Guns Guns Guns. So many, but which to choose??

Varminting and vertebrate pest control. Small game, hunting feral goats, foxes, dogs, cats, rabbits etc.

Guns Guns Guns. So many, but which to choose??

Post by Brandon_at » 05 Jun 2024, 2:06 pm

Hi Guys
I'm a farmer and I haven't owned a gun for well over 30 years. recently wild dogs have discovered my sheep so its time to get a gun again. I have arranged shooters to come help until I can get myself setup. I'm told a .223 is probably my best bet as a good all rounder for foxes and dogs. I dont need to be carrying it for hours at a time so weight is not a big deal. I figure I will prob need a slightly longer barrel for the range I'm after (up to approx 400m). so maybe a 24" barrel? I am looking for informed advice on which brand and models I should be looking at. Given that I'm not a recreational or sports shooter I don't want to be spending silly amounts. But I def need accuracy and reliability.
I hope I can get some sound advice.

Thanks in advance
Brandon
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Re: Guns Guns Guns. So many, but which to choose??

Post by bladeracer » 09 Jun 2024, 11:16 am

Brandon_at wrote:Hi Guys
I'm a farmer and I haven't owned a gun for well over 30 years. recently wild dogs have discovered my sheep so its time to get a gun again. I have arranged shooters to come help until I can get myself setup. I'm told a .223 is probably my best bet as a good all rounder for foxes and dogs. I dont need to be carrying it for hours at a time so weight is not a big deal. I figure I will prob need a slightly longer barrel for the range I'm after (up to approx 400m). so maybe a 24" barrel? I am looking for informed advice on which brand and models I should be looking at. Given that I'm not a recreational or sports shooter I don't want to be spending silly amounts. But I def need accuracy and reliability.
I hope I can get some sound advice.

Thanks in advance
Brandon


If you want a .223 I'd go with an 8"-twist barrel so you can use longer heavier bullets to reach out to 400m accurately. .243, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 7mm-08 or .308 might be better choices if a lot of your shooting is going to be at longer ranges.

If you're only going to use factory ammo rather than load your own I'd probably look at .243 or 6.5mm Creedmoor. .223 factory ammo is generally aimed at the lighter 55gn bullets. In the .243, the 87gn VMax is a great all-round bullet, but I think you're looking at around $4 per shot nowadays for factory ammo (you can still find .223 for under $2 a shot).

22" would be long enough, 24" would be better but it restricts your choice of models, few manufacturers offer barrels that long.

As for rifles, I'd look at the cheaper bolt-actions, like the Howa 1500 and Ruger American Predator, but there are others for under $1000. Jump on Cleaver Firearms site and look through the listings they have. Before ordering from Cleaver though make sure they have it in stock. And talk to your dealer as well, it might only be a few bucks more to get it locally. He may even have something secondhand that would suit you.
https://www.cleaverfirearms.com/Products.aspx?Category=Rifles
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Re: Guns Guns Guns. So many, but which to choose??

Post by deye243 » 09 Jun 2024, 12:23 pm

My question is can you shoot a 4 inch group at 400y if not shorten up your range.
As above for the rest .

Best of luck with the dogs .
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Re: Guns Guns Guns. So many, but which to choose??

Post by Brandon_at » 09 Jun 2024, 12:41 pm

Thanks for the sound advice guys
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Post by bladeracer » 09 Jun 2024, 1:39 pm

Brandon_at wrote:Thanks for the sound advice guys


If you haven't been shooting for over thirty years the .223 might be the better choice just due to the cost of ammo, you'll be able to do a lot more practice for your money. At $4 a shot with most of the larger cheaper centrefires a 100rd practice day is a bloody expensive day out.

But, I would recommend a .22LR as well, then you can do a whole lot of practice for very little cost. A 100rd practice with a .22LR might cost you $20-$30.
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Post by Jorlcrin » 09 Jun 2024, 3:26 pm

Brandon,

A number of questions that I'd ask myself when considering a new rifle:-

1). Do you think you'll likely be ONLY shooting dogs, or not much else?
2). Where do you expect to be mostly shooting FROM (ie from a vehicle, from a stationary rest, or from your shoulder?)
3). What sort of area are you shooting over? (no point in buying a 300 win Mag for shooting dogs on a 200 acre block)
4). What do you expect will be your most common range you might encounter the majority of your prey/targets/game?
5). Scoped or open sights? (Scoped is going to be more useful for shots out to 400m, as well as shooting at night).
6). Are you likely to be spotlighting most of the time, or more likely daytime shooting?
7). How far are the neighbors?
8). Are you likely to expose the rifle to a lot of wet/damp weather? (ie would you consider stainless rifle or would a blued one suffice).
9). Preference for wood stock, or synthetic? (partly ties in with previous).
10). How many shots do you think you'd need to fire in a few minutes? (ie detachable box mag or would internal magazine suffice)
11). Are you likely to consider reloading, or are you only planning on factory ammo?

