hunter in me says .243 or .25-06. A .243 or .25-06 will do anything any of the .22s will do and then competently take big game with good shot placement and premium bullets of adiquite weight. So a .243 and .25-06 with light weight/cheap varmint loads/bullets and heavier/premium big game loads would be about right. Reloading will cost a bit more, but a lot more functionality if you ask me. FYI the first centerfire I ever shot was my grandfather's 6.5x55mm Mauser. I was rather young at 10-12ish and didn't have a problem......at least that's how I remember it now.

    Brett

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    I started at about 10 with a .243. It was a loud sucker too. One of those old Mohawk 600's. I also used a .223 for awhile as well. I"m glad you're looking at those calibers. More than one dad in my hometown started his kid on a .22 Hornet for deer.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Thanks Brett,
    I actually had been swerving toward 25-06/.243, (one of my favorite Deer/Caribou rifles for years was an A-bolt 25-06) and thinking the same, the boy can handle that if he can be shooting at Deer. So between that fine caliber and all the popularity of .243 I was debating between those for the first Deer rifle. Fun to reload for also and thinking I could find pretty light excellent bullets reloading for even fox hunting(?)
    Only recently been wondering if the little .223 or 22-250 wouldn't be fun to reload for and if I couldn't get phenomenal speed and performance after varmints even Deer with either of those.
    So I'm trying to combine all of that for both the boy and myself(target and bench entertainment) while he grows a little. I've never even cut loose one round of those little speed rounds so am curious.

    Nbh, thanks, I'll track you down sometime, (probably have already met you out at the indoor range,) after I get a look at what macks has and do a little more reading up, that's a cool offer to maybe fire a few.

    Thanks again for the opinions folks
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Thanks Brett,
    I actually had been swerving toward 25-06/.243, (one of my favorite Deer/Caribou rifles for years was an A-bolt 25-06) and thinking the same, the boy can handle that if he can be shooting at Deer. So between that fine caliber and all the popularity of .243 I was debating between those for the first Deer rifle. Fun to reload for also and thinking I could find pretty light excellent bullets reloading for even fox hunting(?)"

    Absolutely. If I remember correctly my light loads for the .25-06 were 75 grain Sierras at 3600-3700ish. Better wind bucking than the 22s and plenty capable out to 400-500 yards. The heavy load was 100 grain TSX at 3200ish. They annihilated whitetails!!! No problem there at ANY angle! I've no doubt black bear and caribou would fair similarly!

    Only recently been wondering if the little .223 or 22-250 wouldn't be fun to reload for and if I couldn't get phenomenal speed and performance after varmints even Deer with either of those.
    So I'm trying to combine all of that for both the boy and myself(target and bench entertainment) while he grows a little. I've never even cut loose one round of those little speed rounds so am curious.
    I've used them some for varmint hunting, but never big game. That said lots of deer are shot every year in WV were I use to hunt with 22s. You'd need to use heavy for calibre premium bullets and pick your shots well. Not ideal though by any means. Plus what if you run into a bear????? Yikes!!!!!! .243s and .25-06s are every bit the varmint rifles the high power .22s are IMHO.

    Brett

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett Adam Barringer View Post
    [COLOR=red]in WV were I use to hunt with 22s.
    Brett, where did you hunt in WV? You're talking about my neck of the woods now.

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    I actually had been swerving toward 25-06/.243, (one of my favorite Deer/Caribou rifles for years was an A-bolt 25-06) and thinking the same, the boy can handle that if he can be shooting at Deer. So between that fine caliber and all the popularity of .243 I was debating between those for the first Deer rifle. Fun to reload for also and thinking I could find pretty light excellent bullets reloading for even fox hunting(?)
    Lightweight bullets in the 25/06 are excellent killers on foxes and such. I've shot a lot of 4831 and Hornady 75hp screaming at foxes and the ones I hit died promptly. However, there is barely enough hide left for a shoulder mount when hit with said medicine. I am a devoted 25/06 fan, but I've not found a load that is acceptable on fox sized critters. Also, a 25/06 is going to be significantly heavier than a comparable .223 sporter. I prefer a 25/06, but I am not a 9 year old boy. I think selecting just the right tool is paramount to his shooting prowess and while the 25/06 is an excellent choice for a youth a bit older I'd shy away from it for a nine year old. Of course YMMV.

    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Only recently been wondering if the little .223 or 22-250 wouldn't be fun to reload for and if I couldn't get phenomenal speed and performance after varmints even Deer with either of those.
    Both are fine cartridges, but I'd rarely take a 22-250 over it's smaller cousin the .223 for your stated purposes. In a lightweight gun your son will see bullet impact in a .223, but not in a 22-250. That'd be enough advantage to seal the deal in my mind.

    As for looking at compact and youth rifles--both types have much to recommend, but barrels less than 20 inches long are pretty noisy. actually I much prefer another couple of inches just to keep the blast away from my face and ears. Muzzle blast can be as disconcerting as recoil for any shooter and a tad longer barrel will help alleviate the blast a bit. I'd say the Ruger Compact, while a neat idea, is several steps in the wrong direction.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    Brett, where did you hunt in WV? You're talking about my neck of the woods now.
    Tyler County (Wick) mostly (Mike Fitsimmons and Jim ......someboby's property), but a few deer just across the river from me south of Chester just south of Lowell????? I think? Been a while. I shot a doe with my muzzle loader south of Chester one day just up the "hill side" from route 2. There was snow and I tracked her up and shot her. She died just at the edge of a power line running down from the top of the "hill side" overlooking route 2. The funny thing was there was a plant just across rt2 sandwiched between the river and 2. After field dressing the doe I drug her to the edge. Then I road her like a sled down the power line in the snow to the bottom at rt2. The really funny part was a guy was leaving work and getting ready to pull out of the plant onto rt2. He stayed there and watched me ride her down the "hill side" to the road! Good times!

