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View Full Version : Which .223 bolt gun?


Kestryll
12-14-2011, 11:06 AM
I'm looking at maybe getting a bolt action rifle, all of my long guns are either semi-auto or lever action right now, and I want to stick with .223 because it's cheaper than .308 and except for a couple of Marlin levers all my rifles are currently .223 or 5.56.

Looking at the Turners ad there are four that attract my attention, they are in the range of what I'd like to spend to see if I like bolt action rifles and since I'm looking mainly for recreational shooting at the range rather than hunting or ending a hostage situation they seem decent to start out with.

The Weatherby Vanguard II for $449 with a 2 stage trigger and 24" barrel.

The Howa M1500 for $499 with a 2 stage trigger and a 22" barrel.

The Howa Ranchland Compact for $449 with 2 stage trigger and 20" barrel.

As I understand it the Weatherby and the Howa are basically the same rifle under different names.

Remington 700 SPS Varmint for $589 with 26" heavy barrel.

Remington 700 SPS Tactical for $619 with Hogue stock and 20" heavy barrel.


I know the Remingtons will probably be the better rifles but the question really is for just punching paper at the range and seeing if I like bolt action rifles is it worth the extra money?
And what kind of reputation/reviews are there on the Weatherby Vanguard IIs and the Howa 1500s?

0351USMC
12-14-2011, 11:12 AM
how about Savage?

starsnuffer
12-14-2011, 11:13 AM
I'm partial to the Tikka T3, but it's going to be closer to the $900 range, depending on the model you want (and how tacticool you want it).

-W

Bhobbs
12-14-2011, 11:16 AM
Remington is always a good choice but the twist rate on their .223 rifles is 1:12 which isn't fast enough to handle the longer, high BC bullets.

I have heard the M1500 is a great rifle for the price but it looks like the twist rate is also 1:12.

Peter in CA
12-14-2011, 11:17 AM
Kestryll,
I recently purchased a .223 bolt gun and I personally think that the most important question to ask yourself is what bullets do you want to shoot and how far do you want to shoot them. The answers to these questions will give you the TWIST rate that you will need and that rate might eliminate many of the rifles that you have listed. There are many artiles and discussions about twist rates and bullets size (mostly length of the bullet) and I am not educated enough to get into that discussion. I settled on a compromise due to cost, so my rifle has a 1 in 9 twist rate.
Something to think about.

Peter in CA

Kestryll
12-14-2011, 11:18 AM
how about Savage?

I like the Savage rifles but the only one on sale right now is the FCX3P and it doesn't come in .223. If it did come in .223 or 5.56 I wouldn't be asking this question, it's a Savage and the sale price is $419!

There's the Axis but I've read that it's very proprietary and low end.

h0use
12-14-2011, 11:21 AM
savage 10fp

emptybottle151
12-14-2011, 11:30 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIMoRa0-fWE

Lead-Thrower
12-14-2011, 11:32 AM
I like the SPS Varmint, but mine is in .308. For .223, as others have said, it depends on the bullets that you will be shooting because of the twist rate. For instance, I shoot 77 grain match kings and occasionally 80 grain VLDs, so I need a 1:8 twist in my competition rifle. With the 1:12 twist, you should be able to shoot up to 62-64 grain bullets. So with that, what distance do you plan on taking this out to and what bullet weights do you think you will be using?

If it is just going to be a casual range rifle (as you suggested it would be), I think the 1:12 twist should be fine. In that case, my vote would be for the SPS Varmint...

chicoredneck
12-14-2011, 11:41 AM
The rifles you listed have very different weights and characteristics.
The SPS varmint rifle is going to be heavy, but probbably easier to keep steady at the bench and hence more accurate/precise. A 26" barrel is very much overkill for a 223. You will not have any significant velocity gains much over 20" with a 223.

They will probably all shoot fine, you just need to decide what weight and barrel length suits you.

