View Full Version : .223 vs .243

December 27, 2010, 07:58 PM
i am looking into getting my first rifle, i've been shooting for over 10 years and have decided long range plinking is my thing.....i really am not interested in hunting but i do want to practice in the 100-500 yrd range....cost is a factor in both ammo and rifle.. i was looking @ the savage edge, which they just renamed the axis...
I dunno if i wanna go bolt or single shot.....HELP!

December 27, 2010, 08:01 PM
223 hands down for cost. Out to 600 the 223 will do you plenty fine.


December 27, 2010, 08:02 PM
Unless you reload, I think the 223 is your best choice.

December 27, 2010, 08:04 PM
Second on the .223 unless your reload. While the .243 is a superior cartridge for LR it's much more expensive.

December 27, 2010, 08:05 PM
.308 Winchester in a bolt or Rem 700 or Win 70 or Ruger 77 and go from there.
The Army snipers still use the .308 in Rem 700 but for some odd reason the 700 has been challenged for a safety problem.
The Rem 700 worked for me since 1972. And I never shot my kid with "an accidental discharge."
Tell me about a better USA rifle than a 700 Rem whether ADL or BDL or Varmint or new to date.
Unless you want to go to Austria:

But Austria is usually beyond the simple.
Either reject high end and go American into the 700 or 70 or 77 or give up.

December 27, 2010, 08:18 PM
Stay away from 308, O ya it wasnt an option. If you are just long range plinking/targets stick with .223 in bolt. I do like 243 but .223 is so much cheaper, so you can shoot more.

December 27, 2010, 08:25 PM
stay away from .308???

December 27, 2010, 08:29 PM
308 was not listed as an option by the OP.

I have two 308's set up for LR shooting, but for 600 and under 223 is perfectly fine for target shooting.


December 27, 2010, 08:30 PM
I would say .223 Rem over .243 if all you are doing is target shooting with it. The paper will not be able to tell the differance.:p Your wallet will if you want to shoot several hundred rounds per week.
If you do reload .223 has some realy good bullet options that will not totaly break you if you hand load. Heck the Savage I own will make near one hole groups with PMC bronze 55 grain BTFMJ. Way better than that with handloads. It will dot I's, and cross the T's without a problem. It will also not wear out your shoulder from shooting it all day either.
As seen in the picture is my Model 12 Long Range Varmint. Price was just a hair under $800 with Warne base, and rings thrown in. The scope was aquried through trade for brass, and detail job on a conversion van. (Retail on it is about $149 at Acadmey Sporting Goods.) BSA Mil Dot Varmint 6-24x-42.

December 27, 2010, 08:30 PM
Ya it wasn't one of his choices:D

December 27, 2010, 08:39 PM
.243 or .244 Rem or .240 Weatherby.
You'll blow the socks off your competition.
If you reload that is a factor. Reloading is quite fun and easy to get into. You are on the right track to pursue the .243 caliber. It is a fantastic round in 6 mm Rem or .240 Weatherby or any other.
There was a thread around here about "Your best shot" and I did my best shot with a 6mm Rem handloaded ADL using 75gr HP from Sierra Bullets and IMR 4350 pushing that bullet over 3600 fps (a Rem ADL 700) to destroy a coyote beyond our fences. Our fences were all over the place but he was beyond 350 yards where he was (the coyote). I executed him.
I never shot anything beyond that that was alive. I have shot many under the range for whatever reason.
These guys that think they can shoot beyond 200 yards sort of mystify me. They must have cement bench rests.
But they don't. They are in the field and know everything whereof they speak.

December 27, 2010, 08:44 PM
In Germany it is a crime to try and shoot anything beyond 200 meters. I was there and did my own hunting.
In America you hear about shots beyond 200 yards.
That is when you need to question the purveyors of that truth.
They are full of it.

December 27, 2010, 08:56 PM
Well I think you should look at different rifles if you want consistency at 500 yards with either cartridge choices. The new Axis IMO isn't much of a rifle to start with if your goal is to get to 500 yards. If the Axis is a 1:9 twist .223 you might get there with 70-75 grain bullets but it will be a challenge with that stock, trigger, and thin barrel to get good groups with it.

I think you will be better off if you put up the money for a Savage 12 FV, M700 SPS varmint/tactical or a Howa Varmint rifle. If you go with a .223 and want to shoot long range try to find one with the fastest twist rate so you can take advantage of the heavy .224 caliber bullets. They will make your quest to get consistency at 500 yards and beyond much easier.