    Brett

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    Lightweight bullets in the 25/06 are excellent killers on foxes and such. I've shot a lot of 4831 and Hornady 75hp screaming at foxes and the ones I hit died promptly. However, there is barely enough hide left for a shoulder mount when hit with said medicine. I am a devoted 25/06 fan, but I've not found a load that is acceptable on fox sized critters. Also, a 25/06 is going to be significantly heavier than a comparable .223 sporter. I prefer a 25/06, but I am not a 9 year old boy. I think selecting just the right tool is paramount to his shooting prowess and while the 25/06 is an excellent choice for a youth a bit older I'd shy away from it for a nine year old. Of course YMMV.

    Both are fine cartridges, but I'd rarely take a 22-250 over it's smaller cousin the .223 for your stated purposes. In a lightweight gun your son will see bullet impact in a .223, but not in a 22-250. That'd be enough advantage to seal the deal in my mind.

    As for looking at compact and youth rifles--both types have much to recommend, but barrels less than 20 inches long are pretty noisy. actually I much prefer another couple of inches just to keep the blast away from my face and ears. Muzzle blast can be as disconcerting as recoil for any shooter and a tad longer barrel will help alleviate the blast a bit. I'd say the Ruger Compact, while a neat idea, is several steps in the wrong direction.
    A lot of sense in that post. That said I missed we were talking about a 9 yo specificly. Again I revert to my previous statement. If a kid can't handle .243 .25-06 recoil does he/she really have any business hunting big game......YET??????? I'd venture not, but that's for parents to decide. I think we get a little over excited to get them out in the field ASAP. I understand that totally. I don't even have kids yet and that just sounds outstanding, so I can't imagine the urge for someone who does have kids. That said the last thing we want is for the kid to have a bad first experience because they don't shoot well and miss repeatedly or worse yet make a really poor shot and see the animal suffer or even worse yet the animal gets away after their poor shot!!! I'll never forget a similar aged guy telling me why he doesn't hunt. His first time out his dad had him rabbit hunting. He shot a rabbit, but didn't kill it outright. When he walked up to it the rabbit was till moving and he wanted to shoot it again to kill it outright. His father said there was no sense in wasting a shot so he proceeded to pick it up and beat its head against a tree (for a prolonged period) until it died. That was the first.........and last time he hunted. Let's all create positive and wonderful outdoor experiences for our children, friends, and loved ones!!!

    Brett

    PS. I started hunting big game when I was 10. We had to shoot shotgun slugs in Ohio, so I had to shoot a 20ga. shotgun slug accurately before I could hunt........A fair bit more recoil than a .243 or.25-06 if you ask me. That said in looking back 10yos need a LOT of supervision when out hunting!!!

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    Acouple of responses that< understandably, question my pointing the OP towards the compacts, due to barrel length. The biggest issue I have found when searching for rifles for my kids is that nobody makes kids repeating hunting rifles. There are plenty of "youth" rifles abound, but they are really aimed at teanagers, the weight alone is not conducive for a kid to carry on a proper hunt, let alone shoot off-hand. The the LOP etc is also too long. The only hunting calibers out there that really fit young kids are the single shot Rossi and NEF types. In a repeating rifle I found (there may be others) that the 2 best options were either a light lever (1894) or the Ruger Compacts. The weight and size of either suits a young kid for a hike/hunt and if LOP needs adjusting, that is simple stock work. As for the 16inch barrel on the Rugers, personally I see that as an advantage for a young kid toting a gun around on a hunt. My kid (9 yrs and a month) fires my Guide Gun in 45-70 which has a 16 inch barrel, so a 223/243 would not really concern me.

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    I would go with the 243. You are hand loading so you can make it do anything you want with bullets weighing from 55gr up to about 105gr. The 243 with light weight HPs will explode inside a fox and probably not exit. With 85gr and heavier it is less affected by wind than the 22s. With 100gr+ it will be much better than the 22s on shots on deer that are at less than perfect angle and you don't have to use hard to find expensive bullets. When everything is right, the 22s will work on deer sized animals. When things aren't so good, bigger is better. I'd rather be a little overgunned than a little undergunned.

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    I don't have much varmint experience, but I can at least share my experience with my son. I bought him his first centerfire last year when he was 9. He's on the small side, and handles it just fine. It's a Rossi youth combo 20 gauge/.243. He's very confident and accurate with that .243, and doesn't have an issue with the recoil. I think the .243 is a fine choice, especially since you're a reloader. It's an extremely versatile caliber.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

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    I bought my 9 year old a .243 ruger compact. He can shoot it fine, not too much recoil, but it is too heavy for him to carry around on most hunts. He can handle it on flat ground on the trails, but going through the brush it is too much. In a couple more years though, it will be the perfect rifle for him and I am glad I got it for him, and also on the plus side, my wife even likes carrying it and I think I am finally getting her interested in hunting. Originally though, I was going to get the .223 caliber, but the .243 was all the shop had at the time.

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