Searching for the perfect .223 bolt action rifle


June 18, 2007, 06:37 PM
I'm having a hard time finding the .223 Rem. bolt action rifle I want.

I want a consistant 1" 5 shot group at 200 yards, blued or stainless, 24" or longer barrel, and most importantly a smooth factory trigger. I would like to keep the weight at 7 lbs or under for versatility.

Savage makes good rifles, but I don't like the looks of their products.

I really like the looks of the Remington 700 CDL. Unfortunately, the CDL isn't sold in .223 Rem. and the trigger I felt in a new CDL left much to be desired.

The Remington 700 VLS, VSF, and VS SF II are too heavy.

The Remington 700 BDL is "too much" in the looks department and I prefer the look of the CDL and VLS over it.

The only rifle I've found that's close is the Remington 700 LV SF. It's 7 lbs, but has a shorter 22" barrel and the trigger I felt in a new LV SF was as bad as the CDL.

Maybe I need to have it worked over by a gunsmith?

I haven't decided on a price, but let's say I don't mind waiting a few more months to get something I really want. I have a AR-15 and several hand guns to hold me over for awhile. I also plan to sell a Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum to help fund this rifle.

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June 18, 2007, 06:49 PM
Get a Weatherby Vanguard (Howa 1500)...

And it's inexpensive, too...


June 18, 2007, 06:52 PM
How bout a savage, the accutrigger is great.... get the varmit in stainless or blued 26" barrel.

Btw: I love my savage........ soon to be savages....

June 18, 2007, 07:04 PM
That's a tall order you state. Perhaps your best shot at attaining it with a conventional factory rifle would be with a Sako varmit model.

Jim Watson
June 18, 2007, 08:13 PM
Remington triggers are as adjustable as they ever were, you just have to dig the glue out of the screws and look up the instructions on the 'net as to which screw does what.

Failing that, there are more triggers available for Remington actions than all others combined.

I think your best chance for out of the box accuracy at a "popular price" is Remington.

June 18, 2007, 08:34 PM
Remington 40XB.

June 18, 2007, 08:58 PM
You're talking right around 1/2' groups at 100yds. I can't speak for .223 but I can speak for 204. I have only fired handloads through a Montana Varminter since I got it new a few years ago. With the exception of a few tested loads with 40gr. bullets every group was under 1/2 inch. Some as small as .221 inch. I haven't even adjusted the trigger on it, let alone done anything else. I've had Rem 700 varminiters and 40xb's shoot almost as well out of the box. I have had no experience with Savage, Marlin, Winchester as far as varmint type rifles.

June 18, 2007, 09:03 PM
I would go with the Remington 700 of your choosing and replace the factory trigger with a Jewell can do this yourself.

You will not be disappointed.

My .223 bolt gun has taught me more about riflery than all my other rifles combined.


June 18, 2007, 09:23 PM
I belive the perfect bolt action rifle in .223 says "CZ" on the barrel.

June 18, 2007, 09:26 PM
Link to:
CZ-527 Varmint (
Select .223 in the drop down box.

The set trigger is especially nice and is adjustable to what ever you'd like down into the oz. range (though why anyone would adjust it that low is a wonderment to me).

CZ makes especially fine rifles 2nd only to Savage for accuracy right out of the box. The 527 meets every single one of your requirements but one. You want 1" groups at 200 yards.

That 1" at 200 works out to .5" MOA at 100 yards. Good luck finding a factory stock rifle that'll do that. The CZ may do 1.5" at 200 but not 1". The CZ-527 Kevlar may be a bit more accurate since it comes right out of the box pillar bedded but...

To get 1" at 200 you're gonna have to have whatever you buy accurized by a qualified gunsmith and you can add handloading your cartridges to that too.

June 18, 2007, 09:33 PM
my regular ol CZ (non-varmint, don't care for the heay rifles myself) will do under 1/2" at 100 yds all day long with cheapo wwb ammo (never tried more expensive stuff since I'll happily shoot cheap stuff if it shoots like that). I myself have not had good luck with newer Remmy products. I had a CDL I promptly traded on the CZ, which shoot rings around it, had much nicer wood, etc.

You might also consider a Browning A-bolt. The Howa/Weatherby is also a solid choice. Weatherby gurantees the accuracy with their rifles I believe. The Vanguard is still a steal.

June 18, 2007, 09:51 PM
Cz , Kevlar varmint, piece of cake.

June 18, 2007, 09:58 PM
here is my plain jane cz 527 , at 100 yds.
on paper, the kevlar varmint should be more accurate, since it is a pillar bedded stock, with a faster twist, heavier bbl. After this , I would go with the savage varminter. I have shot both, the cz set trigger is a bit better, and the cz is a bit more accurate, that being said, you are splitting fine hairs here.
AS you can see here, I am shooting 4 diff types of ammo, that are all moa at 100, even crappy wolf. it shot more ammo moa as well, but I used these as some of the better to compare subjects. the winny 45's , and the black hills were consistently the best, with the winnies allways being a one hole punch.

