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#3161506 - 09/01/18 03:57 PM .223 or .204 for ground squirrels?
jimreed1948 Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/08/18
Posts: 7
Loc: Texas
I'm thinking about a new rifle for ground squirrels.

I have quite a bit of .223 brass and the .223 brass is very easy to find. I also already have dies, etc for reloading. I use to reload for the .223 many years ago. This is the main reason I'm leaning towards the .223. I may shoot out to 400 yards with 500 being the maximum for sure. Would I been able to see the hits through my scope as I can now with my HMR or WSM?

Looking for information on what squirrel hunters are currently using;

1. Bullet grain, brand, (VMax etc) that will have good expansion on the litter critters
2. Best barrel twist for the light bullet.


I also thought about the .204, but then I need to get all the reloading components. Would a .204 have any advantage over the .223 at the distance I would be shooting?

Either rifle I go with would be bolt action, single shot.


Edited by jimreed1948 (09/01/18 04:14 PM)

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#3161507 - 09/01/18 04:14 PM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
why Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 677
Loc: md eastern shore
I would look at a 20vt before a 204. If you wanted to use 223 brass you could buy dies (form and trim) and then make 20vt brass. A 223 would work, heavy gun and a brake would let you see hits with no problem.

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#3161514 - 09/01/18 06:25 PM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
obaro Online
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 09/14/04
Posts: 1470
Loc: Monument kansas
Might look into a 20 practical. You could use a lot of your 223 dies and brass, only need to get a bushing die and the right bushings and you are in business. Good bullet selection, high velocity, low recoil; I watch hits through the scope with my AR all the time and it is not a real heavy gun.


Edited by obaro (09/01/18 06:26 PM)

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#3161517 - 09/01/18 07:06 PM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
Ackman Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 09/28/01
Posts: 1090
Loc: No. Utah
Originally Posted By: jimreed1948
I'm thinking about a new rifle for ground squirrels.

I have quite a bit of .223 brass and the .223 brass is very easy to find. I also already have dies, etc for reloading. I use to reload for the .223 many years ago. This is the main reason I'm leaning towards the .223. I may shoot out to 400 yards with 500 being the maximum for sure. Would I been able to see the hits through my scope as I can now with my HMR or WSM?

Looking for information on what squirrel hunters are currently using;

1. Bullet grain, brand, (VMax etc) that will have good expansion on the litter critters
2. Best barrel twist for the light bullet.


I also thought about the .204, but then I need to get all the reloading components. Would a .204 have any advantage over the .223 at the distance I would be shooting?

Either rifle I go with would be bolt action, single shot.


Well groundsquirrels are dumb. You don't need to shoot them at 500 or even 400yds. If they're out that far just drive in closer. I've shot many thousands at from 15' to 150yds. Even got one with a golf club - 10.5deg. driver. We stopped using 22lr because it doesn't splatter them well enough. The 22mag works great. That and a 17AH are favorite groundsquirrel rounds. The Mach IV and .221 also work well. Both 223/223AI are real good but it's not necessary to burn that much powder on those things. Since you have a .223 and brass and all the stuff to go with it, you'll be fine. If you see them out beyond good 223 blowup range, just drive in closer. They're dumb, you don't need to shoot them from much distance unless you really want to.

In .22cal I use 40's or 50's for groundsquirrels.

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#3161524 - 09/01/18 07:52 PM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
wklman Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 06/17/13
Posts: 185
Loc: az
20 practical would be another good choice. Nice, light recoil to easily spot shots and flat shooting. Also is pretty easy to load for.
_________________________
The nearer a man lives to God,the more intensely has he to mourn over his own evil heart.
C.H. Spurgeon

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#3161571 - 09/02/18 11:27 AM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
Rustydust Offline
PM senior

Registered: 10/21/07
Posts: 5950
Loc: Southwest Idaho
While I have undoubtedly killed more ground squirrels with my .223/.223 AI than I have my .204 I will say that the .204 is my preferred one of the bunch. The .20 Practical would be such a good choice given that you have plenty of brass.

Everyone of the gang that I shoot the local whistlepigs with has a .223 (more than one as we have AR and bolt guns too) and we all have .204's as well. I think that a 40 grain Vmax in the .223 is ideal (12-14" twist) and a 32 grain Vmax (11-12" twist) in the .20 calibers.

