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Best .223 under $1200

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by 52grain, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. 52grain

    52grain Well-Known Member

    I recently found out about a 600 range sort of nearby, though I don't plan to shoot past 200 yards for the time being. I want to practice with something that has widely available, relatively cheap ammo and have settled on .223. I will look into a .308 at some point in the future, if I decide that I want to shoot 600 yards and get good enough.

    Budget including scope is $1200 max, would like to keep it under $1000 if I can. I would like a varmint barrel, preferably stainless steel, and laminated stock without a thumbhole, preferably Monte Carlo I am looking at a few models:
    1) Savage 12BVSS (no Monte Carlo stock)
    2) Savage 12 varminter low profile (no Monte Carlo stock)
    3) Remington 700 VLS (no stainless steel barrel)
    4) Howa Varminter Supreme
    5) Thompson/Center Icon (no stainless steel barrel)

    I've been looking for used rifles, but have not had any luck finding anything. I am looking for out of the box accuracy. The most comfortable gun that I have held was the Howa, followed closely by the Remington.

    Does anyone have any experience with any of these models, particularly the Howa and Thompson/Center? Are there any other models that I should be looking at? I shoot right handed if anyone is wondering.
  2. 52grain

    52grain Well-Known Member

    I almost forgot the Ruger M77 Mark II Target Grey.
  3. sjohn26

    sjohn26 Well-Known Member

    While .223 will reach 600 yds----what are you trying to accomplish? Punching paper - or an effective hit - 308 will serve you better at 600Y
  4. Ditch-Tiger

    Ditch-Tiger Well-Known Member

    My thoughts...
    -Savage, very accurate and most everyone who owns one is happy with theirs although i personally think they are ugly. (i can't stand the barrel nut, but thats just me)
    -Remington, great guns but if you don't buy the new ones with semi-decent triggers you will probably want to splurge on an aftermarket one. Check out the 700SPS-V they are cheeper than the VLS so you'll have extra change to spend on the scope.
    -Ruger, love them and actually have the the older 77V in .243, no complaints.
    -Howa, not impressed with them. Weatherby actually pays them to make their Vanguard barrels, and although the Vanguards are guarenteed to shoot 1MOA, they do this to ensure the Vanguards won't outshoot the Mark5's...not cool!
    Icon, has not been out long enough to proove itself, plus i think T/C just recalled a bunch. I try to wait a few year before buying somthing to give the company time to work out the bugs.

    Look into the Tikka T3 line and the C-Z 527V for affordable accurate rifles.
    I have a 527V that is factory stock and shoots factory ammo sub 1/2 MOA all day long!!! It also has a single stage trigger that is user adjustable for travel, over-travel and poundage! Great gun and one of my favorites out of 38! that says somthing!
  5. 52grain

    52grain Well-Known Member

    I don't plan on shooting past 200 yards at this point and it will only be punching paper- rifle won't be used for hunting.
  6. The answer to this question is, without a doubt, the Icon Precision Hunter:


    Why WOULDN'T you get the one CERTIFIED to shoot sub-1 MOA (certified, not merely guaranteed), with ALL of the other features of the Icon? You'd be crazy not to get that fine rifle.

    The answer would be completely different (Howa/Vanguard/Savage) if the QUESTION was different (i.e. best under $800).
  7. ThePunisher'sArmory

    ThePunisher'sArmory Well-Known Member

    remington 700:D
  8. something vague

    something vague Well-Known Member

    If you can find one I would highly recommend a Sako Model 75 Varmint stainless with laminate stock. It pretty much covers everything on your list on wants, monte carlo stock, varmint barrel, stainless, beautiful laminate stock, and is right in your price range. I just recently picked one up brand new at my local gun shop for $1025 after taxes which turns out to be a hell of a deal. But mine is chambered for the amazing 22-250, which sounds as though this caliber would fit your bill. Although they do chamber them for .223 as well. I reload for mine and can hit between 1/4-1/2MOA all day long out to around 300yds. Check 'em out, I know you wouldn't be dissapointed!
  9. 52grain

    52grain Well-Known Member

    Anyone know how long the Icon has been out?
  10. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    right now, out of the box, it seems no one can touch the Savage top end benchrest/varmint rifles. A team Savage dude, this year, pulled one out of the box, at a nationals competition, and won, with a very tiny group.
    Now then, he was using the benchrest/thumbhole stock version, but I wouldn't hesitate to get the varmint version either. If you don't like the stock, put a Mcmillan or some other aftermarket stock on it.