CS Sports
12-14-2011, 12:21 PM
The Weatherby Vanguard is a hell of a lot of rifle for the money. Top that off with the fact that they normally shoot incredibly well, and they are tough to beat.

EmmaGoldman
12-14-2011, 12:32 PM
CZ 527

edlacy
12-14-2011, 12:34 PM
For an out of the box, MOA guaranteed rifle, the Tikka T-3 is hard to beat.
Sports Authority has them on sale for $449 here in Modesto.
I have three T-3 rifles in the safe, .223, .243 and a 7-08.
All three are winners, regardless of price.

Merc1138
12-14-2011, 12:42 PM
Make sure it's a vanguard II you're looking at, and not a vanguard I. The key difference is that weatherby shot themselves in the foot by cherry picking vanguard I rifles and selling them with "sub-moa" etched on the floorplate and charging an extra $300. With the vanguard II line they got their heads out of their ***es and quit doing that.

There's always Tikka. The T3 lite can be had for a little over $500. The varmint models run high 800 and into $900+. The stainless variants of each model, around $100 more. But even the T3 lite comes with an adjustable trigger and detachable mag. As far as the barrels, keep in mind that it's the same barrels they put on the Sako rifles, even in the $500 model.

The Remingtons are not "better rifles". They're more common, but not better than the other brands mentioned.

skale240
12-14-2011, 12:48 PM
Another vote here for Tikka t3 lite. That's next on my list for bolt actions rifles. Like others have mentioned, out of the box MOA is hard to beat and for the price it's almost a steal. As far as I've seen the past couple of years they're going up in price. Buy now while it's still low.

Paper Boy
12-14-2011, 12:51 PM
And what kind of reputation/reviews are there on the Weatherby Vanguard IIs and the Howa 1500s?

For my money I would say the Howa - super silky smooth action.

I have both a Rem 700 and a Howa in .223 both with heavy barrels. When I go to the range or to varment hunt the Howa comes with me an the 700 stays at home.

With 55 grain Noslers I can normally shoot groups that can be covered with a quarter. If I am on my game they can be covered with a dime.

http://inlinethumb05.webshots.com/44932/2907978720072664822S500x500Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2907978720072664822nkfgci)

Merc1138
12-14-2011, 12:51 PM
Another vote here for Tikka t3 lite. That's next on my list for bolt actions rifles. Like others have mentioned, out of the box MOA is hard to beat and for the price it's almost a steal. As far as I've seen the past couple of years they're going up in price. Buy now while it's still low.

Actually, I've been seeing better deals on the lite models lately. The varmint and tactical models however do seem to have jumped upwards. Then there's the t3 sporter for $1700... I'm sure it's a nice stock but no thanks.

With my own Tikka I've finally gotten fairly close to a consistent 1 mo(off a bench w/ bags, standing.. lol not even close), but periodically(luck? wind? who knows) I've gotten it as low as 1/3. But that's in .308 with federal 168gr. SMK(could probably get better consistency with handloads, but I don't reload).

send it_hit
12-14-2011, 1:42 PM
+1 for tikka. i really think they're unbeatable in the price range. i went with the varmint model, which starts to get up there. but the t3 lite is still incredible for its price.

bloodhawke83
12-14-2011, 1:44 PM
i have my eyes on the rem 700 in .223 but haven't really look into the savage accessorized stocks yet.

grant22
12-14-2011, 1:53 PM
My vote is for the Savage Mdel 10 Precision Carbine. Out of the box it's a winner.....even the stock is sweet. Don't be put off by its MSRP, it sells for way less (got mine for $660 shipped from CTD.)

Mine should be arriving tomorrow. Here's a pic:
http://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj77/grant22_2000/Forum%20Crap/MrClx5GMV_vPV24x9qh.png

eaglemike
12-14-2011, 1:59 PM
Kes,
Why not build a fully featured AR pattern - and make it a bolt gun by blocking the port/not running the gas tube. I'm sure we could find people that would donate parts - I know I would. It'd be a little different, and 20" match barrels are easy to come by. We know these are tack drivers.

