accurate, inexpensive .223 bolt rifle


October 4, 2008, 08:09 AM
I haven't been on THR in a long time, but I've been getting back into the shooting sports lately. I want to buy my son (10 yrs) a nice, but inexpensive centerfire bolt rifle. I bought him a CZ Scout .22LR a couple years ago and he has gotten excellent on it. He is starting to outgrow it, and wants " something bigger". He has quite a bit of experience shooting my milsurps, including 30-06, 8mm Mauser, .303, 7.62x54R, and other calibers, so you can see he can handle the big stuff.

However, I want him to start learning the proper way to shoot accurately... proper hold, breathing, trigger control, and all that. I was thinking about getting him a .223 (or other light caliber).

I don't know if there is such a thing as a nice, accurate, quality rifle for, say under $500. Also, for a .223 rifle, what twist rate do I want? I assume 1:9 or 1:10? I have Federal mil-spec ammo (M193) which is 55gr, and I have Winchester 62gr bullets for reloading. I notice some rifles have a twist rate something like 1:14..., why so slow?

any ideas for quality, inexpensive rifles? So far, I see that Savage seems to have a few models that fit the bill.

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October 4, 2008, 08:47 AM

I've been kicking around selling my CZ-527 that I never use. It is in near-new condition. PM me, I'd cut you a deal since it is for a young shooter.

October 4, 2008, 08:49 AM
Savage Arms - get an Accu-trigger model. They shoot VERY well and are affordable. I have a left hand model myself. Mine has a 1 in 9" twist barrel.

October 4, 2008, 08:52 AM
The new Savage Model 25 may fit your needs quite well.
These aren't the most gorgeous rifles you will ever look at but the performance reports have been very good from the guys who have bought them.
Barrel twist rate is 1-9 and the gun will stabalize about everything offered in .223 ammunition.
Retail is about $600.00 but if you shop around, you should be able to find one offered for right at your price requirement. HTH

October 4, 2008, 08:55 AM
I bought a Savage 10FP (tactical/police model) a couple years ago for like 450. Mine was a .308 but it comes in .223. It was a very accurate gun, routinely shot under 1 moa at 100 yards, and the Accutrigger is awesome. Nothing like having a clean adjustable trigger.

But if it were me, I would jump all over that CZ that Daniel Flory is selling. Ive always thought the CZs looked good, and have heard they shoot good too.

October 4, 2008, 09:06 AM
The Stevens 200 is around $285. The Savage 11 is around $350 with scope. Remington ADL for $325. Weatherby Vanguard for $399. Dicks sells the Remington 700 SPS Varmint with scope for $460.

October 4, 2008, 10:48 AM
lets face it; any rifle new you buy nowadays, is going to be pretty accurate.
and there are a million rifles you can get for under 500 bucks. Mossy's, savage, stevens, howa, tikka, remington, browning, weatherby, etc., heck if you save another 200 bucks, you can get a DPMS ar lite rifle. the cz will be nicer than all the others though, especially with the single set trigger.

October 4, 2008, 10:50 AM
a 1/9 twist would be fine, for everything up to about 70 or 72 grains. a 1/12 gets you up to about 60 or 62 grains. a 1/14 is for the origional 55 grainers, it barely stabilized them , and made them just bare accurate, so that as soon as they hit flesh, they would tumble and fragment.

October 4, 2008, 11:01 AM
I'll second the Savage 25 as they have a lot of nice features for the money. You can get them for under $500...

October 4, 2008, 09:10 PM
thanks for the replies. I'm going to start browsing the web for info about the above mentioned rifles. In my original post, I mentioned $500 as the price poing, but actually $400 or less would be better.

I know modern rifles will be accurate. I guess that wasn't a good choice of words. For $350 or whatever, I just didn't want a cheap piece of junk.

D Flory, give me a couple days to think and check that out on the web.

My son & I are both partial to CZs. All of my rifles are milsurps. My only modern rifle is a Rem 700 Mountain LSS in 30-06. My son wants a nice modern rifle now too. He used to only be interested in milsurps (I bought him an M44 russian earlier this year. Not exactly real accurate, and... quite a kick).

October 4, 2008, 09:18 PM
Several months ago I picked up a Remington SPS Varmint in .223 (1in12 twist) with a 4 to 12 scope at Dick's for 517.00 after taxes. It might be a bit heavy for a young shooter but it can put them in there.

Der Verge
October 4, 2008, 10:08 PM
I own a few Stevens 200 (el cheapo, non accutrigger Savage) in a few different caliber. I think they are the best thing since sliced bread. They shoot well too.....

I have a few groups like this at 100 yards. I have a few that are better too.....

October 4, 2008, 10:12 PM
thoughts on the Mossberg 100 ATR and 4x4 ? I know they don't come in .223, but dang, they sure are inexpensive...

October 4, 2008, 10:41 PM
Dr. Verge, what caliber and load is that from?

October 4, 2008, 10:52 PM
I'm not a great shooter, but the best I've ever shot was .88" at 100 yds with my old M41B swedish sniper rifle. Yeah, it's a great rifle, but I always thought the great groups were maybe because the 6.5x55 caliber was just a very accurate caliber... :confused:

wouldn't mind a modern rifle in 6.5x55.

