So you brought a .223 or considering buying one!
( This could also be used for other calibers also )
Below is a rough guide to this little engine that could."The little giant killer" I like to call it.

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Photo of my old (Retired) girl with her new Factory Tikka 1-8 barrel. She started life as a second handy sporter profile and then two heavy krieger barrels, a second bolt and firing pin + Spring, 4 mags and then finally the CDI DBM mag assembly ) I got the latest barrel ( I -8 ) for $300 :) This day was about 2 year ago sniping unsuspecting bunnie's at 500yards
I used nickel plated brass for my hunting rounds to keep them separate from my target rounds using the same 75grn A-Max

 

 

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Above is the only pic I have of my old roo gun (Howa Stainless Varmint) 1-12 used predominantly 55 grn pills (not a very good clear pic as it was about 11pm at night in winter, was bloody cold) . This was a photo of the aftermath, when this red coat came in to a call using a bit of glass and bit of wet Styrofoam (Works quite well). if foxs are not coming in on the button whistle (I shot this bloke free standing at about 130 yards). I had shown my mate who didn't believe me that a fox could be called up with a bit of glass and styrofoam anyway, there seems to be a lot of threads of late regarding this caliber and not to mention bullet weights and the there twist rates and last but not least barrel profile. There are some considerations that should be had before deciding on the choice.  

What type of shooting will i be doing?

Well this is a long bit of string, but it can be narrowed down. If your shooting consists of mainly range shooting and a bit of shooting off the back of the ute then I would opt for a varmint profile barrel (I will get to twists later) If I was going to hump it on foot for long periods of the day for an odd shot here and there I would opt for a Sporter profile barrel. This would be much nicer to carry around all day. Don't get me wrong, you can also lug a Varmint barrel gun too. But it's not everyone's cuppa. If it is going to be predominantly a Target/Varmint gun IE: Bunnie busting sitting on warrens at distance. Then I would pick the varmint profile barrel as you tend to only lug your gear a short distance to the warren's location and or when shooting at the Range.

Range shooting has only a few selected positions, with not a hell of a lot of movement. Besides taking the rife and gear too and from the car. If your just mainly shooting out the cab of the Ute or on the back, while spot lighting. A varmint profile seem's to be the norm especially for contract shooters.  

What twist?

 

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A shot of the long seated 75 grn A-Max in the AI mag for use with the CDI DBM

The .223 is a great little caliber which has many twists available to it. It is a very versatile little round. The main question that pops up quite a lot is "what twist?". Again this comes down to the type of shooting you will be doing predominantly the main discipline it will be used for. Be it target, hunting, slapping steel, plinking, contract shooting, varmint hunting etc etc etc. .223 twists come in 1-6.5 (1-7), 1-8, 1-9, 1-12 and 1-14.Well this is a long bit of string, but it can be narrowed down. If your shooting consists of mainly range shooting and a bit of shooting off the back of the ute. Then I would opt for a varmint profile barrel ( I will get to twists later ) If I was going to hump it on foot for long period's of the day for a odd shot here and there, I would opt for a Sporter profile barrel. This would be much nicer to carry around all day. Don't get me wrong, you can also lug a Varmint barrel gun too. But it's not everyone's cuppa. If it is going to be predominantly a Target/Varmint gun IE: Bunnie busting sitting on warren's at distance. Then I would pick the varmint profile barrel as you tend to only lug your gear a short distance to the warren's location and or when shooting at the Range.

I'm not going to add the 1-14 twist as it's not that common any longer in .223 but is used in the 22-250.

The normal run of the mill twist is the 1 in 12 twist, this is a very good twist for use in 40-62 grn (what it can stabilize) with the 55 grn pill being the duck's guts for the twist. I used this twist for a contract gun shooting exclusively the 55 grn pills for harvesting. It's a good twist that will shoot the 55 grn pill well out to 500 yards. but from 0-200 it's pretty much king for this twist and bullet weight. Now I did say that it will shooting up to 62 grn pill's, this will come down to load development to find if your rifle will like that weight bullet, factory loading's can be had but cost a bit, not worth it if your rifle don't like that brand.

