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Old December 13, 2012, 06:44 PM   #1
bch044
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223 vs. 308

Just started looking into rifles mainly for targets and have been told I want a 223. I know i want to go the bolt action route. I see alot of used 308's for sale. A couple questions I have is 1.) Is there a reason for all the 308's for sale? 2.) Which one has the better accuracy at 800+ yards? 3.) In your opinion which is the better caliber and what manufacturer is the better?

Thanks,
Steve
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:05 PM   #2
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Quote:
Just started looking into rifles mainly for targets and have been told I want a 223. I know i want to go the bolt action route. I see alot of used 308's for sale. A couple questions I have is 1.) Is there a reason for all the 308's for sale?
Since you are looking at bolt action rifles, I'd say it's because so many .223 rifles are semi-automatic.


Quote:
2.) Which one has the better accuracy at 800+ yards?
I've no personal experience in the matter. I've heard it argued both ways.

Quote:
3.) In your opinion which is the better caliber and what manufacturer is the better?
I like .223 because it's cheaper and it doesn't hurt my shoulder. Together it means I can shoot more.
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:08 PM   #3
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At 800 yards I wouldnt even think of using a 223, far to light and its affected alot more by the weather. The more 308s for sale is probably just because its one of the more popular long range guns. So I would go for the 308 over the 223 for your needs, others may say different but for me I dont like the 223 over 300/400 yards
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:14 PM   #4
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One issue you will have to pay attention to is barrel twist. Most bolt rifles in 223 are twisted for very light varmit bullets and don't shot the heavier bullets needed for 800 yard shots very well. Most AR's barrels are designed with those heavier bullets in mind.

Not trying to push an AR your way, but it will be easier to find one set up for heavier bullets and it won't really cost much more than a quality bolt rifle if you are sold on 223.

The 308 does have more recoil, is more expensive to shoot, but would probably be the better choice at the ranges you are talking about. Especially in a bolt rifle.

Rifle choice is tough and more details would help. Do you want a heavy varmit/target rifle or something easier to carry around, but still accurate? How much you want to spend would be a consideration.
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
1.) Is there a reason for all the 308's for sale?
Yes. It's because there are so many rifles in 308 sold, and that shows up on the used market as a large amount of used 308 rifles for sale.
Quote:
2.) Which one has the better accuracy at 800+ yards?
Either one would do it if you choose well. It depends entirely on the equipment and the loads. You could have trouble reaching out to 800 yds with some 308s because of short barrel or the ammunition used, or the rifle's limitations. You can shoot a 223 all the way out to 1000 yds with the proper barrel twist shooting appropriately heavy bullets.
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3.) In your opinion which is the better caliber and what manufacturer is the better?
Most people will find it easier to reach 800 yds with a heavy barreled 308 bolt action rifle than a similar rifle chambered in 223. As to which manufacturer is best, that usually starts a war of opinions. For a beginner, I recommend a Remington 700 VLS, but others may recommend something else entirely.
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:31 PM   #6
bch044
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Thanks for all the info so far. As far as the barrel goes I am leaning towards a bull/heavy barrel. This is for target only, No hunting!!!

As far as the question for which manufacturer, I knew this will bring some controversy but that is a way of learning/deciding. It's like the question which is better Ford or Chevy..Everyone has their opinion, But again it is a way of learning/deciding...

Thanks again
Steve
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:49 PM   #7
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Really depends what you want to spend on the gun. You can go from 600 bucks up to a 2000 dollar gun
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Old December 13, 2012, 08:54 PM   #8
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"its affected alot more by the weather"

If this is a target only gun, would this fact not make it a better choice? More shooting, more calculation, more reading the wind, more penalty when you screw up, etc? Personally, I seek out the days when the wind is blowing.


"I dont like the 223 over 300/400 yards"

I shoot my .223 weekly out to 1000 yards. I have the Savage 12 FCP .223, accustock, accutrigger, 1 in 9 twist, with Viper Vortex PST 6-24FFP, shooting 69g match.
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Old December 13, 2012, 09:08 PM   #9
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He means the 223 bullet is pushed around a lot more by the wind than a heavier 308.

