.223 Bolt Gun - Best Bang for the buck


May 16, 2003, 08:33 PM
Looked over a Howa today at the shop, looked pretty nice. I would like to know how to compare:

CZ Heavy Barrel .223

Any others I shold consider. Want a heavy barrel target type rifle. Laminate stock or nice wood. Black synthetic is last choice. Any experience with the above brands. Also how big a deal is the twist rate? Should I consider anything other than 1 in 9? I will be target shooting so I can buy ammo to match the twist. What is most surplus ammo tuned for as far as twist rate? I am pretty new to .223 - most of my target shooting is .22 LR in rifles and pistol. Also shoot 9mm , .38 and .357

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May 16, 2003, 10:02 PM
peruse the used racks for a rem 700 vls, vs, vssf, etc etc.

May 16, 2003, 10:17 PM
Thing is... the nicer synthetics are pretty dogone nice... the kevlars and rigid fiberglass stocks. I recon the Winchester Coyote would get my vote. Probably have to get the trigger cleaned up, hopefully by a local guy. Very accurate, dark laminated wood, blue action and a heavy stainless barrel. I have one in 243 that is a very nice rifle. The Remington 700VLS and the Howa Varminter are both pretty nice though many (including my dealer who swears by Remingtons) have reported that the stocks need to be cleaned up a bit... they don't ever seem to come properly floated... certainly not a lot of work but it IS work. And the better synthetics almost never have a problem in this area. Ruger and CZ both make laminated stock heavy barrel rifles. The Ruger is nice but maybe a bit overpriced... I have one in 22-250 I don't shoot much anymore but would if it was a 223 or a 243. And I have no experience with the CZ but know of no reason they wouldn't be fine. And I don't know about the current line up from Tikka... could be worth a look.

I'd be tempted to say that the Savage 12FV is the best bang for the buck... heavy barrel, blued metal and junky black synthetic stock and the new AccuTrigger, of course. After that, probably the Howa. Then the Coyote. I just seem to have an aversion to the VLS after all the bad stuff I've heard about the stock. I think the laminated stocks that come with the Savages are kinda funky. I'd probably rather get a synthetic model and get a Boyd's stock to replace it.

Here's my Winchester Coyote with a fixed 6x Swarovski I had mounted at the time. Very nice rifle - one of my two favorites. Like I said, it just needed that trigger worked down and polished up a bit.


May 16, 2003, 10:30 PM
Probably the most accurate out-of-the-box production rifle is the Savage. Alot of people complain about the asthetics and materials of the Savages, but they shoot with the best of them. Now that the new varmit models have the new trigger on them they are even better. The laminated stock is of a good design and the action is pillar bedded with the barrel floated. The money saved compared to the other makers on the market can be used toward improving the glass you intend to put on it.
If your target shooting is geared toward accuracy then you will have to use better ammunition than surplus. Most 40 to 60gr bullets should do a fairly good job. The 50 to 55gr will most likely be the most common weights.
The CZ and the Tikka are very good guns, but I think the Savage is the most accurate.

May 16, 2003, 11:43 PM
I like Savage's offerings, specially the ones w/ the new trigger!

Sir Galahad
May 17, 2003, 01:18 AM
I have a CZ 527 Lux and am thrilled with it. The wood is gorgeous, the craftsmanship perfect, and the mini-Mauser action is sweet. I've never scoped it, but with iron sights, it is dead on accurate right out of the box. I like the CZ so much, I bought a CZ 452 Lux .22LR.

May 17, 2003, 03:03 AM
Can someone educate me a little on the optimum twist rate for .223? The CZ has a 1 in 12 and so does the Howa I think. Is it really that important to have a 1 in 9 twist? What weight of bullets works best with each rate?


May 17, 2003, 06:24 AM
The fast twist barrels (1 in 9") allows you to use the heavier bullets up to the 80 grainers, but the lighter 40 grainers may not work as well in them. It's a compromising situation. If you are looking for the most speed out of your cartridge then go with the slower twist barrels (1 in 12"), If long range accuracy is what you are after then go with a faster twist barrels (1 in 9") to use the heavier bullets with a better BC.

May 17, 2003, 09:49 AM
I'm extremely tempted to buy a CZ 527 for a turkey rifle. My first thought is to get a .22 Hornet. The .223 would be more versatile, assuming I can load it down to Hornet velocities, and still retain good accuracy. Any experience with trying to load a 45 grain slug to about 2700 fps in the .223 CZ?

May 17, 2003, 09:59 AM
The best bang for you buck on the used market is a Remington 788. Great Rifle, used to be Remingtons economy line.

Current production; Savage.

I have a Tikka which is a superb rifle, but mine isn't an economy model.

Nero Steptoe
May 17, 2003, 10:49 AM
The Remmy VS is hard to beat. Fully adjustable trigger; H-S Precision stock, free-floated barrel. VLS needs to have the barrel floated and action bedded.

Tikka Continental would definitely be a possibility. Nice walnut stock, heavy barrel, (free-floated) match Sako barrel; adjustable trigger; detachable mag.

May 17, 2003, 10:56 AM
The Remmy VS is hard to beat. Don't get me wrong, love the Remmies and have a couple myself, but for the price of the one Remmy you can get a Savage 12FV Varmit rifle, Leupold base and rings, and a Leupold VXII 6-18x40.

