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Prairie Dog demolition tool: AR in .223 or .224?

Wild TurkeyWild Turkey Member Posts: 2,427 ✭✭✭✭
edited May 2022 in Ask the Experts

These old eyes can't hit them at 200 yds with my Marlin Mountie anymore so it's time to step up. I also want to be able to deal with the dogs that used to be "out of range".

Fired Distinguished Expert with M-16 (and younger eyes) so I'm familiar with the platform but haven't "built" one yet. Assume I'll be handloading the hunting rounds.

First question for the experts is: which caliber? At what point does the .224 start outperforming the .223?

Second question, once caliber is determined, what barrel length and twist?

and third for now: suppressor or not?

Looking forward to learning a lot.😃


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    Butchdog2Butchdog2 Member Posts: 3,834 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2022

    Depends on what is the driving force behind the .224 is.

    The .223 you are asking about, is it the Remington .223?

    The .224 is the Valkerie?

    .223 and .224 should be same bullet.

    Valkerie will drive a heavier bullet faster than the .223 and you know the rest of the story.

    1 in 14 for small in weight say around 55 grains. 1 in 9 for heavier longer bullets.

    24 inch barrel. out to 300 yards critter won't know the difference in either one if you do your part.

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    Butchdog2Butchdog2 Member Posts: 3,834 ✭✭✭✭
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    Wild TurkeyWild Turkey Member Posts: 2,427 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks, I didn't realize they used same size bullet.

    ok, Hornady 2021 ballistics chart shows that with 75 gr BTHP bullets the .224 Valkyrie has 13.5% more energy at the muzzle and 16.1% more at 500 yds.

    Sounds like time to find a new barrel for my AR.

    And a scope

    And some brass

    And another set of dies





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    Butchdog2Butchdog2 Member Posts: 3,834 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2022

    Good luck with accessories.

    You may need a 1 in 7 twist for the 75 grain pill.

    AND be sure it will fit in the magazine with that long of a bullet. Sometimes they have to be single loaded or seated too deep for go results.

    Stats say both the loaded rounds are same length so seating depth should be no issue.

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    BobJudyBobJudy Member Posts: 6,499 ✭✭✭✭

    The several thousand pdogs I shot in the past had no idea whether they were blown up by a 223, 22/250 or even one of my 75 gr 243's. I guess it depends on how far you want to shoot but I've made some gosh awful long, at least for me, shots on pdogs with a 223. Personally, I would stay with the 223 because it has to be easier on barrels and loaded rounds and components are cheaper. Just my 2 cents. Bob

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    yoshmysteryoshmyster Member Posts: 21,189 ✭✭✭✭

    I'd go with .223 for ease of finding ammo in different weight and shape. Then find the round the rifle likes and shoots consistently. Get one of those magazines that has an insert so you can load with a single long bullets.

    Mine is a Old Bushmaster Varminter upper with their two stage trigger (Basically a Varminter with a California paperable receiver). I wanna say 1/9 twist in 24" length.

    Don't cheap out on a scope but don't take a home loan to buy one either.

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    MobuckMobuck Member Posts: 13,821 ✭✭✭✭

    .223 vs .224 Valkyrie(?) for varmints(the varmint part is the big qualifier BTW)

    A 20" barrel .223 with 55-60 grain varmint bullets is good for 250 yards before considerable hold-over or scope twiddling is required. Using the same length barrel, the .224 Valk adds another 50-75 yards to that at the cost of more expensive and less available ammo choices.

    Where the .224 Valk shows more improvement is in longer range known distance paper target shooting with longer barrel lengths and heavier bullets. Comparing 75 (and above) grain bullets isn't useful when talking about varmint use.

    I developed these opinions from actual field use of both cartridges using 16-20" .223 with 40-69 grains and 20 & 22" .224 Valk with 60-90 grain bullets in AR platform rifles.

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    AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 3,165 ✭✭✭✭

    I guess I'm so old as to be out of it! When a cartridge with 224 in the name was mentioned, my thought was the 224 Weatherby and I wondered why, at this late date, anyone would want to start with one of those rifles.

    But, I'd add my vote for the .223 Rem. My rifles (bolt actions) have the old 1-12" twist and shoot 55's just fine. I think you'd have a lot more fun and as much satisfaction with the .223 than with something else.

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    Butchdog2Butchdog2 Member Posts: 3,834 ✭✭✭✭

    225 Winchester is the same bore as both of the above.

    I would go .223 due to availability of ammo and components.

    If one can't hit a Pdog at 300 yards there is someting bad wrong with one of two things or both..

    For factory ammo my AR likes 62 grain green tips. Mine has a twist less than 1 and 10, CRS kicking in.

    Someone will say prove it but golf balls off a rest fair pretty rough at 200 yards. Not every time but 8 of 10 ain't too bad.

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    bambihunterbambihunter Member Posts: 10,694 ✭✭✭
    edited May 2022

    As an Oklahoman, I've shot a lot of prairie dogs. Now, they are hard to find (to the joy of most cattle farmers) so I don't hunt them much anymore. I've shot them from everything from .17 Rem to .300 Mag (the latter was just because I had it with me and was out of varmint ammo). I've done the most with .22lr, .17 Rem, .204 Ruger, and .220 Swift. Honorable mentions are 22-250 Rem, 6mm Rem, .222, and .243 Win.

    Based on my experience, I'd like to pose the opposite thought of what you are considering. I found the harder hitting the round (louder), the longer they stayed down once spooked. And, the further away they came back up when they decided to resurface. Now, when I too had younger eyes, I used to really enjoy hitting one at 400+ yards with my 'pencil lead driver' AKA the .17 Remington. But, most of the centerfires, after a dozen or two 'dogs, 250 yards was bare minimum. I found that when popping them with a .22lr, they often didn't stay down very long and often came back up within 100 yards like nothing happened. While it is anti-climatic compared to blowing them in half with a 4k FPS VMAX round, at the end of the day I spent a fraction of the money. I enjoyed it just as much, though for a different reason than those 400 yard shots. Later, when I coupled the rifle (Ruger 10/22 Target with factory hammer forged barrel and a Leupold VX3 scope) with a .22lr suppressor. I could often end up where I had them popping up in all directions often very close. Trying to maneuver to shoot with them that close is something akin to archery deer hunting. Thrilling, but different than dropping one on another ridge 500 yards away.

    Or, just put an optic on your Marlin. :-)

    Fanatic collector of the 10mm auto.
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