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Hi Everyone, So to get started I am looking for a caliber choice for primarily (90% of the time) target shooting, both steel and paper. I am not really looking for a hunting round for game so the versatility oh a round to take game would not be a deciding factor for me, I have another caliber for that which i will get to later. I want to purchase a new bolt gun that will allow me to receive sub - 1 MOA at 300-500 yards (600 Max). I live in southeast Virginia and I really dont have that much open space to practically shoot past a general 500 yard mark.

My main focuses are;
- Money ($/round),
- Ammo options (I want affordable Top Match grade ammo plus ability to shoot cheaper medium quality
brass loadings)
- Accuracy of course, Sub-1 MOA from normal 300-500 yards with max of 600 yards
- and the enjoyment of shooting a specific cartridge up to 100 rounds a session.
- (Bonus*) I do not reload currently but looking into start so ease of reloading and margin of savings
may be a considerable factor

My current caliber considerations are;
- 223 Rem
- 6.5 Creedmoor
- 308 Win
- (Possibly) 270 Win (however I will get into why I wouldnt like to consider this caliber)


As before I mentioned I have a rifle for game. I currently own a Remington 700 ADL 26" 7mm Rem Mag. I bought this rifle as my first bolt gun on a steal. A local shop had the gun labeled as a Remington 783 that was also on sale so I purchased the R700 with scope combo for exactly $301 including taxes. I saw the rifle and I didnt even know about the caliber and I just really wanted a R700 and I knew I wouldnt find a better deal than that. So 7mm, Wonderful Long Range Cartridge for the distances I listed and all the way to the 1000 yards. However I cant stand the gun because as most of you who are owners of R700's you may know how much these guns rust. Every time I touch this thing it rusts which makes me not even want to take it out. Also I believe I may have gotten it during the Remington xMark Pro Trigger Recall (I just recently found out about that) So I wouldnt like to take it to ranges and something bad happen (More of a leave at home for fun and target shooting and Own private property hunting so if it were to go off in a tree stand a fellow hunter would not be hurt). But ALL AND ALL the AMMO IS EXPENSIVE! I have a weird mind and know that some 308 offerings are a bit cheaper by a few dollars but just knowing that each shot I take is about a $1.50 for (Medium Grade - hunting rounds) really makes my stomach knot. And Since I dont reload currently and since I am trying to pay my way through college I really cant afford 50-60 dollar boxes of high grade Nosler ammo for the darn thing.



So that is where I am at. I want a cheap shooting cartridge that can afford the top grade ammo (max I would like to pay for Nosler, Barnes, Berger, Sierra Match type bullets is around 25-30 per 20). I have Ar-15's so I know the 223 and I like the round but sometimes the low recoil almost takes the fun away (if you know what I mean) But The low recoil can help a more-so beginner - into intermediate shooter like my self.

Going back to the 270 and I guess I will lope 6.5 Creed in this as well. I would like a caliber choice that I can also get cheap ammo to use for fun. I am talking like 10-15 dollar range for 20 bullets that are medium-high quality FMJ that I can use for ok accuracy but mainly for fun and blowing up stuff like Tanerite, etc. From what I know the 270 is not a round that has many if any really avaiable options outside the "hunting bullets" and to my little knowledge of the 6.5 Creed. I dont think this is true for it outside of the medium and high match grade options.


Thank you for the Caliber advice and discussion and I will also enjoy rifle considerations. Budget for rifle ($3-600max) and optic (mil-dot system no more than $350). I would love to have a great combo for around the $500-600 mark, but if theres a major quality enhancement I would consider a $700-800 dollar rifle + scope build.

Thank you and happy shooting!
 

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If I were looking for what you want, I start reloading. Then my choice would be for the 6.5 Creedmore or the 260 Rem loaded with match bullet's. I have a 243 that all I shoot in it is SMK's and that rifle is a lot more accurate than I am. I hang around 1/2" with it, +/-. I loaded some SMK in my 25-06 year or so ago and shot a five shot group that actually looks like one hole! I've got most the box of bullet's put away and don't shoot them any more, probably bust my bubble! I shoot mostly 140gr SMK's in my 6.5x07 and it stay's just under 1/2" full time! I would not ask any commercial loading to do that!

There's a rifle range out east of Redmond, Ore I went to one time with a friend. Shooting on the table next tome was a Douglas County Deputy with a sniper rifle. He shoot's there quite a bit he said and I noticed he was shooting factory match ammo. I asked him about that and the dept doesn't allow them to shoot handloads! His target's were very very nice, no idea what hunting bullet's may or may not have done with that rifle. They were Hornady match. Of course 100 yds if not 500 yds and I didn't see them shot there. Point is if that's what you really want, I believe your gonna have to start handloading. That deputy's target's were no better than my best handloads.

