Bolt action .223 recommendations

rtm1067

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My friend would like to find a .223 cal rifle that he can use for target shooting. He would like to have a rifle that shoots sub moa, and has a bull barrel. What rifles do you guy's recommend? I really like the Tikka T3, but they are almost impossible to find. What do you think about the Savage 111 series? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Campguy308

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Is he wanting a longer range full length gun, or just a general shooter?

One rifle that I have really come to enjoy is the Ruger American Ranch in 5.56. Its a fun little plinker, takes AR mags, and its short barrel makes a nice "ready rifle" and truck gun.
 

jcmullis2

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    If you’re ok with shooting lighter ammo I’d get the cheapest Remington 700 223 ADL varmint rifle. A Howa 223 heavy barrel varmint type rifle is a good inexpensive option too. After you get tired of your factory barrel you can get inexpensive prefits for either also.
    Good luck brother
     

    DarinC

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    Cz 527 varmint if you can find one. They used to come with a 1:9 twist, so you could run a little heavier bullets. The ones I’ve been around were stupid accurate, but very little aftermarket options as far as I’m aware. Otherwise, ruger american varmit , throw it in an oryx and grab a pva prefit when they have their barrel nut ones in stock. That’s probably one of the more economical ways, that is, if you can’t find a tikka.
     
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    Chickentoast

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    I had a Tikka Varmint in 223 and currently have a Savage Stealth Evolution in 223. The Tikka (24" 8 twist) would only shoot 77 smk's or longer projectiles. I know others have had different experience, but mine seriously shot 4-5" with anything lighter. The Savage in 20" with a 9 twist is 1/4" with 50 vmax's through 80 eldm's and Berger VLD's. Regardless, I'd probably look at a 700 pattern action for the trigger options. CZ is also a great little rifle - I had one, but a carbine in 7.62X39. Would've loved to try one in 223 with the long varmint barrel.
     

    Hickswr

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    I have a Tikka Superlite 8” twist that is insanely accurate with anything from 40gr ballistic tips to 77 smk and everything in between. It’s a legit 0.5 MOA rifle with most every combo I’ve tried in it.
     

    Chickentoast

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    ^I think I was unlucky with my Varmint, but it did put the heavies, and only the heavies, into 1/4".
     

    Old Man with Gun

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    You can get the Tikka in a 1:8" or 1:12" twist barrel, so if you want to use lighter bullets go 1:12". Mine is 1:8" and loves 69-77 gr pills.

    I picked the Tikka in part because I wanted to do longer range shooting. At 100yds easily .5 MOA groups with regularity.
     

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    bunsen27

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    Thanks for the recommendation. Do you have any experience with the Savage 12 BTC SS?
    I have the Savage 12 BV SS which is the same barreled action as the 12 BTC SS and 12 Varminter Low Profile. It's a solid rifle in my experience I use annually for hunting PDogs and Woodchucks loaded with 55gr VMax and 73gr ELD-M's. It was my first bolt action .223Rem before building my Remage .223/5.56. The main reason I build the Remage were to overcome a few of the Savages shortcomings:

    1. The Accu-trigger is not that great and even replacing it with a Rifle Basix trigger won't get you into the ballpark of a Trigger Tech of Geissele.
    2. The 1 in 9" twist barrel is limited to how heavy of bullets it can stabilize. My Remage is a 1 in 8" which gets me up to the 77gr while the 80's are iffy due to my elevation.
    3. The Savage is a true .223Rem Chamber and not a .223 Wylde which allows you to seat the 73/75/77 bullets out farther which enables higher charge weights thus greater velocity without running into pressure issues as quickly.
     

    NewsShooter

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    Hold out for the Tikka, don’t “settle” for a salvage or you (he) will always regret it.
    I've got a Savage with a factory f class bull barrel that shoots 77 smks into one hole at 100 yards. I like the target actions, mine works great. It's the only savage I have anymore, still have three tikka's, they're nicer. Not necessarily more accurate.
     

    fdkay

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    How mini action Oryx.
    It has a 1-8 twist so you can shoot the heavies.
    It is a much nicer rifle than the Savage, has a better action, better trigger, better bolt.
     