These are the questions I'd be considering before choosing a rifle; especially given it's your first.
Concerning barrel length, I dont see there are huge benefits in a barrel as long as 24 inches for field shooting out to 400m, when you might find it a bugger to get in/out of a car quickly.
I know I do have that issue with my Rem 700 with a 26" barrel - one of the reasons I bought a 20" rifle in same calibre.
And I've shot a lot of things with the 20" rifle out around the 400 mark(from a tripod rest).

My daily-use farm rifle is a stainless Tikka CTR in .223 with a heavy 20" barrel and 10-round detachable box mag, and I load it with 75gn projectiles for mainly pigs.
I rarely encounter dogs that I'd try to shoot beyond ~200 metres, so the small(ish) .223 works fine for me.
My overseer does most of his shooting from a bike, and he has a Howa 1500 stainless .223 with synthetic stock, 22" barrel and internal 5-round mag.
I load the Howa up with 68gn Match pills, which overseer loves for pigs/dogs etc.
Overseer prefers the internal mag on the Howa, as it rides easier across his back, and also the lighter hunter barrel.
Both rifles have performed really well, and for our needs, have exceeded my expectations.
Again; MOST of our dog encounters are rarely beyond 200 metres where we'd bother taking the shot.

If you think 400m is going to be more common than not, then I'd suggest that .223 might be a bit light, and I'd consider what others suggest; 6.5CM, .243, 7mm-08 or .308.
Any of those could be tweaked to get that distance comfortably, and still have decent knock-down at 400.
But, if your shooting is likely to be commonly at that sort of range, I'd suggest a scope will need to be a fair consideration in your choice.
And I'd suggest a scope that offers some option to give the right amount of holdover for the shot, so perhaps a scope with a reticle for that?

Anyway, I hope the above helps you narrow the choices.
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Re: Guns Guns Guns. So many, but which to choose??

Post by Vince24 » 09 Jun 2024, 4:19 pm

I am not a hunter, but how realistic is it to have a well zeroed first cold shot on a dog's vitals at 400 yards, with anything else than a well mastered target rifle ?
There is a difference between what's theoritically possible and what happens in real life.
And I see so many people struggling at the range with their scoped rifle at just 100m... Shooting both sub-MOA and zeroed from a cold barrel not as easy as it may seem to a beginner.
Starting with a reasonable rifle at no further than 200m seems more reasonable.
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Re: Guns Guns Guns. So many, but which to choose??

Post by bladeracer » 09 Jun 2024, 5:23 pm

Vince24 wrote:I am not a hunter, but how realistic is it to have a well zeroed first cold shot on a dog's vitals at 400 yards, with anything else than a well mastered target rifle ?
There is a difference between what's theoretically possible and what happens in real life.
And I see so many people struggling at the range with their scoped rifle at just 100m... Shooting both sub-MOA and zeroed from a cold barrel not as easy as it may seem to a beginner.
Starting with a reasonable rifle at no further than 200m seems more reasonable.



As long as you spend the time testing the rifle and ammo I don't see it being a huge problem, though not everybody is interested enough to put in the time. I don't know whether 400m clean kills is likely with factory ammo though unless you spend big bucks on match-grade stuff. As long as you zero the rifle to its cold bore first shot rather than to the middle of a five-shot group it should be able to deliver I think. Whether the shooter is up to making such cold bore shots, especially in any breeze, is a different matter. Hitting the vitals of a dog at 400m probably requires a _consistent_ sub-minute ability every time you pull the trigger at all distances from all positions, as well as an excellent understanding of the wind conditions. And I don't just mean sub-minute groups from your ammo/rifle, I mean you putting every shot within half a minute of your aiming point on the target. That will require _lots_ of practice, which is why I'd suggest getting a .22LR and practicing the basics at every opportunity. If you're seeing the dogs in specific places I would even set up some five-inch gongs out there and practice hitting them. I would make whatever distance you can hit the gong with every shot your maximum engagement distance.

Agreed about making 200m your maximum engagement range at first. It might be worth building hides that you can move into unseen before dawn and sit and wait for dogs to show, or putting baits out to attract the dogs to a specific place, anything that allows you to reduce the distances you need to shoot. Or invest in thermal and shoot at night, but you're probably talking $3000+ just for the thermal clip-on, a dedicated thermal scope might be double that.
https://www.huntthenight.com.au/all-thermal-clip-ons/
https://www.huntthenight.com.au/thermal-scopes?sort%5B0%5D%5Bfield%5D=price&sort%5B0%5D%5Border%5D=asc
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Re: Guns Guns Guns. So many, but which to choose??

