Accurate plinker in .223


April 4, 2003, 02:16 AM
I have decided that I would like to get some type of .223 plinker. I have lots of .22 LR target type rifles and would like something with more range and a little more bang. Prefer accurate, cheap, quality... But who doesn't.

Thinking about:

CZ Heavy Barrel model
Possibly an AR type (Bushmaster)
Ruger Mini-14

Leaning more towards the bolt guns as they will be more accurate. Any particular suggestions? Any other guns to consider that are a great bang for the buck type deal. A makarov in .223 type rifle.

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April 4, 2003, 03:15 AM
never really heard of an accurate Mini-14 :rolleyes:
a bolt action CZ or Savage would be your best bet.
AR-15's are pricey.

i bought a Savage 10FP .308 and couldn't be happier. i did change the stock though.

April 4, 2003, 03:33 AM
I just bought a Savage 12FV in .223 for $399. Couldn't be happier. It's very accurate, the new accutrigger really is a great trigger and it's cheap to feed. It seems to like even the nastiest ammo. The only downside was the fugly synthetic "ramline" style factory stock but I sanded and repainted the stock and now it's much better.

April 4, 2003, 04:04 AM
never really heard of an accurate Mini-14
They were plenty accurate for BA, Face, Murdock, and Hannibal. They always hit the ground they were aiming for. I pity tha foo who talks mess about the Mini!!

CZ's and Savage .223 are great bolt actions. I especially like the set trigger option for the CZ. Good idea to get a heavy barrel. I used my CZ for target shooting and the thin barrel would lead to wandering groups. I replaced it with a Savage 12BVSS with a Sharpshooter Trigger. The Savage is a tackdriver and the stock is excellent for target shooting/plinking.

As far as AR's, can't comment as they got banned in Kali before I could get one.

April 4, 2003, 06:58 AM
I've had a CZ 223 for several years now and am entirely satisfied with it. It gets used for targets out to 200 yards and game out to 150 with 55grn pills. My son has a Savage 110E in 223 of the same age and finds it very accurate on game out to 200 yards, his eyes are better than mine.

April 4, 2003, 07:29 AM
Take the Mini off the list. From the bench I was lucky to hit an 8" pie plate at 100 yards with five shots.

The CZ I owned was a thin barrelled model and it was compact, accurate and generally neat but I could never get the set trigger adjusted to my liking and the magazine lips were very sharp and gouged the brass beyond recovery.

No experience with the Savage but if bang for the buck is the objective I wouldn't rule out Tikka. A little more money perhaps but mine was very accurate and very smooth to operate.

After owning a handful for .223 rifles I finally settled on a Sako Model 75 and want no other.


April 4, 2003, 08:18 AM
The bolt gun won't be more accurate than the AR15, but it will be cheaper. A great bargin if you can find one is a Remington 788. I have owned two of them in .223 and both were very accurate. Check out this page:
This used to be the economy model of the Remington line, but they are very accurate rifles.
I also have a Tikka in .223 which is also a very good shooter, however it is going to be more expensive than the Savage or the used Remington.
I have never owned a Savage, but I have heard nothing but good things about them. From all accounts, it is a great rifle for the money. Actually from what I am hearing, it is a great rifle for any amount of money.
The Mini-14 I owned, was very mediocre in the accuracy department. A friend of mine owns a very accurate Mini, but he put a lot of money into it. Something in the neighborhood of $1000.

April 4, 2003, 10:18 AM
Yeah, for a cheap accurate plinker, I'd go for the Savage. The CZ will be what, about $200 more but will have the better stock and probably a better trigger.

Either the Savage or CZ should work out for you.

The Howa Varminter would be nice too but only comes with a laminated stock - no cool crackle poly kevlar job.

April 4, 2003, 12:52 PM
love my savage 10fp in .308!!
(I did change the stock though...)

April 4, 2003, 03:17 PM
Bushmasters are expensive, but mine is more accurate than I am, when shooting unsupported. At typical plinking ranges, there isn't going to be that much of an accuracy difference between a good AR (maybe 1-2 MOA) and a bolt gun.
I'm just hopelessy addicted to semis though. The only time I use a bolt is when rules or laws require it, i.e. work and small game hunting.

April 4, 2003, 03:50 PM
Have you considered a single shot? The NEFs are accurate, reliable, and cheap. And you can swap out the barrel for other calibers if you want to.

