Anyone shoot .223 ?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Triggernosis, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. Triggernosis

    Triggernosis Well-Known Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    I'm considering swapping my .243 Win. Savage barrel over to .223 - mainly for target shooting.
    I've discovered that the barrel life of a .243 pretty much sucks.

    Any opinions or discussion on long-range shooting (maybe F-class and even varmints out to 1,000) with the .223?
  2. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2003
    Your dreaming..
    500, maybe 600yds -under perfect conditions.

    I varmint hunt with a true 1/4moa rifle in 223 & 50SBKs@3550fps. It's a 400yd rifle.

    Another I hunt with, is 6br & 95VLDs@2975fps. I consider this a 700yd rifle.

    1000yds is a long way. If you really want barrel life with this kind of distance, look around at some of the cartridges they like. It's a great source of info.

  3. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

    Jun 13, 2007
    Do not worry you are not dreaming, just depends on the twist.

    To go 1000 with a 223, you will need at the 1-8 twist to shoot the 75-80 gr bullets, and 1-7 to shoot the 90s. Some 9 twists will shoot the 75-77 gr bullets well but rarely the 80s.

    AMU and USMC teams are shooting ARs with 1-6.5 and 90s at 1000 so it is being routinely done and very accurately.

    I have a Savage LRPV with the 1-7, ballistically it is almost the same elevation and wind drift as my 308. Biggest problem with a 223 is spotting the trace or sometimes the impact due to smaller bullets.

    Now if I was going to shoot Fclass Open, AND you reload, look at for the 6BR variants such as the 6BRX, 6BRDX, 6BRBG etc. good barrel life, low recoil, great accuracy etc.

    If you shoot Fclass, there are two classes, the FT/R is only for 308s and 223s. If you want to shoot the OPEN class, then any caliber. Suggest you stay in the FT/R class for now with standard rifles and bipods vs full blown custom guns and rests in the Open class.

    One of the major keys to LR shooting is heavy bullets for the caliber AND the correct twist for the bullet and MV. if you have the wrong twist it will not work and it will vary for a boattail versus a flatbase.

    For example, in a 6 BR to shoot the 95s most go with a 9 or 10 twist and an 8 twist for the 105-107 boattails. However, I am shoot a 6BRDX with a 108 BIB flatbase bullet that needs a 1-9 twist. We have already talked about the 223s.

    in 30 cals for example, Seirra lists a 1-9 twist as being required for its 240s. However, that bullet was originally designed for the AMU shooting a 300 Win mag or 30-338 Mag at 2700 fps. Take a large case mag, push the MV to 2850-2900 plus and 1-10 twist works great. Faster the MV the slower the twist can be. LR BR guys are shooting the 300 Ack Imp with 187 BIBs and 1-13 twists. My 300 WSM Light gun shoots the 187 BIBs with a 1-12 twist at 3000 fps. Guess what, it will also shoot the 210s very well, where old school says you have to have 10 twist.

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2007
  4. Supermag

    Supermag Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    Something you may consider, if you reload, is a 22-243. This would work well in your gun, you already have the correct mag and bolt face. I know of guys that use these with 75 gr. Amaxs and have made kills in the 600 yard range with ease.
  5. Triggernosis

    Triggernosis Well-Known Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    Thanks for the responses, gentlemen.

    Bounty Hunter,
    I will have to go with the .223 vs. the .308 due to recoil issues for me. So you think I will be at least somewhat competive with the 75-80 gr. bullets and a 1:8 barrel twist?
  6. long450

    long450 Well-Known Member

    May 5, 2007
    The 6br, the 6XC. and the 6.5 x 47 should work for targets and give plenty of barrel life. These are as easy ot shoot as the 243 Win. The 22x243 would likely be worse on barrels than the 243 Win.
  7. Fergus Bailey

    Fergus Bailey Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    I have only shot 1 F-Class match in my life and that was with a 223 Rem, 1/8” twist barrel and 80gn Sierra bullets. I shot a possible at 300 meters, dropped 3 points at 500 meters and dropped 9 points at 600 meters - but the wind was pretty strong by that stage. I lost a few points before I worked out to hold ENOUGH for windage. I found the fast twist barrel 223 a good fun cartridge combo to shoot out to 600 meters.
  8. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    I have a 14.5" 1-7 twist M4 AR-15 that is used for police work ,it has an EoTech site on it 99% of the time but just for kicks I mounted a high power variable scope just to see where it would shoot at long range and it may be hard to grasp but I can consistantly hit a 5 gallon bucket at 600yds with it loaded with 77gr SMK loads from Black Hills , and that is from a pistol length barrel on a CQB setup AR !!! so from a well built bolt gun you can get to 1000yds , its not gonna have to hard on target performance that a bigger 6mm would but it will kill at that range.

    That said , the 243 Ackley used to be my favorite go to long range round for varmints but my new 260 is changeing my mind ,running a 140gr A-max out at around 2800fps , it will hit harder at 1000yds than a 308 with a 175gr SMK and has ALOT less wind drift and drop with less recoil and better barrel life than the 243 did.

    The barrel life of a 243 with a fast twist shooting heavier bullets will have good barrel life as compaired to the 223 and the 243 shooting a 105 A-max will kill some big varmints well at 1000yds , if your gonna rechamber I would opt for the Ackley version due to extended case life and a we bit more velocity. The 6mm BR will get you to 1000yds and do so quite accurately but with reduced velocity.
  9. milanuk

    milanuk Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2002

    I'm up here in Chilliwack BC this weekend for the BCRA International F-Class tournament... 300, 400, 500, & 600m here, next weekend down in Portland OR for the 'second half'... 800/900/1000yds @ Douglas Ridge. There are folks who believe devoutly in the heavy bullets (190-210) from a .308 for F/TR class... a lot of others use 155's running hot-n-fast (~2950fps), just like the Palma/TR shooters have for years.

    A .223 Rem pushing a good quality 80gr bullet at about the same velocity can be very competitive at least out to 600m. I've watched a few Canadian shooters running a .223 in Open class (due to gun weight and ammo configuration plus some subtle differences between US NRA and BCRA rules) and they've been doing pretty damn well relative to the straight-up 'F/TR' shooters. I think the key is you need to get the bullet moving 2900fps or faster if you can at all possibly do so. Longer barrels are your friend here, though I don't think you gain much (probably less than 10fps per inch) past 26" or so. Still, it is 'free' speed, such as it is.

    Despite the roughly 'equal' ballistics on paper, the .223 does get tossed about a bit when the wind starts playing rough... but then again, so does a .308. It's all a matter of degrees, but it doesn't take much to go from an X to a 9, or a V to a 4, on these targets... just over a 1/4 minute.

    FWIW, I'm probably going to get a .223 Rem F/TR gun for the wife and/or step-son to use when I can drag them out to the occasional match... either get the 24" LW barrel up and running on my 10FP, or get another 12 F/TR w/ a 30" tube and see how high I can jack up the speed ;)

    Edited to add: A *very* large part of how 'competitive' you may be will have to do with *you* getting out and learning to read the wind. No two ways about it. Right now I'm about three days into a four-day match... and the scores are so damn tight, both between the leaders in the Open class, and between the leaders in F/TR, that missed wind calls are a death sentence. If you flat f-up your wind call, it don't matter what you're shooting. A .223 is attractive for the simple reason that you can shoot the snot out of them for about 1/2-2/3 of what it costs to shoot a .308... more time shooting, more time learning.


    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007