I went sage rat hunting last year for the first time in my life. I passed this year for several reasons, but started planning for ‘15. Last year I took an AR15 with 20” RRA Varmit upper and Geisselle trigger lower, and a Savage 93R17. Due to inexperience and incredible competition (was shooting against four other experienced varminters on their third day blasting rats), I was out of 223 ammo before I could put any dent on the rat population. With their 22-250 bolts, they blasted to smithereens everything beyond 150 yd. If you've don rant hunting, you know that the first few hours they are a little shy of the muzzle blasts and keep their distance. After 3-4 hours of total frustration and disappointment, the seasoned shooters had had enough and left me alone with all them rats. By now all I had was 17HMR ammo. That’s when I started to have some fun. Stupid rats had got emboldened and closer, some as close as 50yds. Easy pickings! Made up for the frustrations of the early hours. I was very frustrated with my AR15 choice of scope and barrel length. I found I needed to tame the recoil (or the muzzle rise) to a point where I could watch my target blow up thru my scope. Barrel/rifle was too light and I was forced to set the scope zoom power to the lowest setting (4x). 17HMR recoil is so tame that was never a problem. Why the long story? I stood no chance against these guys. Not only experience but their finely tuned 22-250 rigs blew me off the water. Next time I won’t be outgunned. I am taking a 22-250. I am open to suggestions in both the rifle and the scope (or scope power). I’d like to stay close to the $1.5k mark. I mean, I would go higher but not by much, or I’d have to sell one of my babies to finance the new "project". I now 22-250 recoil will be heavier than 223. What can I do to keep a good sight picture after I pull the trigger? I suspect I will be dealing with ~1700lb-ft muzzle energy. From experience, what would be a good rifle/scope/tripod combo in terms of weight for that kind of energy? There are the rifles I have pondered: -Tikka T3 Varmint 22-250 - Savage 12 LR 22-250 ( a bit out of my rifle/scope budget) or, any heavy sub 0.5 MOA rifle you'd recommend. Also, the twist rate. Choices are 12 vs 9 to 1. Since we are talking rats, so tiny, me thinks I'd be better of with the lighter bullets spectrum. Nevertheless, I am partial to the 55gr and those do well with 9:1, me thinks. Finally, the scope. Just need to know what is the largest reasonable power I can expect to use while maintaining a complete sigh picture before, during and after the shot is taken. These are things I'd expect serious rat varminters to have figured out. I'd appreciate your feedback. I've thought about .204 but I;d rather stick to more mainstream bullets. I am partial to Nosler 224cal 55gr Ballistic Tip. Easy to find locally. Also, I've considered either: - attach a lead bag (from my sled) to the free flat fore grip, or something of the sort - threading the barrel attach a sound suppressor. Has anyone tried any of that for rats?