What is the max rang a .223 is good at for Varmint hunting

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Inukshuk, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Inukshuk

    Inukshuk Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to know how far a good .223 bedded with pillars and good factory ammo can make a clean kill on varmints. This question is besides shooter skill.
    I've been thinking of getting a CZ 527 Varmint in .223 with a Bushnell Elite 4200 Tactical scope, But need to know if this caliber is okay and it's max efficient range.
    I initially wanted the 22-250, but that's changed.

    This would be for small game varying in sizes between rabbit and fox.
     
  2. Moorestangs

    Moorestangs New Member

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    Get the 22-250 hands down!! I would say the 223 is good out to 300-400 yards max for stopping power on varmints. Well Groundhogs and smaller. I have shot Varmints with everything from a 17HMR to a 7mm STW. And the 22-250 is my favorite all around Varmint gun. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
     

  3. wildcat

    wildcat Well-Known Member

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    The longest kill I've had with a 223, was 602 yards on a small cotton tail rabbit. I used a 50grn V-max at around 3400fps out of a 25" barrel. I put 16 MOA of elevation into the scope. I mostly used my 223 for 100 to 300 yard shots, that seem to be were the 223 really did it's best work. However, if you use a high BC bullet like one of the Sierra Match King's, you will have better results accuracy wise at longer ranges, but the killing power will not be as effective with these types of bullets.

    The 223 is a great cartridge. However, if you want to shoot past 300 yards, I would look at the 22-250. If your going to hand load, I would choose the 220 Swift over both the 223 and 22-250. The 220 Swift will out perform the 223 and 22-250 all day long. Sorry, 223 and 22-250 guys, but it's true.

    Good luck, and let us know what you decide on.

    Wildcat
     
  4. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    I woulden't shoot at animals past 500yds with it , I feel that bullets with deciant BC have to much weight for the 223 to shoot fast enough for good expansion if that makes sense?

    The 223 with V-max style bullets in the 50-55gr class wil definatly shoot alot further , accuratly than 500yds but the speed has dropped down a good bit and might not be enough to expand the bullet well on a bigger critter.

    Now that said I shot a big (70-90lbs)trouble dog at our lease at a lazered 694yds with a 14.5" barreled AR-15 and factory BlackHills 77gr ammo , it did take several shots but one finaly connected , he died ,but ran over 100yds and the exit hole was about the size of a dime. NOTE this gun has a 1-8 twist Not to sure what the 223 your looking at has likely a 1-10 or 1-12 which won't shoot much over 60grs. to well.
    I would definatly opt for the 22-250 or if the range is longr and the critters may be a big bigger the 243 with a 55gr bullet at ofe 4000fps is awsome on varmints to 600yds which is the furthest I've seen any shot with it. The 243 with the 55gr bullet does to a coyote at 500yds what the 22-250 does at 300yds
     
  5. Inukshuk

    Inukshuk Well-Known Member

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    The best factory ammo I found so far was the Federal 55 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip.
    Specs at muzzle:
    vfps: 3240, energy: 1282
    Specs at 500 yrds
    vfps: 1653, energy: 333,
     
  6. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    I've shot groundhogs just at 500 yards with a 223 Rem. It's not nearly devastating on them at that distance but a good spine, brain or chest hit will generally keep them from getting into their hole. It you need to stop the varmint in short order a 223 Rem is just about out of steam unless you find a bullet that'll frangment well at 500 yard 223 Rem velocities.
     
  7. Ernie

    Ernie SPONSOR

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    Furthest I have taken a PD with a similar (lesser cartridge) is in the 500 yd. range with a 10.5" 221 Fireball using 40 gr NBT's-Killed the dog quickly but not with the violence one would see with closer shot.
    How far do you want to attain?
    I'm getting ready to get a 223 myself soon.
    It will be nice to have a cartridge that is not so hard on throat life compared to some of my other cartridges.
     
  8. craigp40

    craigp40 Well-Known Member

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    I've taken groundhogs with mine using 40gr V-Max bullets out to 480yds. However, most are shot under 300yds with this rig. If shots beyond 400 are only done occasionally, I say go for the 223. If you will be consistently shooting varmints at 400+yds, I would go with a 243 or something similar. You will have better killing capability, even on shots that aren't that well placed, and significantly less drift due to wind. The 223 is a fine cartridge, but there are better tools when you start trying to reach way out there, especially with varmint style bullets.
     
  9. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    I have that exact gun only with the kevlar stock and have used it to kill average sized chucks at 650 yards. My load is using he 40 grain VMAX and a stiff charge of RL10x for a velo of a little over 4000 fps with the current lot. With factory ammo, you could probably subtract 100 to 150 yards from my range.

    If you go to anything bigger than 223, you will have to get the 550 action which is a good action but is quite a bit bigger and the 527 is just so dang cute!

    If you want more range than a 223 but want to stay in the 527 action, go with the 204 ruger. Flatter shooting than a 22-250 and on par with the swift and it burns less powder and is less fussy. My buddy can outshoot my 223 with his 204 by about 100 yards max effective killing range.
     
  10. bailey1474

    bailey1474 <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    I watched a guy shoot an 11" group w/a factory Savage 12BVSS 223 @ the MO 1000 yds br match!! He was using 75 gr Bergers.
     
  11. zingdingo

    zingdingo Well-Known Member

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    A 1-8"ish twist would make a world of difference.
     
  12. Inukshuk

    Inukshuk Well-Known Member

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    I just found a .223 factory round that could compete with the 22-250 past 500 yrds. The Hornady 75 GR TAP-FPD. I talked with them and it would be good for hunting to 500yrds and maybe a bit farther. At the 500 yrd mark it has more speed and energy than the 22-250. Check it out and let me know what you all think.
     
  13. zingdingo

    zingdingo Well-Known Member

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    B.C. does wonderous things. That said, those rounds use Hornady's BTHP 75 grainer, while I would expect for varmint hunting that the 75 Amax would give you superior terminal effects. (also sports a slightly higher b.c.)

    Black Hills also makes several heavy, high b.c. .223 loads.

    You'll need at least a 1-9 twist to stabalize any of them, and I expect a 1-8 would be safer.
     
  14. craigp40

    craigp40 Well-Known Member

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    I thought we were talking about a factory rig that I'm guessing has a 1-12 or 1-14 twist. Is it reasonable to expect this twist to stabilize the heavier bullets that are being talked about here? In my experience, 60-70gr bullets have been the heaviest I could go with this twist rate. If we're talking a custom tube with 1-8 twist, that opens many more possibilites. If you're open to buiding something, a 223 AI would be a beautiful thing.