Thank you very much for the reply. I'm at the very beginning of the hunt for a varmint rifle. My last one was a custom 25/06 Ruger #77 back in the 70's. I kind of got out of the shooting scene for a long time and became a handgun shooter due to my occupation. (L/E)
I was in Montana last week visiting my son and held a Ruger #1 and a Browning falling block with an octagon barrel at a Scheels store. Both are very nice, but I think I prefer the Ruger. The rifle will be used primarily for 200 yards max, as I don't see very well anymore. I thought about a 22/250 or a Ruger .204, but I think the .223 would do me just as well and be a lot cheaper to buy ammo for. I'm not a reloader and would most likely only shoot 100 rounds or so of ammo a year anyway. The primary target would be Coyotes or other small critters. I live in the high desert of So Cal.
The 22-250 is THE VARMINT round. There are far more factory loads with whatever speed and construction you might want with the 22-250 than just about anything.
Yes, the 223 might be cheaper to shoot.
Given what you said I personally would be looking for a standrad "B" rifle in either caliber.
I have and like the 204 but it is a much more specialized rifle cartridge than the other two. I would NOT recomend it for your only or even first serious varmint rifle. Certainly 2nd or 3rd on the list would be great and they are a riot to shot.
If coyote is the largest critter you may go after and then only part of the time then I might well opt for the 223. Little or no recoil. Ammo availability etc. On the other hand it does give up some top end to the 22-250 and if the rifle was going to be used PRIMARILY as a coyote rifle I'd go with the 22-250. It just does more things well, especially as critters get bigger and ranges get longer.
Either way I'd go with a 22 centerfire BEFORE I went with the .20 caliber .204.
The 22-250 makes a lot of sense, especially since I won't be putting very many rounds a year through it. Unless of course I get the bug again and start shooting it a lot. Then I will have to start reloading. I still have my old RCBS .222 dies and such. I sold all of my 25-06 stuff. The 22-250 was the "Hot round" back in the day. It's good to hear it can still hold it's own with all of the modern rounds that have came along.
I live in a very rural area of the So Cal desert. I can shoot right off of my back patio. Makes for a great time when you can sit in your patio chair with a cold one and give it to them!
I've been using my old single shot 24" barreled Mossberg Chuckster in .22MAG with a 4X scope since I sold my center fire stuff back in the 80's. This combination is a killing machine up to 100 yards. The .22MAG is a very under rated round. It will make a quarter size exit wound on a jack rabbit.
I've hit Coyotes with it at or under 100 yards. It anchors them where they stand when hit properly. I'm aware of the rounds limitations so I never take a shot over 100 yards on Coyote size animals.