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Why did you choose .223?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by forty_caliber, Apr 14, 2019.


Why did you choose .223

  1. Ballistic qualities

    43 vote(s)
  2. Cost of ownership

    68 vote(s)
  3. Popularity

    42 vote(s)
  4. Availability

    81 vote(s)
  5. That's what GI Joe used

    21 vote(s)
  6. Easy to reload

    29 vote(s)
  7. Cost / availability of reloading components

    63 vote(s)
  8. Magazine capacity

    43 vote(s)
  9. Needed one for the collection

    23 vote(s)
  10. Easy to customize / availability of parts

    35 vote(s)
  11. Other

    34 vote(s)
  12. Hunting / Varmint Control

    24 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. TN Outlaw

    TN Outlaw Member

    Jun 13, 2017
    SouthWest TN
    I went through a stage to where I was really into cheap to shoot surplus type rounds such as the 5.56/223 Rem, 308Win/7.62x51,7.62x39mm, 7.62x54r etc in bolt action rifles as a replacement to 22lr during one of the ammo shortages. Something I could shoot alot of and do so affordably.

    I bought a CZ 527v and after seeing the 0-300yd performance I have really enjoyed the cartridge. Yes, it's a good high volume and cheap shooting round but also works well for varmint hunting, home defense, target shooting, even deer hunting with proper bullets at proper ranges.

    I now own a few including AR's, a Ruger Ranch, and the CZ 527.
    Beach Bum likes this.
  2. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

    Feb 6, 2014
    I voted "Other". I got the caliber when I bought an AR as a political statement. The majority party didn't think I should have one so I got one :). I was already reloading so I started to load for .223. I have not shot the AR as much as I thought I would, but the caliber has me wanting to mess with a bolt action in .223 for some 300ish yard target shooting. Brass is plentiful, and the cartridge is relatively cheap to shoot when comparing it to other center fire rifles. I guess I'm more of a bolt action hunting rifle type of guy.

    Beach Bum and <*(((>< like this.
  3. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

    Feb 5, 2010
    Hawkeye East
    The survey lists plenty of great reasons to own a “.223” though I voted Other to distinguish my reasoning at the time, I wanted one. I was in my mid-30s, it was cheaper than a sports car, and I was looking for something different. I speak my politics with my vote, never bought a thing in hopes of displeasing anyone.
    Demi-human likes this.
  4. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    New Mexico and Proud American
    Oh I have it set up just fine....plastic forearms and stocks just don't feel as natural to some of us, especially older some of us. Sorta like how many years ago, telephones were designed for comfort, and were easy to tuck between shoulder and chin to talk one-handed when needed.....but that's not to say I don't have or like a smart phone......;).....and I know some like ear phones for that....just not me.

    As for self defense, in my home are handguns and a shotgun....and on the street concealed carry handgun......if Ar's were just smaller ..... for a trunk gun they're great.....but I don't keep guns in my car....they'd disappear.

    Exception: if I was headed for a battle.....AR's might be unbeatable unless I had an F35 Lightning II or an A1 Abrams.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  5. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

    Nov 12, 2018
    People's Republic of California, Central Valley
    In my case, all of my .223/5.56 rifles were chosen rifle first, then chambering. Availability and low ammo cost were the next considerations in line. It's a good, versatile cartridge that I enjoy shooting, but it has become so common that I'm afraid I take it for granted, like cheap .22 LR ammo.
    Skylerbone and Corpral_Agarn like this.
  6. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

    Nov 20, 2017
    McKinney, TX
    Actually, I don't consider the .223 to be an 'easy to reload' cartridge... I've always struggled a bit with it, and, right next to the 9mm, is my least favorite cartridge to load for. I do, however, like how cheap factory ammos are, which is why I rarely bother with reloading for it, except for match type ammos. Like the 9mm, the simple low cost of admission is one of the draws, when I was fixing to build my last AR, I really wanted a 6.8SPC build... but at the end of the day economy won out and I built another 5.56mm.
  7. WVRJ

