View Full Version : Difference between a .223 and .222

James H
December 22, 2010, 03:18 AM
How much difference is there between a .223 and .222? I realize the differences regarding price and availability. I think that .222 is a bit harder to find.

My Dad has a Rem 722 (I think that's the model) in .222. He probably bought it in the early '60s and used it for fox and crows. Are the ballistics much different? Why did the .222 sink into unpopularity? Because of the military's adoption of .223/5.56? What other differences are there?

December 22, 2010, 03:53 AM
223 is about .050 longer than the 222. 223 has a shorter neck than the 222 and a correspondingly longer body. 223 will give you about 200-300 fps with the same bullet over the 222.

222 has a well-deserved reputation for accuracy, earned on the rifle ranges of the world. Until the early 1980s, not very many serious shooters were using 223, it was "that military round". Since then, things have changed, to say the least.

I have seen some very serious groups shot with both. For benchrest, 222 may have a small advantage, for varminting the 223 has a small advantage. Either will work for crows and coyotes.

December 22, 2010, 03:56 AM
.223 18 cents a round.
.222 64 cents a round.

December 22, 2010, 08:03 AM
- .222

December 22, 2010, 10:01 AM
The 222 still holds the record for smallest group.

Tom Matiska
December 22, 2010, 01:49 PM
twist rates are a big difference.

Most 222's ar 1-14". It shoots the lightest boattails like the Nosler 40grBT very well. Much into the 50gr range and you're limited to flat bases. A friends Sako 222 is the most accurate accurate rifle I've ever shot.

Faster twist 223 if you need heavier bullets for medium game or to buck x-winds better. But if your reloading taste runs toward cranking up "photon torpedo" loads, the ratio of shooting fun to copper removal gets worse with the faster twist.

December 22, 2010, 06:51 PM
+1 to what everyone else has said.
My Dad had a788 in .222 that I learned to shoot when I was a wee lad of eight. That was a great rifle to learn how to shoot centerfire with. Although I do not need a .222, I have one on layaway, a 788 just like the one my Pa used to have.:o I cannot say everybody should run out and buy one, but if you do happen to already own one, I would say hang on to it. You probably should handload for it,as one poster correctly pointed out, It is a very hungry little gun, considering ammo prices for it compared to .223. But it is a pleasant, REALLY,REALLY accurate round in the few guns I have shot it in.:)
Anyway, if you have a 722 or 788, both great little shooters IMHO, I would consider it a keeper, esp. if its your Dads.
Is that the round that, I think Frank Pachmayer?, shot the famous 0.00" group with?

James H
December 23, 2010, 12:07 AM
Ya...My Dad is getting older and has some medical problems, so when I'm home over Christmas in a couple days I'd like to take a rough assessment of the firearms that he still has left. He sold a bunch of Anschutz target rifles way under what they were worth a few years ago. I kind of gave him hell about it, but it wasn't my decision. Luckily he still has all his 20+ hunting firearms (at least to my knowledge). Hopefully he doesn't sell those. (I want those guns instead of him selling them!! Jesus...he never even offered to sell me his target rifles!) I know he has a couple of gems like the 722, a Marlin levermatic microgroove 57 in .22 magnum, a Winchester 101, Browning A5 Ducks Unlimited dinner gun, a couple of 700s, etc... Most of these are older than I am (bought before '79)...

44 AMP
December 23, 2010, 01:41 PM
.222, then the .222 Magnum. The .223 (5.56mm) came about because of a military requirement for a certain velocity at 500 meters (can't remember exactly and too lazy to look it up), that was just beyond the ability of the .222 Rem.

It was do able with the .222 Magnum, but the military, in their wisdom designed their own cartridge, with different shoulder and neck dimensions.

Adpotion by the military of the .223 basically doomed the .222 Mag, and poisoned the .222, so it is dying a slow(er) death.

Decades of cheap surplus ammo, and because of that a decline in sales of the .222/mag rounds means that they are harder to find, and more expensive.

A .222 is a fine varmint rifle, and other than less expensive ammo, you gain very little with a .223 in the field. Yes, the .223 will go a couple hundred fps faster, but reality is, if you can make the shot with one, you can make it with the other.

Tout the .223 over the .222 solely because of speed, and I'll bury your .223 with a .22-250, or a Swift.

The .222 is one of those cartridges that it seems hard to make an inaccurate rifle for.