223 Bolt Gun (current climate)

Deflagration

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Jul 20, 2020
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10
Hey Folks,

I’ve been looking at picking up a 223 bolt gun for local PRS styles matches , we have 0-700 yards.
Clearly it’s not a popular caliber in terms of off the shelf rifles.

- My first choice was Tikka CTR, back ordered like 9 months since it’s a “sako select” now.

- Bergara doesn’t make anything for it

- Ruger American ranch? 16 inch barrel and weak stock options make me think twice about this.

Are people basically going custom actions to shoot .223? Pricing that out it seems like it’s going to be 3X the cost of a Tikka.

You are allowed to use gas guns but I really wanted to stick to bolt action for simplicity and effectiveness when suppressed.

Any guidance would be appreciated
 

Romeo458

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I have been using a ruger American in 350 legend for my hunting rifle a couple of years. I find myself shooting it more than the AR now except for lack of ammo.

I like them so my bias, that's what I would start with. You can get a barrel made for it's for it from xcaliber if you find a need for a longer barrel.

As for the stock itself it is completely uncomfortable you can modify the grip area. This one may not look pretty but I've used it in 22 long rifle matches matches out to 200 yd. Couldn't do anything permanent since it's my brother's gun.

I know some guys just start with the custom action and start building from there building from there, but I'm more of the buy something and play with it to see what if anything it needs done to it type. If you like the Tikka I'd start looking in the used market and see if you get lucky there.

20220228_090840.jpg
 

bmicek

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Have you looked at a Tikka Varmint? They’re 1:8 twist and you can throw it in a new stock if you don’t care for the factory offering.
 

DarinC

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Keep an eye on here for the tikka varmint, great place to start, then call Keystone to have it threaded.

Other options are a ruger predator, in an oryx, and if you want to go nuts, a pva barrel nut barrel. Spife has gotten this to run with accurate long lips mags.

Can also take a bergara premier action, get a new bolt face for it, and an x caliber or preferred barrrls with barrel nut. This is more expensive, but an option in a 700 footprint that’s available without going full custom.

I’d watch the px and be quick when something pops up. They go fast
 

Deflagration

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Jul 20, 2020
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Have you looked at a Tikka Varmint? They’re 1:8 twist and you can throw it in a new stock if you don’t care for the factory offering.

They’re not threaded but I guess I can find a smith that can do that.

I like factory turn key options but it seems like with .223 the selection isnt nearly as robust as 6.5/.308 understandably..
 

Tailwater

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I went down that .223 road a few years ago. Decided on the Tikka T3x Varmint and never looked back. I shoot Hornady 75 gr Match which turns out very nice groups. I'm just a recreational shooter and have successfully hit steel at 600yd. An accomplished shooter could do much better than that. I did sell the stock put on a KRG Bravo and had the barrel threaded for a 30 cal suppressor.
 

DarinC

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I will add, once you have a fast twist 223 bolt gun, it becomes a favorite really fast with the lack of recoil and pure fun factor.

My 6.5 was my far and away my favorite rig, but after one range trip with the 223, I’m not sure how much action it will get outside of smacking deer, or taking to a match that will go over 1k more than a couple times. This seems to be the sentiment with a lot of folks on here with their 223 trainers.
 

Deflagration

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Jul 20, 2020
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10
I will add, once you have a fast twist 223 bolt gun, it becomes a favorite really fast with the lack of recoil and pure fun factor.

My 6.5 was my far and away my favorite rig, but after one range trip with the 223, I’m not sure how much action it will get outside of smacking deer, or taking to a match that will go over 1k more than a couple times. This seems to be the sentiment with a lot of folks on here with their 223 trainers.

That’s my thinking as well.
I don’t think anything beats the performance/cost ratio of .223 if you’re trying to be in the ~ 700 yard range.

I really think a 6mm barrel burner is overkill for my application but that’s what everything is being made in.
 

DarinC

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I hear ya. Mine is an ackley, and the first trip out with a load I picked out of the blue with 69g rmr bullets, I was easily running a makeshift kyl rack at 400 off a barricade. I can’t wait to see what it does once I actually develop a load for it
 
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gigamortis

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Shooting the .223 heavies is definitely a more economical way to play the game inside 1000 yards. 80gr+ bullets can be sent at 2750fps+ easily out of a 26" barrel without pressure signs. The barrel life will outlive a 6mm or .243 at least 3x over.

The main problem with production .223 bolt action rifles is that they usually aren't set up to feed 2.500" long cartridges from their magazines. A 26" 1:7 twist barrel is hard to find in a production rifle as well. That forces a lot of us to go custom build. Those that build a custom .223 bolt gun set up for the heavies rarely regret their decision.
 

Heffo

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223 is perfect for those distances. I went the cheaper route with the Ultimatum U300 action if you can still get them, a fat 18” 1:7.5 barrel in a cutdown bedded ACC. 77OTMs @ 2750. My favourite rifle!
 