June 18, 2007, 10:02 PM
I'd be looking at an SPS Varmint.

June 18, 2007, 10:18 PM
I love my CZ-527 .223 ....One rifle I'll never trade or sell

June 18, 2007, 10:39 PM
Based upon your specs I would get the 700LVSSF. Bedded more rigidly than any bolt gun I have picked up that was free floated. I could not physically move the barrel at the forearm at all with my thumb and forefinger. I'm guessing that out of the box you should be able to get SUB MOA performance with at least some handloads that you try. Also the 700 trigger is easily adjusted to a crisp 2-3 lb let off. You won't miss that 2 inches of barrel, by going with the 22 inch barrel. Velocity gains won't be enough to matter. Consider that at 22 inches your barrel will be 2 inches longer than an AR 15 National Match.

If you insist on a 24 inch barrel, a few years back Remington made a 223 called a Varmint special that came with a 24 inch barrel in a regular sporter contour. My dad has one and its a real tack driver. The sporter contour is easily thick enough for Sub MOA performance in a 223 caliber rifle provided the barrel is straight and well finished on both ends.
My other pics would include: Weatherby VanGuard Sub MOA, or the Sako. With the Weatherby though, you wont be able to tune the trigger without running into a safety problem.

I love my Ruger stainless synthetic sporter, it groups into less than an inch at 100 yards with almost any load I put in it.

Of course I had to glass bed it, float the barrel, and polish/reshape the trigger components. What fun is it if you don't have to tune it up a little?:):)

June 18, 2007, 10:46 PM
Another vote for the CZ 527 Kevlar.

Mine will do 1/2 inch groups with the Sierra's 65 gr. Gameking and 69 gr. OTM with 25.8 grain BL-C(2), and this is with a 3-12 Sightron scope. It shoots a Sierra 52 gr. BTHP equally well.

June 18, 2007, 10:48 PM
Tall order indeed. How much do you want to spend?

June 18, 2007, 10:52 PM
Cooper Arms, Stevensville, Montana.

June 19, 2007, 12:05 AM
Jim Watson says it well.

No better buy than a Remington varmint gun. Mine is the 700 VLS in .223 REM. I adjusted the factory trigger to 20 ounces and had the chamber rebored. After lapping the bolt and lugs we are consistantly under half inch, 5 shot groups at 100 yds. My 200 yd 5 shot groups are running between .8" and 1.2". That fluctuation may well be the shooter and not the weapon.

Stick with Remington!!

June 19, 2007, 01:15 AM
Another vote for the CZ 527. I have a CZ 527 Varmint in .204 Ruger that I'm pretty fond of and then I also have a standard barrel .223 that is my main go to for a walk-about-varmint-rifle. It's really hard to beat CZ's for the money....even for allot more money. Essentially when it comes to new bolt action rifles in rim-fire or center-fire, I've gotten so I won't spend my money on anything else.

June 19, 2007, 01:35 AM
Tikka T3 is under 7 # .... but bll is 22" .

Pleased as can be with my T3 Lite in 308.

June 19, 2007, 10:27 AM
What is the (functional) difference between a VS SF II and SPS Varmint? What makes the VS SF II worth double the money?:confused: Unless one shoots 3" groups and the other shoots .5" groups I'm going with the less expensive one. If you say one is better looking than the other I'll puke.

June 19, 2007, 10:45 AM
I've got a Savage Tactical in .223 and a CZ 527 Varmint in .223. The CZ's feel and finish is FAR superior to the Savage...... BUT the Savage is no slouch in the accuracy dept.

I don't know if I'm used to the Savage or what but it walks all over the CZ as far as accuracy goes. The Savage will put 5 touching holes in paper at 100 yards EASILY. One complaint I have with the Savage though is the stock.... IT SUCKS! The stock is too thin and cheap feeling, other than that, the Savage gets my vote between these 2.

June 19, 2007, 08:05 PM
Thank you all for the help.

I think I'll check out the Remington 700 LV SF and the 700 SPS Stainless.

Are all the internal components stainless on both guns? On Remington's web site for the SPS Stainless it says: "For added corrosion resistance the internal fire control components are plated."

If either gun proves to be a lemon, I wouldn't be out too much money and can send it to a gunsmith for the necessary modifications.

This might be my best bet. I'm still thinking about it though.

June 19, 2007, 11:36 PM
What is the (functional) difference between a VS SF II and SPS Varmint? What makes the VS SF II worth double the money?

SPS cheap injection molded plastic stock
VS SF II HS Precision stock kevlar/fiberglass with aluminum bedding block , last check in a Midway catalog about $285 for an HS stock for the 70.

SPS carbon steel
VS SF II stainless steel

SPSrough textured matte fininsh
VS SF II nice smooth finish on the stainless

Other extras on the VS SF II is the fluted barrel as well as the painted flutes.

They both function the same , but I would rather have the HS stock even if I were to buy the SPS Varmint. tested the SPS Varmint in .308 and the rifle shot better in the HS stock

June 19, 2007, 11:39 PM
+1 for the CZ 527.

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