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  #1  
Old 04-06-2008, 05:44 PM
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.223 barrel Rifle Twist Rates? How long should the barrel be?


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I'm re barreling my left hand 223 bolt action Savage. Looking at a Prem. barrel in the #7 contour, with a 1:12 twist rate, from Douglas. How long should the barrel be? Should I go with a faster twist rate with 55 gr. factory bullets? Most of the shooting will be from the bench, with some long range varmint hunting. Thank you for the help. VM.
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:33 PM
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Welcome to the forum Cockedandloaded. Rules are simple, be nice and join in.

If your shooting a lot and want to save the most on your reloads get a twist designed for 50 to 55 grain bullets. The 1 in 12 works well for that. If your serious about long range varmint shooting you might consider the 204 instead of the 223. It really begins to shine past 300 yards where the 223 is loosing steam past that point. The 204 gives you a flatter trajectory than a 220 Swift and the 22-250 and they are just as inexpensive to reload.

I like being able to see the bullet hits thru the scope of the 204 also. Barrel cost is the same and it will fit into any action designed for the 223.
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  #3  
Old 04-07-2008, 10:16 AM
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When the Army started playing with the 5.56mm it shot just fine in hot climates with a 1:14 twist. When they took the rifle to Alaska they couldn't hit the paper at 100 yards. The denser air destabilized the 55 grain bullet. They increased the twist to 1:12 and the problem went away.

There are now a wide choice of heavier bullets, all of which require a quicker twist. You should decide on the heaviest bullet you will likely use and get the appropriate twist. Theoretically, a fast twist will "overstabilize" lighter bullets, but that is very difficult to prove. However a twist rate that is inadequate to stabilize a particular bullet is a total disaster. Play it safe.

As for barrel length, that is your choice. If I were putting a heavy contour barrel on a rifle that I owned, I think I would go for 24".
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:32 AM
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When the old 788 needs a new barrel, (which is why a I got the SPS varminter) it will get a 26" 1:12 varmint weight barrel. I've taken to shooting 40 grain Hornady Vmax's out of both the .223 and the .222. Shooting ground squirrels beyond 250 yards and prarie dogs beyond 350 yards is a pretty regular thing. With pretty dramatic results I might add.

I think the .204 over the .223 is about the only thing faucettb have ever disagreed on. I've shot right beside a .204 and had no problems with the same shots shooting the same weight bullets. If you are all ready set up to load the .223, why get a .204? Not taking anything away from the .204 but. . . . . . .

JMO

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  #5  
Old 04-07-2008, 11:33 AM
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I've been doing some reading on accuracy vs barrel twist rates and it always seems like a faster twist - 1:10 as opposed to 1:12 or 1:14 - is a preferred rate of twist, depending on the caliber and bullet of course. My interest in this is in regard to the Howa 1500 entry level tactical rifle package being offered at Sniper Central. The comment there is that a faster twist would be preferred for all calibers, but they had to take what they could get for the heavy barreled actions, the 1:12 twist rate.

If anyone can point me in some directions that will further explain the ins and outs of barrel rifling twist rate, I'd appreciate it.
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:29 PM
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I totally Agree.....

.....with your above post recoil junky.

The .223 IMO, will do everything that the .204 will do and more. Especially on a windy/gusty day.

Brass is darn near free,numerous bullets to choose from between 35 and 80grs,lots of powder choices, and easy to find a cleaning rod.

If I were building, I would start with a heavy contour bbl,24-26 inches long, with a twist rate of 1:10. This,coupled with a Rem788 or Sako action. -----pruhdlr
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:00 PM
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Even with a 1/10, your bullet weights are going to top out at about 60-62 grains. you need a faster spin to stabilize anything heavier. Most AR's are going 1/9, which will stabilize up to 70gr. and the 1/8-1/7 will do the 77 grainers fine
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m141a View Post
Most AR's are going 1/9, which will stabilize up to 70gr. and the 1/8-1/7 will do the 77 grainers fine
The Wikipedia article on the M-16 lists twist rates of roughly 1:7 and 1:9.