Then to, to do what you want, your gonna need to remove as many of the gun problem's as you can in the bedding. I have rebedded every rifle I've ever owned except a Mod 70 I have not nd a new Moddberg I recently got. If the rifle has some problem, it won't give you all it' got, of course if you don't have the skills to shoot that fr, any rifle may out shoot you. People on the internet talk about shooting 500 yds like it's no big thing. I suspect many of them have never fired a gun at that range!
 

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Welcome to the shooters forum.

I use .223s for shooting prairie dogs. Can pretty consistantly knock them off in the 300-350 yard range. Furthest shots have been a bit over 400 yards. Two were ranged at 413 and 426 yards in pretty stiff crosswinds.
When I decided on the .223 it was because I came into 5,000 pieces of once fired Lake City brass. Looking back on it wasn't a bad decision from the economic standpoint.
 

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.223 will work just fine at 400-600 yards. I'd try and get something with a faster 1:7 twist rate and use heavy for cal bullets between 70 and 80 grains in weight.

Hornady Black box 75gr BTHP .223 ammo is a good affordable one to try. If your rifle likes it then you're set. It's around $13-14 a box.

There are lots of dirt cheap .223 loads made for AR15's. I found some of them shot very well in the bolt action and were great for plinking.

Edit: I'll add, you will want at bare minimum a 20" barrel with a .223 such as this. The extra velocity from the longer barrel really helps out a lot.
 

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I'm with the 223 crowd on this one, particularly because you cited cost as #1. While I don't shoot it in a bolt gun, just about any combination of AR parts with a WOA barrel ($200) and a decent trigger will shoot around .75 MOA out to 600. That's using LC brass, RL15 or 8028 under just about any match bullet 69 grains and above. For 100-200 yards, Sierra 52 gr HPBTs are inexpensive (their first match bullet) and do just fine from a fast twist barrel (1-8 to 1-7). I'm currently working my way through 1K of Hornady 75 grainers and they will hold the 10 ring with a decent X count at 600.

As far as rifles, my Savage 10FP in 308 shoots as accurately as 95% of the rifles out there and it was also chambered in 223. Don't know if they still make that exact model but the Savage line of target / tactical rifles are generally very good.
 

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I'm going to say something else. And some may laugh or disagree... but if you have a good little rimfire rifle in .22LR. Go get some good standard velocity ammo (nothing that breaks the sound barrier). Mount up a really nice long range optic. Then go out and practice shooting it to 250-300 yards. It can be done effectively and accurately. Makes for a LOt of fun IMO. Very affordable to do. Anyone who says it can't be done hasn't tried it! The wind will kick your butt though, so try to go out on less windy days...

Although ranges, bullet drop, wind drift, etc... won't be the same when you step up to a bigger and faster centerfire cartridge. The concept is the exact same. If you can make accurate shots out to 300 with a .22lr, you will do better with a .223 or .308!
 

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That's quite a story....

Hi Everyone, So to get started I am looking for a caliber choice for primarily (90% of the time) target shooting, both steel and paper. I am not really looking for a hunting round for game so the versatility oh a round to take game would not be a deciding factor for me, I have another caliber for that which i will get to later. I want to purchase a new bolt gun that will allow me to receive sub - 1 MOA at 300-500 yards (600 Max). I live in southeast Virginia and I really dont have that much open space to practically shoot past a general 500 yard mark.

My main focuses are;
- Money ($/round),
- Ammo options (I want affordable Top Match grade ammo plus ability to shoot cheaper medium quality
brass loadings)
- Accuracy of course, Sub-1 MOA from normal 300-500 yards with max of 600 yards
- and the enjoyment of shooting a specific cartridge up to 100 rounds a session.
- (Bonus*) I do not reload currently but looking into start so ease of reloading and margin of savings
may be a considerable factor

My current caliber considerations are;
- 223 Rem
- 6.5 Creedmoor
- 308 Win
- (Possibly) 270 Win (however I will get into why I wouldnt like to consider this caliber)