    After that, I am real curious on the T/c Icons, if they can do what they say.
    And some 72 and 75 grainers can get you out to 600 yds , easy. 70's are a bit on the light side, and can move a bit more in the wind.
    and the above can still be mag fed, or box fed. the 80's are a single load proposition.
  11. rskent

    rskent Well-Known Member

    If you want to have some fun, why don’t you forget the scope and get a 20” AR15-A2 with a 1in7 twist barrel and a sling. Shooting service rifle is the most aggravating and the most satisfying shooting I have ever done. For 200 yards you just don’t need a scope. Come to think of it you don’t for 600.
    Just a thought
  12. finfanatic

    finfanatic Well-Known Member

  13. LTR shooter

    LTR shooter Well-Known Member

    Currently own a 12BVSS in .223 and it has fired some extremely good target groups for me but it is hard to get get consistent groups with this particular rifle. The barrel had a tendency to foul very quickly. The bedding on my 12BVSS will need some work too. Once I am finished with it I am sure it will provide a high level of accuracy consistently. The 12BVSS is a 1 in 9" twist and I have used up to 69 grains with grest results.

    The Accu-Trigger is quite good right out of the box. Mine was right at 2.25lbs , very crisp. Although I went ahead and had a Sharp Shooter Supply trigger installed.

    Used to own a 1 in 12" twist 700 VLS. Using my reloads with the 52 Berger match it was capable of excellent accuracy. I did need to free float the barrel to realize the accuracy potential. Have a VLS Thumbhole stainless that I have not yet fired.

    The most accurate of all my .223s is my 700LTR. A similar rifle can be had for much less in the 700 SPS Tactical. A 1 in 9" twist will allow heavier bullets for to be used if you want to try target shooting past 200 yards.
  14. duck911

    duck911 Well-Known Member

    If only that VLS came in a 1-9" twist! It would be the perfect choice, especially for 600 yard work. As it is, the VLS with a 1-12" twist (which is what they have coming from the factory) should do well at 200 yards if you keep your bullets under, say, 55 or 60 grains.

    Of the rifles you have listed, I would go with the Savage 12 low. It has the faster twist, a decent out of the box (accu)trigger, GREAT accuracy, and looks decent for the money.

  15. MJR007

    MJR007 Well-Known Member

    Leave the rifles at home for a few weekends and help out at the range. Ask some questions. Doors and information will open. Buying the race team is different than driven the car. Good luck.
  16. alemonkey

    alemonkey Well-Known Member

    It's not the same gun as the ones you list, although it's the same action, but my Savage 12FV in .223 is the most accurate gun I own.
  17. something vague

    something vague Well-Known Member

    I was playing with a Savage 12BVSS at the gun shop the other day and was kind of bummed out by the way the bolt lock-up felt. Once I had the bolt rotated fully down I was able to easily wiggle it up and down as if there was no friction at all. I've never handled a bolt action of any make that felt that way. Has anyone else noticed this feature in any of their Savage bolts. Do you suppose there was some sort of manufaturing error on the one I played with (it was brand new)?
  18. docsleepy

    docsleepy Well-Known Member

    12FV stock is cheap enough that you won't feel bad learning how to bed the rifle on it. I suggest Devcon. There are plenty of tutorials available.

    Once bedded, my groups got smaller and fliers were reduced. 12FV .223, 1:9 twist, I've been able to use up to the 75 grain A-max successfully. 5-shot groups now right at or under 0.5 inch much of the time. This is competitive at my local club's "factory" benchrest (which requires bipod for "factory").

    Best results so far with me are are Hornady 68 grain bthp loaded .015 off where I measured the lands to be (and I may not be completely accurate on that latter measurement). Gun was $475, and I bet I have $250 in my basic reloading equipment. Spent another $300 on a RCBS automatic powder dispensing system (heaven!!).

    Once comfortable with bedding the recoil lug, action, etc on a $15 stock, you can easily find a quality stock of any type that you desire, and bed it to that same action. You can have the action improved by Nat Lambeth or other gunsmiths who will true the edge of the receiver and nut, and possibly the lugs as well. There are also timing things / bushing to be done to the firing pin if desired. A replacement barrel $300 seems to get the accuracy down into the 0.25" 5 shot 100 yard group range, based on my reading.

    Extremely CHEAP fun learning. Similar with the Remington, where the options are slightly more expensive for the future possibilities go all the way to replacing the action with a custom 700-style benchrest action ($750 or more) if you want to go that far.
  19. jd46561

    jd46561 Well-Known Member

  20. JonB

    JonB Well-Known Member

    Of those you listed, I would opt for the Savage 12bvss. I really like those and have on more than one occasion almost bought it. Since I have all my needs covered, the 12bvss is my next 'want'.

    Oh yeah - check on CZ as well. Very nice rifle with a single set trigger. Should be in the same ballpark for cost as the Savage

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