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    fdkay

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    I have the Savage 12 BV SS which is the same barreled action as the 12 BTC SS and 12 Varminter Low Profile. It's a solid rifle in my experience I use annually for hunting PDogs and Woodchucks loaded with 55gr VMax and 73gr ELD-M's. It was my first bolt action .223Rem before building my Remage .223/5.56. The main reason I build the Remage were to overcome a few of the Savages shortcomings:

    1. The Accu-trigger is not that great and even replacing it with a Rifle Basix trigger won't get you into the ballpark of a Trigger Tech of Geissele.
    2. The 1 in 9" twist barrel is limited to how heavy of bullets it can stabilize. My Remage is a 1 in 8" which gets me up to the 77gr while the 80's are iffy due to my elevation.
    3. The Savage is a true .223Rem Chamber and not a .223 Wylde which allows you to seat the 73/75/77 bullets out farther which enables higher charge weights thus greater velocity without running into pressure issues as quickly.
    This is either worded poorly, or you don't know what you're talking about.
    Not sure which.
     

    bunsen27

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    This is either worded poorly, or you don't know what you're talking about.
    Not sure which.
    Possibly worded poorly, but in my experience the Savage I have does not have the ability to seat the 73/75gr bullets out to 2.550in like I can in my Remage. I ran into pressure issues quickly in the Savage developing 73gr loads that I never experienced in the Remage with a Wylde chamber.
     

    fdkay

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    Possibly worded poorly, but in my experience the Savage I have does not have the ability to seat the 73/75gr bullets out to 2.550in like I can in my Remage. I ran into pressure issues quickly in the Savage developing 73gr loads that I never experienced in the Remage with a Wylde chamber.
    Okay, yes, worded poorly, what you originally wrote basically said that the .223 chamber allowed you to seat the bullets out further, which, of course, is the opposite of what is true.
     
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    jcmullis2

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    How mini action Oryx.
    It has a 1-8 twist so you can shoot the heavies.
    It is a much nicer rifle than the Savage, has a better action, better trigger, better bolt.
    I think Howa will hold its own with anything out. I picked up a new Howa 1500 in 243 from gunbroker a couple of days ago for $405 that I plan to use for a build. I’ve always preferred Remington 700s and the clone actions but I admit Howa makes a damn good product. I haven’t tried any of the prefit barrels for Howa’s but I’m sure they’re as good as any prefit barrel. He could do a lot worse than a Howa
     

    rtm1067

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    My friend found a good deal on the savage 12 BTC SS and couldn't keep his hand out of his wallet! i will let you know how it shoots! Thanks for all the help and advise
     

    Greendarts

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    Savage Model 12, Remington 700 Varmint, Weatherby Vanguard Predator or Sub MOA, or Tikka T3.
     

    MarkDS

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    My friend would like to find a .223 cal rifle that he can use for target shooting. He would like to have a rifle that shoots sub moa, and has a bull barrel. What rifles do you guy's recommend? I really like the Tikka T3, but they are almost impossible to find. What do you think about the Savage 111 series? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    You have not mentioned budget(unless I missed it).
    Expect blunt answers here, the short answers are the guys you actually have experience - you asked about Savage and got a 'No!' run with that.

    I have Howa's and I have "custom" action builds like Defiance and Terminus.
    I still buy Howa barrelled actions.

    Howa SA Varmint barrel, if $ allows pop it in a KRG Bravo.
    You'll genuinely be amazed how well they shoot

    Think of Howa like Toyota. Not fancy but Japanese and just plain work.
    I've had about 8 now (different calibres or burnt out the barrels).
    With minimal load development and often with factory ammo they shoot VERY well
     
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    jcmullis2

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    Damn shame Brownells is out of most of the Howa barreled actions. I think most people would see the value in Howa’s if they did a side by side comparison with a custom action. I know I did.
     

    spife7980

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    Damn shame Brownells is out of most of the Howa barreled actions. I think most people would see the value in Howa’s if they did a side by side comparison with a custom action. I know I did.
    The value, sure. Youll also see the short comings when compared to a custom.
     
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    Jayhawkhuntclub

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    I built a 223 Rem match on a Savage model 12 action. Unlike the blued savages that took a bit of work to smooth up, this was silky smooth right out of the gate. Makes me think the stainless Savages are the way to go. Haven't found my load yet, but it is averaging sub 0.5" at this point. Hope to shrink that down a bit.
     

    jcmullis2

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    The value, sure. Youll also see the short comings when compared to a custom.
    You’re absolutely right in what you said. It certainly put things into perspective for me. Custom actions are definitely better but Howa’s are very capable actions.
     
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    HogsLife

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    My friend would like to find a .223 cal rifle that he can use for target shooting. He would like to have a rifle that shoots sub moa, and has a bull barrel. What rifles do you guy's recommend? I really like the Tikka T3, but they are almost impossible to find. What do you think about the Savage 111 series? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Not a Savage. Savage is ghey and we don’t do ghey…

    You can find Rem 700 5R in a 223 with Varmint barrel and H&S Precisiom Stock on. GB

    Buy the time you buy that rifle tho. You could already be into that bighorn origin / PVA barreled action.
     