DIBBS

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    I have a standard and ackley fast twist versions. Extremely accurate inside 800 yards, provided the wind doesn't kick up too bad. I shoot 75/77 grain bullets into tiny groups... ~23-25 grains of powder, and just plain fun and economical to shoot. I use 75 gr amaxes for coyotes in the ackley, but have had good results in both with 77 grain nosler custom competition that I try to pick up on sale <which doesn't seem to happen much these days.>

    Only downside, at least for my old eyes and somewhat in competitions as well, is that the "splash" or movemet of steel targets is much less than larger calibers, particularly as the distance increases.
     

    Lightning8

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    I built a 223 bolt gun for practice and I shoot it more than any other rifle. Several ranges I go to only have 500 yard steel and 223 is perfect for that. I have run it to 1000 but VERY hard to see impacts past 800 even with 80s.

    Savage donor action with Savage trigger; pick a "prefit" barrel (nut) with the chamber that takes 223 loaded to 2.5+, 1-7, 26 inch; pick a chassis - I use the Oryx by MDT, MDT AICS style polymer 223 mag; scope of your choice - I use Burris XTRII 5-25x50 MRAD. I load on the Dillon 550 with 80 SMKs (or 75/80 ELDMs) with TAC powder plus small rifle primer you can find.
     

    paulrem308

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    Had the itch for a 223 bolt gun for a while. Kicking myself for not get Hawa barled action awhile back. Strictly fun gun not something want to sink a lot of $$ in. Probably be a long time before those come back in stock.
     

    davsco

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    well, eurooptic has some tikka ctr's in .223 in stock, but amazingly they're only in LEFTY! i was thinking about jumping on one, but it's not going to outshoot my jp that i use in 2/3 gun, although i could dedicate it for longer range and put something more powerful than a 1-6 on it.
     

    nrspence

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    well, eurooptic has some tikka ctr's in .223 in stock, but amazingly they're only in LEFTY! i was thinking about jumping on one, but it's not going to outshoot my jp that i use in 2/3 gun, although i could dedicate it for longer range and put something more powerful than a 1-6 on it.
    The right hand versions haven’t been in stock for months unfortunately. I check daily.
     

    ma smith

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    The right hand versions haven’t been in stock for months unfortunately. I check daily.
    They were in stock over the holidays, 2m ago.

    But they only get shipments a few times a year.

    At least that was my understanding.
     
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    brazz04

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    Yup, I bought a Tikka CTR from eurooptic December 30th. That spiraled out of control, and it’s now in a bravo with a proof prefit, and new bolt handle. The one thing I really found that I like it having shouldered prefits easily available. No waiting half a year on a custom barrel to be made, mine was ordered and here in 5 days. I plan to buy a LRI magnum bolt and a 300wsm barrel or similar for hunting season. Cheap shooting for much of the year and ready to hunt when needed. It’s shooting the LAX/Freedom Munitions 69gr remans under moa, so that’s more than good with cheap ammo for me.
     

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    Shootin Stuff

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    Just do it.

    A fast twist .223 shooting heavies is the tits. Modern components are almost all plug and play nowadays and a custom rifle will get you a noticeable performance boost over a SAAMI rifle/mag configuration if hand loading. You can spec out things like barrel length and profile, twist rate, freebore, chamber specs etc. Put it in an AICS compatable chassis with one of the longer OAL mags like MDT polys and you will be surprised how capable they are.

    I shoot mine (improved) more than any other rifle except maybe the 22lr and I don't feel handicapped inside of 800-1000 yds unless the wind is up.

    The only downside is that people at the range with small pee pee syndrome might scoff at you for "only" shooting a .223, but fuck em. We know how fun they are to shoot.
     

    Deflagration

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    For folks getting action and prefit barrels, are you just finding a local gunsmith to put them together ?

    Or shipping them out to a well known smith?
     

    BiggBeans

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    i think i seen the actions with 223 bolt face in stock at brownells a few days ago.
     

    DownhillFromHere

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    I would suggest contacting the guys at Southern Precision Rifles ((bugholes.com) to discuss and price out building a custom. They're showing a Zermatt (Bighorn) .223 right-handed action available now for $875. Yes, going that route is more expensive than a Tikka... but if you cannot find a Tikka, then... ?

    I started this rifle thing with Tikkas, a TAC A1 in 6.5CM and a Varmint in .223. Both of them were excellent, although both had the "slow" barrels typical of Tikka and the .223 was just flat weird when it came to showing pressure signs at mild powder loads. The main advantage of customs, as you probably know, is the huge selection of new and used "stuff" for R700-footprint actions. I now have a pair of .223s, one built on a Defiance Deviant action for which I have .223 and .308 bolts, and a new one built on a Terminus Apollo .223 action for which I got a nice cert off a prize table.

    Can't hurt to call SPR or other vendors noted here and ask questions. I've dealt a number of times with SPR and recommend them based on my experiences.

    Edit: Oops. That action is gone. Advice to call & ask about options stands.
     
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    IndianaRem5r

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    Shooting the .223 heavies is definitely a more economical way to play the game inside 1000 yards. 80gr+ bullets can be sent at 2750fps+ easily out of a 26" barrel without pressure signs. The barrel life will outlive a 6mm or .243 at least 3x over.