Alternate - I've shot a couple of the Savage package guns with accutrigger, very easy to shoot and accurate. I'd think going a little farther up the scale would give you a tack driver, like the precision carbine above.

All the other suggestions, like the Tikka, are good as well.

lorax3
12-14-2011, 2:04 PM
Another +1 for a Tikka. I've got a T3 Lite in .223. Extremely smooth action and amazing out of the box accuracy.

bloodhawke83
12-14-2011, 2:05 PM
Kes,
Why not build a fully featured AR pattern - and make it a bolt gun by blocking the port/not running the gas tube. I'm sure we could find people that would donate parts - I know I would. It'd be a little different, and 20" match barrels are easy to come by. We know these are tack drivers.

Alternate - I've shot a couple of the Savage package guns with accutrigger, very easy to shoot and accurate. I'd think going a little farther up the scale would give you a tack driver, like the precision carbine above.

All the other suggestions, like the Tikka, are good as well.

thats a great idea, now its time to look for a charging handle that make it easier!!! :43:

gun toting monkeyboy
12-14-2011, 2:08 PM
Why not just get a Stevens Model 200? They are made by Savage, and can be had on sale in the sub $300 range. If you are just looking to get your toe in the water with bolt actions, that might be the way to do it. I grabbed one a couple of years back at Turners for $269, and it has held up as well as any other Savage 110.

-Mb

BigBamBoo
12-14-2011, 3:11 PM
Tikka T3 is my recomendation. Having owned most factory rifles mentioned above....the Tikka's have always been much better performers. And none of the above on your list can come close to the silky smooth action of the Tikka.
There is a growing after market support for them and we ( Chipley Arms) just received a nice Bridgport CNC mill and will soon be offering more aftermarket products for the Tikka's as well.

Take care,Stan

grant22
12-14-2011, 4:25 PM
The only, and I mean only reason I didn't buy a Tikka was the limited aftermarket support, and I mean that to Tikka's credit. Savages and 700's have a lot of a/m stuff to choose from, but the Tikka is the most refined feeling. If the above poster does in fact start an a/m revolution for Tikka rifles, it would be a clear winner.

Merc1138
12-14-2011, 4:32 PM
The only, and I mean only reason I didn't buy a Tikka was the limited aftermarket support, and I mean that to Tikka's credit. Savages and 700's have a lot of a/m stuff to choose from, but the Tikka is the most refined feeling. If the above poster does in fact start an a/m revolution for Tikka rifles, it would be a clear winner.

But most of the aftermarket support for platforms like the Remington 700 is to "fix" the lower end models, the Tikka's don't really need much :p

toby
12-14-2011, 4:58 PM
Weatherby-Howa, not the same, just close, both great rifles each has their +'s and -'s as far as accuaracy Weatherby takes the cake .99 or less @ 100 yrds and it has a nicer looking bolt shroud 24'' bbl and it's officially a Weatherby since the 1970

Merc1138
12-14-2011, 5:00 PM
Weatherby-Howa, not the same, just close, both great rifles each has their +'s and -'s as far as accuaracy Weatherby takes the cake .99 or less @ 100 yrds and it has a nicer looking bolt shroud 24'' bbl and it's officially a Weatherby since the 1970

For the main Weatherby line(like the Mark V) yes, not necessarily the vanguard rifles.

As far as .99 or less at 100 yards goes, yeah that's what we're talking about with the Tikkas as well(Remington definitely can't make that claim for all of their low end models out of the box, some of their higher end models maybe).

toby
12-14-2011, 5:08 PM
For the main Weatherby line(like the Mark V) yes, not necessarily the vanguard rifles.

