View Full Version : Why the switch?

January 11, 2000, 01:54 PM
Ok, I don't have the charts in front of me, so I'm asking you folks. Why do so many more people use the .223 than .222? is there really much difference? or is it just mostly the popularity of the AR?


January 11, 2000, 02:45 PM
I think the reason the .223 has gained such popularity is the availibility of ammo. after the military started using the .223 there was a flood of this ammo/brass. also there seems to be alot of CHEAP ammo availible, the stuff that makes your gun go bang and thats about it. IMHO the .222 is an inharently more accurate cartridge because of the longer neck, wished there was still mfg's chambering rifles (bolt actions) to this caliber. and yes I believe the AR-15 has something to do with this, can't go to the range anymore without seeing some condo commando with his ball cap turned backwards shooting hundreds of rounds at a human silloette target at 25 yards, and just tickled pink that he can hit the black. sorry go ahead and flame away.

January 11, 2000, 05:32 PM
johnce.....ditto your post and I'll stand in the flames with you....

Best Regards......
"Train to Defend, Train to Survive, Train to Win"

January 11, 2000, 06:20 PM
Johnce, ME TOO. I am staggered by the number of armchair commandos with $2000 dollar auto rifle/scope set ups who cannot hit a barn with a bazooka..

I'm equally impressed with the guy at the other end of the range with a rifle with no finish left that he traded "some guy for" back when god was a teenager that will outshoot EVERYONE on the range.

Most serious varminters I know start with a 223 because they are cheap to shoot.. but rapidly get into 22-250 or other 22's for more range.


Gale McMillan
January 11, 2000, 06:43 PM
Ok I will take the other side of this discussion! The cartridge neck is the worst enemy of accuracy. That is why the PPC has taken over the B/R competition for this. Also the 308 over the 06 and the 300 Win Mag over the 30/338. Bench rest competitors thin the neck to the point that there is next to no grip on the bullet for that reason. If you want to make an 06 shoot like a 308 just have the reamer ground with a 308 neck length. And shorten the neck on the case. You won't know the difference in the two cases!
Gale McMillan

January 11, 2000, 08:13 PM
I'll have a bite on the other side myself. I have a Remington700VS in .223 that is the most accurate "out of the box" gun I've ever owned. I guess you can label me another "armchair commando" if you want too, but out to 300 yards I'll put that .223 up against anybody with a stock .222. Oh...and I won't have to pay twice as much for my ammo either! So I guess that actually makes me a "cheap armchair commando". :)

January 11, 2000, 08:37 PM
I am always amused at the false dichotomy involved in such statements. On one side, the old coot with the beat up bolt action that can outshoot anyone at the range, on the other the armchair commando with an AR who is lucky to hit the black at 25 yards. Of course, apropos the label FALSE, this dichotomy is seldom accurate.
I always seem to be running into fellas that are somewhere in the middle, like the guy in his 40s who was with Special Forces whose tastes run to Remington 700 PSS's in various calibers. Anyway, never fired a 222...hard to even find that caliber around here. But somehow I manage to hit the black at a longer range than 25 yards with my ARs...

January 11, 2000, 09:25 PM
The availability of cheap brass and ammo might sway some shooters to the "hot round-o-da-day", but the only reason a varmint/benchrest cartridge stays popular is performance.

There is little doubt that the .222 is a SUPREME round in the accuracy department but it has range limitations that have caused it to lose popularity. The .223 is probably just as accurate if similar quality loads are compared. The most accurate rifle I have ever owned was a (this is embarrasing) Remington 788, completely stock, in .223! Yes, I've owned a ton of high dollar varmint types, and had some really good performers, but this little "ugly duck" would print five shot clusters of 3/8" and less at 100 yards on a good day (with my best handloads).

The only reason for going to the 22-250 is range. I don't think it will do any better in the accuracy game. If the .223 weren't so plentiful it would probably suffer the same fate as the .222 and for the same reason - range limitation.

As for "condo commandos", the biggest jerk in the world can buy a $2000 rifle but that doesn't imply that he can use it to it's capabilities. It happens in every sport. The talented can use just about anything and do very well. The high priced equipment takes them to the peak. The "not-so-talented" think the equipment will make them shoot that well too. I just doesn't work. But it's not the equipment's fault...


January 12, 2000, 05:04 AM
I was just curious, since my father just gave me his old Savage 340 D. I think that his dad gave it to him when he was sixteen. I don't think it's been fired since. At any rate, i cleaned it up, and took it out to the range. For a gun that fits the "when god was a teenager" category, I was amazed at how well it did, considering that the last time it was fired, cleaned, or I think even looked at was 1967. The ammo was about as old, being stuff that had been rolling around the safe along with this gun for all those years. The only drawback is the gun's enormous weight. a vell.


Gale McMillan
January 12, 2000, 09:10 AM
Just a short add on to my post. I have shot well over a million rounds of 222 in competition and will say that if you chambered a 223 and a 222 in identical rifles that the 222 will out shoot the 223 100 percent of the time. How do I know this? Because in all the experience of competition they have tried 2221/2. 222 Mags,222/45s and all variations in between and it is always the 222 that went forward to collect the trophies. As I always say The records speak for them selves

Art Eatman
January 13, 2000, 01:11 AM
1. Remember that the .222, developed in 1950, was intended to be sort of an "in-betweener", between the .22 Hornet and .218 Bee class on the low end, and the .220 Swift and the Gebby Varminter (now the .22-250) on the high end. A little more range than the first two, and a lot less noise than the latter two.

