what do you require in a varment gun


New member
Jan 12, 2003
Boise Idaho
Everyone has an idea of what they want in a varment gun. Some are died in the wool fans of certian calibers. With all the new calibers available its hard to determin witch is best for you. This will help you understand what kind of check list will help you determin what your needs are and what will be the best choice for you.

Step one: what are your needs???
short range, medium range, long range or extreamly long range.
varments, pelts or numbers or all of the above.

What are your thoughts and ideas?

First off,I don't know what caliber it will require, because I've yet to hunt the predators in my area for the first time.Most of the hunting I will eventually do will be in the thickets,really thick stuff,or very near the thick stuff.Most openings around the thickets are either clear cuts,small fields,or in the case of the nearby river bottom, large unplanted corn fields.As you know Sly,I recently purchased a 17Rem barrel for my Encore,as well as a Cooper varminter in 20 Tactical.I also own a Bushmaster varminter,which is 223,and a 22-250 barrel for my Encore.

I think,taking everything into consideration,that for my money, I'd have been better off just to buy the Cooper in 20 tactical, outright. From everything I've read,it will most likely be my best bet for hunting in my area. Taking everything into consideration,like terrain,heavy brush,distance of shot,and possible fur damage,the 20 tactical will most likely become my favorite cartridge for shooting these predacious critters
.I'll hopefully have the opportunity to test all 4 calibers on critters at some point, but I'm betting the Cooper will fast become my favorite.
All of the above... Be it Prairrie Poodles across an open field or Song Dogs coming to a call or harrassing an Antelope doe with a fawn in the brush. The first and foremost requirement is accuracy. A prairrie dog at 300 or 400 meters is a pretty small target. I need to know that when I lay the scope cross hairs on the target and push the trigger, that the next thing I see will be a red mist..

Second requirement is proper fit. Any rifle, regardless of how soft it shoots, will become painful after 300 rounds a day if it doesn't fit right. Since I have very short arms, that means that I have to customize most all of my rifle stocks. My hunting partner has very long arms, so we modify his stocks to fit him, also.

Third requirement is durability. I want a rifle that will be good for at least 15,000 rounds and will take the bumps and rough handling that can be experienced driving off road. I prefer composite stocks that don't move when the temp or humidity changes and pressure pointed barrels.

Given all of these conditions, I have two rifles that are strictly for varmints, two what will make the change from varmint to predator, and two that will make the grade for varmint up to small game, including Coues deer and Antelope. The calibers are two in .223 Remington, one in 22-250, one in 224 Durham Jet, one in 6mm Remington, and one in .250 Savage.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 06-10-2003 07:35: Message edited by: danr55 ]</font>
My varmint hunting is limited to ground squirrels and jack rabbits, with the occasional coyote as a target of opportunity. Since the targets aren't large, and the distances aren't that great (I usually shoot at 200 yards or less), a .223 works well for me. I have two - a heavy barreled Savage and a CZ-527 American - one for sitting and shooting and one for walking around.
I not huge into the varmint/predator scene but I do enjoy shooting for squirrels and chucks with archery and rifle.

I've whacked a couple coyotes by stumbling on them while big game hunting. I've started calling yotes this last year but have yet to actually kill one.

For Squirrels my little 10/22 is plenty accurate out to about 125 yards.

For chucks and coyotes I jump to my 270 or 30-06, because I lack a smaller caliber center fire.

From my point of view, I'd like to get the new Savage heavy barrel with the Accu-trigger in 22-250 or 243. The only problem with the 22-250 is the 1-14" twist. If they'd put a faster twist barrel on it to stablize the longer bullets I'd think it to be more versatile.
I shoot a savage 22-250. I want something that is accurate and deadly out to 300 yards. I don't shoot a lot of coyotes, so being fur friendly isn't that important on my agenda. I usually use my 12 guage when I'm calling foxes in the thick stuff in Pa. Mainly because a 22-250 will turn the little guys into hand puppets if you hit a bone.

T-bone,Doug,do you reload,and if so,what's your favorite load for the 22-250 ?