April 4, 2003, 04:12 PM
Whats cheap and whats accurate?
Armalite M15A4(T) 100 yards prone/bipod Nosler BT's/4895

Art Eatman
April 4, 2003, 05:21 PM
The best to be expected from the average Mini is around 1.5 to 2 MOA, which isn't exactly target accuracy.

I fell into a Ruger 77 MK II, good used and reasonably priced. With its original Tasco 3x9 it shot 1/2 MOA. I swapped out for a Leupold 3x9 I had lying around, and installed a Timney trigger. Lightweight, accurate...

:), Art

Sir Galahad
April 4, 2003, 07:32 PM
I have a CZ 527 and it's great. You can remedy the sharp mag feed lips with a bit of fine grit sandpaper. Takes 5 minutes tops. I shoot mine with the iron sights on it and find it to be quite accurate. The set trigger is great!

April 5, 2003, 01:17 AM

You mentioned 'bang for the buck' in .223 and a bolt-action...

The Remington XP-100R in .223 fits that description.
It's a literal blast, and even more fun as the sun goes down.
I'm talkin' serious fireball here.
It's one of the most fun to shoot guns I've ever had.
4+1=FUN. :D

Shown with its stablemate in .308.

April 5, 2003, 10:17 AM
I really like the versatility of the .223 and have an AR15 Bushmaster 16" Shorty which is, as they say, way more accurate than I am. I also have a Mini-14 ranch rifle SS with plastic furniture that I like to plink with - not as accurate as the AR, but it will do the job it is intended to do.

I also would like to get a bolt action in said caliber. I would like a Ruger 77, but they are pricey. I have heard good things about the Savage.

May 19, 2003, 01:42 AM
ANOTHER post boondoggle RANT...

I received the alert that posts can only be edited for '5760 minutes'... how long is that ...? LONG.
My other post wasn't THAT long ago.
I imagine the error occurs when one must go back and retrieve a previously posted image, and when THAT occurs, the current post is wiped out.
This site cannot detect the difference between the photo that was posted more than '5760 minutes' ago and the last post a few minutes ago...?
Oh, yeah, and emoticons go the END of the line, instead of right where you wish to use them. :rolleyes:

ANYWAY, here are more XP-100&100R's to look at.

May 19, 2003, 01:51 AM
An error has caused my previous (2 posts ago) post to appear as OTHER than how I re-wrote it.
It was a response to another thread from a while back.
I changed some of it. It has been changed back to its original text by ???

I stand by my recommendation of the Remington XP-100R. ;)

May 19, 2003, 02:12 AM
Yep, the Savage is the best bang for your buck.

May 19, 2003, 02:23 AM
Hedge your bet and get the AR. There's still a chance that the new and improved EBR ban will pass.

May 19, 2003, 11:07 AM
I own a Bushmaster and a NEF single shot in .223. Both are very accurate and fun to shoot. The Bushmaster is my favorite rifle to shoot at the range (well, maybe it's a tie with my Enfield), but for varmints I go to the NEF.

Of course, with the Bushmaster or other AR-15 style rifle you get semi-auto and the ability to shoot NATO spec ammo like the M193 stuff that is available whereas with the NEF and many other .223 rifles you are limited to commercial .223 ammo. But a scoped single-shot is very accurate, dependable, and simple to operate. Plus, it's hard to beat the price of the NEF rifles.

May 19, 2003, 03:09 PM
The bolt gun won't be more accurate than the AR15 HUH??? Where did we come up with that one??? My Savage 12FV (under $400) will outshoot every AR15 I've seen. Talk to some of the guys over at With match ammo, the best ones are lucky to shoot .5MOA, and that's with upwards of $2K sunk into it. My Savage shoots that good out of the box, for about a quarter the price. I have a Leupy scope, rings, and bases, a harris bipod, and an Eagle stockpack on mine, and it hasn't seen the far side of 4 digits yet.

For accuracy for the buck, the AR15 can't fit the bill. For puttin' lots of lead downrange quickly, the AR15 is king.

Art Eatman
May 19, 2003, 05:10 PM
Now, TechBrute, take it easy. You've got a good rig, there's no doubt. But I gave $600 for a Bushie match target with a Tasco 6x24 on top and it regularly did 1/2 MOA for three shots with just any old ammo I tried. Ten shots were under an inch--and all that was with a stock (as in yucky) trigger.

You have a $400 rifle with some $220 or so worth of scope, plus sales tax or shipping, plus mounts and bases and then plus bipod and stockpack. $700 or so?