Get the 308 for your purposes.
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Old December 13, 2012, 09:20 PM   #10
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"He means the 223 bullet is pushed around a lot more by the wind than a heavier 308"

I understand. But for a target gun, having the bullet hit the target without you thinking is not going to make you a better target shooter. If you just want to hit it, buy a Tracking Point scope.

Should you not have to ... take a wind measurement, calculate the dope, make your adjustment, watch indicators like grass thru the scope until the wind condition reappears, then release the round.

At 1000 yards a 1-2 mile per hour wind change can move you off target.... but you want that...... I think.
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Old December 13, 2012, 09:25 PM   #11
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By the time you have the skills to shoot @ 800 yards, you're going to need another rifle anyway. Doping the wind with a 223 at that range is not something that falls from the sky. The 308 is better but still it's tricky over 400.
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Old December 13, 2012, 10:04 PM   #12
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With a simple dope chart for your round, shooting at distance is no harder than attempting MOA groups at 100.
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Old December 13, 2012, 10:20 PM   #13
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223 or 308 for 800 yards-- 308 all the way. The 223 is more than capable of doing it,but the 308 is more capable of doing it. I have a 75 gn A-Max i use for 600 yards with my 223,but as stated here doping the wind at that range with a light bullet is a task in itself. 223 is a very fun,cheap caliber to shoot.
Heck-Get one of each. Keep the 223 to a 1 in 9 or better twist if you want to reach out there. Lighter bullets will do it good to,but you really need to have your stuff in a group to do it
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Old December 13, 2012, 10:24 PM   #14
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For what you are asking, a .308 would be the best choice.



But you might not be ready for what you are asking...

How much shooting experience do you have, and with what types of firearms?
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Old December 14, 2012, 12:04 AM   #15
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.223 it's relatively less expensive.

Any varmint rifle from a reputable gun maker will get you started.
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Old December 14, 2012, 04:39 AM   #16
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If you are going with bolt action rifles for target shooting, I would recommend .308 caliber over .223Rem.

At that range you won't be shooting too many rounds downrange so the ammo cost difference is not a big deal. The Remington 700 in .308 is a good place to start.
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Old December 14, 2012, 04:10 PM   #17
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Remington 700P in 223 or 308. If you are starting out in the great sport of target shooting I would start with the 223, you may pick up bad habbits with a heavier recoil 308, stay between 100 & 200 yards at first, don't just go to longer yardage. it's not so easy to hold a 1/2" 5 shot group at 200. The 700P both 223 & 308 are the same weight and barrel size, the stock is a HS Percision aluminum full bed, great for target. It's listed under Remington LE
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Old December 14, 2012, 04:51 PM   #18
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As mentioned both calibers are capable of making it to 800 as long as you are set up correctly. 69 grain or heaver in .223 and 175 grain for the .308 is a great place to start if you are looking for long range shooting.

Which one is best depends. If you are basically learning from scratch, consider getting the .223 because it will be cheaper to learn at shorter distances. Then, when you understand the concepts and have good shooting form, you could get a .308.

A rifle set up for long range chambered in .308 will ballistically always outperform a rifle set up for long range in .223.

For name brand, I would look at a Savage or Remington. Either manufacturer in a varmint rifle is what you are looking for, unless you want to jump strait to a target rifle. Remington=Sendero II or Savage has a couple (LRP comes to mind). Don't skimp on the scope!! I consider a Nikon Monarch the bare minimum for long range shooting.

(Interesting note... this was my 1500th post! )
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Old December 14, 2012, 05:29 PM   #19
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Please don’t take this the wrong way, but have you ever done any long range shooting. I have done a lot of 300 yard and a little 500. That is a long way off.
I have both a target bolt and AR in 223. Both are heavy barrels. The Remington will shoot sub MOA’s all day with reloads the AR will not.
If you’re really looking for 800 yards there is only one choice of the two and that is the 308. I have multiple 30-06 one being a match 03-A3 and I have to agree with every one, it is a long range gun but 20, 30 rounds and my shoulder starts crying STOP. 223’s are an all day shooting gun.
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Old December 14, 2012, 08:50 PM   #20
bch044
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Thanks for all the info!!

Since I am just starting out and have no long range exp. it looks like I am going the 223 route, shoot alot of shorter distances, practice and hone my skills and move on from there!!!