    Dirty D

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    Hold out for the Tikka, don’t “settle” for a salvage or you (he) will always regret it.
    By the time your friend buys a Savage and upgrades the barrel and stock/chassis he will spend more than the Tikka. I jumped on the Savage bandwagon 10 years ago when they were pretty much the only diy option and I have an old Savage action that has thousands of cycles on the bolt and a friend who is a Surgeon and Defiance snob commented on how smooth the bolt is (for a Savage) and it still isn’t as smooth as a Tikka straight out of the box. The only reason that I still have my Savage is I have 5 or 6 barrels for it and can do a barrel swap in 5-7 minutes. Now that there are pre fits available for Tikkas there is no reason to start with a Savage (or Remington).
     
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    Scrumbag

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    I like the CZ527 but they tend to be 1:9 which isn't what you want if you want to shoot heavier bullets
     

    HogsLife

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    Just buy a Bighorn Origin with 223 bolt head and have PVA spin your up wine of there barrels. Actions $900-ish abs the PVA Prefits are half the cost of the upper tier barrels.

    then you can swap calibers all your want with nothing more than a bolt head swap ($125-150) and a barrel swap. And you can do it in your garage, Prefits available.
     
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    BillyNg

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    I bought a Howa 1500 in .223 with a 20" varmint barrel and threw it in a KRG Bravo chassis. Added a Vortex scope, rings, and bubble level, a Magpul bipod, and MDT mags. My son got a sweet fully-adjustable sub-MOA gun with plenty of sex appeal for under $1200 all-in.
     

    SporterII

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    527 magazines are not competition material. Just saying. If a 527 comes as you would use it, can be very nice rifle indeed
    Howa makes me yearn for available R700’s.
     

    hengehold

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    My friend would like to find a .223 cal rifle that he can use for target shooting. He would like to have a rifle that shoots sub moa, and has a bull barrel. What rifles do you guy's recommend? I really like the Tikka T3, but they are almost impossible to find. What do you think about the Savage 111 series? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    You have a lot of options if you build from parts. For example, most companies that make rifle actions include a model that is a Rem700 footprint.

    in addition, just about every stock or chassis company makes a version of their product that accepts a Rem700 footprint rifle.

    to top it off you have multiple barrel options that are “pre-fit” and ready to just screw on to the action.

    I think you can build the rifle that is perfect for your needs if you build from scratch. Then you won’t have to settle for a Tikka T3. 😊
     

    rtm1067

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    You have a lot of options if you build from parts. For example, most companies that make rifle actions include a model that is a Rem700 footprint.

    in addition, just about every stock or chassis company makes a version of their product that accepts a Rem700 footprint rifle.

    to top it off you have multiple barrel options that are “pre-fit” and ready to just screw on to the action.

    I think you can build the rifle that is perfect for your needs if you build from scratch. Then you won’t have to settle for a Tikka T3. 😊
    Thanks for the heads-up man.
     

    Scrumbag

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    527 magazines are not competition material. Just saying. If a 527 comes as you would use it, can be very nice rifle indeed
    Howa makes me yearn for available R700’s.
    I've heard people say that and I have used in doubles for moving target shooting with no issues?
     

    MarkCO

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    I recently picked up a Bergara Approach. 20" threaded barrel, .223 Wylde 1/8 twist. AICS style mags. It has been really impressive and I have not worked up a load for it yet. It is under 1/2" with Sierra 69g TMKs just from my 3Gun load. Shot a 5 round group just under 2" at 550 yards a few weeks ago. They are on the BPI website and only sold direct. Yes, 2019s, but they were just updated with some improvements and released a few months ago.

     
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    igotta40

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    My new Franchi Momentum Elite Varmint .223 has a 1:9 twist, so I started off with some 55 grain, unimpressive results. I brought some other choices, all factory ammo, 62, 68, 75, 77. It started coming together with the 77 grain hollow points.
     

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    JohnCarter17

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    I think Howa will hold its own with anything out. I picked up a new Howa 1500 in 243 from gunbroker a couple of days ago for $405 that I plan to use for a build. I’ve always preferred Remington 700s and the clone actions but I admit Howa makes a damn good product. I haven’t tried any of the prefit barrels for Howa’s but I’m sure they’re as good as any prefit barrel. He could do a lot worse than a Howa
    Except from what I see on the Grendel forums, the Howa bottom metal is a bad joke, at least for the minis.
     

    anon

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    It’s 2021, find a stock you like, get any of the actions that are now available, and screw on the barrel you want. The only real question is, remage or salvage threads.

    223’s are like 22lr, no reason not to have a few.
     

    mnchopper

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    I have a rem 700 heavy 1 in 12 and shoots unreal 5 shots at 100 yds can cover with a dime 55 grain I just put a wilson defense 20 in 1 in 8 stainless on my AR and hope it shoots as good as my 700. I hate guns that dont shoot good