    WVRJ Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    I wanted a compact rifle to keep in the tractor cab with me in case I saw a coyote while feeding the cows.I bought an AR15 with a collapsible stock in 223.After I shot it some,I decided it shot too good to throw around in the tractor. I had accumulated quite a supply of 223 ammo and thought it would be bad if something drastic happened and I had to depend on the AR,and the AR wasn't suitable for a beater rifle,so I watched around and bought a Weatherby Vanguard Light for a beater/backup rifle.20 inch barrel,very light,short and handy,and after the addition of a Timney trigger,pretty accurate and easy to shoot.Then a buddy of mine has a Remington VTR in 223 that he can't make shoot good and wants to sell it for a good price.A Shilen barrel and Timney trigger later,I have a heavy barrel 223 that hovers very close to quarter inch 5 shot groups at 100 yards,and is just a delight to shoot.Groundhogs are an endangered species in my neck of the woods,but I would think the heavy barrel 223 would be poison to them if they ever come back.A few years ago,there were 2 calibers I said I would never have any use for.One was the 223,the other the 308.Now I have 3 of each.
    Gtscotty and 2ndtimer like this.
  8. Nature Boy
    • Contributing Member

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

    Apr 21, 2015
    All of this, plus

    9) accurate
    10) long barrel life

    And bonus: if chambered appropriately for bullets 75-90g, can hang with the .308 at longer distances
  9. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Fl panhandle
    223 is very economical, as is the AR15 rifle for which it was originally designed.
  10. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

    Nov 14, 2012
    Northern CA
    It came in a very flexible platform.

    Does enough for what I want (coyotes/defense).

    Ammo is easily available and pretty cheap.
  11. Garandimal

    Garandimal member

    Dec 28, 2017
    Lee of Death Valley, ...where Tigers feed.


    The only reason.

    HPCadm17 likes this.
  12. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    North Olmsted, Ohio
    Back in the late '90s, I bought an Eagle lower and a couple of generic A2 uppers (16" and 20") because I literally thought I was going to need to shoot some REAL Nazis (not somebody who just doesn't think there are 89 genders) who were posting death threats and what they thought were maps to my house.

    I was intimately familiar with the M16/AR15 platform and it was the quickest thing I could get at a reasonable price for which there was abundant ammunition. I bought a couple of cans of ammunition and a bunch of twenty and thirty round magazines. I let it be known that I'd cheerfully shoot to doll rags anybody who showed up to carry out the threats. It's been more than twenty years and no takers so far. Funny how that works...
    Beach Bum, entropy and Gtscotty like this.
  13. kBob

    kBob Member

    Jun 11, 2006
    North Central Florida
    Based on your survey questions I would have voted "YES"

    Shanghai McCoy and Skylerbone like this.
  14. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

    Jul 3, 2010
    In highschool I bought a .223 to shoot deer, and other undesireables with at night.
    Then I bought a mini-14 cause I wanted a semi to play with, the. I built some ARs.....
    Now I've gone round the block a few times, the .223 doesn't do anything I really want that other things I have don't do as well, or better. I've got no .223s any more, tho if I got a good deal on another mini I'd buy it.
  15. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

    May 26, 2007
    The way your OP is worded it seems to ask if I'd choose 223 over 30-06 or 308. They are different tools for different jobs. For my big game hunting I'd choose my 308 or 30-06 every time. But for general purpose use a 223 in an AR rifle is a very good choice for a variety of reasons in ADDITION to a 308 or 30-06.

    I like it for all of the above reasons. It is cheap to shoot, really accurate with virtually no recoil. Ammo and accessories are everywhere. It is as good an option for home protection as you'll get and is a viable varmint hunting combo. And while it wouldn't be my first choice for big game hunting it is certainly adequate for deer size game within limited ranges.
    Beach Bum likes this.
  16. forty_caliber

    forty_caliber Member

    Jan 31, 2019
    Republic of Texas
    Thanks for all of the GREAT responses to the thread. I've been getting that..."itch" that says it's time for another one and somehow my computer starts pointing to Buds and I'm thinking "just looking". I had a Mini-14 way back in the day but it was always jamming and having one problem after another. After shooting it for a while, it seemed kind of wimpy next to my only other rifle at the time Mr. Garand. Still have the Garand. Sooner or later I'm going to scratch that itch. Maybe one of those with brown furniture they have at Brownells. Hmmmm.

