Thanks for your help. I was looking to 3031 as that's what I use for .308 which is the only other caliber I currently load for. Just wanted to keep some commonality with powder but I will definitely look into your suggestions.
I would prefer a shorter barrel (within reason) as this is being built on a T/C Encore rifle frame. Even a 26" on the break action is going to save me a lot in OAL. I know the design is not as accurate as a bolt gun so I am willing to accept MOA if that's the best I can do, but I think I can do better than that. I have a 14" Contender with a cheaper 6x scope and with factory ammo I can do MOA, maybe a shade under, off the bench. I suspect the longer barrel on the Encore rifle would help out there both because of the length and stability of the rifle platform. I do not need crazy velocity etiher. Most of my shots, even "all', will be well within 250 yards. I agree 100% on quality barrels. I have a Reminton LTR in .308 and with handloads (110 gr. V MAX over 45 grains of 3031) I am getting three shot groups within a penny size hole,but haven't measured them. I only lose 100 fps. with my 20" barrel compared to my buddies 24" tube, and his is not as accurate.
As far as the .222 goes, I always feel like I have to defend my choice. If I recall it dominated benchrest for the better part of a decade until the specilaized BR cartridges cameout. I have read in passing, but have not been able to confirm, that it still holds the record for smallest group. I wish the cartridge was more popular since comapred to the .223, I think it wins hands down. Nothing you shoot with a .22 caliber is going to notice 2-300 fps, and I have seen it to be more accurate than the .223. If someone needs to fire a 62+ grain bullet, it's time to get a 6mm.
Plus, I remember watching my dad and grandfather zapping woodchucks and crows when I was a kid with their .222's, and being amazed they could hit them when I could barely see them.
Thanks again for your info.