What is a Varmint Rifle?

what is a varmint rifle

Rifles are of great interest to the hunters and the armed men. They serve as a tool for protection, security, hunting, etc. Numerous rifles are known to mankind. All rifles have different features that distinguish them from one another. These rifles can be harmful if not used with precautions. Some firearms are banned by nations because they have proved destructive. 

In this article, you will particularly read about the varmint rifle. You will get to know all the things regarding varmint rifles, the scopes, cartridges, the range covered by varmint rifles, and many more. So, if you are looking for a varmint rifle to buy or want to participate in varmint shooting, then this article will be very useful for you. These are the special and unique rifles that are used for specific purposes. So, let us not waste time, and start exploring the exclusive details about the varmint rifles. 

What is a Varmint Rifle?

A jargon used by Americans for vermin is called varmint that is meant for small pest animals. These rifles are used to hunt the pests like a hare, rats, rabbits, and to some extent crows and pigeons. These rifles are used in many countries to kill the vermin species. These rifles come with a long and heavy barrel with a dominant scope. These are the centerfire rifles that can use .22 or .243 caliber bullets. 

The varmint is a heavy-barreled rifle that targets with a specific precision of hunting. It is usually used for shooting sandbags and the vermin. This is greatly different from a normal rifle as it is heavy and long than others. 

In the following sections, you will read all the details of the caliber and scope used by a varmint rifle. In this way, you can develop a better understanding of the varmint rifles. 

Calibers used by Varmint Rifles

The varmint rifles can use various calibers to shoot at different ranges. A standard .22 rifle can target over 100 yards. But it also depends upon the size of the bullets to be used in the rifles. The following calibers can be used with the varmint rifles. You can choose one of them according to the range you want to cover. 

.17 HMR

This is the latest Rimfire rifle that is included in short-distance varmint calibers. It can cover a distance of over 175 meters. You can use different types of bullets. However, if the wind is blowing while shooting with this caliber, you might get some disturbance. So you have to be prepared for the underlying issues. 

Hornet .17

This caliber works like a bridge to cover the gap between .17 HMR and 204 Ruger. It comes with the improved v.22 hornet that increases its reliability. This is a very popular caliber as it consists of quite a recoil. It is included in the mid-range shootings of varmint rifles where you can target at a greater distance than a .17 HMR. You can shoot up to 250 meters with this popular mid-range varmint rifle. 

Ruger .204

It uses a caliber with a .204 size of the bore. It has numerous qualities that urge the people to come towards it as it can target up to 400 meters. Most of the shooters participating in pest hunting use this as this is a medium-range caliber with a variety of bullet grains. 

.22 WMR

Winchester Magnum Rimfire is the old Rimfire rifle that is considered the only rifle to be called a varmint rifle. It can target up to 140 meters with a bullet of 40 grains. But you can also use it with 30 grain as it is also introduced in the market. 

Hornet .22

It uses a bullet of 45 grain that can shoot with accuracy up to a maximum of 175 meters. This is a real-world cartridge for varmint rifles and there are only a few rifles of this type in the market. The best feature of this caliber is the shape and size of it, but it might prove difficult to reload it. However, the expert manufacturers are working to improve it. 

Remington .223

This is the most famous cartridge in the world for varmint rifles. It uses a 55-grain bullet that covers a distance of 300 meters easily and accurately. If you will use a light bullet then you can target the deer easily but to target goats, you have to use a heavy bullet. However, this great cartridge has numerous features that make it popular among civilians as well as the armed forces. It is inexpensive, easy to use, and reload ammunition that you can use comfortably. But one bad thing about this cartridge is that it produces noise while hunting. 

220 Swift

This is the best standard varmint rifle and is called the king of the domain. It also uses a 55-grain bullet, but it can target at a greater distance than .223 rem. You can target up to 350 meters easily. It is a bigger and heavier rifle and produces noise while operating. For getting its best features you should use 26 barrels. 


This is specially designed to overcome the issues caused by winds when operating a heavy varmint rifle. It is best for goat hunting and also resolving the noise issue. 

Many other calibers can be used in varmint rifles. It all depends upon the range you want to cover. So, choose according to your needs. 

In the next section, you will get the info about the rifles that you can use in varmint hunting. 

Benefits of Varmint Rifles

After having great details about the varmint rifles, let us discuss some of the features of these rifles. 

  • These are the special types of rifles that can be used to target the small pest as well as the goat, sheep, deer, and rabbits. 
  • There are short-range, medium-range, and long-range varmint rifles available in the market. So you can choose from the available options. 
  • The lighter varmint rifle can increase your chances to get your aim. However, it requires expertise to operate it. 
  • These are fast firearms so here is a possibility to quickly get your aim. 
  • You can also use a silencer with a noisy varmint rifle that will increase the performance because with the noise your target might run away, and you may fail to achieve your target. 
  • These are the inexpensive type of rifles that you can buy without breaking the bank. 
  • Some varmint rifles are good in shape and size, so they will not create many difficulties when reloading the rifle. 
  • You can select fragile bullets that decrease the issues as they can break easily.
  • Cleaning a varmint rifle will increase the lifetime of the barrel. So you should properly clean the barrel to use it for a long time. 
  • The varmint rifles are very great for shooting at night. 

The discomforts of Varmint Rifles

The varmint rifles are used to target the vermin spices but with their benefits, they still have some issues that need to be resolved. Here are some of the issues.

  • Most of the varmint rifles are large, so it might prove difficult to carry or move them frequently. 
  • They produce noise while usage that might be stressful or may cause failure in achieving the target. 
  • Winds can damage or disturb these long barrels. The bullets might also change their positions due to wind.

Varmint hunting

As described earlier, the vermin are the targeted pest. In varmint hunting, you can use plenty of rifles with the above-described calibers. If you want to get your targets easily, then you can use a bolt action rifle. However, single-shot rifles can also be used in this concern. These are the high-quality barrels that can work for you to win the competition. 

Let us discuss the style, scope, and mount of the varmint rifles to get more in-depth into the topic.

The Styles of the Varmint rifles

The varmint rifles can be available in heavy or light sizes. A lighter one will be easily carried away whereas you might need more power to carry the heavier one. You can easily move a lighter barrel than a heavy one. In this way, you might get your target easily if it moves around. You need to select a light, fast and handy varmint rifle to shoot the target reliably. It is suggested to pick the one that gives high performance. 

Scopes for the Varmint Rifles 

The bigger scope will give you better results. You can buy a 4x-16x scope for different rifles. By using this you will get to know how to fire with this scope between your heartbeats. Here you need to select a normal reticle to get your target successfully. 1 MOA will be better for you to target at a standard distance.

With the powerful scope and long barrels, you might suffer from alignment issues that might prove challenging to resolve. However, you need to resolve the issue as the misalignment in scope or barrel can let you down and you might not achieve your goal. You are required to select a motivating scope rail for resolving this issue. 

Final Thoughts 

The varmint rifles are great at targeting rabbits and deer at various ranges. You can select the caliber according to the required distance and can continue to enjoy using these rifles effectively.

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