That said, if the lower numbered twist rates are better, then why are the standard twists usually 1:12?
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  #9  
Old 04-08-2008, 01:48 AM
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that is a very good question.
Savage makes their 10 series in a 1/9.
My thought is that most mfg. go by the theory that the rifles will be used for varmint shooting, where the 40-55 grain projectile is used. [???? just my speculation...???]

IIRC, the military M-4 version went to the 1/7 twist to stabilize the 62 grain SS109 ammo, or steel core penetrating ammo,[FMJ] signified by it's green tip.
SS109 supersedes the 55 grain FMJ M193 ball, but does not replace it.
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  #10  
Old 04-08-2008, 05:18 AM
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Ok, so let me get this straight - if you shoot a light bullet, then a twist rate of say 1:9 or 1:10 might not keep the bullet stable, but works better for precision accuracy for heavier bullets, but in order to keep your lighter, varmint weight bullets stable it's better to have a faster twist such 1:12.

Wait a second - do I even have that terminology right? Which is a faster twist - the 1:10 or the 1:12?

The one thing that seems to ring "true" (more or less) is that while a barrel with say a 1:9 or 1:10 twist will be good for heavy bullets but it will be bad for light bullets, the inverse doesn't seem to be true - a twist rate of 1:12 will be good for light bullets but not necessarily bad for heavier bullets, with the caveat that if the twist is too fast it can increase pressures in the barrel and put a lot of torsional stress on the bullet. But, it seems that a general purpose twist rate of 1:12 will be good for many calibers. Of course I have no idea from personal experience - these are just some of the things I have read.
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Last edited by trickg; 04-08-2008 at 05:28 AM.
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  #11  
Old 04-08-2008, 06:29 AM
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1:12 is a slower twist than 1:7. That ratio means 1 twist per 12 inches (of barrel length). The fast-twist barrels (i.e. 1:7 1:8 1:9...) spin a light bullet (like a 40 gr.) so fast that they frequently explode just out of the muzzle. The heavy bullets aren't spinning as fast because they're traveling much slower (lower muzzle velocity for heavier bullets).

So, speeding up the twist rate as you increase bullet weight and thus lower muzzle velocity is sort of an effort to keep the bullet within a range of spin rpm so that it's spinning fast enough to stabilize properly, but slow enough to not explode out the muzzle. Strictly speaking, it's not the weight that needs the faster twist rate, it's the length of the bullet being shot. However, since most (but not all) bullets of a given weight are similar in length, and since bullets are sold by diameter and weight, most folks talk about weight vs. twist rate. A VLD bullet is an example of how sometimes the weight vs. length things gets skewed. The VLDs are generally much longer than a comparable 'standard' spitzer or even boat-tail bullet of the same weight.

I can tell you that my 1:12 CZ in .223 will shoot the pieces of broken clay pigeons at 200 and even 300 yards when shooting 50-55 gr bullets, but it shoots surplus M855/SS109 62 grainers into a group of literally feet at 200 yards. Not everyone has this kind of experience, but I surely have.

Last edited by MZ5; 04-08-2008 at 06:33 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-08-2008, 07:36 AM
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Ok - I get it now. Sorry for the confusion on my part.

I found a chart at ChuckHawks.com last night that showed "standard" barrel twist rates for various calibers and it showed the .223 Remington as being 1:12, as well as showing the .308 as 1:12, but I read an article somewhere that suggested that 1:10 is probably a better rate of twist for both of them - not sure where I read that though.

Man, ignorance was bliss! I think that I was probably better off not knowing anything about ins and outs of what makes a good rifle very accurate.
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  #13  
Old 04-08-2008, 10:03 AM
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I feel the same way a lot of times!
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  #14  
Old 04-08-2008, 10:20 AM
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The .308 is definately better with the 1:10. Especially with the 168's and above. It shines with the >190's.

The "center of the road" with the .223 is the 1:9 or 1:10. For the competators that shoot the 68's up to the 80's the 1:7 is "best".

I remember when the Ruger Mini-14 first came out it had a 1:10. I bought mine in '83. Everybody was amazed. Hornady told me in a phoncon,NOT to shoot the 50gr SX,that they would disenegrate when leaving the bbl. This,of course was not true.

Just let me add that the weight of the bullet has nothing to do with the twist rate. It is the length. That's why some of the people that shoot those very long no lead bullets have some concern. They are very long for the caliber.

When a bullet leaves the bbl with a rotational velocity of >350,000rpm. It gets quite interesting. This is why I say that bullet expansion depends mostly on rotational velocity rather than forward velocity. But most of the time they go hand in hand.

Rotational velocity decreases very little in say,700yds where forward velocity decreases rather rapidly.

I have heard the term" over stabilize" a bullet. I'm not sure what that means or if that is at all possible. I know that it is possible to blow a bullet leaving the bbl. In my early daze of reloading I did just that with my Swift. Can't remember with what bullet though.

I have tried to do just that with my .30-378 and the Nosler 125gr BalTip @ 4100fps but no "luck". -----pruhdlr
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  #15  
Old 04-08-2008, 12:10 PM
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My 1/12 Remington 700VS loves 40 to 55 grain Vmax ,Amax and Nosler Spitzers, Haven't been able to make it shoot a 60 partition yet, Getting ready to try some 60 spitzers as I type. What the strangest thing I have seen is it will shoot the 65 gr Game kings into 1/2" groups at 100 and 1" at 175yds. If you are going for long distance with the 223 I would want a twist that would handle a 68 or 69 grain bullet. If no more than 300 yds I would stick with the 1/12. My Range Master has built two 223 in the last 8 months after watching what I do with mine and he went with the 1/9 and as yet can't get in the ball park of my old 700 VS and he has sank over $2,000 in each rifle not counting the Glass. If I had one of his Schmidt & Benders no telling what I could do with mine. My rifle is bone stock except for a Jewel trigger set at 8 ozs with a Elite 4200 6X24X40 Side Focus with Mil-dot. Cross hairs are a little thick for target shooting but does a good job. Mine has a 26" varmint barrel, his are 16 and 20 full bull and fluted. Don't understand what's happening but he's shooting 69 gr Federal Match Ammo and can shoot 1 hole groups at 25, 50, and 75 yds, but opens up to 3/4" at 100. Gunsmith has it back checking it out but I think it's in the receiver. You can tell one lug of the bolt you can see a wear pattern starting. Here is something to look at. Info a little old doesn't give the 1/10

.224 CF
- 7" for bullets heavier than 80gr.
- 8" for bullets up to 80gr.
- 9" for bullets up to 70gr.
- 12: for bullets up to 63gr.
- 14" for bullets up to 55gr.
- 15"* for bullets up to 55gr. driven 4,100 pfs or more
- 16:* for bullets up to 55gr. driven 4,300 fps or more
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  #16  
Old 04-08-2008, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pruhdlr View Post

When a bullet leaves the bbl with a rotational velocity of >350,000rpm. It gets quite interesting. This is why I say that bullet expansion depends mostly on rotational velocity rather than forward velocity. But most of the time they go hand in hand.

Rotational velocity decreases very little in say,700yds where forward velocity decreases rather rapidly.
I'd like to hear others weigh in on this.

I agree, my thinking is rotational velocity has to go hand in hand with rotational velocity (a lightly constructed bullet fired from a fast twist barrel at low velocity will not disintegrate but at high velocity it may) but where I disagree is - I think forward velocity is the most influencing factor in bullet expansion. Pressure on the bullet causes expansion and the "reverse" pressure is highly influenced by impact resistance.

