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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanna get a varmit rifle. Its between a .17 HMR or a .223. Which one would you pick and why? The next question I have is is a .17HMR a centerfire or rimfire? Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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The 17 hmr is a rimfire. It is a 22 win mag necked down to 17 cal. There is a 17 cal centerfire called the 17 remington I believe. What are you going to use it for? If you already have a 22lr, I would go for the .223. Lots of cheap ammo and it is easy to reload for. If you want to try something different the .204 ruger is a fun little cartridge. That is what I personally have. I reload for it, so it costs me roughly the same to shoot as it would cost me to shoot a .223. Check out this forum. It may persuade you to try the .204. Come join us on the dark side! :lol:

http://www.rugerhunting.com/forum/
 

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The 17 HMR is a rimfire based in the 22 Magnum case necked to 17 caliber. I have killed prairie dogs with mine out past 200 yards. That is stretching the range with this little caliber. the 223 is a centerfire, and is capable of cleanly killing p-dogs out past 400 yards if you can hit them. The 17 fires a 17 grain bullet at a listed 2550 fps. Mine has a longer barrel than standard, and averages about 2650 fps when I measured them with my chronograph. The 223 shoots a 50 grain bullet at around 3400 fps. If you reload, or buy re-manufactured ammo, the 223 is just as cheap to shoot as the 17.
For potguts (ground squirrels) out to 200 yards or so, you won't find a better choice than the 17HMR. It is quiet, has no recoil, and is very accurate in a quality rifle.
 

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Yup, what they said. .223 use to be cheaper to shoot , but still a bargain. Extremely accurate with handloads. The .204 flat out kicks ...................... . One of the most accurate rounds I have ever played with. Like a lazer out to 400 yds ( about 11-15 inch drop). The .17 HMR I used to have did a good job, but didn't have the pop out at the further distances (beyond 200). But deadly on anything up close and out to 125 yds. All are great and everyone should own at least one of each. :lol:
 

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You need to look at the 204. If that is not an option then go with the 223, you will get better distance from it. As for it being as cheap to shoot as the 17 hmr, it is not. The best deal I have found on good 223 ammo is at walmart. $60 for 200 rounds of HP. I cant reload for much less than that with already having the brass if I use a quality bullet. I do get better ammo by reloading though.
 

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.223 is a flat out great varmint round, you can't go wrong with it. Just like in all calibers, there is a "sweet spot" where the amount of powder you burn, recoil, etc. give you excellent performance. After that sweet spot, you get diminishing returns where you have to deal with a lot more boom to eek out small performance gains. As the .22 calibers go, the .223 is right in the 10-ring.

As with all what is best questions, the true answer really goes back to what you plan to use the rifle for. I'd suggest .223 for everything but 350+ yard shots at small targets. If you regularly take shots longer than 350, consider .22-250, 220 Swift, .223 WSSM etc. The .204 is an excellent round, but you do get a bit more bullet weight versatility with the others I mentioned. In this company though, you'll find the .223 ammo is cheapest and easiest to come by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It would be a varmit rilfle. Coyotes, rabbits, and so on.
 

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If coyotes are on the list then absolutely go with a .223 Rem. or the excellent .204 Ruger mentioned above.
IMO, the ultra-light bullet .17 HMR is less desirable than it's heavier bullet .22 Win Magnum rimfire sire on something big like 'yotes, and yodel dogs are really a stretch for any rimfire round. The .17 HMR is intended for prairie dogs and squirrels. Go with a centerfire if dogs are on the menu.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So would a .223 be big enough to cleanly and ethicly kill a deer?
 

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A .223 will take out a deer but is too small some will say.

I have a Marlin .17 HMR and it's a tackdriver! very fun for rabbits and smaller varmits.

Stick with the .223 for the yotes and larger predators.

sawsman
 

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huntducksordietrying said:
So would a .223 be big enough to cleanly and ethicly kill a deer?
In the hands of a skilled marksman, with the right bullet, and given the perfect shot at close range, the 223 will cleanly kill deer. From what I understand, the 223 is quite popular in the south for shooting the small whitetailed deer found there. Keep in mind that these deer typically weigh in at around 100-150 pounds, and their chest cavities are around 8-10" in width. A mature mule deer buck will be 2-3 times as big. I feel that the 243 Win. with 100 grain bullets is the smallest caliber that I would use, if the range is kept under 250 yards. That is why my 243 is now a pure varmint rifle, and my 270 Win. goes deer hunting with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would never use the .223 on a deer. My wife hunts them with a .243. She dumped one hard this last year when she hit it in the neck. The proc only says that it has to be a centerfire rifle to be legal. I bow hunt so its not really even a factor for me. Just wondering that was all. Thanks for all the input here fellas.
 

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A .243 makes a great varmint gun, and is a great deer cartridge as well. If you plan on hunting coyotes, a .223 is a solid choice. A .17 HMR is good for everything up to about foxes, after that a good .22 cal centerfire will perform much better. This is mostly a distance issue. That being true of the .243 as a deer cartridge. The .243 is the most underrated round for deer hunting. Most deer are taken at <200 yards, and weigh less than 150 lbs. anyway. A 400 yard shot at a 300 lb. muley doesn't happen enough to really worry about it that much (at 400 yards 99% of hunters would probably miss anyway! :wink: ). A .223 inside of 150 yards on a stationary deer will be enough gun if the shooter does his part. For a balance between economy and performance, get the .223.
 

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So would a .223 be big enough to cleanly and ethicly kill a deer?
If you are good enough to put that little 50 grain slug in the deers brain its yours. Guaranteed. Otherwise forget it. It is not a good deer rifle. The little slugs may not get through a shoulder and the deer runs off wounded.

I have a 222 Rem which is very close to the .223. Its a sweet cartridge. It is a great varmint gun for anything up to coyote size. Yes, I have killed a number of deer with it, and a 5 point bull elk, but as stated, head shots. I much prefer a .270 for deer.

Heck, get one of each. There is never enough guns. :)
 

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huntducksordietrying said:
So would a .223 be big enough to cleanly and ethicly kill a deer?
I killed my first deer with .222. I was in the 5th grade, living in Texas. The deer dropped like he was slammed to the dirt by hulk hogan, but it laid there bleating. The adult I was hunting with had to dispatch the animal (I couldn't do it).

I use a bigger gun now.
 
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