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.223 vs .308 for primarily bench/target

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by fish2xs, Mar 21, 2003.

  1. fish2xs

    fish2xs Well-Known Member

    I was finally able to see/hold a new Savage 10fp w/ a choate varmint stock last night. Nice rifle, but I'm still shaking from overall sticker shock. I'll probably spend a little more time looking for pre-owned rifles while I'm saving the discretionary funds.

    I thought I had the 233/308 debate sorted out in my head, and was leaning towards 223 primarily based on (Walmart) ammo cost. The guy at the store told me that I may want to rethink that decision. He told me that at further distances, 308 will perform better - and a nearby range opened up a 600 yard target recently.

    Given that I'm probably delaying this purchase, what is the collective wisdom out there on 223 vs 308. I'm not going roll my own ammo.

  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    If you absolutely refuse to handload, you're screwed. Why do I say that? Because you have sticker shock from the Savage. .223 will perform as well as a .308 at 600 on paper, but reloading for it is almost compulsory to achieve that (and a fast twist barrel IS compulsory). When you reload for the two, the cost goes down tremendously for both, but .223 is MUCH cheaper than .308. If you won't reload, then .308 is the choice and you wil pay a much higher price for that ammo.

    Hornady now makes a round for match shooters using LC cases and 75 grain HPBT bullets. It is a great load and shows that it will hold 1 MOA at 600. The price of this loaded round is surprisingly low. You will still need a fast twist barrel.
  3. bogie

    bogie Well-Known Member

    Take $100, buy the minimum loading setup, and roll yer own. Trust us. We been there, done dat...
  4. dakotasin

    dakotasin Well-Known Member

    i concur w/ the above posters...if you are serious about shooting beyond 300 yards, roll your own.

    as for 223 v. 308, i'd take the 308 everytime for shooting beyond 300 yards...i have both, and prefer the 308 (by a wide margin) over the 223. if you roll your own, the 223 can do ok at 600 yards. if you roll your own, the 308 is even better...
  5. larryw

    larryw Well-Known Member

    At $25+ for a box of 20 cartridges of match 308 ammo, its easy to justify the cost of a reloading setup. Add to the equation the stunning accuracy a stock rifle can achieve with properly worked up loads, and your path is clear.
  6. ShaiVong

    ShaiVong Well-Known Member

    At present I don't reload my own bullets, but then again I dont have a rifle that deserves it ;)

    How much should i be looking to spend, sticker, for a basic but complete reloading setup? I would assume used would just be less than.
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    You can do it in less than $100 with the Lee Anniversary kit, but I would suggest you add a few bones to that and shop for better quality used equipment. You can be well equipped for less than $150.
  8. BHP9

    BHP9 member

    Good question, difficult answer & another thought

    I agree with almost all of the above answers your recieved in regards to your original question.

    But heres another thought.

    No matter which caliber you choose you will come to be bored with your choice very quickly. Both calibers are very accurate and you will reach a point of extreme bordom shooting one hole groups very quickly. I am not being facetious.

    Why not try competition like NRA High Power Rifle shooting. Save your money for a heavy barrel AR15 and try competition. It will be much cheaper in the long run becuase you will not be constantly wanting to go out and buy another and another firearm in an attempt to cure your boredom.

    You will also become a real rifleman not just a sand bag plinker. You will learn how to hit targets at 200 yards from the standing position and you will learn rapid fire from the sitting and prone positions.

    Its much more of a challenge and gives far more satisfaction than the temporary satisfaction of just another firearms purchase.

    You can start out realtively cheaply by starting out with a bolt action gun like say a Swedish 6.5 mm rifle or any other clip loading rifle. You will need to reload rapidly in the rapid fire events in this competition so you will need a clip loading rifle.

    P/S. Handloading ammo is more than half the fun of shooting. Its much more satisfying to shoot with ammo you created yourself than using store bought amm not to mention how much cheaper it can be.
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    BHP9, thank you for not making me be the only one to push HP on folks! :D
  10. Pheonix

    Pheonix Well-Known Member

    I reload .308 and at about 18 cents/round (already had the brass) it is well worth the time and money. I jumped right into reloading with both feet. I bought everything (RCBS Master, tumbler etc.) before I opened the first box.
  11. RTownsend

    RTownsend Well-Known Member

    I found the cheap ammo to not be very cost effective. The ammo wasn't consistent enough to tell if the error was me or the ammo.

    I bought my 10FP in .223 to be a high volume shooter. I planned to use the 55 Gn. FMJ Win. value pack from Wal-Mart. I then found out that I could barely hold 1 MOA at 100 yards with the cheap ammo. I did use it at 600 yards but had trouble shooting good groups.

    I couldn't afford to buy match ammo so I started reloading and haven't looked back. It is incredible to be able to go out and shoot one hole groups for pennies.

    My .223 does well at 600 yards, even in the wind.
  12. Nero Steptoe

    Nero Steptoe member

    "the 223 can do ok at 600 yards. if you roll your own, the 308 is even better..."

    Anybody got Camp Perry results for the past two or three years??
  13. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Since most of my reloading equipment is well over 30 years old, I tend to recommend looking for used stuff at gunshows.

    I've been working up "just huntin'" rifles for over 50 years. I got as good accuracy from loads from an old 1940s Pacific "C" press as from an RCBS "O" press. I have no troubles with a couple of old beam-type balances in weighing my powder charges.

    Looking ahead, there can be profit in buying the newest designs in the dies, but used stuff when first starting out will provide quite adequate loads.

  14. twoblink

    twoblink Well-Known Member

    You people are EVIL!!


    You people are evil; it's people like you that makes my already expensive hobby... even more expensive!!! :banghead:

    Now _I_ need to start rolling my own..

    Must resist the dark side...:D
  15. RTownsend

    RTownsend Well-Known Member

    twoblink - You have got it all wrong. Reloading is cheaper than buying factory ammo. Just think of all the money you will sav..umm, well you will get to shoot more, much more.
  16. larryw

    larryw Well-Known Member

    Reloading saves money? ROTFLOL

    Hang onto your wallet, because as soon as you start getting upset by 5-shot groups that are larger than 1/2MOA, you're done.

    Face it RT, we are evil :evil:
  17. twoblink

    twoblink Well-Known Member

    Don't even start RT!!


    You don't think I have seen what reloading does to a man? You don't think I have seen men who walk around... ARMED with a caliper? :D

    Nope, rolling your own is cheaper if you don't care too much about quality and consistancy... But if you don't, why bother rolling your own? Also, probably a lot cheaper if you shoot large calibers..

    Must resist RT's evil voodoo spell...:p

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