I vote with Jerry45 in that the 223 just isn't the right stuff for all applications. I shot hogs with mine, using 55 gr Ballistic Tips, and now I know that it isn't enough gun. Like I said earlier, sure it'll do if you shoot em behind the ear, but when I'm 250 to 400 yards away from a moving pig on bumpy ground, shootin em behind the ear is a hope and not a sure thing. So I moved up to my 220 Swift (same bullet) and that didn't work too well. I collected most all of the pigs, but I had to do some tracking. So then I went to the 260 Remington and tracking is now something I used to do. As for what caliber for the OP to use, I'd recommend something in between the 223 and the 308, if he doesn't want the 308. So get it in 243, or 260, or 6.5 Creedmore.
We wouldn't even be having conversations like this about the 223 if it wasn't for the AR15. Looked cool, so folks wanted one and bought one. Now..what am I gonna do with it. Well, I'll punch paper. That got boring, so now what do I do with it. I'll shoot coyotes. That was fun, and wait...there's a pig. Well that worked Ok, so I'll try it on deer. I really don't remember conversations like this about the 222. It was a target round or a varmint round and everyone was Ok with that. But then the Black Gun showed up. And you spent a fortune on it getting it all dressed up. All dressed up and no place to go...Gotta shoot somethin with it. Oooo, and let's hang some lights on it.
You know some of what I'm sayin is true. And I'm sayin all this with a smile, so don't all you AR guys send me hate mail.