October 4, 2008, 11:07 PM
All Savage Models ain't cheap, but ALL seem reasonably-priced for WHAT YOU GET! For 35 to 60 grain .224" diameter bullets, 1-in-12" twist IS perfect! For 60-75 grain bullets, 1-in-9" appears SUPER-SWEET. With a 1-in-14" twist barrel, I'd stick to 45 grains as the very heaviest bullet, with a preference for 40 grain fare. Since I shoot mainly 55 grain varmint bullets, I do own a 1-in-12" twisted Ruger Mod 77 Mark II Sporter with a 6-24x44mm Burris Signature Select which I find to be a match made in Heaven. 99% of all Coyotes certainly agree with my synopsis. cliffy

October 5, 2008, 12:10 AM
Howa 1500. Same as Weatherby Vanguard only less costly.

October 5, 2008, 01:48 AM
you know what else? the new marlins seem to be extra hot right now, very nice features, well made bbl, by green mountain i believe, or t/c, and triggers by either timney or ... damn whats that other trigger?

October 5, 2008, 01:49 AM
i wouldn't discount the mossy; are you sure they don't make one in 223?
also lots of innovative features; pillar bedded built in studs, sturdy stock, other things as well.

October 5, 2008, 02:20 AM
I’m a savage guy, I have many. But I'd have to say that I was not impressed with the 25. It felt cheap to me. The bolt was so tight it was hard to close and the basis that came on the gun from savage where junk. The clunky plastic magazine was sloppy too. Sent it back, it might have just been that one but I don't see myself pursuing it any further.

October 5, 2008, 01:09 PM
i wouldn't discount the mossy; are you sure they don't make one in 223?
I have the Mossberg Annual magazine from 2007, and it doesn't list .223 as being available for the 4x4 or the 100 ATR. Maybe now they do...I'll check.

I read a couple of reviews in gun magazines on these Mossbergs, and the general conconclusion was that they were very accurate and great buys for little money.

I'm having second thoughts on .223 now. I never liked reloading that caliber (small cases, small bullets...). I'm thinking .308. I have lots of bulk bullets in 150gr and 165gr for my 30-06 rifles. Would need to buy .308 dies, and about 100 cases, and I'd be ready to hit the range with my son. I could do some light loads .308 for practice.

We are going to sportsman's warehouse this afternoon to actually handle some rifles.

October 5, 2008, 02:44 PM
D Flory, give me a couple days to think and check that out on the web.

No prob, I'm in no rush to sell anyway.

October 5, 2008, 06:19 PM
Let me say that I have a cz 527 carbine and love it. The set trigger is great. I think you have to spend a lot more money to equal the cz quality and accuracy.

October 5, 2008, 06:48 PM
Another vote for Savage.

October 5, 2008, 09:01 PM
we both went to sportsman's warehouse today to check out some rifles. They did not have much of a selection of 'inexpensive' bolt rifles. They only had 2 under $500 and one at $500.

A stevens 200 for $299.99... but my son was kind of turned off by the 'cheap' look and feel of it. They had a savage 11 for $499.99, which seemed like an decent rifle. They had some kind of Weatherby for $479.99, but it was only in 7mm-08. Something about being a 4-in-1 rifle (different stocks or something).

Anyway, his favorite that we looked at was a Savage 10FP tactical .308 (heavy barrel). Ha ha, I'd be jealous if he had one of those. It was $569.
In fact, I'd like to sell my rem 700 mountain LSS in 30-06 and get me one of those tactical savage .308s.

sportsman's didn't have anything in .223 bolt, at least inexpensive.

October 5, 2008, 09:04 PM
You know if you are looking at .223 mainly because of recoil you can get recoil managed ammo in 7mm-08 and .308. Will have more recoil than .223, about .30-30 level.

October 5, 2008, 10:54 PM
Bender I bought one of those Steven's 200's with the tupperware/Ziploc stock and also hated the stock.
I got on ebay and found a Boyd's Thumbhole for a Savage 10 sporter barrel for $100 and now it's alot better.

I love the trigger on it, I got the factory trigger down to about 1 1/2 lbs with very little creep in, sighted it in, found a decent load for it and then gave it to my dad. Reason I gave it to my dad is I got an AR-15 for practically nothing and ran out of room in my gunsafe, plus he needs it to shoot crows in the corn field behind his house. Next spring I'm going to leave him my .243 while I pillar and glass bed the action.

October 5, 2008, 11:34 PM
that looks pretty good, Birdhunter. Yeah, my son was looking at the stevens 200 and was showing me the 'rubbery-ness' of it...

your 'tupperware' description was right on.

woof, I'm leaning towards .308 now. since I load all my own ammo, I could load some light practice loads.

Besides, my son now has it is his head that he wants a .308. Savage lists the suggested retail of the 10fp tactical at $679 or something, so Sportsman's price of $549 doesn't seem bad.

October 6, 2008, 12:31 AM
Thanks bender, I bought the stock unfinished and finished it myself. I am not a woodworker finish man at all and when I bed the action I might refinish the stock and fix a few glitches I found afterward. As for accuracy I shrunk the group in half of what it was with the tupperware, can't wait to see what it does bedded!

October 6, 2008, 12:47 AM
1. Stevens 200
2. Howa 1500
3. Remington 700 SPS

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