Post by Oldbloke » 09 Jun 2024, 5:54 pm

Brendan is a farmer. He needs a working gun

Consider a Ruger or Howa in 223 or 243.
IMO 223.
Scope, 3-9×40 or 4-12×40.(longer ranges) Leupold or vortex.

400yards in the field is a stretch IMO, 200yards is more like it. Get closer, baits & hides perhaps.

If you want accuracy learn to reload.
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Post by yoshie » 09 Jun 2024, 7:21 pm

223 might work ok, but I'd recommend either a 243 or 6.5 CM. I have a 260 Remminton (I wouldn't recommend it because factory ammo isn't available) but its ballistic twin is the 6.5 CM, it will reach out as far as you can see and hit with enough energy to put anything that's likely to walk past you down, and won't recoil like a 308 or 270. The 243 us it's little brother. I'd check out your local gun shop and survey what ammo they have on the shelves to help you make a decision. As to the brand I'd look at Howa, Tikka, Zastava, Savage and Ruger. I'd save money on the rifle and put that towards better glass. Better glass will help in low light
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Post by bigrich » 10 Jun 2024, 4:29 pm

Hey Brandon, best out of the box, accurate, all weather knock around rifle for your use, tikka T3 243 stainless. Pigs, dogs at distance, it’ll do everything you want and they’re usually very accurate out of the box. Aussie “outback “ brand ammo, 87 grain projectile as blade suggested. I’d set it up with a weaver/ piccatinny scope base rings, and a decent scope. Don’t scrimp on the scope mate . Good glass makes a difference with clarity at distance and low light. Good luck, cheers
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Post by bigpete » 10 Jun 2024, 4:57 pm

I'd just get a weatherby vanguard 223 with a 4-12×40 leupold vx1 on the top and keep my shots under 250m. Simples. 400m is a fair bit of a wank in all honesty
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Post by geoff » 10 Jun 2024, 5:07 pm

We are spoilt for choice but don't agonise over the options

A basic Tikka T3 package with a scope in 223 is available at any gun shop across the land. If you get it in stainless it's virtually maintenance free

The Weatherby Vanguard is a good option but I have found the bluing on mine susceptible to surface corrosion a bit - staino a good option there too

You can consistently get decent 223 ammo at any rural supplier or gun shop. Find what that gun likes and stick with the same load - many people who aren't "into" guns and just shoot because they have to buy a different flavour of ammo every time and wonder why they can't hit anything.
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Re: Guns Guns Guns. So many, but which to choose??

Post by Oldbloke » 10 Jun 2024, 5:33 pm

bigpete wrote:I'd just get a weatherby vanguard 223 with a 4-12×40 leupold vx1 on the top and keep my shots under 250m. Simples. 400m is a fair bit of a wank in all honesty


Agree, good option.
250m is a loooong way.
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Post by Responsible_Shooter1 » 11 Jun 2024, 3:39 pm

I'm new here, But thought id chime in, I personally think that a round offering a bit more speed and flat trajectory—particularly in my experiences on the land—would be a better option for him. For example, 22-250 provides these qualities in abundance compared to .223 and .243. While it may be slightly more expensive to shoot, for someone who hasn't been actively involved with firearms for 30 years, I believe that out to 400 meters it offers the best point-and-shoot capability with minimal drop for the fastest pace. It's just my two cents, anyway.
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Post by Bello » 14 Jun 2024, 9:28 am

Hi Mate

I agree with all the above.
I think you should read the above comments several times.
Why, I hear you ask, well if you haven't shot for thirty years, I would say that you are probably in your mid fifties, and if you can see a dog at 400 meters you are doing well. Hitting them out there is hard for a good shooter.

My main calibre is a 223 (Sako). I regard myself as a reasonable shot, and I would have to be on a stable bench with a good quality scope (Leupold, swarovski etc) in decent light to be confident in hitting a dog at 400 meters.
I restrict all my shots to within 200 metes, that includes all my larger calibre rifles.

223 is a great calibre for heaps of game within 200 meters, if the rifle is sighted in correctly, using the correct projectile. I have taken rabbits, Hares, fox, Deer and small pigs with it. Shot placement was the key. (And my wife would say a little help from above)

Perhaps you may want to confirm the distance you will be shooting at. And, if you are correct about the 400 meters, perhaps something larger like a 243, they are fantastic with the 87gr bullets offered by ADI.
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