I shoot a .220swift, but the ammo can be expensive if you don't reload. I have read rave reviews of the .204ruger and received specific feedback from a cousin of mine that has one. He used to use his .220swift until he got a .204, now the swift sits in the closet. The .22-250 is a good round also and if you want cheap and readily available ammo don't forget about the .223. Any of the fast .22 calibers will suffice for varmints. If you want a dual purpose rifle the .243 or 6mm calibers are good choices. You can use the light wieght bullets, 60 to 70 gr, for varmints and heavier bullets, 90 to 100 gr, for deer.
didn't say if you wanted a bolt action or gas op...? the new Savages can't be beat out of the box for a bolt action. If it is an AR platform, i would just change my upper into a .204 or 6.8 for bigger. cost a lot less than a complete rifle. of course cost is relative to your wallet when you consider the cost of the gun, then the mount, then the optics, it gets up there in price sometimes, but you can still get good used guns and build up. there are plenty old Savages and Remmy's out there to work on.
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