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Old June 2, 2011, 12:25 PM   #1
theplague42
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.223 or something else?

Later this summer I hope to get my first centerfire rifle. The Mosin Nagant has often been suggested, but I'd like something a little lighter and more modern. I think I'm going to get a .223 as that's probably adequate for what I want to do, which is target shooting up to 300 yards and possibly some coyote pest control. Basically I have two questions.

1. Am I correct in saying that the .223 is a big enough round for 300 yard targets? If not, what other caliber would work? I'd prefer a widely available, relatively inexpensive round.

2. If the .223 is adequate, any standard all-purpose rifles that you would recommend? I'd like a bolt-action but a single-shot is ok too. I'd like the ability to add a bipod and sling, and integral rails would be nice but not necessary. Budget is $300-400. Thanks a ton!
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Old June 2, 2011, 12:29 PM   #2
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I think in bolt action would suit your purposes.
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Old June 2, 2011, 12:35 PM   #3
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For $3-400, I've heard good things on the Stevens 200, made by Savage. .223 should be good for what you want, though I haven't done anything with 'yotes. The .223 however, is plenty good out to and a bit beyond the range you specified.

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Old June 2, 2011, 12:47 PM   #4
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Hunt around for a good used Savage 110.
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Old June 2, 2011, 12:52 PM   #5
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Yep. Get a .223.
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Old June 2, 2011, 12:57 PM   #6
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Get a .223. Take a look at CZ's 527 series of rifles. Plenty good for coyote out to 300 yards.
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Old June 2, 2011, 01:14 PM   #7
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.223 is a great round for targets to 300 yds and lots of guys are taking hogs and deer with .223 (kind of stretching it for .223) so it should be good for coyotes.

One thing to consider is the barrel rifling twist rate. Varmint rifles often have a slow rifling twist of 1:12 (one turn in 12 inches) which is good for bullets 55 gr or lighter. On the other hand, longer range target shooting typically uses heavier bullets like 68 gr - 80 gr which require a 1:9 - 1:7 twist.

All of the Savage and Stevens models have a 1:9 twist rate which is probably ideal for handling 50 - 75 gr bullets. The Ruger M77 models also have a 1:9 twist. Many of the Remington .223 rifles have the slower 1:12 twist.
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Old June 2, 2011, 01:23 PM   #8
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Another vote for the Stevens 200 in that caliber. I like the Marlin XS-7 better, but it is not offered in 223.
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Old June 2, 2011, 01:28 PM   #9
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The .223 is quite capable of taking targets at 300 Yards.

With that said I wouldn't want my target to be any larger than a coyote. If you are looking for an all around caliber for hunting I would opt for a .308, 30-06, or 7mm Mag. The .308 will be the easiest shooting, and easiest on your pocketbook I believe.

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Old June 2, 2011, 02:36 PM   #10
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A 223 will be perfect for what you want to do. It's a nice cartridge and can be very affordable to shoot, especially if you have an interest in learning to reload. I use my 223 with great success on coyotes although mine is an older ruger m77 mkii & has a 1:12 twist which likes 40 grain bullets. I don't know that I'd go to 300 on a coyote with it. The longest I've killed one is 260 yds and it wasn't a clean kill with the 40's. New rugers will have a 1:9 twist but will be outside your specified price range. You may find an older one in your money but many people on this board speak highly of their savages & stevens rifles. For the same money as a used ruger you could have one of those two new.

My personal opinion is that a 223 is a great first centerfire. The caveat to that statement is dependant upon whether or not you plan to reload your own ammo. If not, a 204 is also an excellent choice and will push a 40 grain bullet farther, faster, and flatter than a 223 for a comparable price per round.
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Old June 2, 2011, 03:17 PM   #11
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Yet another vote for the Stevens 200,,,

I don't own it,,,
But my friend does.

He uses factory ammo and consistently makes hits at 250 yards,,,
His target of preference is an El Cheapo 10" paper plate,,,
He puts a 2" orange stick-on dot in the center.

He bought the rifle and a Bushnell Banner 3x9x40 scope two years ago,,,
Out the door with tax it totaled to a bit over $400.00.

His rifle is as accurate as a lot of people's $1,000.00 rifles,,,
Whatever Savage did on that one,,,
They did it right.

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Old June 2, 2011, 03:19 PM   #12
theplague42
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I may reload a little. I don't own any equipment myself, but a couple guys at my club have already offered to show me how and use their equipment every once in awhile.

I think I will look into a Savage first as I've heard good things about those. I haven't heard much about Stevens, but I'll definitely see if I can find one. Ruger and Remingtons are a little expensive for my taste (new at least), but I may get one used.

So regarding the twist rate, can I still fire the lighter rounds in the 1:9 twist? What's the advantage of the slower twist rate?
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Old June 2, 2011, 03:29 PM   #13
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I happen to like the Tikka T3 Lite rifles in 223 with the 1:8" twist. It allows a very large variety of ammo unlike 1:12" twist rates found in most 223 bolt actions.
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Old June 2, 2011, 03:38 PM   #14
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Hello theplague42

Stevens and Savage are the same company,,,
Think Chevrolet and Pontiac.

The Stevens 200 is as similar to a Savage Axis as a Camaro is to the Firebird.

I can't say about the Savage Axis,,,
I can vouch for the accuracy of the Stevens 200.

A few years back, American Rifle called it the best intro rifle of the year.