Now on to the 1-9 twist, there are a number of rifle makers out there chambering their .223's in the 1-9 twist. Why? Well this twist is a good average of both world's where people like to shoot both light and heavy pills. It will shoot 50-69 grn pills well and is also known to shoot the 75 grn pill's. but we will stick to the 50-69 grn pill for this twist. A rifle with this twist can be used in a multirole IE: target and hunting, where you would use the likes of the 69grn Match king for target shooting and say the 55 grn for it's hunting role.

We are now on to the 1 in 8 twist, To the Sako and Tikka guys out there, they are most likely in there chair right now cheering .The 1 in 8 twist is very much like the above in regards to the versatility of pills it can spit out. It will shoot the 55-80 grn pills quite well, but shooting the 69 grn pill is the ducks guts for it's twist. This twist is mainly used by those who wish to shoot target, Long range shooting and Long range varminting. It could also be used for spitting out larger pill's to bring down larger game. Like Goat, Pig, Deer just to name a few .Now there are better suited calibers for larger game This is not  about ethics. It's up to the shooter at the time to decide if they pull the trigger or not on larger game. Large game have been brought down just using a .223 so we will leave it at that. The 1 in 8 and 1 in 9 are both good twist for use in a multirole platform. Where one intends to do a bit of a mixture in shooting disciplines.

Now to the 1-7 twist, this is a special twist mainly suited for shooting the 75-90 grn bullet's for the little .223, this type of twist is mainly suited to a Target and or Long range shooting role. It's also not a common twist for us Aussie's anyway. I only know of only one factory built rifle that chamber's a rifle in the 1-7 twist. That being the Savage in it's F-class rig. Apart from the Savage it's a custom job with this twist.

What bullet?

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Above is a 55grn balistic tip group at 200 yards fired from a Howa stainless varmint (Was my new roo gun when i retired my old girl)

 

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Above is an old photo, again probably about 2 years ago, of my Varminting rounds: 75 grn Amax with 2208 go go juice in nickel cases using CCI BR4 primers. Same load used in my normal target rounds.

 

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Above is a photo showing my 55grn Roo load next to my 75 grn A-max varmiting load.


Well this can be a can of worms. But i'll try and keep it as simple as it can be. The bullet you choose should reflect the type of shooting you will be doing. For example your not going to use a 55 grn soft point for shooting 1000 yard F-class matches and your not going to use a target pill designed for shooting paper at a live target.

The .223 being such a versatile caliber has many types and many weight bullets at it's disposal. If one is mainly going to be shooting at distances no more then say 200 under spotlight in a hunting role. One would be using a .223 with a 1 in 12 twist shooting say a 55 grn Ballistic tip. If a shooter was mainly shooting Targets then one might pick the 1 -8 twist .223 shooting say the 80 grn VLD pill for use in there target rifle for F-Class. If the rifle is going to be a multirole rifle a bit of Hunting and Target in the mix one might pick the 1-9 or the 1-8 twist for using the 69grn soft point for Hunting and the 69 grn matchking for say there Target shooting. If you have the 1 - 8 twist for use in a multirole fashion a 75grn A-Max would be a good choice in hunting small varmints and for use in a target role for target shooting. 

   Basic Bullet weights for there respective Twists:   

    1-14 = 40-55grn 45grn being well suited to the twist
    1-12 = 40-62grn 55grn being well suited to the twist
    1-9 = 45-75grn 62grn being well suited to the twist
    1-8 = 55-80grn 75grn being well suited to the twist
    1-7 = 75-90grn 80grn being well suited to this twist, But mainly for 90grn VLD


Powders


Again this is another can but just to be short and sweet the fast burning powders are better suited to light pills.For example with a 55grn ballistic tip you would use ADI 2206h or 8208 or an equivelent powder from another manufacturer. For the heavy pills one would be wise to use a medium burning powder such as the ADI AR2208 for shooting projectiles like the 75grn A-max or 80-90 grn VLD.

Now all of the above isn't set in stone, nor is it meant to be a "This is how it is". This is more of a rough guide in the choices you would need to make in buying your .223 and the same goes with any other caliber. Pick the right tool for the job. Whilst i have a lot of time behind the trigger of the .223 my views are of my own and others will have other ideas. My way is exactly that "My Way" I know what works for me. So your mileage may vary to some degree.

 

Article by El_Skippo Shootingaustralia.net Admin.

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