    The main problem with production .223 bolt action rifles is that they usually aren't set up to feed 2.500" long cartridges from their magazines. A 26" 1:7 twist barrel is hard to find in a production rifle as well. That forces a lot of us to go custom build. Those that build a custom .223 bolt gun set up for the heavies rarely regret their decision.
    I totally agree with the above. This is what I did. Mine (shown below) is built on a Savage action. I did the re-barrel myself to a 1:7" 28" Criterion MTU contour in .223. I run Berger 75 & 80 VLD's. I really enjoy this rifle. It is very accurate.
    Savage 12 FV 5.jpg
     

    MustangGreg66

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    I came to the same question but backwards. I learned about the Remage process and rebarreled my shot out 223 Rem700 VS with one, with the intention of using it for varmints again... Then started looking at heavy bullets for the 1:8 twist and realized the capability and potential. Now I'm looking into shooting our local steel match with it.

    I'm going down the rabbit hole of researching building/buying another 223. Maybe lighter for varminting. I haven't decided on building an action or buying a complete factory rifle, but being able to rebarrel myself is a high priority. Frustrating to see so much out of stock and unavailable.
    20211128_141845.jpg
     
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    huntnh

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    Faster twist is definitely better for shooting at distance. The 1/10 twist won’t stabilize the high Bc heavier bullets. Like other people have said
    The bighorn origin with a proof prefit would be a great budget friendly build. Plus if you wanted to change caliber all you would need is a 150 dollar bolt head barrel and mag.
     

    fdkay

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    If you can find it, a Howa .223 is a very good option, I don't know if they are only available in the mini action or not.
     

    fdkay

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    EJ1001

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    I'm glad I just got my 223 CTR. Who knew being a lefty was ever going to be an advantage at any point.. Lol...
     
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    Drew M

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    I have an 1-9 twist Howa .223 that is a joy to shoot, I use it more than anything else.
    Have only used up to 69gn & it shoots everything well.
    52gn speer hollow points for varmints aren't fancy but very effective.

    About to buy another Howa as they are now 1-8 twist & will try some heavier rounds when I get it.
     

    Nortex

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    I have a couple of 223ai on custom actions. I run slow an 80gr at 2950fps but it basically duplicates my 6mm match rifle data inside 700ish.
     
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    gigamortis

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    Well.....Looky here! Production rifle, 26" barell, 1:7 twist, chassis, and uses AICS mags, available in .223 REM.

     

    Ed333

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    I am surprised to see no mention of the Savage Model 12 rifles, heavy, singe shot tack drivers, best value out there for out of the box accuracy. The model 12 F/TR and the 12 LRPV are both available in .223, maybe more.
     
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    JH1961

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    Jan 24, 2021
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    Hey Folks,

    I’ve been looking at picking up a 223 bolt gun for local PRS styles matches , we have 0-700 yards.
    Clearly it’s not a popular caliber in terms of off the shelf rifles.

    - My first choice was Tikka CTR, back ordered like 9 months since it’s a “sako select” now.

    - Bergara doesn’t make anything for it

    - Ruger American ranch? 16 inch barrel and weak stock options make me think twice about this.

    Are people basically going custom actions to shoot .223? Pricing that out it seems like it’s going to be 3X the cost of a Tikka.

    You are allowed to use gas guns but I really wanted to stick to bolt action for simplicity and effectiveness when suppressed.

    Any guidance would be appreciated
    I'm still very happy with my Mossberg 'Thunder Ranch' MVP LR in 5.56NATO. However, they've been discontinued.
     

    Ejankowski

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    Feb 10, 2017
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    Hey Folks,

    I’ve been looking at picking up a 223 bolt gun for local PRS styles matches , we have 0-700 yards.
    Clearly it’s not a popular caliber in terms of off the shelf rifles.

    - My first choice was Tikka CTR, back ordered like 9 months since it’s a “sako select” now.

    - Bergara doesn’t make anything for it

    - Ruger American ranch? 16 inch barrel and weak stock options make me think twice about this.

    Are people basically going custom actions to shoot .223? Pricing that out it seems like it’s going to be 3X the cost of a Tikka.

    You are allowed to use gas guns but I really wanted to stick to bolt action for simplicity and effectiveness when suppressed.

    Any guidance would be appreciated
     

    Ejankowski

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    I found a new Remington 700 .223 varmint with plastic stock online and dropped it into a grayboe ridgeback stock. No muzzle brake needed as I wanted the recoil for practice. Works great. Just make sure you get the proper twist. Some early ones were made with 1-12 for 55 gr bullets only.
     

    Scottfree92

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    May 2, 2020
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    I had a custom .223 built a couple of years ago that I absolutely love shooting. It’s a Pierce action, Kreiger barrel, with a Trigger Tech Diamond Trigger and was actually built by Pierce Engineering. It is a slow twist at 12:1, but I am only shooting to 300 yards with it now, so I use a 52 gr Berger. The .223 with these light bullets is very economical to load and shoot. I have thought a number of times, about re-barreling, to a faster twist for longer ranges, but for the time being am very happy where I am. I will say that this rifle build, far exceeds my ability to shoot it. It is very accurate.
     
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