It's certainly an interesting comment and I don't know for sure and that's why I'm posting.....I'd like to know the reason why - if, in fact, rotational velocity has a significant influence on bullet expansion. I've always been under the impression rotation is linked almost solely to stability, not expansion, and longer, heavier bullets requre a faster twist to stabilize.
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Old 04-09-2008, 01:52 AM
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I'd agree with you but say it's both those forces, the spin, the speed, plus whatever factor the air is that puts resistance against the bullet. The air resistance, in my opine, being the least of the variables.

While I've never experienced the bullet fragmentation we speak of, I have heard of it in a match shooter I shoot with that employs a bolt action 22-250. He was trying a 30 grain pill. According to the story related to me, of the five shots taken, only two actuall hit the target, and they were keyholes....centered, but keyholes. The other 3 shots were assumed disintergrations. The shooter, the Club champ 6 years running, was as baffled as the onlookers.
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Old 04-09-2008, 04:33 AM
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During my time in the military I had the pleasure of visiting Australia several times. One of their drinking games was a "spin test".

They would talk us into standing on a chair,reaching up and grabing two of the four blades of a simi-slow moving ceiling fan. You would lock your arms/elbows together,and lock your legs/ankles together as tightly as you possibly could. The fan would be turned on and the timer started.

This "ride" would be fun until the fan started spinning at a higher and higher RPM. The trick was to keep your body as straight and rigid as possible. If/when your ankles started to loosen CENTRIFUGAL FORCE would take over and off into the corner you( and the two or three pitchers of dark beer you had stored inside) would go. Yeeeeeowza !!

Now take a bullet spinning at 250,000 to 300,000 RPM or higher. (a bullet coming outta a 1:7 twist bbl @3600fps is doing 370,000RPM) Those rotational velocities are hard for us to imagine since we watch our vechicle tach's winding out at a measily 5600 to 6000RPM's.

When the bullet contacts anything at the "extreme" forward velocity the nose will start to(insert your beliefs here). The bullet is like the person on the ceiling fan. CENTRIFUGAL FORCE takes over and the bullet folds back,mushrooms,expands,comes apart,looses its jacket(this is a plus for hardcast),etc.,etc. Maybe the term "SPIN's OPEN" could be appropriate.

This is one of the reasons that I am a fan of the fast,faster,fastest,twist rate bbls. Especially for the smaller varmint(PD's,chucks,ground squirrel,crow)hunting. The fast twist rate comes in handy for yote hunting and for the other animals that you want a pelt off of(after they no longer are in need of it).

The proper caliber,with the proper bullet,with the proper rifle, with the proper trist rate,with the proper MV,makes for a spectacular explosion on the smaller varmints and a pelt saving inner explosion on yotes.

When in Maine,my varmint weapon of choice was my 24" bbl AR with a 1:7 twist rate. Shooting a 50 or 52gr bullet just as fast as possible. I never had one pass through a yote given a proper hit. Heck,I had some hits on woodchucks that left no exit hole but when you picked them up and shook them,they sounded like a water bag.

The above are not necessarily the right ideas......simply my ideas. -----pruhdlr

Last edited by pruhdlr; 04-09-2008 at 08:17 AM.
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  #19  
Old 04-09-2008, 02:31 PM
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Thank you everyone for the info. But, Now I have to admit I'm confused as to the twist rate! The ammo I will be shooting is, UMC factory ammo in 55gr. FMJ. I have over 1000 rounds that I bought for $300.00. From the info. here in the replys, I'm thinking that 26" for the barrel.

I do appreciate the answer's giving so far. This is the first time I've had the money and the right gun smith to do the job. The Gun smith said that he could tell me what rate of twist with an larger Cal. But did not know for a 223. Thank you again, VM.
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:25 PM
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I have a 223 on order. It has a 1:9 twist and is 26" long. I figure I will be able to shoot 70 grain bullets with it if I want to and the 26" of barrel will let me get the most out of the powder charge.
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