  17. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

    Sep 16, 2015
    Free brass, cheap bullets, easy on powder usage, and makes a great 400 yard coyote round.
  18. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I like a bolt action .223. Great varmint round, easy on recoil, easy and inexpensive to reload for, etc.
    Beach Bum and Shanghai McCoy like this.
  19. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

    Oct 2, 2015
    Centralia Washington
    I didn't choose 223, it chose me! I wanted an ar back in the 90's and 233/556 was the only easy option. I have been building ar rifles and pistols ever since it seems like. I have only recently started enjoying the little 22 that could... It makes for a great general use cartridge at a very affordable price point in guns, ammo, and reloading components. What's not to like?
    Beach Bum likes this.
  20. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

    Mar 30, 2008
    In the Wild Horse Desert of Texas
    I picked up a used Rossi single-shot with scope about a dozen years ago, primarily because I had never fired a .223.
    This led me to THR for advice, then to reloading, then to getting a Mini 14, then to building an AR, then another, then another... .
    entropy, Skylerbone and adcoch1 like this.
  21. amprecon

    amprecon Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    I have a .223 because it's much cheaper to shoot for fun than my 6.8 spc AR's. I also felt that I should have at least one 5.56/.223 caliber for shtf if for not other reason than ammo availability.
  22. TxRoadDog

    TxRoadDog Member

    Dec 20, 2018
    Pearland, TX
    I'm an experienced handloader that gets more enjoyment out of sitting in front of a chronograph playing with different bullets and powders, rather than finding a load that works, loading a bunch of that load and then sending all of them on one target. With 30 caliber bullets approaching nearly .50c a piece depending on who makes it, only made sense for me to get off the bench and into the world of AR's. I am now considering selling almost everything I own (I have a ton of military surplus) and building one or two more nice AR's, and calling it a day. That is how much I enjoy the lowly 223 rem at this point. Super affordable.
    2ndtimer likes this.
  23. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    It fills a nice role for me between .22LR and .30-30/7.62x39.

    If I wanted to do some pest/varmint control and I wanted a little more mustard than .22LR, I have an iron-sighted bolt gun I can turn to.

    Plus the ammo is affordable, widely available in bulk and probably isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Great for non-reloaders like myself. Same argument as 9mm for a lot of folks.
  24. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Member

    Jul 2, 2007
    I had ARs in 5.56 long before I really took a liking to 5.56/.223. I really started to enjoy .223 after building my latest SPR style AR in .223 Wylde. It really shoots well with 69gr, 73gr and 75gr loads, and with a decent scope is a real hoot to shoot out on the long range. I was running 73gr ELDs through that rifle alongside my 6.5 on Sunday, and while the .223 had almost twice the drift as the 6.5 in the stiff and shifty wind, I was able to take out a few clay pigeons on the 600yd berm and harass some more at 800yds.

    Top ballistic performance? No, but still pretty decent performance and lots of fun with no recoil and relatively little expense. Even the heavier .224 bullets like the 80gr ELD are pretty reasonable in price, and have me wanting a bolt .223 or .223 AI where I can load them long and stretch out my effective range with the cartridge a bit more.
    Beach Bum likes this.
  25. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    Columbia Falls, Montana
    To some extent, most of those apply. But primary ballistic qualities, availability, and popularity. I believe it may be ideally suited for police and civilian self defense cartridge for many of the same reasons it is not ideal as a military round. When put in a lightweight, compact carbine like the AR-15 it is about as good as it gets for an urban fight-stopper when reduced penetration is desired. The fact that the round's success in these applications has made it wildly popular, and that this popularity ensures that lots of ammo choices are available, for relatively cheap makes it a staple round for me. It is ideally suited for self defense in an apartment. But really, when properly loaded, this round will do at least 75% of what I need to do with a rifle. I can and have even hunted deer successfully with it in my state. A 62 or 70 gr TSX will do about anything your dad's .243 Win could do with cup and core bullets. A heavy OTM like the Hornady 75 gr or 77 gr SMK, or a bonded JSP like the FBIT3 or Speer Gold Dot to hold down the fort. I carry my AR and practice on squirrels and rabbits out in the woods. That covers about everything I need a rifle for out to at least a couple hundred yards.
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