What barrel and twist for a bolt action .223?


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Red State
July 21, 2010, 03:33 PM
I have been considering a new bolt action .223. This gun will be mostly for range use, but maybe a little varmint hunting also.

Because I have other guns for carrying around, I think I am ok with getting a somewhat heavy barrel.

What twist rate (1:9 or 1:12) and what barrel length (20"-26") would you recommend for .223? Expected uses are:
-Informal plinking
-Target shooting groups at 100-225 yards
-Coyote calling w/ minimal walking
-Ground squirrel hunting
-Steel plates at max range (I am not sure if this warrants a 26" barrel)

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TonyAngel
July 21, 2010, 03:57 PM
It's really a matter of the bullets that you plan to shoot. A 1:12 would be good up to around a 55gr projectile. If you want to shoot and longer/heavier, go to 1:9. I'm not a big bolt gun guy, but most "varmint" rifles I've seen have slow twists like 1:12 or 1:14 which is perfect for the light varmint ammunition.

If you want to be able to hit targets at "max" range, that's going to mean long/heavy bullets that will need a fast twist. For 75gr and up, 1:8 or faster would be the safest bet. I'm not saying that you can't shoot long range with lighter bullets, it's just easier with heavy bullets. They are less affected by the wind.

I have an AR that I built as a target rifle and have settled on shooting 77gr projectiles out of it exclusively. I'm running a 1:8 twist. This is not to say that a fast twist barrel won't shoot lighter projectiles, it probably will, but you'll be spinning the bullets faster than needed. For most people 1:9 is a good compromise and will cover a pretty broad range of bullets from 45gr up to about 69gr as a guestimation.

UKWildcats
July 21, 2010, 04:02 PM
Do you have any other 223 that you want to share ammo with -- then you might want the same twist rate.

I have three 223 -- two AR's (Armalite 1 in 9 16" and a home built 24" barrel with 1 in 10 twist) and one bolt (savage 10FP -- 1 in 9 twist) -- so all three can shoot the same ammo which is 55 grain Hornady SP. Velocities will vary but all three group well with the ammo.

UK

Rokman
July 21, 2010, 04:25 PM
I would go with the versatility of the 1:9, but max out at 24" barrel length.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
July 21, 2010, 05:34 PM
1:9 to hopefully stablize up to 62g pills, and also for a bit more longevity of barrel life.

Red State
July 21, 2010, 05:50 PM
Thanks guys, this is really helpful. I have been thinking that 1:9 was what I wanted, but I see so many manufacturers making 1:12, that I was beginning to 2nd guess myself.

I am pretty sure that 90% of my loads will be either 55gr or 62gr, so thats good.

Any thoughts on how the 1:9 would handle 69gr?

quatin
July 21, 2010, 05:55 PM
My savage 12 handles 69 gr black hills just fine.

Tim the student
July 21, 2010, 05:59 PM
I have a 1:8 that shoots 50g on up quite well (shoots 36g Varmint Grenades decently too, but those are abnormally long for their weight).

I'd go with a 1:9 of your two choices.

ECVMatt
July 21, 2010, 06:05 PM
I shoot a lot of .223 bolt guns and I would recommend the 1/9. It is much more versatile with the heavier bullets and the newer lead free stuff. The staple 55 grain stuff also works very well with the 1/9. I If you are going with a pure varmint rifle then the 1/12 is fine. It will shoot all the varmint stuff.

rcmodel
July 21, 2010, 06:14 PM
The very best small to medium (Ground squirrel to coyote) varmint bullets are made in the 45-60 grain range.

If thats what I was going to shoot, I'd get the 1/12.
Oh wait! I did!

rc

asahrts
July 21, 2010, 06:27 PM
i can't help but think that the manufacturer's produce a 1:12'' because it's proven/versatile/popular.

but that's an amateur's opinion.

joed
July 21, 2010, 07:14 PM
My Savage 10FP has a 1:9" twist and will shoot 79 gr match bullets extremely well. This is just great for target shooting. Unfortunately if I wanted to go varmint hunting I'd be shooting 40 to 55 gr bullets which don't give great accuracy in the 1:9" twist barrel.

Other then the above I'm happy with the twist rate of my rifle.

Geno
July 21, 2010, 09:06 PM
My M700 SPS Varmint and my Weatherby Varmint Special both have 1-12 twist barrels. I shoot 45 grain and 55 grain projectiles, and both weights are very accurate.

On my last trip to the family farm, I was able to fire 7 shots into a group that measured 0.96" at 288 yards. Those were 45 grain hollow points fired through the M700, using a Weaver 36X scope. That isn't half bad, and certainly constitutes minute-of-woodchuck. The 100 yards group measured 0.35" with the same ammo. That is also about the same accuracy as the Weatherby Varmint Special produces.

Since both of these rifles are dedicated varmint rifles, for out to 300 yards, I am completely pleased with their 1-12 set-up and performance.

