223 or 243 for Varmints


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bigtee
January 13, 2013, 10:26 PM
Going to buy a rifle to set up for varmint hunting and I'm torn between a 223 or 243. I'm looking at the Savage model 10 Predator Hunter in 243 and the Savage model 10 Precision in 223. I'm set up to reload both, already have some good bullets for both, so ammo is not a problem. Guess I'm looking for some pro's and con's or maybe just someone's opinion. Let me know what you think.

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NeuseRvrRat
January 13, 2013, 10:31 PM
what sort of varmints? what range?

jmr40
January 13, 2013, 10:32 PM
For strictly varmits, 223, no doubt in my mind. The 243 will do it, but it was designed as a dual purpose varmit/deer round. If deer are a possibility too, I'd use the 243.

allaroundhunter
January 13, 2013, 10:41 PM
jmr40 said it, solely for varmint hunting, the .223 is easily the best choice.

bigtee
January 13, 2013, 10:44 PM
Will be used for coyotes mainly and shots where I hunt will probably never be over 175 to 200 yards.

NeuseRvrRat
January 13, 2013, 10:48 PM
in that case, i'd suggest the .223

mtlucas0311
January 13, 2013, 10:52 PM
The guys my best friend coyote hunts with all use 204 Ruger, 223, or 22-250; and they kill A LOT of them every year. They say the 243 does to much damage to the hyde. So I'd agree with what other posters have said. If you were really reaching out there, 6mm has some really good heavy match bullets available, but it sounds like they aren't to far out.

gobysky
January 13, 2013, 11:10 PM
I have the Savage 243 Predator rifle, love it. Bought it because I can't get 223 ammo right now. Have a very nice DPMS AR, but what good is it as a ammo-less paper weight?

browningguy
January 14, 2013, 12:06 AM
It sounds like for your hunting the .223 will do well, it's what I use for under 300 yards on coyotes etc. When you really need to reach out there though the .243 Winchester is an excellent round, with the 107 SMK it will shoot them a lot farther than I am capable of.

mljdeckard
January 14, 2013, 12:09 AM
I concur with post 3. However, for a bolt rifle I would use 22-250, not .223. I would use .223 from an AR.

22-rimfire
January 14, 2013, 12:14 AM
The 223 should do you just fine. My first rifle was a .243 and it was used for both whitetail deer and varmint hunting. Technically, the 223 with proper bullets will do okay with deer it you make the proper hits. But I don't advocate a 223 for deer hunting. An AR makes a fine varmint rig.

Inebriated
January 14, 2013, 12:31 AM
I'll take the .243...

58grn VMAX loads are absolutely incredible...

Kind of low as far as sectional density goes, but it's still very flat-shooting, and carries 3900 FPS at the muzzle... perfect for Varmint, IMO. Also, .243 bullets and loaded ammo are available right now! Good luck finding .223!

gobysky
January 14, 2013, 06:52 AM
I'll take the .243...

58grn VMAX loads are absolutely incredible...

Kind of low as far as sectional density goes, but it's still very flat-shooting, and carries 3900 FPS at the muzzle... perfect for Varmint, IMO. Also, .243 bullets and loaded ammo are available right now! Good luck finding .223!
Don't mean to hijack this thread by any means, but what rifle and what rate of twist are you using? I'm not getting a very good grouping with this round at 1:9.25 twist. Seems to do better with the slower / heavier FPS ammo.

KevininPa
January 14, 2013, 07:03 AM
.....anything but .223. Every time Obama nods his head .223 is scarce. I have a Remington pump 7615 in .223. It doesn't get used much lately. Just might take it to my gunsmith to see if he can do something to change it over to .222.

mcdonl
January 14, 2013, 07:07 AM
Depends.... as a fur trapper I prefer .223 with Barnes Varmint grenades as it preserves the fur.....

While hunting deer, or any other game I will take a shot with whatever I have on me.

Inebriated
January 14, 2013, 07:07 AM
Don't mean to hijack this thread by any means, but what rifle and what rate of twist are you using? I'm not getting a very good grouping with this round at 1:9.25 twist. Seems to do better with the slower / heavier FPS ammo.

I honestly couldn't tell you... I shot 20 rounds of it out of a Savage Axis (1:9.25"). I took a quick 3-shot group, adjusted zero, took another 3-shot group, and then used the rest on some cans of soda. The target I used to zero was a 3" circle, and the groups were both right around 1.5" - 2" at 120 yards, shooting off a front rest. I have read mixed reports on the shorter bullets in 1:9.25" barrels, so it could easily just be that your rifle doesn't like it. I've been trying to find some Superformance VMAX again, and properly group them, but I haven't seen them anywhere in some quite a while.

mcdonl
January 14, 2013, 07:08 AM
.....anything but .223. Every time Obama nods his head .223 is scarce. I have a Remington pump 7615 in .223. It doesn't get used much lately. Just might take it to my gunsmith to see if he can do something to change it over to .222.