As before I mentioned I have a rifle for game. I currently own a Remington 700 ADL 26" 7mm Rem Mag. I bought this rifle as my first bolt gun on a steal. A local shop had the gun labeled as a Remington 783 that was also on sale so I purchased the R700 with scope combo for exactly $301 including taxes. I saw the rifle and I didnt even know about the caliber and I just really wanted a R700 and I knew I wouldnt find a better deal than that. So 7mm, Wonderful Long Range Cartridge for the distances I listed and all the way to the 1000 yards. However I cant stand the gun because as most of you who are owners of R700's you may know how much these guns rust. Every time I touch this thing it rusts which makes me not even want to take it out. Also I believe I may have gotten it during the Remington xMark Pro Trigger Recall (I just recently found out about that) So I wouldnt like to take it to ranges and something bad happen (More of a leave at home for fun and target shooting and Own private property hunting so if it were to go off in a tree stand a fellow hunter would not be hurt). But ALL AND ALL the AMMO IS EXPENSIVE! I have a weird mind and know that some 308 offerings are a bit cheaper by a few dollars but just knowing that each shot I take is about a $1.50 for (Medium Grade - hunting rounds) really makes my stomach knot. And Since I dont reload currently and since I am trying to pay my way through college I really cant afford 50-60 dollar boxes of high grade Nosler ammo for the darn thing.



So that is where I am at. I want a cheap shooting cartridge that can afford the top grade ammo (max I would like to pay for Nosler, Barnes, Berger, Sierra Match type bullets is around 25-30 per 20). I have Ar-15's so I know the 223 and I like the round but sometimes the low recoil almost takes the fun away (if you know what I mean) But The low recoil can help a more-so beginner - into intermediate shooter like my self.

Going back to the 270 and I guess I will lope 6.5 Creed in this as well. I would like a caliber choice that I can also get cheap ammo to use for fun. I am talking like 10-15 dollar range for 20 bullets that are medium-high quality FMJ that I can use for ok accuracy but mainly for fun and blowing up stuff like Tanerite, etc. From what I know the 270 is not a round that has many if any really avaiable options outside the "hunting bullets" and to my little knowledge of the 6.5 Creed. I dont think this is true for it outside of the medium and high match grade options.


Thank you for the Caliber advice and discussion and I will also enjoy rifle considerations. Budget for rifle ($3-600max) and optic (mil-dot system no more than $350). I would love to have a great combo for around the $500-600 mark, but if theres a major quality enhancement I would consider a $700-800 dollar rifle + scope build.

Thank you and happy shooting!
Your best bet, considering how far you want to shoot, how much money you have to spend, and getting something can deal with a little wind is to find a good gunsmith and put your money in the rifle you have.

Good Luck !
 

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A bolt gun in 223, even with a 1-12 twist barrel 60gr bullets will shoot well, if you can find a 1-9 that would be even better for the heavier bullets.
 

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I agree with Don Fisher, either the 6.5 Creedmore or the 260 Remington. Though trajectory is no problem for the .223 at 5-600 yards, it gets beat up by the wind too much.
 

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For you criteria, I'd look to the 243 or the 260 Remington.

The 222/223 bullets are NOT wind friendly.

The 270 should do fine as a cartridge, but your rifle must shoot MOA at 100 yards before considering it at 600 yards.
 

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No bullet is "wind friendly", it's just a matter of how much drift. Using standard match bullets in 223 and 6.5, the 6.5 Creedmoor will suffer about half the drift of the 223 at 500 yards, the 243/6mm about 2/3. Yes, that's a big advantage.

But as Trent pointed out, a 22RF will teach you more about being a good rifleman then any centerfire cartridge ever will. And that translates directly to high power marksmanship. Reading the wind is a critical skill and the cheaper the ammo, the more you can throw down range to acquire those skills.

IMHO, there's only one cartridge that meets the requirements "I want a cheap shooting cartridge that can afford the top grade ammo".

Just about any good rifle can be had in any of the mentioned chamberings, and any of the mentioned cartridges will work, but look at ammo prices for match ammo. FMJ ammo is typically the least accurate. That's, as a general rule, for "spray & pray" shooting, not precision work.
 

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I've done a bunch of long range varmint and target work using a 22 LR. It's tons of fun, inexpensive, and it really helps a guy develop long range skills. I've picked off more coyotes and fox at 300 - 400 yards than I can shale a stick at, just super fun.

You sound like you really want to get serious about this. So my serious recommendation is to stretch your dollar and shoot the very best ammo obtainable, I suggest picking up a used single stage press and get into the reloading game. I see decent single stage presses all the time selling for $30 -$40, and by the time you get dies, Lee trimmer, ream & chamfer, a scale you can get completely set up for $$125, maybe even less. The factory ammo that sells for $50 - $60 doesn't compare to a properly developed reload. Once the load is dialed in a guy can shoot the best of the best for about .35 per round for .223. This figure can still be reduced a good deal more if buying bullets and powders in bulk and online. Heck, I can get inexpensive hunting bullets too deliver 1/2" and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to develop that kind of accuracy. Where as shooting factory ammo a guy has to deal with major lot to lot production variations while spending a $1 or more per round. I shoot .270 win and 7 mag regularly for between $8 and $12 per box, and that price can be decreased even more when I buy bulk powders & bullets online.