I just looked in the Sierra book, on case-neck lengths. The .222 has a case neck some 50% longer than the .223; 0.313" vs. 0.203".

The length of the case neck of the .30-'06 is 25% longer than the .308--0.383" vs. 0.304, respectively.

If case neck length was "the answer", the '06 should be more accurate than the .308...


Futo Inu
January 13, 2000, 12:24 PM
What is it about the PPCs that make them so accurate, then? And the .222 for that matter? PPC have a distinctively different shorter case and steep neck - is that somehow conducive to consistent powder burn or something? Or do you BR shooters just ask "What result?" and not "Why?"?

Art Eatman
January 14, 2000, 12:10 AM
Gale's comments about case necks are good, and I recall reading that most cartridge cases with a steeper neck angle are inherently more accurate.

From comments here in this forum, the cartridge need only have enough power to keep the bullet above the speed of sound at the time it strikes the target. No "re-entry turbulence" as it slows below Mach 1. I guess this might be part of why BR cartridges are not "Blazers".

Aside from attention to details and precision and uniformity, ya gotta remember Magic! :)


January 16, 2000, 09:13 PM
Art...unless I'm mostaken, I think he meant "less case neck length" enhances accuracy???

January 17, 2000, 12:12 AM
I'd say that most of us who shoot .223's have very little use for the .222's greater accuracy, but more effete performance. The terminal ballistics of .222, for varmint hunting are somewhat less than .223.

I'd find benchrest boring, so that unique genre of the shooting sports will remain untried by me. (Ever wonder what the average weight/age of BR shooters is/are??

Long Path
January 17, 2000, 10:33 AM
Art, I'm intrigued by Gale's statements about case neck lengths, too. Gale-- you out there, man? I've been reading for years the statements about how the .300 Win Mag is technically an "inferior" cartridge design, due to its short caseneck length. However, anyone who accounts for the .300 Win Mag reports that it is, over all, an extremely inherently accurate round.

Then Gale throws me this curve that a short neck is inherently MORE accurate. ?? Gale THEN goes on to report that a .222 is generally more accurate than a .223, even while a .223 has a neck that is 0.11" shorter than the highly-touted .222.

Some explanation is surely in order. I stand ready to listen and take notes.


Art Eatman
January 18, 2000, 12:58 AM
I've been shutting things down, here, to take off for a month to South Jawgia--all my books are back in the loading room. But aren't these "Bench Rest" wildcats sorta long in the neck?

I'll cop out and go back to "Magic". :)

But just for the heck of it: When I resize my '06 cases, I only resize about 1/2 to 2/3 of the length of the neck. Isn't this about the same deal as the shorter neck on the .308?

Reaming and turning of the case neck would ensure uniform thickness, and concentricity with the bore even before loading. Next, make sure the new bullet is concentric with the bore. These factors would seem more important that the actual length of the neck.

Obviously, the factories do a pretty good job, already, with their brass. I've never done these extra steps, and I regularly get three-shot groups inside of 3/4" (occasionally, 1/2"), and I have gotten 10-shot groups inside of an inch. And that's with a pretty-much standard-sized barrel, not a heavy. And no notable interval between shots, either.

Magic, dammit, magic! :)


Art Eatman
January 18, 2000, 01:11 AM
Pierre, Gale also referred to the thinning of the case neck. I've read of the length-factor, off and on ever since the .308 first came out. It's like a lot of gun arguments--there's always somebody whose doing quite well by ignoring "everybody knows".

All through all my years of reloading, every article I've ever read speaks to uniformity. Aside from identical weights of powder and bullets, identical case capacity and whatever else, there are the factors of dimensions and alignment.

When loading only one round at a time, a tight grip on the bullet is not needed. So, just enough metal to hold the bullet in perfect alignment with the bore should be sufficient.

Without arguing about longnecks versus shortnecks--well, maybe Budweiser--I see no *reason* why the length of the case neck should make any difference. TLOK: "The Lord Only Knows".


January 18, 2000, 10:06 PM
Long Path:

I too am intrigued (confused) by the statements regarding case neck length. I have read for many years that the longer case necks are superior. For instance, Ken Waters wrote in his Handloader pages about the .308 Norma magnum being superior to the .300 Win magnum due to the longer neck. I had a .30-.338 custom built because I thought it superior to the .300 magnum, then Gale comes along and makes me feel like I wasted my money and may have made a decision based more on fancy than fact.

However, in looking at my Sierra re-loading manual, the writers promote the .30-.338 and the .308 Norma as great 1000 yard match guns. Both have a longer neck than the .300 magnum. However, Gale McMillan has made more trips to the winner's circle than perhaps any man alive and he speaks from years of experience. Kinda interesting isn't it?

[This message has been edited by Ankeny (edited January 18, 2000).]