Considering a .223 bolt action

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by JosephMD, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. JosephMD

    JosephMD New Member

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    I really really like my Remington 700 .308 but it is a bit much for my boys to shoot and well, it is an expensive rifle and not sure about putting it in their hands just yet. They handle the .22 semi auto fine, but maybe I'm just protective of my favorite rifle. I'd like them to step up a bit from the .22, and I have plenty of .223 and when the ammo situation gets back to normal it won't be quite as expensive to replace as the .308.

    They make the 700 in .223 but again, the 700 blows the budget. Savage has an Axis model in .223 that fits my budget a little better. I'm looking for something that they, and I, could put a lot of rounds through at the range and improve their marksmanship in the beyond 100 meters, maybe out to 300.

    So, am I barking up the wrong tree here? Am I too focused on being cheap and/or budget minded?

    Thanks,
    Joe
     
  2. dalv

    dalv New Member

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    Not at all, I have a Tikka 595 Whitetail Hunter (older version of the current T3) in .223 that is a tack driver.

    I only shoot at 100 yds as that is all the club I belong to has, but with the right handloads - or Blackhills factory reloads - it will drop them in the same hole all day long. With the 1:12 twist it doesn't like anything over 62 grains and settles in to the 52 grainers real nice.

    Probably the best thing is a good glass - I splurged (actually the wife did:D) on a Leupold 6x20 VXIII which really brings out the best in the gun.

    The Savage gets great reviews from the guys that shoot 'em and the Accutrigger is superb from what I hear. Also, best bang for the buck but I would encourage you to keep an eye out for the Tikka - especially if you can find a used 595/695. The older versions had both long and short bolts depending on caliber. The newer T3 is just the long bolt so for a short .223 cartridge you have to pull the long bolt. Not a big deal as the action is still glass smooth and accurate as all get out.:D

    So, go for the .223 and start loading for it if you really want to shoot it - the boys will love it.
    Dalv
     

  3. jpattersonnh

    jpattersonnh Active Member

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    Kind of, but I understand where you are coming from. My boys each have their own .22, one has a 20ga. When I was looking for a rifle so they could stretch the distance and go woodchuck hunting I bought them a Marlin 917V. The .17HMR kept cost down, but they could hit very small targets out to 120 yards easily. My youngest has a soft spot for my CZ527 in .223. It is not the type of rifle I would buy an 11 year old (that is how old he was when he starting shooting it), but he is pretty good w/ it out to 200 yards and his smile says it all. A .22WMR or .17HMR would be a great option, you could also get them use to using a scope.
     
  4. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    As said, look for something with a faster twist barrel. 1/9 is acceptable for most anything out there. The 1/12 barrel of most bolt guns limits you to the lighter weight projectiles. 1/9 gives you more versitility
     
  5. Yunus

    Yunus New Member

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    Remington 700
    Tikka
    Savage
    Weatherby Vanguard
    Howa 1500

    I think any of those are solid choices that you will not regret. Just choose one in your price range that feels good.
     
  6. ColdIron44

    ColdIron44 New Member

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    Hey Joe,

    I recently bought a .223 bolt gun for the EXACT same reason (mines just turned 11 years old). If you need some extra justifications for the purchase, well there's a whole lot of varmint and predator hunting unworthy of your .308, and few things in life are as fun, as cheap, and as painless as plinking all day with a .223.

    I set out looking for a bolt gun with very specific criteria, and I am thoroughly satisfied with my new Savage Model 25 Walking Varminter. She ain't much to look at, but check out Savage's website to see if the specs meet your criteria. Without much trigger time behind it, all I can vouch for is that: The medium/heavy barrel does well to maintain groups during extended shooing sessions, a mediocre rifleman like myself was capable of .63 MOA averages right out of the box, the AccuTrigger is well worth all the hype, and overall it is a very lightweight and compact package. My first thought after shouldering the rifle was to note how "petite" it was, perfect for a youngin', but not too small for an adult. If you do check out Savage's website, note that Cabela's had it marked over $100 down from Savage's suggested MSRP.

    Although I stalk these threads religiously, I am a very inactive member, I've got no expert reputation, and any advice I give should most certainly be taken with a grain of salt. That said, and to echo Robocop, look for a 1:9 twist rate barrel! It never did make sense to me to limit the versatility of a .223 by choosing too fast or too slow of a twist rate. If your criteria includes budget-friendliness, weight-consciousness, a 1:9" twist rate, a free-floated heavy barrel and an adjustable trigger, then a quick look into the Model 25's might be worth it to you. Either way, good luck!
     
  7. jpattersonnh

    jpattersonnh Active Member

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    When I was looking for a .223, The Savage 25 was $50.00 less then the CZ 527 Varminter. Again the Savage came w/ a 1:12 twist the CZ a 1:9. The CZ also has a CIP chamber so shooting mil-spec ammo is no issue. The CZ trigger has an adjustable double set and single set trigger. For single set mine breaks under 1lb. Because it is a micro Mauser, a Mauser action that has been reduced down in size it is fairly light for a 24" varmint/heavy barrel. The action was designed around the .223/5.56, and .204 cartridge. It is a dedicated varmint/target rifle.
     
  8. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    What's the range of bullet weights you can feed a 1:9" barrel?
     
  9. longunner

    longunner New Member

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    The stickies in the AR forum have a bunch of good info on that very question
     
  10. Intheshop

    Intheshop New Member

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    One of our .223's is a CZ...in fact bought it for my youngist's 12th B-day(10+ years ago).