Plus I agree the the .223 will be the cheapest in the long run.

Shane Tuttle
December 27, 2010, 09:05 PM
First rifle? Long range plinking?, Cost is an issue? 100-500yds?

A new guy giving actual basic information for us to work with! Bless you, fella! And I mean that!

For your parameters, the majority here mirrors what I think. .223 is the way to go. Low recoil, plenty of ammo available, plenty of rifles chamber it, low cost to buy said ammo, low cost to reload ammo if you so desire, capable precision out to 600 meters, plenty of reloading recipes, won't burn your barrel out quickly, noise level manageable. What else can there be said?

December 27, 2010, 09:22 PM
IMO the .243 is a better gun for more purposes. It does all as well as the .223 on the range but it can be used in other ways if you ever need to or want to do so. Ammo is slightly more for the .243 but its not crazy. Good ammo will run mid 30s a box but you can pick up some real cheap stuff that will shoot decent to 200 yards and still hold somewhat of a group at 500 for 15 bucks or so by getting some Cor-lokts. As far as which gun, a 700 or A bolt get my vote

December 27, 2010, 09:51 PM
For target work, as everyone has said, the .223 is going to be a lot cheaper. Even if you buy ammo at Walmart 20 rounds of .243 will run about $14 for Federals while you can get a box of 50 Remington .223 for about $18. The big advantage the .243 has is that it will double as a deer rifle if you want to use it as a dual purpose rifle.

In a $300 rifle I like the Marlin XL7. In the $400 to $500 range the Vanguard and T/C Venture are good. The Venture has been getting rave reviews on this board, just do a search. I handled one at Bass Pro and it's well made.

December 27, 2010, 10:40 PM
i really am not interested in hunting but i do want to practice in the 100-500 yrd range....cost is a factor in both ammo and rifle..

Yeah .223 for all the reasons already mentioned.

In Germany it is a crime to try and shoot anything beyond 200 meters. I was there and did my own hunting.
In America you hear about shots beyond 200 yards.
That is when you need to question the purveyors of that truth.
They are full of it.

Ha ha, that's funny. 200 yards isn't very far at all. A lot of folks zero at 200, and can shoot well beyond that. 200 yards is a warm-up shot;)

44 AMP
December 28, 2010, 01:28 AM
With standard bullet weights of 55-62gr in the .223 and 80-105gr in the .243, the bigger heavier bullets (.243) will buck the wind better. IN other words, they will drift less in crosswind than the smaller .223 bullets.

The long 70gr+ bullets in .223 will out perform the standard bullets in .243, but ONLY from a rifle with the twist rate to handle them.

Besides researching the calibers, you need to research the potential rifle choices, and their twists.

.223 ammo is cheaper than .243, and a quick check at Midway shows 15 pages of .223 ammo loadings, vs 4 pages of .243

December 28, 2010, 01:47 AM
i recommend the remington 700 in .223. .223 is one of the cheapest rifle cartridges available and is very accurate, it's just perfect for plinking at any range. the remington 700 comes in .223 and is very affordable and accurate. you can buy a higher end rifle or one from a different company but it will most likely be less accurate and you will just be paying more for a prettier stock or barrel, etc.

December 28, 2010, 03:02 AM
For longer range target shooting, try to get a heavy barrel so you can get more shots in before it heats up enough to affect accuracy. Look at the Remington 700 SPS or Howa 1500 in .223 and you should be good to go. When I want a lot of trigger time for not much money, I sometimes use a 700 SPS stainless heavy barrel I got on sale for $500. I put a stock and good scope on there to match my .308 long range setup, but the factory stock and lower priced scopes are fine to save a buck (look into a Bushnell 3200 fixed 10x for $150-$200 or a 3-10x40 Weaver Tactical Grand Slam or Nikon Monarch variable for a bit more).

December 28, 2010, 04:40 AM
I'm also in the 223 camp---with a fast twist for heavier bullets. If you later decide to reload, you can have a gunsmith inexpensively ream the chamber to 223 Ackley Improved and get another 100+ fps, depending upon your bullet, etc. It's simple to fire form the cases.

December 28, 2010, 05:51 AM
You've gotten good information regarding both cartridges, but if you intend to shoot a lot of rounds, one factor places the .223 ahead of the .243 Win and that is the barrel heating factor. You can shoot at least twice as many shots with the .223 before the barrel is to hot to keep your hand on the barrel (my personal temperature limiting factor to save barrels and make decent groups).

I have rifles in both calibers and recommend the .223 for range shooting, .243 for long-range hunting and for larger varmints/medium game.

