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Old September 6, 2012, 11:13 PM   #1
Basement-Gunsmith-Z
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2 of the most underrated rifle cartridges

In my opinion the .223 and the .308 are two of the most underrated rifle cartridges. The reason i say this is because most people have deemed that the .223 max accurate range is 500 yards, and that the .308's max accurate range is between 1000 to 1200 yards depending on who you ask. This isn't the max accurate range for the two cartridges. I personally shoot targets at 1000 yards with a 18 inch barreled .223, and i use a 20 inch barreled .308 at a mile. I could use a 18 inch barreled .308 at a mile, but i prefer the 20 inch for target shooting. I use primarily ar-15 and ar-10 type rifles at those distances, but i will also break out a tac308 for use at those ranges. I also do shoot larger calibers, but that isn't what this thread is about.

Warning: There may be other underrated calibers out there that i didn't mention; most likely because i haven't heard of them or don't have enough experience with them to have a valid opinion.
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Old September 6, 2012, 11:49 PM   #2
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223 is great as there is quite a few factory guns that have either a 1:8 or 1:9 barrel twist, which allows you to shoot somewhere between 40gr and 75gr bullets.
Which means the same gun can be used with super fast varmint loads but also medium/small game loads, and high BC target loads.

22-250 and 204 Ruger might be better as varmint rounds, but very few factory guns can shoot the heavier bullets.

Also you can get an AR15 with a Wylde chamber and shoot dirt cheap 5.56 ammo for plinking, and with the same gun shoot sub MOA target loads.

And its cheap for reloading components, easy on barrels and ammo is very plentiful.

I quite like 223.
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:01 AM   #3
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I'm sure you can do it, but are they really the best for the job? What kind of drop do you get on those rounds shooting that far?
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:14 AM   #4
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bullet

What bullet weight and type are you shooting from your .308's?
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Old September 7, 2012, 02:10 AM   #5
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I don't think they are under rated at all. I'd say those are two of the most popular and celebrated. Both give spectacular performance and reach well beyond their intended design centers.

Both are priced okay and stock-pilable. That right there is a huge persuader.

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Old September 7, 2012, 06:22 AM   #6
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.223 at 1000 yards? I can only imagine what a breeze of wind can do to your bullet at that range. And I personally think the .223 is an over rated round, every AR nut loves it though. And where are you located, this is the first I'm hearing the .308 being underrated.

Personally, I think the .243 is underrated. But it's a flat shooter. Also does alot of damage for a bullet so small. I don't like ARs, but if was going to buy one, it'd have to be an AR-10 in .243. I do not understand the .223 craze. I had a rifle chambered for that when I was younger, I didn't like it.
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:47 AM   #7
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.223 is affordable to shoot. It's fun in Evil Black Rifles.

I think the most overlooked underrated rifle cartridge today is the 30-30. Back in the 1890s, it was the 300 Win. Magnum of its time. How times have changed though.
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Old September 7, 2012, 08:13 AM   #8
Basement-Gunsmith-Z
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I was shooting the standard m118lr round out of the .308, and 69 grain gold metal match from my .223. The .223 doesn't drop that much more than a .308 at 1000 yards, the hard part with .223 is wind, but that's what makes it fun. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I believe the .308 dropped about 36 mils.

I wasn't saying the .308 is the best for those ranges, but it's less expensive than others and more fun than a flat shooting bullet. Same with the .223, Its fun to do. I live in Virginia beach, but my friend has 45 acres about 100 miles west of where I live.
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Old September 7, 2012, 08:15 AM   #9
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Comparing the 223 to the 6.5s (popular long range round) assuming you have the twist to use heavy bullets in both, you only have about a 2 MOA wind difference at 1000 yards.

Problem is a 3 MPH wind error at 1000 yards gives you about the same 2 MOA difference in drift.

How may of us can tell the difference between a 10 mph wind and a 13 mph wind 1000 yards down range.

The thing is, in 1000 yard rifle matches you have three categories (meaning you normally shoot three matches (individual, excluding team matches)).

You have the Any Rifle Any Sight, Any Rifle Iron Sights, and Service Rifle.

The 6.5s work in the first two, but they don't come in a service rifle configuration.

But service rifle matches are limited to the 223s and 308s so you have to compare the 223 to the 308. The 223 has about 1/2 MOA less drift then the 308.

Sure there are better bullets and rounds then the 223, but not in the Service Rifle.

The 7.62x39 or the 5.54 Russian rounds certainly cant compete with the 223 at distance.