May 17, 2003, 11:26 AM
Love my new Savage (mine is .308 though and I did put on a new stock)

Sir Galahad
May 17, 2003, 01:41 PM
Capnrik, I'm not a reloader, so I can't answer your question. I shoot military surplus ammo out of mine and it is dead on accurate.

I've looked at the Savage and there is a flaw in the bolt. That flaw is the use of a Belleville spring washer between the bolt head and bolt body. I work in a trade where Belleville washers are sed and they fail pretty regularly in lots of use. This is because the Belleville washer only contacts the surfaces they cam on in two or three places on each side of the washer. Consequently, those two or three surfaces start to wear away at a pretty rapid rate because not only are those surfaces camming, but there is spring tension which presses harder on the camming action. Yes, it will take time for the Savage Belleville washer to cam through, but I would not want to rely on a Belleville washer on a rifle bolt myself.

May 17, 2003, 01:53 PM
If you're not going to carry it around, the Remington PSS in .223 is a tackdriver, IMHO.

Quintin Likely
May 17, 2003, 07:10 PM
Any heavy barrel Savage with the Accutrigger.

Use the change saved from not going with Big Green, Tikka, Winchester, etc al for optics and ammo.

May 17, 2003, 08:00 PM
About three weeks ago I picked up a .223 Savage 12FV Varmint rifle in one of their packages with a cheapie 4X12 Simmons scope. Overall it’s a nice gun and if I can ever get it to the range I’ll give a full report. For the money ($409) it was the nicest gun I could find. The only other brand I was interested in was CZ but couldn’t find any in my area.

May 17, 2003, 09:04 PM
love the Tikka, gotta have that Remington Police Tactical,
but bang for the buck: Savage.
dr. jawbone just picked up one used with
a camo (read: ugly) stock which is a tack driver out to 300yds

May 17, 2003, 10:53 PM
Don't forget the Sako. I have a Vixen HB that I bought new in 1980 and it shoots 3/4" groups all day (with handloads). It's kinda got plain wood but it shoots with the best of them. I also have a Tika med barrel in .223 and the groups are about the same, but the action is a med action where as the Sako has a short action that matches the case length. There is nothing wrong with the Remington accuracy (mine is in 6mm international), but the action is the medium action. The options are endless ...... Good luck. ...Darren ;)

May 18, 2003, 03:11 AM
I have an unholy attraction to the Sako Vixen, but 'best bang for the buck"?

I've personally seen multiple $350 Savages print .6" groups with factory ammo at 100 yards. You show me a Vixen that will do the same for sale for only $350 and I'll show you my new Sako Vixen. ;)

Yeah, the 700 Police is nice but go for over $750 in some parts of the country. I'd find it hard to suggest anything over the Savage 12FV as best bang for the buck a heavy barrel .223. I mean, it's the cheapest heavy Savage and has all of its accuracy. I think my local guy sells the new ones with the AccuTrigger for just under $400 (used to be $340 with the old trigger).

Quintin Likely
May 18, 2003, 09:36 AM
My 10FP (sans Accutrigger) can and will shoot sub MOA groups all day if I do my part, original trigger, stock, etc.

Total cost invested in the rifle with optics, base, rings? About $500. I've been thinking about buying another one with that Accutrigger in .300 WM or .308. I haven't been shooting as long as some of the folks in this place, but so far, I haven't found a rifle out the box that'll shoot as well as a Savage for the price. My 700VS in .308 shoots like a champ too, but I've got easily twice the money invested in it than I do my Savage.

May 19, 2003, 03:06 AM
Another vote for the excellent 12FV Savage.

Superb accuracy, and the accutrigger really is a nice trigger.

Shooting 68gr. Black Hills, I can get it down to .5" at 100 if I do my part. Can't beat that for $399.00

Steve Smith
May 19, 2003, 09:34 AM
The fast twist barrels (1 in 9") allows you to use the heavier bullets up to the 80 grainers


Some 1:9's WILL stabilize the Hornady 75's, but some will not (different barrel makers have different rulers, I reckon, so some folk's 1:9 is more like 1:10). You need a 1:7 or 1:8 to reliably stabilize 77 and 80 grain bullets. A 1:9 oughtta stabilize 69's reliably.

May 19, 2003, 12:23 PM
In another thread they mentioned that AR's will shoot surplus ammo, but bolt guns might only shoot commercial .223. I will want to be able to use bulk (cheap) ammo. Anyone had any problems shooting military ammo from bolt guns?

May 19, 2003, 01:57 PM

Quintin Likely
May 19, 2003, 07:38 PM
In another thread they mentioned that AR's will shoot surplus ammo, but bolt guns might only shoot commercial .223.

I always thought that was the other way around? Since there's no gas system or anything to worry about cycling the action on a bolt gun, I'd figure it'd be less finicky with different types of ammo.

May 20, 2003, 02:04 AM
I can honestly say that other than my little H&R UltraVarmint failing to extract a handful of times, I've never had one of my 223s fail to feed, fire and extract whether they were a bolt rifle or my AR.

Guess I haven't shot them enough... huh? :p

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