December 28, 2010, 08:13 AM
Definitely go .223 if your looking for more bang for the buck.
I have a Ruger m77/mkII in .223 (heavy barrel) and it has been a delight to shoot. Haven't gone past 200yds though. The trigger is excellent and recoil is practically non existent, but I'm not sure if that exceeds your price range ($700-$800) for a rifle. I recently aquired a Vanguard in .243 as well. It has a nice trigger too, but I haven't really had a chance yet to sit down and see how good it will group. I can reload for both so ammo cost wasn't a factor when I picked up the .243.

December 28, 2010, 08:51 AM
223 should be your choice. The price is the same for the Axis for 223, 243 or 308. While I love the 243 it is more expensive to shoot, even if you reload. The barrel life is shorter for the 243 because of higher pressures and hotter rounds. And unless you were going to use the rifle for hunting deer or larger, you do not need anything heavier than a 223.

As to single shot or bolt action, I prefer bolt action. Actually I prefer semi-auto in 223, but that's me. I do own a Savage Mod 10 in 223 and 243. The 223 gets shot more than the hunting rifle (243) and I do reload for both.

Good luck

December 28, 2010, 09:23 AM
.223 is fine for 600 yards.

December 28, 2010, 04:30 PM
I bought the Savage Edge/Axis in May for a light and cheap truck gun in 223. Mine was a shooter right out of the box. It isn't beautiful except when you look at the target prints for less than $300 including tax and shipping.

It took a fair amount of shooting for the bolt to become really smooth but it is now. It also had a fair number of rounds through it plus some Rem. 40X to get the bore where it wasn't coppering more than I like. Does really well now.

I didn't have any trouble shooting groups in the .5's with the heavy stock trigger. I did put in a rifle basix trigger (2.5 lbs pull/ $85) in August and have shot groups into the teens with .2's and .3's pretty consistently. It shoots from 50 v-max to 75 Hornady bthp really well.

Didn't really expect a lightweight knock-around rifle to shoot sub-moa, but have been unbelieveably pleased. The local gunshop has sold a ton of them just by showing some of the targets I carried in to show them.

January 9, 2011, 11:26 AM
Like the .223 myself... dont have a 243

Also like to cost of reloading for .223 over the larger calibers.;)

January 9, 2011, 11:57 AM
I have rifles in both the .243 and .223 and really like shooting both cartridges. I do more plinking and target shooting than hunting. When someone says "Let's go shootin" I seem to always grab one of my .223's before even thinking of the
.243's in the safe. I don't do much shooting beyond 200 yards in my part of the country and the .223 is just so much fun to shoot.

January 9, 2011, 12:46 PM
223 for sure. There is such a fine selection of heavy bullets for it these days. 20 years ago, I would have said 243, but now with the advent of 223 bullets in the 70 plus grain size, your sectional density is high and downrange performance is as well.

January 9, 2011, 05:28 PM
If ammo price isnt an issue I would go with the .243. Both will get the job done. I reload for both and it saves me alot of money and I get to customize my load to suit my needs.

.300 Weatherby Mag
January 9, 2011, 05:33 PM
.243... I don't own a .223... Not flat enough or fast enough for my tastes...

These guys that think they can shoot beyond 200 yards sort of mystify me.

200 yards isn't that far... Many of my rifles are zeroed for that distance...

Tell me about a better USA rifle than a 700 Rem whether ADL or BDL or Varmint or new to date.


Dakota, Empire Mauser, Cooper, Nosler, McMillan etc etc....

Need I continue???

January 10, 2011, 01:23 AM
I've yet to see a Savage Edge/Axis. Savage does have a very good reputation for making quality low end guns.

I personally would be looking at the used gun rack. There are lots of good used guns out there. Guns with store names, Sears, Pennys etc are usually good deals.

Old Woodsmen
January 10, 2011, 02:34 AM
Antelope hunters frequently shoot up to and over 400 yards. On the other hand because of the mountainous terrain I hunt in shots seldom exceed 100 yard and are most often less than 50 yards. All this being said there are times I wish I had practiced 400-500 yards because some of the biggest game I've seen has been in that range. The .223 round is actually a great round for reasons that have been mentioned. Many years ago I shot a buck at 100 yards with a Mini-14 with just the peep sites, right between the eyes. I will add one more caliber for flat long range shooting, 25-06, I had a Ruger 77 with a factory custom bull barrel that could put holes in holes but it was too heavy for hunting but would have been a great long range target rifle.