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Cheapest centerfire rifle caliber to shoot?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by NelsErik, Dec 26, 2009.

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  1. NelsErik

    NelsErik Member

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    I want to get into shooting benchrest and reloading. I've never reloaded anything. What rifle round will be the cheapest to shoot? I would like to get a Savage with the Accu-trigger and Accu-stock, bolt action or an ar-15/10 setup. What caliber should I look for? I'll mostly do target practice in the desert, but could hunt varmints or deer. What about reloading equipment?

    I would like to be able to shoot a lot so cost per bullet is important. I would rather spend my money on the gun versus per shot.

    I currently shoot about a 500 rnds of 9mm and 1,000 rnds of .22 a week.

    Thanks,

    Nels Erik
     
  2. cbrgator

    cbrgator Member

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  3. fireman 9731

    fireman 9731 Member

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    .223 will probably be the cheapest with the requirements you listed.

    If you just want a centerfire round to blast and have fun with, 7.62x39 in an AK and 7.62x54 in a Mosin Nagant is dirt cheap with surplus ammo. Reloading and pretty good accuracy are possible with these calibers, but not nearly as cheap or easy as the .223.
     
  4. WNTFW

    WNTFW Member

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    Smaller caliber generally means less powder and less lead. You won't save a whole lot of money when using highend bullets though. You will load about 100 more rounds per pound of powder with .223 vs .308. So that is about $8.00 a hundred rounds. You can figure it out closer depending on particular load & powder.

    Look at F Class T/R it is probably the easiest thing to start in in terms of equipment requirements. The 2 rounds for the class are .223 & .308. Both have target & hunting bullets available. Just make sure .223 is legal for what you want to hunt in your area.

    Look at which calibers are dominating benchrest if that is what you want to do. Some calibers don't have great barrel life so take that into account.

    I'd go single stage and put the money into a giraud trimmer for reloading equip.
     
  5. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...shooting benchrest..." There's benchrest shooting and shooting from a bench. Ain't the same thing. Reloading and the rifles used are totally different for both. I'm guessing you mean shooting off a bench.
    Buy a copy of The ABC's of Reloading first.
    "...could hunt varmints or deer..." Varmints, yes, but the .223 isn't legal for deer, everywhere. Check your local hunting regs.
    A Savage rifle will do nicely, but the chambering is important if you want a varmint and deer rifle. Their Model 11 FCNS in .223 will do nicely. Has the rifling twist for heavy bullets. 70ish grains depending on the bullet construction. The same rifle in .243 would be a better choice. You still have to use the right bullet though. .243 ammo comes in varmint and deer sized game bullets. Deer bullets are usually 85 grains and up. There's no reason not to use deer bullets for varmints. Shooting varmints is great practice for deer season.
    The .223 will kill deer, but the bullet used and rifling twist is critical. Varmint bullets are designed to expand rapidly upon impact with little penetration. Varmint bullets are NOT suitable for deer sized game. Deer sized game requires penetration with controlled expansion. .223 bullets must be made for deer sized game. Think heavy bullets. The rifling twist must be for heavy bullets too. A fast twist is good for heavy bullets. The Savage 1 in 9 will do nicely.
     
  6. kk0g

    kk0g Member

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    You're wise to consider bullet cost as the determining factor in keeping reloading expenses down. Keep your choices down to something that can shoot either the .223 or .308 caliber bulk bullets that are marketed to varmint/target shooters and you're in business.
     
  7. NWCP

    NWCP Member

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    The least expensive centerfire cartridge I've found to be the .223. The 7.62x39 may be less expensive, but I've yet to a hunting rifle that is all that accurate when chambered in the 7.62x39. I have a bolt action CZ in .223 so I'm not at the range playing like Rambo and seeing how many rounds I can burn up in an afternoon so the .223 works well for me. I t makes for a heck of a varmint/predator rifle as well as a fun paper puncher.
     
  8. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Member

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    The discipline itself dictates the caliber, the cost is secondary. Decide what part of 'benchrest' type of shooting your going to do, then chose your caliber accordingly.
    As for the 223 for long range(1000y) work...NO!
    You will need a dedicated benchrest quality round...and rifle.

    If on the other hand your just going to play at it...shoot off a bench, the 223 is great, it can be accurate and comparatively speaking is relatively cheap to use.