Z_Infidel, neither my Mini-14 nor I knew we couldn't use GI ammo "liberated" from Fort Hood, Texas, back when Minis first came out. It functioned just fine, thank you. :) Grouped good enough to suit this old jackrabbit/feral-cat shooter...


May 19, 2003, 05:13 PM
With the right AR and the right ammo, they can be very accurate. I only paid $1000 for my Armalite M15A4(T) carbine. The group above was fired from that(out of the box)gun. The first three rounds were the three in the center, the fourth was a tad higher and the fifth low round was me. It only has a Leupold 1.5x5 on an ARMS mount and a Harris bipod on it. I agree Savage makes a good rifle for a real nice price when compared to others. For the money you cant beat them. I have a Savage Scout that will consistantly shoot under an inch with the right ammo. Proper ammo makes a major difference in how a rifle shoots. That same M15A4 will only shoot 1.5-2" groups with military ball, no matter how hard you try other wise. You dont have to spend a ton of money to get a good shooter, auto or not. But spending a ton of money wont make YOU a better shooter, unless its spent on ammo and time. :)

May 20, 2003, 09:21 AM
Mr. Eatman,

I won't presume to tell anyone what ammo they can or can't use with their rifle, and I didn't mean to come off that way. I realize the Mini-14 is capable of handling that stuff, but I also know NEF does NOT recommend using NATO 5.56 rounds in their rifles and some other manufacturers do the same. I will be more careful with my wording in the future.

May 20, 2003, 09:51 AM
Second for the Savages. .223 will be my next one.


Art Eatman
May 20, 2003, 10:12 AM
When folks say, "Mr. Eatman," I look over my shoulder to see if my father's standing there...:)

As near as I can tell, the .223/5.56 thing has to do with the length and shape of the bullet, comparing civilian and military. It is said that the length, and the shape of the ogive, for the military round might have the bullet just touching the lands of a civilian rifle. Military chambers apparently have a smidgen more freebore in front of the chamber than is found in a civilian rifle.

The fear is that there could be higher than desirable pressures with the bullet touching the lands--again, this is a "near as I can tell" thing. However, many people find their best accuracy when the bullet is very, very close to the lands.

Anecdote: I mis-seated some .243 loads, one time, where the bullets weren't far enough into the neck. They shot beautiful groups, but when I went to unload the rifle the bullet stayed stuck in the start of the lands. So, I guess that's why I've never worried about .223/5.56 "problems".

Be that as it may, folks oughta stay with what they think is right for them. For all I know, I'm surviving on account of nothing more than dumb luck. :)



May 20, 2003, 10:29 AM

The one time I ventured to shoot a few rounds of M193 ball through my NEF it shot fine but a couple casings did not eject when I opened the action. I have never had this happen with SAAMI .223 ammo. On the other hand, I really like shooting the M193 ammo in my Bushmaster, though it is louder and produces a larger flash than commercial 55-grain .223.

The above experience along with the mfg's recommendation has led me to avoid shooting military ammo in my NEF. I would guess not all surplus ammo would produce the results I had since not all surplus or commercial 55-grain ammo marked as 5.56 NATO is the equivalent of M193.

May 20, 2003, 12:38 PM

May 20, 2003, 02:54 PM
BushMaster, Savage.

Sir Galahad
May 20, 2003, 10:27 PM
CZ 527 Lux.:D

May 21, 2003, 12:04 AM
I'm shooting .5 at 100 yards with my .223 NEF bull barreled rifle, and a $40 Tasco 4x scope. Bought the whole works used at for $180. I don't believe I'll be spending 1 large for a Bushie to get accurate shooting just yet.....

June 11, 2003, 11:22 AM
Well, it may not be a "plinker" but I hope it is accurate. I ordered the CZ-527 Varmint with the HS Precision stock. I don't hunt varmints (most varmints aren't really varmints at all, but I digress)

The CZ was a little more than I initially wanted to spend, but still much less than a Bushmaster or Rock River AR. I ordered a Bushnell Scopechief that was on clearance. It is the 6-20x40 model. Haven't picked it up yet, but am anxious to get it all put together.

June 11, 2003, 08:08 PM
I have not a bad thing to say about any of the rifles thus far mentioned but the NEF is a dandy rifle. Directions for the trigger job are listed on the net and you can order extra barrels in different calibers for less than 100$ a pop.

And its accurate.

And it would be easy to make into a platform for wildcatting.


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