Again Thanks for all the info,
Steve
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Old December 15, 2012, 10:38 AM   #21
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I was in the same situation last spring and went with the 223 after thinking how much I would really be shooting past 500 yards, but my personal range only goes to 500 which is the main reason. I spend most of my time around 200-300 yards still working on the basics. I go up to 100 yards quite a bit when working on different loads. I am just now starting to shoot at 500 and it's a whole new ball game from 300. I am a huge Savage fan and they come with a 1:9 twist barrel. I found a Savage Stevens for $300 out the door and haven't regretted it for a minute. It is like a disease though. I thought I would build a nice budget rifle to shoot with. Now I have about $500 in reloading equipment and am in the process of upgrading stocks and am trying not to spend more on a stock than my gun was.
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Old December 15, 2012, 12:26 PM   #22
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With a simple dope chart for your round, shooting at distance is no harder than attempting MOA groups at 100.
You've gotta be kidding me...
If you think hitting a minute of angle (or less) size target at long range is as simple as dialing elevation and windage according to a "dope chart"- or ballistics program, you haven't shot much at long range.

To the OP:

If your goal is long range, go with the .308 if you don't handload. It's gonna be expensive, so that's the downside.
The key to long range shooting is trigger time-doping the wind- and handloading means you can run 100 rounds down the tube in a day and not break the bank.

.223 is cheaper to shoot- but inferior ballistic performance at the range you're discussing. If you chuck a round into the chamber and begin shooting at long range off the bat, you're going to get frustrated because you're going to miss far more than you're gonna hit. Start at a couple of hundred yards and begin working your way out as your expertise improves.

Avoid frustrating yourself unnecessarily.
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Old December 15, 2012, 12:28 PM   #23
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My experience is with the large caliber you shoo less and the cost is about the same.

Recoil is not an issue as you can get a limb saver or the like for the 308 (and not needed on the 223 of course)

308 is better long range, but if you want more flexibility a 30-06 is better choice (wide range or bullet sizes to choose from) Most work in the 308 but if yu want to go heavy then the 308 won't to it.

You can get some 20 inch 223 with the right twist in a semi auto (RRA makes some great choices there) with good barrels and bias with the 1-8 wylde chamber.

Otherwise you do have to specify and or custom order a 223 w2ith the right twist for the long range stuff (1-9 to 1-7 twist) you don't see in the bolt actions.

I wish I ad access to 500 yds, want to try that with the 30-06s.

You would think Alaska anything goes but better stateside with the long ranges (we are crowded into a small corner of the state and no roads to the wide opens!)
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Old December 16, 2012, 03:45 PM   #24
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ahhhh... I love the internet....

"If you think hitting a minute of angle (or less) size target at long range is as simple "

If one was to read what I posted carefully you would see that I said nothing of the sort. My intent was to simply imply that all the skills (windage, elevation, wind control, trigger control) that would be required to shoot sub-moa at 100 yards would be more than enough to shoot at any distance. Typically distance plates are 18" wide silhouette targets or 2MOA+ gongs. Since most people lie to themselves about the skill required to constantly shoot 1 MOA groups, I suspect that this is why there is a disconnect with my commments. Shooting at distance is not something that should be avoided. It is nothing more than your basic skill set amplified by distance to show you how well you are really doing.

As for the 308 being better at distance... here are the numbers.

typical .308 BC = .4
typical .223 BC = .3

Better. Sure. .4 > .3 So a 40" windage on a 223 is a ~30" windage on a 308.... adjust and fire another round. Get out there, don't be scared of it.

"you haven't shot much at long range"

I am well past fighting on the internet... so whatever. I spent my 3 hours at the 1000 yard line this AM. I suspect my 5000 rnds per year at this distance pales in comparison to you, so please instruct the original poster on how to best achieve this.
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Old December 17, 2012, 08:31 PM   #25
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So, you're just discounting the most difficult part of shooting long range- which is doping the wind?

Sure, you can have your Kestrel and Strelok at the line, but if you have 5000 rounds per year at 1K, you KNOW it is not as simple as shooting groups at 100 yards- unless, you've found some "windless", and void of other environmental factors, shooting utpoia that I can only dream of...

Sorry, I still take exception with your statement.
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