Geno

DIM
July 21, 2010, 09:12 PM
all you need to know you can find here twist rate bullets and what they good for...
http://www.6mmbr.com/223Rem.html
"Twist Rates
223 Rem Remington barrel Twist rateThe .223 Rem shoots a wide range of bullets very effectively, from 35gr flat-based varmint bullets, to ultra-long 90gr VLDs. However, you'll need the right twist rate for your choice of bullet. For max velocity and accuracy with the lightest bullets, a 1:14" twist may be ideal. More versatile is a 1:12" twist that will allow you to shoot the popular 60-64 grain match bullets. (However, a 1:9" twist is needed for the steel-core 62gr bullet used in the M855 military loads, because that bullet is as long as most 70-grainers.) For normal lead-core jacketed bullets, a 1:9" twist will let you shoot up to 73gr bullets. Since most .223 Rem shooters prefer bullets in the 50-73gr range, a good "do-it-all" solution is a 9-twist, unless you're a Highpower competitor.

For long-range match purposes, long, high-BC bullets are favored for their ability to buck the wind. You'll want at least a 1:8" twist to shoot the 77gr and 80gr MatchKings and 80gr Bergers. To shoot the new 90gr pills, a 1:6.5" is recommended, though a true 1:7" will work in most conditions.

Overall, what twist rate is best? For varminting we like a 12-twist. The slower twist will give you a bit more velocity, and minimize the risk of jacket failure at high rpms. For general use, an 8-twist barrel will let you shoot the excellent 77gr and 80gr Sierra MatchKings and nearly all varieties of non-tracer milsurp ammo. We'd only select a 1:7" or faster twist barrel if we had a need to shoot the 90gr VLDs. "

asahrts
July 21, 2010, 09:13 PM
sheesh i be happy with that as well Geno.

awesome

Geno
July 21, 2010, 09:21 PM
Thanks! I can't wait to mount-up my Nightforce 12-42X56 on the rig. :D

I should have mentioned too, it isn't a "stock" SPS Varmint. I have the barreled action mounted into an HS Precision Police stock, KF G-Force 20 MOA rail epoxied-on, Mark 4 rings, and a 1.5 pound Timney trigger. The barreled action is stock, but that's all.

Every once in a while, I get tempted to slide out that 1.5 pound trigger and slide in my Timney 4 ounce tactical trigger that is currently in my M700 Police. :D

Geno

DIM
July 21, 2010, 09:21 PM
I shoot my Rem 700 SPS V and on 300 yards with 55 gr V-max bullets I get 1.2" - 1", I was at the range just on Friday it was windy gusting to 15 mph, still 1.6" that's with 26 gr of H335, RE-15 26.5gr had tighter groups 1.4"

asahrts
July 21, 2010, 09:30 PM
Thanks! I can't wait to mount-up my Nightforce 12-42X56 on the rig. :D

I should have mentioned too, it isn't a "stock" SPS Varmint. I have the barreled action mounted into an HS Precision Police stock, KF G-Force 20 MOA rail epoxied-on, Mark 4 rings, and a 1.5 pound Timney trigger. The barreled action is stock, but that's all.

Every once in a while, I get tempted to slide out that 1.5 pound trigger and slide in my Timney 4 ounce tactical trigger that is currently in my M700 Police. :D

Geno
lol

no that is not a stock rig. that's a main complaint i've heard of the sps, the stock is garbage. i'm sure that HS helps a lot.

Art Eatman
July 21, 2010, 10:38 PM
My Ruger 77 Mk II light sporter, IIRC, is 1:10. 22" barrel. It's good with round-nose 70-grain bullets, and seems quite happy with most any 50- to 55-grain bullet. Always a reliable 3-shot half-MOA critter.

rangerruck
July 21, 2010, 10:51 PM
if handloading, I would the 1/12 with 40 to 55 grainers max-- you will get some serious accuracy ot of this rig, I would think a 24 inch bbl will be plenty.
otherwise, if doing factory load shooting, look for 1/9 twist; a 1/12 twist will barely hang on to ammo at the 55 grain limit. Over that, and accuracy can get really iffy real quick.

Geno
July 21, 2010, 11:15 PM
Art said:

Always a reliable 3-shot half-MOA critter.

Amen, brother! That's where the tire-meets-the-road so to speak. :)

Edit to add target.

Sorry I had to fold the target to get it to fit into my scanner. Won't have my camera back for a week. These groups were fired at the family farm, across a cooler chest, using a bi-pod.

Group 1, 3-shots at 100 yards setting zero 3.5" high.

Group 2, 3 shots at 288 yards

Group 3, 7 shots at 288 yards

Group 4, 5 shots at 288 yards

These groups were fired between wind gusts (as best I could), and no cooling was allowed with the last 15 shots. Any one of the 288 yard shots, while aiming off a woodchuck's nose, would have been lethal...minute of woodchuck, right Art?

Geno

http://i859.photobucket.com/albums/ab157/ERS2010/M700V288Yards.jpg

Art Eatman
July 22, 2010, 09:58 AM
Well, I figure that if it works on prairie dogs, something as big as a woodchuck oughta be a gimme. :D

Geno
July 22, 2010, 10:07 AM
Art:

Yeah, we don't get many prairie dogs in Michigan's bean and tatter fields. :o The reason I bought the NF 12-42 with the NP-RR1 reticle is because it has both the 9" circles and 18" bars for ranging abilities. Once I finally get a chance to get "west-of-Michigan", I can hopefully get a crack at some prairie dogs. That's one tiny critter!

Geno

Rokman
July 22, 2010, 02:00 PM
My 1:9 AR shoots great with 69gr. match bullets.

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