The new Cooper I ordered in Tact 20 has a 1/12 twist,I am surprised the 22-250 is 1/14,I thought it would be a lower twist than the 20T ?

Don't know what my Encore 22-250 barrel twist is,but it must be high because the thing hates 45 grainers, doesn't shoot them worth a plugged nickel.

Short range, medium range, long range, extremely long range - I say yes to all of the above.

My best kill to date on a woodchuck is 660 yards using my 22

I use a 22 CHeetah MK 1 because it shoots extremely flat and the rifle is extremely accurate. Built 4 seasons ago by Dan Dowling out of Colorado. It wears a Swarovski 6 to 24 X 50 Scope that repeats without fail. I like the variable scope because it is easier to locate the chucks at the lower power settings (wider field of view), then zoom in on them for the kill. My buddy uses a straight 24X scope and with its limited field of view it takes a long time to find the chucks after spotting them thru bonics or the spotting scope.

My varmint rifle is built on a Stolle Panda aluminum action, right side bolt, left side port, McMillan hunter class graphite stock, bedded and glued, 1 pound Jewel Trigger, Kelby 30mm aluminum rings. No bases needed since the Stolle action has a dovetail integrated on the top of the action.



I have some friends coming over tomorrow from the original 1000 yard bench rest club in Williamsport, PA to hunt chucks. With luck we will be able to locate some chucks at 1000 plus yards and kill them.

Have a good one,

Seldom Ever,
I don't reload. I use factory 55 grain pointed soft tips. My savage isn't very picky about what it eats (kinda like me I guess

That gun is way too pretty to hunt groundhogs with. If its raining you better take that 30-06 that you've told me so much about.

This topic intreagues me, to see what others like to shoot, the parts they trust, the barrels they like and so on. Realy it comes down to personal choice and confidance. Its good to see so much diversifacation in one room.

Let hear it boys and girls. Tell us MORE!


I am going to have to take a drive south of me one of these days and tell you all about the 30-06.

If its raining, and it seems like it does about every day lately, I don't go chuck hunting. I never seen chucks out in a driving rain anyhow.


I use a 52gr berger bench rest bullet out of my 22 CHeetah MK 1.

Behind 44gr of IMR 4064 I get 4280 FPS, 10 feet from the muzzle.

From up close to 200 yards I don't adjust my elevation on my scope at all. At 300 yards I adjust up 1" on elevation. The rifle shoots VERY flat.

The barrel is a Hart Match grade Heavy Varmint, S/S of course.


what kind of barrel life do you get in that CHEETAH with a MV over 4000 it can't be that good and isn't 4064 kinda hot?? I'm interested in knowing how long that barrel will last. I have also shot a CHEETAH but wasn't happy with how fast the barrel went away. That was in the early 80's and powders have come along way in develoupment. No digs here just honest questions.

My luck with calibers that push pills at over 4000 FPS hasn't been that good untill I found the 20 caliber. I think the reason is because of the reduced powder charge required to move the smaller bullet creates less heat. I do know this, my 20t-n-t has almost 600 rounds through it and when we cast the chamber to check for any signs of damage there was NO damage. For me that speeks very loudly.

In the 30+ years that I have been calling coyotes and shooting I have shot many calibers from the 17rem, .22hornet, .221fireball, .222, .222mag,.223, 22-250, 220swift, 22CHEETAH .224weatherby Mag and on up the line. The 22-250, 220swift and the CHEETAH were killing machines till the barrels went away in under 1000 shots. untill I got serious about the 20 caliber I never was realy content. I don't run the 20 as hot as many of the speed freeks do but I'm pushing the 4000 fps mark and the accuricy just can't be beat.

In all the years I've been shooting I have never had the confidence in the caliber that I have now. I trust the 20 and know it to be truly deadly. I have seen the light.LOL The 20 is not right for everyone but for those who want a fur friendly flatliner that they can trust, the 20's are here to stay and wait and see if they don't become production guns before long.