    Sounds to me you want to bang around a lot, as you said. The 223 will be excellent for that.

    However...I don't care how many stories abound of the awesomeness of the 223 for dispatching deer sized animals.....NO!
    As Sunray said, it is not a good choice for deer! Period!

    Your choice in the Savage rifle is spot on, the Savage design lends itself to higher levels of accuracy while being less expensive to manufacture than some of the other designs, The 1:7 twist would benefit you for the longer and heavier bullets you will need to use in the 223 for distance shooting.

    Look into the '12 series of the Savage line...the 12LRPV(p/n18145) 223 1:7.
    the 12VLP(p/n18464) 223 1:7.

    There are many slower twist 223's available from Savage also if you intend to use shorter, lighter bullets.

    Remington offers many excellent rifles chambered in the 223, but none with anything faster than a 1:9(unless custom shop or 40X stuff), which would be good enough, unless, like I say, your going long with longer and heavier bullets.Side note: Remington has suffered from shoddy quality as of late...FYI.
     
  9. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    Probably 223 Remington and handload using your own handcast lead bullets and surplus WCC844 or WCC846 powder. Opens up a whole new avenue of time consumption and aggravation; FUN,FUN,FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  10. NelsErik

    NelsErik Member

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    Hey Guys,
    Thanks for the information. Maybe I should expand on my question a little. My dad and brothers shoot "benchrest", a lot! We have about 50 acres in the Arizona desert and have our own range. It has targets at set every 200 yards out to 1,000 yards and every 500 yards out to 2,500 yards. To become "one of the family" you have to hit the 600 target 8/10 times.

    My best is 5/10 with my brothers 6.5 grendel. My dad just started shooting 6.5 Creedmoor with a semi-custom Savage, but he can hit all the targets pretty easily with whatever he wants. They shoot a lot of .50 BMG too. I won't get to shoot the .50 until I can hit the target 8/10, that's one of the rules.

    My dad and my three brothers were all in the military and my youngest brother just got back from Afghanistan. He lost his right leg. We use to be pretty tight and do a lot of things together. Now all he wants to do is shoot. The deal is pretty much this, if you can't hit the target 8/10 they won't talk to you about anything, including rifles and reloading. Once you hit the target you are "in". My older brother Kelly just got his on Christmas Eve. They might be at the range for four or five hours and only fire the guns 15 times, but hit the bullseye probably 12/15.

    Sorry for the incomplete original post. I'm looking for a long range round that I can reload the cheapest. I have $2,500 set a side for the gun and optics, although I was going to try to use the Leupold VX-3L off my .22-250 at first. The Leupold VX-3L is just dumb on the .22-250 and my dad laughs at me when I use.

    Thanks,
    Nels Erik
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  11. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

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    I agree with the consensus, .223! This is a solid 300 yard cartridge, very effective on cyote size small game and its just plain fun to shoot. I'm reloading 55 gr Hornady SP's, Remington brass, H-4895, and Wolf SRM primers for 22 cents/round.:D

    Feel free to compare the factory stuff at $1/round.:D
     
  12. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Member

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    The 300 Whisper is very stingy with powder and will let you get out to 600 yards. You can use the 240 grain sierra match kings for long range and shoot anything from rabbits to deer with a 150-165 grain bullet. Works great as an AR 15 Upper.

    An unlikely consideration is a 45-70. You could shoot all the way out to a mile on reasonable powder charges. Also great for closer in work but not the kind of round you will routinely colverleaf with at much over 100 yards!
     
  13. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

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    For 500-800 meters, look at the 260 Remington, although its a specialized cartridge, limited bullets and brass supply. The .308 is also great at this range, I can reload it for 45 cents/round, the bullet styles and weights are mind boggling, ammo availability is really good and its proven. I think the .308 would serve you very nicely.
     