    It is a very nice looking rifle,but then I'm partial to skinny brrl/walking varminters.
    The bolt handles "throw" radius sort of precludes low mounted scopes.But that just means the objective needs to be around 44mm and above,then its a non-issue.

    I really like low,1-4x...no-objective scopes.That ain't happening on a CZ.Their excellent rings have very good return to zero when mount/dismount.So we just pop the scope/rings off his gun,which is how its been now for a year or so.......We've been shooting it with original irons.Which are some of the best on any factory gun,BTW.

    Its been one of our "fun guns" when we get together at the range.Coke cans @100 with irons is very doable.And its funny because,although theres always a bunch of scoped rigs...everybody wants to shoot the CZ offhand with irons?

    The gun,out of the bx with White label cheapo .223's is an honest 3/4" @100 gun.The claw feed system is very well laid out.....albeit a little "stiff".It'll teach you not to short stroke though....got to be very positive in its manipulation.
     
  11. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a CZ American and it has a 1:12 twist. It is the only thing I dont like about the rifle. It tolerates 55 grains @ 1 moa but shines with 45 grains @ .5 moa. Get a 1:9 twist. I bought my grandson a Savage 10 package and he was shooting 1 moa with 55 grain hand loads his 1st trip out. My SIL and I were able to get sub moa with the Savage. The Vanguard has a 1:12. An interesting rifle is the Mossberg MVP. It is the only bolt I have found that is factory chambered for the 5.56x45 and it uses AR mags. It comes in 3 barrel lengths (18.5", 20", 24") and runs about $500 on line if you can find one. I want one with a 20" barrel and it is a 1:9 twist.
     
  12. paperplatetargets

    paperplatetargets New Member

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  13. JosephMD

    JosephMD New Member

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    Wow, there have been a lot of great replies! I think the general consensus is that it isn't a bad idea. I'll keep the barrel twist in mind when it is time to purchase. I suppose I can add a little. I've never pointed a gun at anything living, well, other than the occasional plant, and while I'd like to learn to hunt one day soon, it isn't exactly on the schedule. We shoot paper targets, in the past I shot many many paper targets, and now that I've picked it up again, I plan to shot many many more paper targets, and now that I have been learning more, maybe there will be steel targets down the road. I figure if I learn about hunting and decide that is for me, I have the .308 for larger game and the .223 would work for the little critters.

    Addressing some of the specific posts. I'm not really interested in .17hmr or .22wmr at this time. I want to stick to the 3 rifle cartridges that I already use and have on hand. On the mini-14 ranch rifle, I have one of those on my future list. Although there is a semi-automatic .223/5.56 in the gun cabinet, there is something about the mini-14 I like when it comes to the boys, because, well, they are impressionable and it just doesn't look as cool as other semi-automatic .223 rifles if you know what I mean. Some of the rifles mentioned seem a bit out of the budget. I didn't give a number but I'm thinking something less than $500 including the scope. I suppose I could reconsider, but if I'm going to break that number I'll probably go with another Remington 700 because it is what I know, and I know I like it.

    Thanks All.

    J
     
  14. longunner

    longunner New Member

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    I think if you want to spend less than $500 go with the savage axis I paid $429 for mine (.308) with a scope already mounted on it.
     
  15. ColdIron44

    ColdIron44 New Member

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    Joe,

    I spent so much time rambling, I forgot to mention the most important part; My son can't get enough of the .223! It was the perfect step up for him, and to be honest I'm sure he would have been ready for it even a year or two earlier.

    Now that you've mentioned a $500 budget and your affection for those Remingtons, I'd almost recommend you save up and buy the gun you know you want, that Model 700. Your boys might have to grow into a gun, but they'll never grow out of one!
     
  16. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Thank you, TNARG. I was throwing the question out there as a soft ball so the answer could be on this thread as an extra resource.

    I might as well hit this query out of the park. 1:9" barrel twist can eat anything from 55 grains to 69 grains. Depending on your particular barrel, one could probably stretch those numbers out at each end.
     
  17. kingrider

    kingrider New Member

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    The tikka T3 is hard to beat for the money. Adjustable trigger and factory free floated barrels. If I'm not mistaking they also guarantee 1 inch or under out ofthe box accuracy. I ordered mine from a gun dealer for right around five hundred bucks. These were 69 gr SBK test loads with 3 different powder weights. It will shoot 55 gr v-max's as well if not better. I couldn't be more pleased with a 500 dollar rifle. Mine has a 1-8 twist barrel.





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  18. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Spend the $500 on the rifle ans start saving for the scope.
    Use the iron sights unril you can afford a decent scope.

    Any scope that you can pick up for less than $300 probably isn't worth bringing home. There are many scopes suitable for .223 that you can get in the $400-$500 range that are excellent.
     
  19. hawkguy

    hawkguy Well-Known Member

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    just a thought....but i'm leaning against the 223 caliber in general these days, unless you are a handloader, shortages are common.

    you might consider other common hunting calibers like 22-250. 243, etc.
     
  20. JosephMD

    JosephMD New Member

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    Handloading is something I wouldn't mind learning, but when I first looked into it, I found that it wasn't a big money saver, at least not over the cheap ammunition I tend to buy, and that it is a very time consuming process.

    I considered other calibers, there are many to choose from, but I figured that standardizing on fewer cartridge types would be better in the long run. .22LR, .223REM, and .308WIN. I'm also considering a semi-automatic carbine for pistol cartridges as well, assuming that they aren't all banned later.

    Maybe this type of standardization is misguided on my part. It isn't a new idea for me, but right now, I don't actually practice it, every one of my firearms currently uses a different cartridge. I'd also like to add a .308 semi-automatic sometime down the road.