I have two bullets that I like for the 20, they are the 34.5grn Badger ridge bullet and the Lucas 40grn. They shoot very well and hit hard. No exceptions..

I shoot only Barnes VLC's and Barnes XLC's for everything else.......Soon I hope to be shooting the Barnes VLC's in my 20's also.

well thats all from me


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 06-14-2003 10:41: Message edited by: Dic Gipson ]</font>

Not to be coy, but I could care less about barrel life. My barrel will be shot out by the end of this summer. At present I have 498 rounds thru my CHeetah. I figure about 600 rounds and the barrel will be fried. This fall I will send my CHeetah back to Dan Dowling, the smith that built it, and have a new Hart Match Grade S/S barrel installed - 1 in 16 twist. That is the same barrel that is on it now.

I want performance. If I wanted barrel life I would get a 223 but then I wouldn't be killing woodchucks at 675 yards either.

I set a new personal best yesterday at 675 yards on a tiny (2 to 3lb) woodchuck. That in and of itself speaks for the accuracy of the rifle.

The "Classic" load for a 22 CHeetah MK 1 is 44gr of IMR4064 and no it isn't a hot load.

Yesterday, 5 of us hunted chucks all day and we collectively killed between 22 and 25 chucks. We lost an exact count after the first 15 or so. I killed about 15 myself. Other then the 675 yard kill I remember another at 635, 580, 545, a few in the 400's, 300's and 200's. It was a good day hunting.


I hope you didn't think I was busting your B**** about the CHEETAH, I was realy wondering how it was working for you. As i said I tried my hand at the CHEETAH in the early 80's, Then it was billed as the first gun to break the mile a seccond mark and the thought of that made me warm all over. For me, just as I got it shot in it went away and the seccond barrel did the same thing, it was plainly not cost effective for me. I sure didn't dought your word on it.

Does hart give you a discount on barrels??LOL Just joking with you. Have you ever shot a coyote with it? I would like to know more about your findings and hunting with the CHEETAH.

Have a super day


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 06-15-2003 17:34: Message edited by: Dic Gipson ]</font>
Jess and I was going shooting today but it rained. I found this old volleyball in the ditch the other day I want to fill it up with water and shot it with those new VLC's.

I want to see it blow up.

Nope, I never read your posts as busting my door chimes.

I was merely being straight up honest with my answers.

There may be a more effective cartridge out there for woodchuck killing, out to 500 yards, but I have yet to find it. The CHeetah, as a cartridge would be mighty difficult to beat for chucks to 500 yards, maybe even 600 yards.

The accuracy goes mostly to the man who built my rifle. I shake like the leaves of a tree during a huricane so I know it isn't my shooting abilities. Case peparation is another key to accuracy.

If I know the distance, to within a few yards, out to 600 yards, those chucks better be getting ready to meet their maker.

Have a good one,


The last coyote I saw around these parts was 3 years ago and my buddy killed it with his 6PPC at 250 yards on a run - it was running dead away from us.

The problem we have, often times, where we chuck hunt is that it is so flat. Obtaining an accurate distance is generally the most difficult part of the hunt. Move the laser range finder up or down a slight amount and we have a distance change as much as a few hundred yards. I have a Leica 1200 LRF and my buddy uses a Leica Geovid. I have a swivel bench with a front rest, rear bag, that my rifle sits on. I don't think I have ever shot a chuck using a rifle offhand.

We got a late start this year, hunting woodchucks. Two weeks ago today was the first time we went out and so far I have killed 30 or so.

When you say your CHeetah quit about the time you got it worked out, did you mean you fried the barrel just about when you had the load you wanted?

To give you an idea how accurate and flat shooting my CHeetah shoots, after a 20 round break in I then killed a woodchuck at 660 yards with the 47th round down the tube. When I was breaking in the barrel I would take one round with me, shoot that one round, which would also fire form the case, then clean. I did that for 20 rounds and it paid off huge. The barrel now cleans up quick.

Its just to much fun killing woodchucks all summer, plus it keeps me in practice for deer season in the fall. I am hoping to kill a deer to 650 yards, one of these days.

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