If I was shooting at a 400+ yard squirrel I would rather have my .204 than I would a .223. But still, a juice can sized target at a quarter mile away is still a mighty small target. The accuracy of the gun, the quality of the glass, and the man behind the trigger are more important than if it's a .20 or a .22 caliber.
_________________________
I once asked a liberal "What is it with you people? Is it ignorance or apathy?'
He said, "Well, I don't know and I don't care.'"


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#3161699 - 09/03/18 01:22 PM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
wicka Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 03/28/13
Posts: 239
Loc: South of Canada
The 223 ammo is way more available & cheaper also. At this time I'm having a .223 Bartlien 26" 7.7 twist barrel installed on a trued 700 action for shooting the heavier bullets and will be shooting 8-900+ yards with it. I still have the reg 223 and an AR 223 along with a 204 and a 22-250 all great in the field. Sometimes it's just fun to reach out a little farther.


Edited by wicka (09/03/18 01:22 PM)

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#3161714 - 09/03/18 03:24 PM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: wicka]
fw707 Offline
Retired Moderator

Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 9367
Loc: Roadside watermelon stand
Originally Posted By: wicka
The 223 ammo is way more available & cheaper also. At this time I'm having a .223 Bartlien 26" 7.7 twist barrel installed on a trued 700 action for shooting the heavier bullets and will be shooting 8-900+ yards with it. I still have the reg 223 and an AR 223 along with a 204 and a 22-250 all great in the field. Sometimes it's just fun to reach out a little farther.


Try the Berger 80.5 Full Bores with Varget.

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_________________________
“better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy.”

Carl Sagan

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#3161825 - 09/04/18 11:45 AM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
Blackhawk43 Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 1236
Loc: Nebraska
If a 180 grain bullet is right for an 800 pound elk, how much bullet do you need for a 6 ounce ground squirrel?

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#3161833 - 09/04/18 12:55 PM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: Blackhawk43]
Ackman Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 09/28/01
Posts: 1090
Loc: No. Utah
Originally Posted By: Blackhawk43
If a 180 grain bullet is right for an 800 pound elk, how much bullet do you need for a 6 ounce ground squirrel?


Yes. Shooting a 6oz groundsquirel with 75, 80gr bullets? Lobbing 75, 80gr bullets with a .223 at a soda-can sized target 800-900yds away? It's the internet don't you know.

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#3161850 - 09/04/18 03:04 PM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
BOBTAILS Offline
PM senior

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 9024
Loc: In the sage
223 for me for high volume shooting, it can take more before it heats up over the 204.
_________________________
Guns have ony 2 emenies- Rust and Politicians.

Wolves don't lose sleep, over the opinion's of sheep.


Carver Predator calls Prostaffer, Made in the USA!!
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#3161925 - 09/05/18 10:11 AM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
Blackhawk43 Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 1236
Loc: Nebraska
In my experience a 17 HMR is hard to beat. We used, mostly, 22LR in a semi-auto, you will get really tired of cranking that bolt

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#3162475 - 09/09/18 09:05 AM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
jpx2rk Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 01/24/16
Posts: 162
Loc: Tennessee
I have a R700 223 with a 12twist, shoot 50g vmaxs on pdogs, good action. I have Savage FV12 223 9twist, shoot 55g varmageddon tips, good action as well. Both very accurate on pdogs, ground squirrels are smaller, so the results should be even better.

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#3163721 - 09/19/18 03:02 AM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: jimreed1948]
Kenlguy Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 916
Loc: central WA
I built a gun around the bullet. Twenty inch Green Mountain barrel with a 1x14 twist in 223. The only bullets it sees is the 40gr Sierras or the 40gr noslers. Both shoot the same POI
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Most people's lives pass them by while they're making grand plans for it.

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#3163724 - 09/19/18 08:12 AM Re: .223 or .204 for ground squirrels? [Re: Ackman]
who me Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 08/30/09
Posts: 389
Loc: south west Idaho
Originally Posted By: Ackman
Originally Posted By: Blackhawk43
If a 180 grain bullet is right for an 800 pound elk, how much bullet do you need for a 6 ounce ground squirrel?


Yes. Shooting a 6oz groundsquirel with 75, 80gr bullets? Lobbing 75, 80gr bullets with a .223 at a soda-can sized target 800-900yds away? It's the internet don't you know.


To me its all about hitting the target.
I try not to use anything bigger than a 270.

I know going to the store in a Dodge Challenger Hellcat
instead of a Toyota Prius is a waste of horsepower. I also
know its a lot more fun, and the milk is still cold even if
you live 40 miles from town in August.

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