  14. berettashotgun

    berettashotgun Member

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    Get a 308 based case and choose 6 - 6.5 - 7mm bullets. 243,6mm rem, 260 rem, 7mm-08
    All excellent for what you want to do.
    I'd MUCH rather have a 6XC chambering for performance vs. reloading/shooting cost but the initial cash outlay is ridiculous.
    A 223 with a 1-7 twist is nice, but those 70+gr bullets for the 22 are pretty high; actually in the same price range as the 7mm target grade bullets from Berger or Sierra. Nosler makes some sweet 224 bullets and a 105(?)gr 6mm match bullet. I bought some of the 6mm/243 Noslers, but have yet to try them.
    Not much of a difference in these cost-per-round AFTER the dies. Loaded rounds per pound of powder tilts in favor of a smaller case. duh:rolleyes:
    Powder and primers are at an all time high right now, I'd check availability of these components and include that in my process.
    The Savage "seems" to be a fair rifle value in their target models, and the barrel cost and ease of changing them makes for more value in a rifle.
    I do NOT own a Savage centerfire, but have the muzzleloader and will say that accu-trigger is the best factory trigger I have purchased on a "MADE IN THE USA" rifle. That trigger is more meaningful for accuracy than a lot of stuff for sale now days.
    You have a pretty cool Dad. Consider yourself lucky; he might seem like a hard-a$$ at times - but you will get some good lessons on the cheap.
    You did say something about saving money - right?
     
  15. Erik M

    Erik M Member

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    varmit/target = .223
    blasting/plinking/close range target = 7.62x39

    and you can get a Saiga chambered in either of those calibers n.i.b. for less than $400.
     
  16. memphisjim

    memphisjim Member

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    5.45x39mm
     
  17. Brimic

    Brimic Member

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    As far as reloading goes, brass is the most expensive component, but it can be reused. The next most expensive is the bullet. Long range .224" bullets in the 75-90 gr range aren't that much cheaper than 6mm or 6.5mm bullets. You are talking a couple of cents per round difference if that. Primers cost about the same. You'll use about 1/2 as much powder in a .223 than in a 260 rem or .243, but once again, you are talking about a few cents per load. When you move up tot .30 calibers the price goes up a bit more.

    I would go with a .243/260rem/7mm-08, or one of the various other 6.5mm chamberings.
     
  18. NelsErik

    NelsErik Member

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    So the Creedmoor might be a good option? Anyone reload Creedmoor? About how much per round does it work out to? My dad's new Savage in Creedmoor cost him just over $1,200 with everything but the scope.
     
  19. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    22 hornet or 17 fireball, if reloading, and want to keep bench/varmint shooting to 300 yds or less. heck you could do both; they both use the hornet case, just necked down for the 17.
    then get a savage or 2, with the new accustock, and heavy bbl, and you will be good to go.
    for 5 to 600 yds, you could do a 223, but anything between 6 and 762mm would be better.
    Heck I think a nice 6.5 would be good ; either a grendel or a 260. a 270 would work great as well, but if we want 308 cases, then a 243, 7.08 or 260 is it. In a 30.06 case, a 6.5.06, 270, 280, or even a plane jane 30.06 will get you there, easy.
    I think out to 600 yds, the idea of the grendel, maybe the easiest on the shoulder, and the cheapest to reload, using the smallest brass and the smallest amount of powder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  20. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    ... of course, the more I read, a 300 whisper... hmmm... very interesting.
     
  21. PT1911

    PT1911 Member

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    I go with the .223 crowd.... my cz 527 varmint and RRA long range setup are a HOOT to shoot and extremely accurate to boot with CHEAP PMC ammo... I cannot wait to actually work up some loads for both of them. should be quite capable out to 3-400 yds.
     
  22. Smith357

    Smith357 Member

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    I cast my own bullets so I make .38 special loads that cost about 6 cents each. For my rifles I cast .38-55 .45-70 and some low power .30-06. Since I get my lead free from a friend my biggest expense is primers and powder. I think my costs were right around $20 for 150 rounds of .45-70, They use a lot of powder.
     
  23. rizbunk77

    rizbunk77 Member

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    I would be wary of 223 because of component availability at times.
     
  24. RonE

    RonE Member

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    If you can't decide between a bench rest rifle and an AR 15, you might consider a rifle chambered in 7.62 X 54R (Mousin Naugant). Just rebarrel the action and do a little home gunsmithing and you will have a rifle that is cheap to own, cheap to shoot and easy to reload.

    If the cost of bullets is a consideration then accuracy is not a consideration. If accuracy is of primary importance then the cost of bullets is either secondary or no consideration at all.
     
  25. gazzmann

    gazzmann Member

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    223, 308, 30-06, 7.62 x 54
    Small to large. ammo almost available most of the time.
    I like a 25-06 but ammo is tough to find sometimes and getting expensive.
     
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