As far as .99 or less at 100 yards goes, yeah that's what we're talking about with the Tikkas as well(Remington definitely can't make that claim for all of their low end models out of the box, some of their higher end models maybe).

Kinda lost ya! on the first part....I do own both and believe it or not the Mark V does not come with a .99 guarantee, it's 1.5" tho it does shoot better than that they do not give the .99 as they do with the Vanguards even tho the gun costs 3-4 times as much, Tikkas are great! Sako even better, Remington not so much on my end.....;)

Merc1138
12-14-2011, 5:30 PM
Kinda lost ya! on the first part....I do own both and believe it or not the Mark V does not come with a .99 guarantee, it's 1.5" tho it does shoot better than that they do not give the .99 as they do with the Vanguards even tho the gun costs 3-4 times as much, Tikkas are great! Sako even better, Remington not so much on my end.....;)

My point was that Weatherby has 2 lines of rifles. Vanguard, and Mark V. The Mark V is their high end stuff. The vanguard series had some ties to howa(I forget what it was), and originally Weatherby tested them all and charged $300 more for the vanguards that shot groups less than 1" at 100 yards, and marked those rifles as "SUB-MOA"

Now with the vanguard II rifles, Weartherby guarantees them all as sub-moa without charging customers extra money for cherry picking the good ones out of the lot(which is a good thing).

I don't know about accuracy guarantees from their Mark series, maybe they feel they don't need to guarantee it.

BigBamBoo
12-14-2011, 5:43 PM
The only, and I mean only reason I didn't buy a Tikka was the limited aftermarket support, and I mean that to Tikka's credit. Savages and 700's have a lot of a/m stuff to choose from, but the Tikka is the most refined feeling. If the above poster does in fact start an a/m revolution for Tikka rifles, it would be a clear winner.

I hear this a lot and ask what kind of aftermarket support are you looking for? There is quite a bit of support in fact.

Stocks/chassis:

http://mannerstocks.com/tikka-t3-sako-q22/

http://www.helmickarms.com/

http://kineticresearchgroup.com/products/w3c.php

http://www.xlrindustries.com/

http://www.mcmfamily.com/index.php

Bottom metal to us AI mags and misc. parts:

http://cdiprecisiongunworks.com/c1/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7&Itemid=27

http://www.webshop.roedale.de/index.php?cat=c124_Tikka.html

http://www.hss.net.au/index.php?cPath=118&osCsid=0f52cf2cc223387b3517aea78986ca67

Scope bases/mounts:

http://www.egwguns.com/tikka/

http://www.dnzproducts.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=40


The triggers are very nice and with very minor tuning yield a VERY fine trigger. I run a factory trigger on my 1000 yard Tikka action based rifle and have it at 12 oz.

And again...we will be producing bolt shrouds,bolt handles,and bottom sometime in the near future for the Tikka's.

And speaking of bolt shrouds and handles....YOU the end user in the comfort of your home can swap these parts out. No need for a gunsmith.

And a note on the action....they are VERY strong with there enclosed top design. And the barrel tenon area of the Tikka action is almost an inch long vs a little over half an inch on a Remmy. This allows for great strength when installing a heavy or longer barrel.

Wow...I think I convinced myself! I feel the need to go buy another Tikka!

And I will leave it at that with some Tikka porn....

Take care,Stan

Tgm8YRUJx00


http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/1368/62copyr.jpg (http://img521.imageshack.us/i/62copyr.jpg/)

http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/2594/radio101large.jpg (http://img196.imageshack.us/i/radio101large.jpg/)

http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/8347/dsc00154copy.jpg (http://img266.imageshack.us/i/dsc00154copy.jpg/)

http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/180/shooting270large.jpg (http://img696.imageshack.us/i/shooting270large.jpg/)

http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/4633/dsc04234copy.jpg (http://img708.imageshack.us/i/dsc04234copy.jpg/)


http://img853.imageshack.us/img853/8919/shooting273copy.jpg (http://img853.imageshack.us/i/shooting273copy.jpg/)