I dont want to get off topic, but throwing in the towel is not in anyones best interest.

Fight for your right to KEEP your .223.....

jehu
January 14, 2013, 08:03 AM
22-250 will get you farther flatter faster!!:eek:

KevininPa
January 14, 2013, 08:08 AM
I dont want to get off topic, but throwing in the towel is not in anyones best interest.

Fight for your right to KEEP your .223.....
Don't get me wrong, I'm not worried about .223 becoming illegal, banned, whatever. Definitely not getting rid of my pump. It's too much fun to shoot! Renewed my NRA membership, contacted reps, etc.

I just want to see if my 'smith can reline the barrel or something for a caliber that's on the shelves during every scare. The AR guys clean out the shelves every crisis, thus rendering my pump almost useless. I'm not a hoarder in that caliber, it's the only rifle I have that shoots it. Fun camp gun.

Hokkmike
January 14, 2013, 08:30 AM
What JMR40 said!

beatledog7
January 14, 2013, 10:01 AM
I went through the centerfire varmint rifle decision a couple years ago and went with a bolt action .223 over my other short list cartridges, .243, 6mm, .204 Ruger and 22-250.

Reasons: ammo availability and price (now not such a clear win for .223), reloading economy, barrel life, eventual ammo compatibility with AR, no need to use it for deer-sized game.

303tom
January 14, 2013, 10:31 AM
Get the .243 Winchester..............

rcmodel
January 14, 2013, 12:13 PM
If you aren't fur harvesting?

.243 or 22-250.

Decisively better coyote killers then the .223, as far as you can see them.

BTDT too many times to count.

rc

oldpapps
January 14, 2013, 01:48 PM
Everybody's got an opinion, here is mine and why.

You are set up to load both - even.

You have voiced the weapon (both bolts) you want - even.

Coy-dogs at 200 yards - 243 carries farther/flatter, .223 less recoil (quicker follow up shots) - edge to the .243.

Cost for consumables - bullets a little less for the .224s, powder a little less used in .223, brass was more available and cheaper for the .223, primers are the same - edge to the .223.

Counting the number of rounds to be fired, I'd go with the .243.

Your dime, your time and your enjoyment.

helotaxi
January 14, 2013, 02:21 PM
Don't mean to hijack this thread by any means, but what rifle and what rate of twist are you using? I'm not getting a very good grouping with this round at 1:9.25 twist. Seems to do better with the slower / heavier FPS ammo.
I've got a Savage with a fast twist Shilen 26" barrel, 1:8 twist. It will shoot the 55-58gn varmint bullets into nice tight little knots and will do the same with every bullet that I've tried feeding it up to the 105gn Berger VLDs, 105gn Amax and the 107gn Nosler Custom comps. Don't get wrapped up in barrel rate of twist for the light bullets at all. It simply isn't a factor.

On the whole, if you plan on shooting any time in the next six months or so, the .243 is the better choice. .224 cal bullets are very hard to come by right now which affects both the .223 and the .22-250. .223 brass is rare and very expensive when you can find it right now. As far as effect on coyotes, either will drop them. The .243 will do a slightly more spectacular and much more decisive job of it.

mnhntr
January 14, 2013, 02:38 PM
.223 would be the right choice. The .243 is in most cases a fur destroyer. I have seen it fur friendly with certain loads but for yotes out to 400yds the .223 or .22-250 is tops. The .17s and .204 are not all they are cracked up to be either.

Loc n Load
January 15, 2013, 09:04 AM
I have shot coyotes and other varmints with the .223 for 40 years....my "go to" rifle is a Rem 788.....compared to what is out on the market today, it is certainly not "state of the art", but I put in in a Ramline synthetic stock, bedded it years ago and have a original Weaver 4X12 scope on it......it has accounted for several hundred coyotes, ground hogs, feral dogs, etc. Solved the problem with 223 brass by stock piling a couple barrels of the LC mil stuff.
At one time I even went to the trouble to make my own 22 jackets from 22rf brass.....the .223 will serve you well.

Blackrock
January 15, 2013, 09:56 AM
Varmints cover a wide range in my book so I have a variety of rifles to cover all types. I do like
.222 and .223 for Yotes but I will also use my Stevens 200 22-250 if I am shooting over big open fields. For days with some wind I will use my .243 with a Hornady 87g HPBT.

