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Posted: 7/2/2003 8:00:05 PM EDT
I saw some videoes on dogbegone.com of people shooting prarie dogs. Looks like lots of fun. In this part of the country we have groundhogs, whose burrows are liable to snap a farmer's axel while plowing the fields, so the woodchuck is the main varmint around here.

I have a couple aquaintences who go groundhog hunting every now and then. I try to get them to take me, but they have kids, they're buying houses, or whatever else prevents them from setting aside an afternoon to do some groundhog hunting.

I built an AR15 from a J&T distributing kit. It's a 16" CAR15 with a free floated dissipator barrel and an A3 upper.

As far as my marksmanship, with the irons, I can hit a propane tank sized target (like the tank you cook your steaks on) from about 150 yards with iron sights pretty consistently (offhand shooting). I'm not sure if that's really good or average or what.

I was thinking of getting a cheap scope to hold me over until I can get a dedicated bolt-action varmint rifle. Realistically speaking, how far out will I be able to hit groundhogs with my rifle and mil-spec .223 ammo? What scopes should I look for?

I was thinking a 4X scope of some type. I know people say, "Never go cheap on a scope." But in this case, the scope won't have to put up with lots of abuse. I just want to get varmint hunting out of my blood for a little while. Once I get a varmint gun, my AR will be my dedicated battle rifle and I can sell the scope or whatever. Suggestions? Am I barking up the wrong tree? I am much less experienced with firearms than most on this board.

-Nick Viejo.
Link Posted: 7/2/2003 8:13:27 PM EDT
You could always get a nice varmint upper for your current AR. My varmint AR rig (20" SS bull barrel, A3 upper, Japanese Tasco scope) will hold 1/2 MOA out to 300 meters (as far as I've had the chance to shoot it) with Black Hills 68gr Heavy Match HP loads. Then, when you get around to it, get another lower with a good trigger and you'll be another member of the multi-AR club. Remember.....everytime you try to get out we'll suck you back in [}:)]
Link Posted: 7/2/2003 10:00:20 PM EDT
Hey Nick, (IMO) with any decent scope on your AR, you should be able to pop a chuck reliably out to about 300 yards. I also got a kit from J&T, a 20" Hbar A3. I have a $160 Simmons Aetec 2.5x10-44mm on it and get .3" 5 shot groups (from the bench) at 100 yards on a regular basis. Yours should do about as well with that barrel, though you will lose just a bit of velocity. As far as ammo goes, try the Black Hills Vmax (blue box). Pops varmints like ripe tomatos and you don't have to worry so much about ricochets because the Vmax pretty much explodes when it hits anything. Good luck and have fun Nick!
Link Posted: 7/3/2003 2:18:02 AM EDT
How wood could a woodchuck,chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?probably not much while under fire from a scoped AR.[peep] [heavy]
Link Posted: 7/3/2003 2:55:35 AM EDT
Here in Michigan, the woodchuck is also the main varmint. I've built up 2 dedicated AR's with heavy barrels, Jewel triggers, bipods, and Leupold scopes for such varmints but the truth is, my old beater J&T A2 16" upper on an RRA lower with one of those cheezy 4x20 carry handle Colt knockoff scopes <$25 on eBay> has taken most of the 'chucks. That AR is my beater/truck gun. She's always with me behind the seat for targets of opportunity out on the property. I've hit 'chucks and other assorted farm/woods varmints at 250 yards plus with that silly little scope. I've always planned on upgrading that little scope, but why? That AR and scope take the abuse behind the truck seat and keep on running... If getting a cheap scope gets you out in the woods and fields, do it!!! You can always upgrade down the road...
Link Posted: 7/3/2003 3:21:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/3/2003 8:42:29 AM EDT
I have a 20 inch bushy with a bushnell 3x9 scope that I have killed gophers with out to 400 yards (not consistent one shot kills but we are talking about a 1.5x4 inch target) I have killed several badgers at over 200 yards so I believe your AR should be more than adequate . By the way my Bushnell 3-9x40 elite 3200 was only 180 bucks and is a damn nice scope , The AR doesnt deliver any real recoil so a 600 dollar scope is probably not required .
Link Posted: 7/3/2003 4:10:44 PM EDT
Even if you pop $180 on a Bushnell, or something (Bushnell's new Legend scope is super for $195), you can use it on another rifle. A low quality scope will leave a bad taste in your mouth because of the poor optics. Ask around on different farms. Some farmers won't like an AR 15. Some will just want dead groundhogs. Be sure to be safe, be careful of your target and what is behind it, open and close gates, etc. Build a good relationship with the farmer and be sure not to litter his land with stuff you have shot up (propane tanks and such).
Link Posted: 7/3/2003 8:56:02 PM EDT
Most farmers I know might look at you funny, and perhaps question your judgement, but I don't think that you would have issues beyond that. 'sides, ever step in a chuck hole? I'm sure they'll be just as happy to be rid of them. Oh, and I vote for get a good scope and transfer it. I'm dealing with having made the same choice you are considering. I'm stuck with a scope that I should just throw away, but can't. So I got another rifle to put it on.
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