Merc1138
12-14-2011, 5:46 PM
<snip>

Showoff :rolleyes:

:p

Yes, I did like that I was able to change my bolt handle and shround in 2 minutes. There is also at least 1 aftermarket trigger out there, at least 2 other companies making stocks, and roedale also has a couple of stocks and sells barrels as well.

toby
12-14-2011, 5:54 PM
Why does everone think that Remington and Savage are the only rifles that have after market parts or that they are the only thing a Smith will work on??? really?, NOT! ps, Bigbamboo, nice Tikkas.....;)

glockman19
12-14-2011, 6:12 PM
of the rifles you list that are on sale at turners:
Remington 700 SPS Varmint for $589 with 26" heavy barrel.
or
Remington 700 SPS Tactical for $619 with Hogue stock and 20" heavy barrel.

I would choose the 20" Remintgon 700SPS Tactical because if I remember correctly from a THR thread, 20" is optimum for the .223 round and the weight of an extra 4" of heavy barrel will not improve the accuracy, velocity or energy.

I'm also looking for a bolt action .223 rifle and might get the 20" 700 SPS Tactical...I'll go to Reseda in the next day or two and check it out.

Don Edmondson
12-14-2011, 8:15 PM
When I was in Idaho I bough the Remington 700 lite varmint for a lite carrier rifle it has 1/12 twist the best bullet is the Sierra 69 grain HPBT match most groups are under 1/2 in if I do my part It has over 100 songdogs to its credit. plus it made in USA. I won a weatherby at a turkey shoot but gave to a good friend he loves it it also prints small groups Don

grant22
12-14-2011, 8:27 PM
But most of the aftermarket support for platforms like the Remington 700 is to "fix" the lower end models, the Tikka's don't really need much :p

That's actually a really good point........I didn't think of it that way.

jmlivingston
12-14-2011, 8:50 PM
I'll also suggest that you check out the Stevens 200 series. A lot of the aftermarket stuff for Savage will be compatible with it.

tgriffin
12-14-2011, 9:25 PM
Stan, which TRG is that? Love my TRG 22

SideWinder11
12-14-2011, 9:28 PM
Great post and Vid BigBamBoo!

dfletcher
12-14-2011, 9:29 PM
I saw only one other CZ 527 suggestion, so I'll make it two.

The gun can be had in a light barrel, carbine or heavier "walking varminter" and each has an adjustable trigger with a removable magazine. I like the wood stocked version but there's also kevlar. The gun is accurate as heck, reliable and well made. It has a heavy claw extractor and the cocking piece is held fast in place by two rails - no wobble at all.

http://www.cz-usa.com/products/by-category/centerfire-micro/

Kestryll
12-14-2011, 9:43 PM
Kes,
Why not build a fully featured AR pattern - and make it a bolt gun by blocking the port/not running the gas tube. I'm sure we could find people that would donate parts - I know I would. It'd be a little different, and 20" match barrels are easy to come by. We know these are tack drivers.

Alternate - I've shot a couple of the Savage package guns with accutrigger, very easy to shoot and accurate. I'd think going a little farther up the scale would give you a tack driver, like the precision carbine above.

All the other suggestions, like the Tikka, are good as well.

I actually have something along the lines of your AR idea but with a 16" heavy barrel, I like it but I want to try the bolt action option.

Here she is:

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a297/Kestrylll/aru15.gif

bjl333
12-14-2011, 10:16 PM
The Savage 10FP will give you 1/2" out of the box. The Tikkas will do the same from what I understand, but I have no first hand knowledge. The Remington have the better action for future builds. The Weather Vanguard and Howa 1500 are build in the same assembly line, the aftermarket stocks will fit both of the current production rifles.

