August 13th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Varmint Rifle Video Showcase

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Varminting for Fun — With Rimfires and Centerfires

One of the most fun things you can do with a rifle is to shoot varmints such as ground squirrels, prairie dogs, rockchucks, and groundhogs. There’s great satisfaction making a perfect hit on a critter that sends the beastie spinning in the air. Varminting also affords a great excuse to acquire more rifles, because it really does make sense to own and use multiple varmint rifles in various calibers.

Having multiple rifles on a varmint safari lets you preserve barrel life, and shoot lesser-recoiling calibers at the shorter distances. For example, with California ground squirrels, we like a .17 HMR inside 125 yards, then switch to a 20 Practical (20-223 Rem). For prairie dogs, you may want that 20 Practical, plus a nice .22 BR for 250-400 yards, and a .243 Ackley (or 6XC or 6mm CM) for long shots.

Seven Varmint Rifles — Rimfire and Centerfire
With 525,000 subscribers, the Backfire YouTube Channel is highly popular. The capable hosts provide honest, candid reviews. This video covers seven different varmint rigs. First off is the Air Arms TX 200 (00:25). Then the excellent .22 LR CZ 457 is featured (01:33), followed by a .223 Rem AR15-platform rifle (02:30). Next up is the .22 LR Christensen Arms Ranger 22 (03:40), which proved to be “crazy accurate”. Then the video showcases a Bergara Premier in 22-250 (04:20), an “excellent coyote gun that you could use on varmints as well”. Last up is the Ruger American Predator (05:20) in .17 HMR.

Five Varmint and Predator Rifles Reviewed
This video covers three major manufacturer centerfire varmint rifles: Remington Model 700 PCR (01:39), Winchester Model 70 Varmint Rifle (03:36), and Henry Long Ranger in .223 (08:02). The video also covers the Ruger American Rimfire Target rifle (07:04), and the interesting Stoeger RX20TAC Varmint Air Rifle (05:31). Airguns can be effective at close ranges on small varmints such as squirrels. But for an effective kill, we recommend at least a .17 Mach 2 (HM2) beyond 50 yards.

Three Varmint Rifles Reviewed — Savage .17 HMR, Ruger .22 Magnum, Howa .243 Winchester
This video covers two rimfires and a nice .243 Win centerfire. First up is a Ruger 77/22 in .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire). This cartridge has a lot more punch than a standard .22 LR round. Next up is the very nice Savage A17 Thumbhole in .17 HMR. This semi-auto rifle offers nice ergonomics, good feed reliability, and very good accuracy at 100 yards (check out that 3-shot target at 100 yards). Last but not least, the video features the nice Howa 1500 Ranchland with Hogue stock, in this case chambered for the .243 Winchester. These Howas have a smooth-cycling action and nice HACT 2-stage trigger.

Ruger howa savage varmint rifles

.17 WSM — The Most Powerful .17 Cal Rimfire
We think that every varmint hunter should own a nice .17 Cal rimfire rig. Out to 200 yards or so the .17 WSM or .17 HMR is very effective on small varmints. It’s nice to be able to shoot affordable ammo out of the box and not have to scrounge for hart-to-find powder and primers. This video features a superb .17 Cal varmint rig, the Primal Rights TS Custom chambered for the impressive .17 WSM cartridge.

.17 17 WSM HMR Winchester short magnum rimfire rifle test

Long Range Rockchuck Adventure with Gunwerks Crew
This Gunwerks video showcases varmint hunting in the Western USA. In this video Aaron Davidson and the Gunwerks crew try out some new rifles on some rockchucks. Most of the the rifles were suppressed but the host said the rockchucks took cover after the first shot, so this required good coordination among shooters and spotters. A 6XC varminter is featured at 2:44 and there’s some nice drone footage starting at 2:00.

.22-250 Nails Ground Squirrels and Rock Hyraxes in South Africa
Here’s an interesting video from South Africa. The video maker starts with shots on ground squirrels. His .22-250 blasts them into little pieces. They he switches to more distant targets, a furry ground-hog size animal called the Rock Hyrax, Cape Hyrax, or Dassie. Mature Rock Hyraxes weigh 4-5 kilograms and have short ears and tail. These Rock Hyraxes are found at higher elevations in habitats with rock crevices, allowing them to escape from predators (but not skilled varmint hunters).

south africa rock hyrax dassie 22-250 kill hunt