I do have the luxury of having seven different rifles in these calibers and love them all.

mljdeckard
January 15, 2013, 10:55 AM
loc n load, how difficult is that swaging process? Does it make 55 gr bullets? I don't cast, but that's something I would like to know how to do if I had to.

788Ham
January 15, 2013, 11:39 AM
I vote for the .223 round. I've shot hundreds of P-dogs and a few coyotes with this rifle, never had any run away with a well placed shot. The .223 is easy to reload for, bullet variety is somewhat scarce right now, I've got quite a few stashed away. Less powder to reload than the .243.

stubbicatt
January 15, 2013, 06:03 PM
No matter who you talk to there will be those who naysay one or the other caliber. It is my experience that with a well placed shot any of these can be one shot stoppers. However, for marginally placed shots, there really is no substitute for velocity and shock it imparts into living tissue. For this reason, a lighter bullet in 243 is a better choice than a similar weight bullet in a 223.

If I am shooting prairie dogs, I like 223 due to the cost savings. If coyotes, then I prefer the 243 with the 87 gr Hornady HPBT.

I have seen folks shoot coyotes with 20 cal, and have heard of others taken with a 17. But again, good, solid marksmanship is the determining factor.

If you are recoil sensitive, perhaps the smaller caliber would be a better choice.

MLJDeckard, Corbin swaging company can sell you the tools necessary to make .224" bullets out of .22 long rifle spent cases, or other materials. It is not a whole lot more difficult than handloading, but it is a different set of skills.

bigtee
January 16, 2013, 07:48 AM
Thanks very much for the info and advise. I went with the 223, ordered it yesterday and should have it by the weekend. Started working on some brass last night to get test loads ready. I hope it likes 55gr stuff, seem to have a lot of that.

Loc n Load
January 16, 2013, 09:21 AM
As Stubbicatt mentioned, Corbin can supply everything you need to swage bullets.....I got into it back in the 80's cause I couldn't cast bullets that would run at the velocities in my rifles that I wanted. The swaging process is fairly straight forward, but also as Stubbicatt pointed out, it requires a different skill set. Yes it will make 55 gr, bullets....Corbin will make you dies for whatever confiq., or bullet weight you want.
Making jackets out of 22 rf cases, require them to be run thru a die and formed, then the lead wire of the proper diameter is swaged into the case. The barss 22 rf jackets proved to be more frangible than the copper jackets of the day and when these 55 gr. JHP's were loaded to .223 velocities, they were explosive on Coyotes, fox, did minimal fur damage.
I got the same satisfaction from making jacketed rifle bullets as I did casting pistol/revolver. SWaging does require an initial investment, but Corbin makes quality equipment and I have been using mine to crank out jacketed bullets since the 80's. It is going to depend on how much you shoot, whether the initial cost will be worth it.....good shooting.

303tom
January 16, 2013, 09:29 AM
With the same weight bullet the .243 Win. is some 800 fps faster & imparts some 800 ft. lbs. more energy than does the .223 Rem...............

helotaxi
January 16, 2013, 01:10 PM
^^And also has a lower sectional density meaning that it should upset much more violently and penetrate even less than a like weight .224 bullet.

Lupinus
January 16, 2013, 08:05 PM
For the use and range you mentioned, I'd go .223. Overkill is nice, but not a necessity.

In the .223 you get-

Lower cost per round.
Lower recoil.
Not as loud.
Longer barrel life (though admittedly, for hunting purposes the .243 lasts just fine for a long time. Still, .223 will last longer)
Plenty of power for the intended game at the intended range, with plenty of room on the back end for occasional longer shots as required or present themselves.
Typically, depending on the model of course, youget a little higher ammo capacity in a .223 rifle.

I'm a big .243 fan, but would only step up to it if you want to have a more multipurpose rifle or leave your options open should you want it to be such at a later time.

Ken70
January 16, 2013, 10:57 PM
Why do you want to shoot the coyotes? They are around my house, I can hear them at night in the summer when the door is open. Not a destructive pest like prairie dogs or groundhogs, just curious....

mljdeckard
January 16, 2013, 11:00 PM
The state of Utah gives me fifty reasons each. No license, no season, no limit.

Lupinus
January 17, 2013, 05:02 AM
Why do you want to shoot the coyotes? They are around my house, I can hear them at night in the summer when the door is open. Not a destructive pest like prairie dogs or groundhogs, just curious....
Destructive disease spreading livestock and pet harassing buggers.

Coyotes fall into the realm of SOS.

stubbicatt
January 17, 2013, 07:37 AM
Coyotes fall into the realm of SOS.
SOS? I don't follow.....

Art Eatman
January 17, 2013, 12:44 PM
.223 was the choice. :)

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