My pick are as follows:

1) Remington will get you an action to build on if you like bolt action paper punching. Most of the custom builders use the Remington action or custom build one with a Remington footprint. This is the gun if you might wanna build a hot rod in the future. (I have 4 700s & just PPT a 5th)

2) Savage will shoot lights out out of the box. It is not the preferred action to build on. But you will get many years of good shooting, if all you wanna do is kill paper without competing this is it. (I have 2 10FPs)

3) Tikkas have very stiff actions and all reports indicate a great shooter. As I stated above I have no first hand experience with them. I would put them in the same description as the Savage with a slightly higher price point.

4) Weatherby Vanguard IIs & Howa 1500s are identical rifles, hence the same triggers. I am actually thinking of picking up a Howa. The one I'm looking at is with the heavy fluted barrel and hogue stock w/ a scope. I just like the looks of it and it is an inexpensive alternative to the Rem 700 LTR. Again having no first hand experience and not really knowing anyone that owns one. I'll have to put the Howerby behind the other 3 brand. Eventhough I wanna pick one up it is for an entirely different reason then what you're looking for.

From your original list of boom sticks I would recommand the 700 SPS Tac, it fits your needs. If the bug bite does become fatal, it is the preferred platform to build on.

Good Luck Kes!!

Merc1138
12-15-2011, 2:35 AM
That's actually a really good point........I didn't think of it that way.

Yeah, same goes for the ruger 10/22. I'm not talking about stocks and barrels, but everything else. Sure, there's 20 different triggers for the 700, most better than the stock trigger. But if no one is begging for a better drop-in trigger for the Tikka there's no point in making it. Most of the aftermarket parts are things like the recoil lug(why the stock one doesn't work unless you've done some drastic smithing, I dunno. But drop-in replacements seem pointless), bolt sleeves and knobs(neither of which can be just bolted into place quickly on a 700) that isn't really necessarily on the Tikka(there are a couple aftermarket bolt knobs, but how many "big knobs" do you really need. And they just drop in). The plastic bolt shroud on the Tikka sucks, but there are at least 2 drop-in replacements(beyond that, how many do you need to choose from? One of the companies making them does them in colors that match their bolt knobs even).

Then there is all of the DBM parts and kits for the 700(there are some for the Tikka to use AICS mags) but the bulk of them are just factory replacements that either look better or provide a detachable mag option for functionality, you don't need 20 options for that. High end barrels can be cut from blanks on a lathe for the Tikka just like the 700.

A lot of it just exists for the sake of existing, or to provide a solution for something people haven't complained about on other platforms(not just the Tikkas). Plus you have to multiply it by the number of action lengths for the 700(4 or 5?) and the number of slightly different versions throughout the decades, so that aftermarket parts count adds up in quantity but it doesn't mean much. Plus, like BigBamBoo has demonstrated, you can do crazy custom builds off of the Tikka platform too(there are a lot of custom 700 builds that don't even use Remington branded actions because other companies can provide a better base action to work with).

BigBamBoo
12-15-2011, 7:45 AM
Stan, which TRG is that? Love my TRG 22

That is NOT a TRG. That is a Tikka T3 that started its life as a T3 Lite in .243. The chassis is a KRG Whiskey 3. Barrel is a Kreiger med. Palma taper chambered in 6.5x47 Lapua. If you look at my last post you can find the link for KRG's website.

And speaking of TRG's....a little known bit of info. You can use a TRG trigger on a Tikka. It will drop right in. Though the TRG trigger is kinda pricey but is an option is someone wanted a two stage trigger on a Tikka.

Take care,Stan

Oops....I think you mean the TRG-22 in he pic with the two Tikka's. If so...then it is the 22 in .308. I no longer own it. Great rifles though.

eaglemike
12-15-2011, 5:11 PM
Turner's has a pretty decent Howa on sale right now....

Kestryll
12-15-2011, 7:59 PM
Turner's has a pretty decent Howa on sale right now....

I saw that, I'm VERY tempted by it...

:43: