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Old 02-11-2009, 11:56 PM
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which calibre?? 222 vs 223

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hey everyone,
im new to this forum and am now old enough to get my firearms licence and buy my first firearm for hunting.

I am wanting a calibre for varminting like rabbits hares wallabys goats etc but also capable of taking down a deer. I was thinking 222 or 223 because they can both do this but yet are not too big so are still cheapish to run and can shoot all day without being too loud or getting a sore shoulder

but im unsure of which 1 is better?
i am thinking 223 for what im wanting but i was hoping to get some of your opinions and experiences from either calibre before i bought it.

I am from New Zealand

any help would be great

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Old 02-12-2009, 12:00 AM
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I would suggest you move up to a .243, which will still provide double duty on Varmints and Deer. Yet will perform a lot better on deer. Sure, the .22's will work, but the .243 will work better.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:08 AM
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my mate has a 243. i want something a little smaller. ive hunted with all 3 and i like the 222 and 223 for versatility. but am not sure which 1 would be better for me to buy, also because it will be my first centrefire so wanting something thatll do everything. thanks tang
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:42 AM
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Welcome to the forum bunny. Rules are simple, be nice and join in.

Here in the States no one except for CZ is selling 222 chambered rifles and the 223 is much more popular. If you can own a 223 brass is much easier to obtain and would be my recommendation. Both are great varmint cartridges, but many here consider the .224 diameter bullets to small and light for serious deer hunting given the size of our deer. That's the reason your going to see folks recommend larger calibers.

The 222 is a great little cartridge, but the 223 has an edge in performance as it will hold a little more powder and give higher velocities.
Bob from Idaho
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Old 02-12-2009, 04:33 AM
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Depends on the size of the deer in your area (where I live, whitetail bucks are typically 150-200lbs with some outliers in both directions). You'll probably find a bit of heated discussion on this topic. In a number of the states in the USA, any caliber smaller than .24 is illegal to hunt whitetails (for example) and many people don't consider anything smaller than a .243 ethical deer calibers. Of course, the counter is that people will say that they've always hunted for deer with a .22 caliber rifle of some sort and have harvested many of them with few/no lost. I think it's more according to your skill at placing shots.
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Old 02-12-2009, 06:20 AM
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I occasionally take my .223 deer hunting, but I only use it when I want to shoot a doe for meat. Then I will only take a head or neck shot. I believe that the .223 would do the job on a big buck, but I feel more comfortable with at least a .243. Just personal preference for my comfort level.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:10 AM
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How big are your deer? There are some very small species, and also very large.

Originally Posted by faucettb
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:00 AM
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With the choice between the Triple Duce and the .223 Rem., I'd take the .223 Rem. for the reasons listed by faucettb.

Try to find one with a faster twist rate than standard, say 1:8 or 1:7 which will stabilize the heavier bullets that are preferred for bigger game hunting.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:06 AM
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Real simple,

Back in the 1940s and 1950s the .222 was developed for use on target. A much lengthened 9mm case. Pressure standardized, USA anyway, at 45K CUP. Ruled the target ranges for quite a time. Pushed aside by PPC and later BR...

.222 Mag came out to give a bit more thump to the .222. Same velocity with a heavier bullet. Uncle Sam wanted a small rifle cartridge for use in the new space gun, M16. .222 Mag was too long. Ergo .223 was developed. .223 was standardized at 55K CUP. More pressure.

Big sale for .223 in USA is surplus brass. Used to be $15.00 / M. [You can make .222's out of .223 brass. Work but keeps you off the streets and out of the bars... ha, ha, ha...]

Early .22's in USA had light bullets for pests and got outlawed for deer. Later better bullets and laws changed. Small goat sized deer? Probably plenty. Huge deer, Mulies and elk, bit light. Use the heavier and sturdier bullet... Winchester 64's for instance... fine.

So do you want the finest target accuracy or blaster capacity of the M16/M15 family? Either is about the same but up here, the .223 reloads make it cheaper. You give up a trifle of accuracy, but then you may have to shoot a 2nd time at a rat... big deal... learning experience... ha, ha. ENJOY. Luck.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:17 PM
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I am from NZ too. 222 has been popular here for a long time and still hangs in against the 223. If you want to split hairs the 222 usually has a slight edge in accuracye, but myself I would go for the 223 as there is a better seltection of rifles and loaded ammo. Also the 223 can handle a wider variety of bullet wieghts if your get the faster twist barrels.
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:13 PM
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What about the 22-250. If not an option, then get the .223 with a proper barrel twist to stabilize the Barnes TSX, Nosler Partition, or Swift Scirrocco bullets. These are heavier than most .22 ball but are meant for bigger game. I don't see why they would not also be fast and flat enough for everything else. Thus being a one load does it all deal, always good for familiarity and thus accuracy. .22-250 is also popular and has more power. Certainly reaches to near .243 big game performance. Good luck.
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:19 PM
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My 22-250, is reaching .223 max speeds, with min loads out of a 20" barrel.
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:06 AM
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Go with the one that has the most ammo available in your area. What a lot of people aren't aware of is that US manufacturers are not allowed to export firearms for civilian use in military calibers like the 223. That's the main reason for the existence of the 222. Either of them will do about the same thing.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:48 AM
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Both the 222 and 223 are fine rounds. Your desire to shoot varmints and deer though needs some thought. With proper shot placement a 150 pound deer can be killed with a 22 short rimfire. I have seen it happen at 60 yards. I am not suggesting that this is a good idea but it can work. If you also want to shoot deer you may need a larger caliber like a 243 or a 257 Roberts. This can get expensive for shooting rabbits compared to the 222/223. You may want to rethink what you want to hunt with this rifle and at what distance.