By range buddy has one that is a flawless performer,,,
He routinely outshoots people with much more expensive rifles.

Aarond
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Old June 2, 2011, 03:45 PM   #15
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The only downside to a faster twist like 1:9, 1:8, or 1:7 is that they can spin the bullet so fast that thin jacketed varmint bullets can fly apart. With lighter bullets you are combining faster velocities (and spinning) with very thin jacket "explosive" bullets. Not sure you would want those for coyotes anyway, and certainly not for 300 yd target shooting.

The downside to a slower twist like 1:12 or 1:14 is that they will not properly stabilize the mid- to heavy-weight bullets especially above 55 gr. and you will get poor accuracy.

For your purposes the 1:9 or 1:8 is perfect.

If you want a more general purpose rifle, but the next step up in cost of ammo, the .243 Winchester is a fine deer rifle and excellent for long range targets and deer sized game. Plenty for coyotes. Anyone who makes a .308 rifle generally makes it in .243 as well since it is the same case family.
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Old June 2, 2011, 03:58 PM   #16
theplague42
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@aarond
Ah, gotcha

That settles it then. Savage/Stevens with a 1:9 twist, but I'll keep on the lookout for a used Ruger/Remington. Thanks to all who responded.
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Old June 2, 2011, 04:05 PM   #17
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Actually I have one more question. I know that .223 rounds can be fired in 5.56 guns, but 5.56 can't safely be fired in guns only rated for .223. Do the same companies that make .223 rifles also make them rated for 5.56? Or are only AR-type rifles rated for 5.56?
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Old June 2, 2011, 04:57 PM   #18
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Just something for you to think about if you'd like. You say your budget is $3-400, and your post says youd like bolt but single shot would be ok. Are you limiting yourself to bolt because the cost, or because thats what you'd like to get started with? If it's the former, you can build an AR for pretty low cost. They make excellent varminters, are plenty good to 300 yards, and are a ton of fun. Now, it will be a bit more then $400, but it would be a learning experience and you can do it in a process with money you get as you come by it. If you do your shopping, you could come out with a decently scoped AR for roughly $600-700.

Just a thought, otherwise I stick with my previous vote on the Stevens 200.

Here's a few 'flavors' of the Stevens, they have the scoped .223 on backorder, but still have the rifle only.

As far as the 5.56, for the most part you only see them in the AR's. I'm not saying 5.56 bolt rifles aren't out there, but I just can't think of any off the top of my head.

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/a...sort/5a/page/1

-Max.
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Old June 2, 2011, 06:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Am I correct in saying that the .223 is a big enough round for 300 yard targets?
I would think. I've shot a lot of 1000yard service rifle matches, plus High Power (200, 300 & 600) yards.

223 is also plenty good enough for varments, coyotes etc. My 223 bolt gun is my number one "Chicken Defender"

What ever rifle you choose, make sure you get one with a 1 in 9 or faster twist barre..

You can shoot lighter bullets in faster twist guns, but you can't shoot heavy bullets in slow twist guns.
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Old June 2, 2011, 06:09 PM   #20
theplague42
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I want a bolt-action specifically; the initial price is just a bonus. The reason I'm avoiding an AR is because my budget is fairly strict and I want to avoid the powerful temptation of tacticool attachments, plus i don't think my family would appreciate it if I brought home an "assault weapon."
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Old June 2, 2011, 08:49 PM   #21
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Another vote for the 223.Savage all the way for me though. Yes on the 1 in 9 twist also. As Kraigwy stated. You can shoot the lighter bullets in a 1 in 9 twist,you just have to slow them down a bit. 300 yards is a cake walk for a 223.
More than capable of 600 yard shots and will drop a yote in its tracks.
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Old June 2, 2011, 08:53 PM   #22
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The only downside to a faster twist like 1:9, 1:8, or 1:7 is that they can spin the bullet so fast that thin jacketed varmint bullets can fly apart
Has this ever been confirmed to happen with any of the modern day varmint rounds? Or is this just another perpetual internet myth? I personally have shot everything from 45 gr Remington HPs to 75 grain Hornady BTHPs and have never had an issue with bullets flying apart. In fact with everything I have shot I have never noticed a difference in accuracy. This is all out of the same 1:9" Bushmaster HBAR.
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Old June 2, 2011, 09:38 PM   #23
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The only downside to a faster twist like 1:9, 1:8, or 1:7 is that they can spin the bullet so fast that thin jacketed varmint bullets can fly apart

I don't buy that, I shoot 52 grn V-max in my 1-7 White Oak Service Rifle, Never had one come apart. Never seen one come apart. Never heard of it except on the internet.
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Old June 2, 2011, 09:44 PM   #24
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Hunt around for a good used Savage 110.
.223 is a short action caliber, and Savage labels their short actions with a 2 digit code. Savage 10 will be what a .223 is offered in. 110 is for a long action caliber.

But I agree. I have a Stevens 200 and while its a great rifle, I would likely look for a used 10 with accu-trigger. Either will serve you well though.

Savage offers a 1-9 twist, which is probably want you want. Mine doesn't shoot 55 grains bullets as well as the heavier 62-69 grain bullets.
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Old June 2, 2011, 10:03 PM   #25
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I think it's important for you to think real hard about which chamber you get your 223 in. If you want to be able to use surplus military 5.56 ammo or brass then get it chambered in 5.56 and you will be able to shoot either brass through it.
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