The problem is the barrel twist for the 223s, Our service rifles have a 1:7 twist and they will handle the heavy 223 bullets, Many of our civilian ARs don't, that is where people are having problems at extended range.

Its not the round its the twist we choose for our ARs.

I don't see either the 223 or 308 being "under rated", sales figures dispute that.

Nor are they over rated for a long range round.

Get the proper twist, get some heavy match bullets and most important, regardless of what you shoot LEARN TO READ WIND AND MIRAGE.

That is the caveat.

I don't mean take your Krystol, stand at the firing line and get a reading. What your Krystal says at 6 ft off the ground and what the wind is doing at max ordinate is as different as night and day.

The Max ordinate of the rounds listed above is somewhere between 25-30 feet. Next time you go to a range with range flag go to the mid range flag pole. Put a flag at the top, about 30 feet off the ground, then put another flag about 6 foot off the ground.

You'll notice the flags, standing out do to wind, are as different as night and day, they may even be blowing in different directions.

So in reality, as I harp on quite a bit, its the shooter, not the round, not the rifle.
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Old September 7, 2012, 08:19 AM   #10
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I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I believe the .308 dropped about 36 mils
That would be a 36 MOA drop, which would be about 10 Mils.
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Old September 7, 2012, 08:38 AM   #11
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I see where you are coming from. Nowadays, it seems like information travels so fast, it is exceeding our thinking speed!

On the other hand, when making a cartridge decision, you are often a person with a purpose/want/need/situation which doesn't quite match some old cartridge perfectly.

i.e. 308 is a great deer cartridge, but 338 Federal is so cool and you might use it's extra umph on an Elk, so guys get 338 Federal. Or 308 is good, but 300 Lazzeroni is like a missle.

So, hype kind of outweighs good thinking.

All this said, I often recommend both of these rounds, DI AR's, fixed power scopes, practice and other non-cool things. I recommend 308 because:
- Rifle makers are matching ammo size and vice versa better
- 308 has the most loads available of any round. You will be able to find factory ammo which shoots lights out in your gun!
- When you are on your dream elk hunt and you find out you left your ammo at home, you can buy 308 Win at most stores in like Gardner MT on opening day! Not true for 300 super duper mag. Heck, they would likely have your load in stock and more than 1 box. I have done this with 30'06 before. I was 13, I think. The think which struck me was they only had 30'06, 308 and maybe 30-30! My dad was shooting 7 mag. I told him I was glad we remembered his ammo!
- In 20 years, there will still be 308 ammo and 30'06 ammo available. Something like 300 WSM maybe as sparse as 264 Win Mag is today.
- Also, there are alot of people who know how to make 308 handloads work for every gun. Not as much data and know how for 300 Lazzeroni or 375 Jones Rhino Stomper.

Along with this, why aren't we rejuvenating the greats like 22-250 with a 1:8 twist, 7x57, 257 Roberts, 7mm-08, 6mm PPC(as a varmint round), 35 Whelen, 358 Winchester, etc.

Why invent so many new rounds? I think it often is a way to get better case designs, higher pressures and modern throating ideas into rifle without having a dangerous Hi/Lo powered ammo issue like we have with 45 Colt or 223/5.56. Isn't 5.56 really a 62,500psi round, but 223 Rem is a 55,000psi round?
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Old September 7, 2012, 09:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
I think the most overlooked underrated rifle cartridge today is the 30-30.
My very first thought. Wasn't underrated in it's day but today people would have you believe it's a bunny gun.

And how anyone can say that the 2 most popular cartridges for their intended roles are the most under-rated baffles me. But the OP seems stuck on long range so sticking with that the most underrated long range cartridge has to be the .22lr. People seem to think it's a 75, maybe 100 yard round but you want to have some fun stretch it to 200-300 (even 400-500 if you want)yards. Cheaper, more ranges available and it takes just as much talent to hit what you want at those ranges as using centerfires at 1000.
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:37 PM   #13
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IMO, the .30-30 is under-rated because of the cruddy sights commonly found on lever guns. The cartridge itself is easily better than a 150-yard critter.

Modern bullet R&D has made the .223 under-rated for deer hunting, for many people. Lots of improvement, these last 20 or so years.
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:42 PM   #14
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Personally, I think the 22LR is one of the most underrated cartridges around. Many people think of it as some sort of toy or something, only fit for children and target practice. This leads to all sorts of firearms accidents, and a lot of ooohs and aaahs when people actually see an animal put down with one.
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Old September 7, 2012, 01:21 PM   #15
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Regarding the .223 vs .308 for long range competition, things have change over the last few years.