A neighbor got a 40 year old 222 Savage from the death of a relative. He does not reload and only shoots one box of 20 a year. Reloading for him is not an option. In the States 222 ammo can be hard to find and pricey. What is the ammo supply near you like and how much are you going to shoot per year?

Is 222 and 223 your only caliber options? For varmints I am using a CZ Varmint (barrel) in 204 Ruger or a CZ 223 American as a walking varminter. I hunt Groundhogs out to 250 yards on a hay farm for a friend. For Deer I use a 7mm-08. When I was younger I used a 243 for everything. I always had a 22 rimfire rifle for under 60 yards varmints.

You may neet to think about this a little longer if you are only going to buy one rifle.
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:29 PM
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Here in the US of course the military chambering of .223 Rem is vastly more popular. This doesn't take anything away from the .222, however. I have a lovely .222 Ruger #1, first year of manufacture, and have shot it extensively on vermin and targets. When I first got it, I remember reading several articles (including one by the redoubtable Jeff Cooper) in which the .222 was used as a caliber for hunting the smaller European deer (roe or reh) and such other game as goats, etc. My experience with the .222 agreed with this: the PROPER bullet in that round will do nicely for game up to 125 lbs or so. I wouldn't use any .22 caliber rifle to hunt the robust (up to 200+ lbs) whitetails we have here in Maine, USA, but it might be fine for your deer if they are of the roebuck persuasion or size, and ranges don't exceed 200 yards.
That said, I find the .222 very 'shootable' and with lightly constructed bullets, (I use the Hornady 50 grain SX) a wonderful killer on vermin. So if that's your choice in a caliber, you have my blessing!
The wise man said: "This cannot be done." The fool came, and did it.
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Old 02-20-2009, 02:49 PM
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It would depend on the availability of ammo, I do believe that you can shoot a little heavier stuff out of the 223.
Here in Canada you can only shoot deer legally with 240 or larger.
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Old 02-20-2009, 10:30 PM
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Hi Bunnybusta,
where are you? I'm in Tauranga. I went down this track, a couple of years ago, too. I wanted a "cover all the bases" first centre fire rifle. I have to be honest, I think you'd be better off with 2 rifles. One for rabbits/ magpies/ hares / wallabies/ goats, and another for deer (.270 / 7mm08/ .308). Unless you can guarantee that you will always limit youself to taking shots that will ensure the deer is going to be dropped quickly, I don't think that a .222 / .223 is going to get it done cleanly. I'm not saying that they can't do it, just that you need to be able to put the right type of bullet, in the right place, everytime. As an example, a very experienced guy I know, recently shot a fallow stag with a .222. This was a farm animal and not at long range. I have seen this guy, nail hares at 250m plus with the same rifle. Anyway, it took three shots to put the fallow down.
I know many old cullers used the .222, but you'll find just as many guys saying that a .270 is it / .308 is it / etc.
Anyway, if you have to go for one I'd go for a .223 with a fast rate of twist. The link is a pick of my suppressed CZ527 .223, it has a 1 in 9 twist so will shoot up to 80grain bullets.
A CZ / Tika t3 (1 in 8 twist) / Sako 75, would be my choice, nothing Tacticle as there too heavy to carry after deer. Better be quick, rifles seem to be going up in price faster than petrol!
At the end of the day you need to be confident the caliber is going to get the job done. Its a long night wondering where that deer went, especailly if you are sure you didn't miss. Good luck.
...all to often, goodluck, is the result of hard work...
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:42 AM
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I love my .223's and I have watched a .222 shoot way better than "paper" would duggest it should but in this case and especially if you will be able to handload I would opt for a .243 Winchester (6mm Remington is very good too albeit, not so many components avail) 55-58 grain bullets work great on varmints (load "down" a bit if you want) then work a load with a big game bullet to hit the same spot at your distance (100 M works great) You might even be able to find brass in "yellow" & nickel so you can separate the two loads if you want to get really "tricky" - You won't feel or be undergunned on deer size game and the .243 (6mm) is a stellar varmint / predator caliber

There are a few A Bolts (NIB) in .222 floating around on GunBroker so Browning must have made a run recently - I have noticed that .223 brass is not as easy to come by as it used to be ... by a long shot
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Old 02-21-2009, 11:27 AM
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Let me try to answer the question asked without turning it into an American thing.

The performance difference between .222 and .223 is inconsequential. So, in New Zealand I think it boils down to three things: ammo availability, rifle availability, and personal feelings.

It sounds like bunny_busta has done some shooting with each one. Perhaps .222 ammo availability is totally adequate in NZ compared to USA. Perhaps .223 is less available than in USA. Goodness knows it practically grow on trees in the States. The only way to answer the ammo question is to know what's up in NZ.

Finally, rifle availability could be radically different in NZ compared to USA. If good .222 rifles are available and affordable that makes a big difference. In the interest of full exclosure I must admit I own a Rem. 700 Classic in .223 and I just love it. BUT I sure wish I still had the Rem. 722 in .222 that I got rid of in the late 1960s!

Good luck with your quest, b_b.
"Hunt close, then get closer."
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