I was thinking the samething. 223 in 1-8" would make a decent varmint and long range target practice rig. 50 gr class for rats and 75 gr and up for LR practice.During the present component shortage emergency, I would prefer a .20 Practical or .223 -cheap abundant brass (.223) & small powder charges 24 - 27 grains depending. The .223 AI has some attraction with a tiny velocity increase & less brass trimming. For volume rodent shooting I like 11 twist for .20 P & 9 twist for the .223.
Both of my AR's have 1-9" twist. I mainly shoot 53 gr vmax and some pandemic assortment of 55 gr boowits. I do have a old Colt 1-7" twist I thought about installinng for 75-80 gr bullets. But I'd really like to set up a bolt rifle with a decent 1-8" to shoot 53-80 gr bullets. One can dream.Our 9 twist .223 does great with 53 VMax's to 69 SiMK's. 70 Berger .224 VLD's show promise also.
20 practical with 32g bullet at 4000fps is hard to beat. Hits are stupid easy inside 400 yards as shown in above video, that is me shooting.
My longest hits with this round where beyond 600 but most are 150-300 yards.
I too have shot these critters for the last 30 years.
I grab a 223 rem with 55 grain bullets at 3300 fps when I need more of challenge then the 20
Have shot them with everything from 22lr to 338 edge but I have found the 20s work the best for splatter, hang time, accuracy and able to spot your shot at any range.
Built the 20 practical on savage action with 26" 11 twist CBI barrel with Sightron STac 16x scope.
Good shooting and swage on