Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by citizenconn, Apr 11, 2022.
Everything is a trade off.
For some applications the lighter, more compact carbine is preferable. HD for example, a walking varmint rig, use in blinds and stands.
Really when you run the ballistic tables, the shorter barrels do lead to a decrease in MV, but that really only equates to a decrease in effective range. IF 90% of my shots are within 300yds, easily within a 16" barrels range, why carry a heavier (provided same profile), less compact rifle?
I've gone the same way with big game rifles, my .260Rem and .350RM both wear 20" tubes. I loose at the max 60 FPS from each, using the standard belief of 30FPS per inch, which I really think is too high. When looking at energy and trajectory, I lose about 30-50 yards from the longer barrels. In practical application at normal hunting distances it's insignificant. Both are still capable to 300+ yards, well over the normal distance I shoot animals. For the trade off, I gain a lighter weight, more compact rifle, easier to carry and use in stands, blinds and woods (still hunting & drives).
Even shooting distance with the shorter tube, it's just a question of an additional click or two to compensate for the lower velocity.
@citizenconn - don’t buy a 223/5.56. The rest of us will continue happily finding utility from them.
Anything from .45-70 through .30-06, .308, and pistol cartridges like .45 Colt, .45acp, and now 9mm.
The fact that .223 has light recoil, is relatively inexpensive, and is accurate are all great, but the bottom line is if the military hadn't adapted it we never would have heard of it.
The 223 is cheap to shoot, cheap to load for, has low recoil, is available in about any type of rifle. A lot of the guys in my Deer Club have their kids hunting with the 223 and with the correct type of bullet it works well. In my opinion its also makes a nice varmint round. Sure, lots of other cartridges shoot flatter but they also heat up quicker. You can use up a lot of barrel life on a 22-250AI if you get into a big Dog Town. Even the 223 will get hot!
Because in the AR platform, these aren't:
Sure, all may or may not be great cartridges for various reasons, but that does not make for the most popular centerfire rifle cartridge in the USA.
- 5.56/.223 is great for its intended purpose.
- sport hunting effectiveness isn't something the military takes into consideration.
- availability of AR magazines and accessories is second to none.
- massive popularity means massive ammunition production means lower cost to consumer.
- It'll put a hole in a piece of paper at a price far cheaper than the cartridges you mentioned.
- not everyone hunts.
- Good enough for the US military and every US LE agency means its good enough.
- every one of the cartridges you listed was supposed to be a "5.56/.223 killer"......they didn't.
I have not found that to be true. However, the 223 I had put coyotes down every bit as reliably as the 22-250 I use nowadays.
As a matter of fact, I've said in other posts that the 223 I had was one of the few guns I've traded off that I genuinely regret letting go of. My 223 was one of those stainless Ruger 77s with an ugly (but functional) "boat paddle" synthetic stock. And even though I'm an avid handloader, I never loaded a single round of ammunition for that rifle because factory ammo was readily available, inexpensive, and worked swell for everything I wanted to use it for.
I did let that rifle go though. I've joked about trading it in on a 22-250 because my wife has a 22-250, and my ego couldn't stand my wife having a faster and more powerful rifle than I had. But the truth is, I just wanted a 22-250, and everybody makes mistakes.
As for the cartridge: I’m not sure how much more a round can offer? Any decent AR will fire 50gr. (Or lighter), to 77gr(in the magazine, heavier single loaded), quite effectively. It’s easy & forgiving to reload. I can name like 8 powders off the top of my head, that work very well. No argument for it’s roll as a Varmint round. Many, MANY medium sized game have been taken with it. Defensive purpose against 2-legged critters is unparalleled proven. (Back to military prowess)
The rifle itself is easy to build, easy to maintain, easy to fix. Even catastrophic failures can be remedied in minutes! And, do we even need to mention cost effectiveness?
So, while there is no argument that other cartridges exist capable of one or two of these tasks better, I ask, what other cartridge in the AR or any other setup, can boast a more complete resume?
This is why it continues on my list of “must have calibers” for nearly 2 decades.
I still have mine.
If one cannot see the benefits with a simple study of ballistics, economies of scale, reliable and accurate platforms chambered in it, aftermarket support, load-out weight advantages, load data, and proven reports over 40+ years of service (minus teething pains of the Vietnam War) then I don't know what to tell a person to convince them otherwise.
And if they keep asking the question that is answered in their minds....what does that make them?
Now you went and made me envious, darn it!
Well it was a gift from my dad, and some things are not for selling.
3. Pleasant to shoot
WAY too much emotion and sentimentalism attached to the cartridge in question.
A cartridge is only as "effective" or as "devastating" as the bullet it fires, (Really, cartridges in and of themselves are neither effective, nor ineffective. They're just a means by which to launch a bullet) and comparing the potency of an unnamed .224" bullet to an unnamed .310" bullet makes no sense at all. Anyone who has killed and butchered even a modicum of game at all will tell you that generally speaking, larger bullets are more effective than their smaller counterparts due to their greater diameter and weight. While little .22 caliber bullets travelling at relatively high velocities may create "devastating" wounds, they lack woefully in penetration, and penetration trumps a large shallow wound all day, every day. Before the breathless infatuation with the AR platform manifest itself via video games and internet forums, the .223 Remington was considered a medium range varmint round with roughly a 35-40 yd. advantage over other rounds such as the .222 Remington and lagging slightly behind the .222 Remington Magnum. But the lust for the platform has people shoe horning the cartridge into rolls for which it really isn't well suited. In order for .22 caliber bullets to be effective on medium game such as hog an deer, one must use specialized bullets where the 7.62x39, with its larger frontal area and greater sectional density when compared to a .224" 55 gr. bullet, will work fine with most any softpoint.
So, love .223/5.56 all you want, but try to be realistic.
Let's look at it this way:
At 500 yards, a Hornady 7.62x39 firing a 123 gr SST drops 104" and has 46" of lateral drift in a 90° 10 mph crosswind.
At 500 yards, a Hornady 5.56x45 firing a 55 gr VMAX drops 53" and has 35" of lateral drift in a 90° 10 mph crosswind.
The 7.62x39 will always carry slightly to moderately more energy but it is less likely to hit the target, especially at longer ranges with a crosswind blowing.
I really don't care for the 223 in a 16" carbine, it's loud and the minimum-length barrel starts costing it the speed that sets it apart. But it's cheap so I keep buying it.
I really don't understand what's confusing about it myself. Even the most common alternative chamberings are substantially more costly. So naturally since it is the primary chambering for the AR-15, the NATO standard caliber, and ammunition is relatively cheap for centerfire rifle calibers and widely available, most people will use it in the AR-15 unless they have cash to burn and are seeking out a specific niche usage for their AR-15 at which the 5.56 NATO isn't ideal. But how many people are doing that versus range plinking, varmint hunting, and home self-defense? There's the answer. For every guy who got an AR-15 in .300 BLK as a suppressor platform or in .450 Bushmaster to hunt big game, there's probably twenty guys who got one in 5.56 NATO to shoot paper at the range and defend their house if they need to do so.
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