At the Nationals, the M16 and M15 rifles and their same shape variants were popular in the 1000 yard service rifle matches for several years. The 22 caliber center fire rifles were favored for ranges up through 600 yards and did pretty good at longer ranges. Then a couple of old Navy Team folks broke out their 7.62 NATO Garands and started shooting better scores (winning, too) at the Nationals than the 5.56 NATO rounds the big service teams used. The US Army wanted something to compete with those older rifles. The M1's and M1A's shot higher scores. The Army didn't have any more really good M14NM's to shoot 7.62 NATO handloads. So the US Army Advanced Marksmanship Unit cuddled up to the NRA and convinced them to designate the AR10 a service rifle; the NRA agreed and it's covered in the latest high power rule books.

At this year's Nationals, the US Army team set a team record for service rifles at 1000 yards using AR10's and 185-gr. Berger bullets in their 20 inch barrels. Betcha a bag of goodies their handloads were up the the blue pill pressure range to get enough muzzle velocity to keep that bullet supersonic through the paper 1000 yards down range. 'Course all the service teams have a long track record of loading match ammo way, way over SAAMI and MIL-SPEC levels for the cartridge used.

Palma rifles shooting .308 Win. ammo with 155-gr. bullet are just as accurate as the 1000-yard benchrest rifles these days.
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Old September 7, 2012, 04:07 PM   #16
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"I believe the .308 dropped about 36 mils"

Must have a heck of a scope or a mighty angle on your rail - any chance of a picture of your setup?
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Old September 7, 2012, 04:10 PM   #17
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How can you call the two most popular cartridges on the market "under rated"? Under rated indicates it's use is waining or never reached full potential or it never really "caught on".
There are several under rated cartridges sitting in the shadows of the limelighted .223 and less so .308.
Right now, you have people adamantly proclaiming the .223 is a magical dragon slayer out of all proportion to it's size or energy level. Truthfully, I had one in the early 80's and found it severely lacking as a coyote killer. I owned two different .223 rifles and traded both away simply due to lack of killing effect. As proven later, this was basically the result of failed bullet design/performance but still, this was my perception of the little popper.
Regarding the .308, keep in mind it was AN ATTEMPT TO APPROXIMATE 30/006 performance in a shorter cartridge. Recheck that "attempt to approximate" remark. Although the .308 is a versatile decently powerfull cartridge, it was, is, and will never be quite as powerful as the best 30/06 loads.
Just my thoughts on your topic. The cartridges aren't really "under rated". They're just better than the worst but not as good as the best.
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:35 PM   #18
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I haven't seen anybody write anything about the 222 which is good testimony that this is much more underrated than 223. OK, the 223 might have a little edge for military purposes, but it really doesn't have much more to offer except for the option of having a faster twist. I mean.. hey, no manufacturer even seems to offer the 222 option. The hornet is offered, but not the 222???
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Old September 7, 2012, 11:21 PM   #19
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I would have to say the 30-30 and the 357 magnum (from a rifle)

In the past the 30-30 was used to kill all kinds of tough creatures this side of the pond and worked just fine. The animals have not evolved armor over the last 100 years but many people will tell you the 30-30 is not up to the task.

The 357 magnum from a Carbine barrel is much more powerful than from a handgun. There are loads that will push a 158 grain bullet 2200 FPS (again from a rifle). While it is no Dangerous Game round, it is much more potent than most people give it credit for.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:34 AM   #20
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What about the :300 savage? I vote for that or 7x57mauser as under rated.


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Old September 8, 2012, 09:57 AM   #21
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.30-30 and .22Long Rifle gets my vote for the two most under-rated cartridges in the U.S.
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Old September 8, 2012, 11:23 AM   #22
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Its strange that someone would pick two of the most popular cartridges in the world and label them as under rated.
There are many others that would fit that discription better.
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Old September 8, 2012, 12:01 PM   #23
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Its strange that someone would pick two of the most popular cartridges in the world and label them as under rated.
There are many others that would fit that discription better.
They may not be over rated, but they certainly are not under rated. What ever happened to the 44-95 Peabody "What Cheer"?
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Old September 8, 2012, 01:12 PM   #24
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If anything is underrated, it's 6.5x55 Swede. Americans have scoffed at this cartridge for decades. Hell, we still can't come to terms with it. We have to go off and have a "sister" cartridge to it...the .260Rem.
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Old September 8, 2012, 07:19 PM   #25
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Underated ??

I suspect that you are a new shooter.

The .223 and .308 are the MOST popular because of their performance.An under rated cartridge will pop up on your post, that no one has ever heard of, or seen. It will probably be some whacko wildcat that someone took a deer with back in 1956
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