Once you get going with reloading you won't even consider going back to shooting factory ammo, there's honestly no comparison.

SMOA
 

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Yup, reloading is the way to go but you are going to have to spend some time learning the game and developing your loads. While it won’t compare to a 6.5 or a .260 out at 500 yards the .223 is a decent round and won’t break the bank while you are shooting factory ammo (or at least it won’t break it as bad). I have a Savage 110V that shoots one-hole groups at 100 yards with Sierra 52gr MKs (it’s only 1:12 twist or I’d shoot the 69gr SMKs) and it was a very inexpensive rifle until I added the scope. So it kinda comes down to how much you are willing to spend but the .223 will be hard to beat on a budget and reloading is the only way to go if you have the time.
 

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I agree with several others. The 223 is hard to beat for economy and ease of shooting and is an inherently accurate round for hand loaders. It is picky about the twist rate when using bigger bullets so a 1:9 to 1:7 twist is necessary for 60 to 77 gr or larger bullets. The 1:12 twist many bolt guns are set up with will limit you to 50 and 55 gr bullets, which have limitations past 250 - 300 yds.

Trying to shoot long range targets, 500 yds and beyond, will likely be very frustrating unless you develop your skills and accuracy of rifle and ammo at shorter ranges, 50 to 200 yds. Until you are consistently accurate at shorter ranges, longer shots are only going to magnify your shortcomings as a shooter and those of your rifle as well.

Using a rimfire such as 22LR, 22 WMR, or 17 HRM is a economical way to develop good skills with a rifle. You can ingrain good habits and muscle memory while not having to deal with recoil and muzzle blast. Dryfire drills with your centerfire rifle are also effective ways to practice trigger control and without the cost of ammo. There is a reason many great shooters cut their rifle teeth with a rimfire over iron sights.
 

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Using your criteria, the .223 is the only way to go. Buy a Savage 12 with the 26" brl. , Supreme accuracy, and won't break the bank.
 

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You have a 6.5 creddmore, and a 308 that's all you need for 300 to 600, learn to reload,
 

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I'll also endorse Don Fischer's comments. The 6,5 Creedmore, 6mm Creedmore, or the 243 are all
excellent choices and ammunition while reasonable, handloading your own would be more cost
effective.

The only issue I have about the "223", is the confusion re the 5,56mm military cartridge and the
Rem .223: They are completely different cartridges. And, while you can fire .223 ammunition in
a barrel chambered for 5,56, it isn't recommended firing 5,56 ammo in a barrel chambered for .223!
Different chambers and higher pressures. Not to mention potential accuracy issues.

Obviously, if you're considering the 5,56 and not the "223", you won't have the pressure issues to deal
with.
 

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If your goal is accurate long range shooting on a budget, take a look at the Savage 12FV from Cabela's in .223 Rem. It has a 26" bull barrel and a 1 in 9" twist rate which I am confident will stabilize at least the 69 gr HPBT bullets, it may even handle the 77 gr with the added velocity from the 26" barrel. It is currently on sale for $369.99. The only downside is the so so Tupperware stock and blind magazine, but for the price, it is amazing. Handloading is the best option, because match quality ammo is pricey, even for the .223, but affordable varmint busting ammo is available at reasonable cost that is quite accurate out to 300 yards or so. I have had good luck with the Fiocchi Extrema ammo that comes loaded with 40 and 50 gr V-Max bullets, along with Federal American Eagle 50 gr Tipped Varmint ammo. I have seen the Fiocchi on sale for less than $22 for a box of 50 rounds, while the FAE TV can be had for around $10 for a box of 20.
If you want the bigger bang, the same rifle is also offered in .308 Win, which is probably the cheapest to feed for long range shooting (after the .223). Federal Gold Medal Match Ammo in the 168 gr weight is usually very accurate in any accurate rifle and can be ordered for about $1 per round. Decent plinking ammo can usually be found for .60 to .75 per round. Obviously, the .223 is the way to go for the budget constrained.
Savage® Arms 12 FV Bolt-Action Varmint Rifles : Cabela's
 

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The 223 will not get you sub moa at 500yrds because it is too small to do that due to wind drift but if you go that route then you will learn everything you need to know about elevation, wind etc mastering it.

The 6.5 is a far better round for what you want but the 308 will work fine if the recoil doesn't bother you.
 
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