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Thread: "Best" small caliber - .204, .220, .222, .223, .22-250

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    Default "Best" small caliber - .204, .220, .222, .223, .22-250

    First off - I've already searched to see if a thread like this exists, and I found zero results. My apologies if there already is one (or a dozen).

    I'm hoping to get into shooting a lot more this year. Purchasing some reloading equipment with a friend and am looking for an ideal small caliber rifle to use and abuse.

    80-90% of my use for this will be target shooting. But I'd also like to try coyote hunting, so I'd like to buy something that's proven itself in that field as well.

    My priorities:

    -Overall quality
    -Ease of maintenance, repair and accessorizing
    -$ saved margin for handloading vs buying factory rounds
    -Ease of finding spent brass/quality bullets
    -Versatile range of bullet types & weights
    -Typical ballistics (I'm a sucker for high velocities and kinetic energy!)

    I'm mainly asking for info on the calibers... not the makes & models, but that can all be key info as well.

    Also, I typically buy new, but am considering going used with this one so if anyone is sellling, pitch me!
    Respect yourself, respect your prey and respect your ancestors; Keep your hunt pure.

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    The 222 was always a bench rest favorite because of its mild bark and superior accuracy, (even after the 222 Rem magnum arrived.) The mag was supposed to give the 222 accuracy but with a bit more steam. The 223 then showed up on the market with its supply of cheap milsurp ammo (and guns). Still more steam over the 222 Rem Mag and didn't burn out barrels the way the super hot 22-250 was rumoured to do.
    Unless you are strictly bench rest, the 223 is as good as any, if you can find it in a suitable gun.

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    If you want the highest velocities then the .22-250 has got to be your best choice. Given the same 55 gr bullet the .223 can hit 3300 fps while the .22-250 can get up to almost 3800 fps. That's quite a difference!

    I chose a .223 because it has enough power for what I need and the brass is cheap (free at most ranges).
    Member of the National Firearms Association (NFA).

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    It depends how far you want to shoot your targets. If your serious about target shooting and want to stretch the distance then get a fast twist .223. The best .22 caliber 90 grain bullets are ballistically equivalent or better than some of the best .308 bullets. I love the .223 but 90 grainers require a 1/7 twist barrel and I prefer the flexibility of an 8 twist and shoot 80 grainers mostly.

    The .223 has very long barrel life, is easy to load for, brass is almost free and would work well for coyotes, especially if your shooting the heavier bullets. I think if you are serious about target shooting then the type of gun you end up with might not be the best for humping around the fields but it could be.

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    I had a custom 204 built, but the best all around varmiter is the 223, especially in a 8-twist.
    Whitetail habitat junkie

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    of the calibers you have listed, i do not think that there is one that is best, they all have their own "niche " it all depends on what your intended use is , the .204 is great , fast and not noisy , the .222 has always been one of my favourites, easy to load for accurate and easy on barrels , the .223 is being shot by most , faster than the .222 and brass is readily available, the other two .220 and the 22/250 are fast and noisy and are harder on barrels if you tend to do a lot of shooting.
    pick your poison and enjoy using any one of them.
    Last edited by jaycee; April 26th, 2012 at 05:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenLakePete View Post
    If you want the highest velocities then the .22-250 has got to be your best choice. Given the same 55 gr bullet the .223 can hit 3300 fps while the .22-250 can get up to almost 3800 fps. That's quite a difference!

    I chose a .223 because it has enough power for what I need and the brass is cheap (free at most ranges).

    The .223 can be brought up to those velocities with Data from Europe. But I would think with the increase to 22-250 speeds you would see 22-250 barrel life as well.

    Personal I think Asking "What is the best Caliber" is going to get you the same thing as if you asked "What is the best women, Blonds, Redheads, or Brunettes"
    The only time a Waterfowl Hunter is telling the truth is when he tells you another Waterfowl Hunter is a liar.

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    reloading, target shooting, cheap

    .223 hands down. Good on coyotes as well.


    Get a 1-8 twist rate gun (like wad said) then you can shoot 75g bullets, Better for long range.
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    .223 hands down

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    To Anyone who has been shooting for awhile it is common knowledge that there is no such thing as one gun fits all.
    (This has already been stated in this thread) However for a one gun to fit your need I would choose the .223
    It has alot less noise than the .204,22-250,220 swift and other such calibers or necked down wildcats (very important if shooting in built up areas
    It is easy and economical to reload,accurate with most loads and exceptionally accurate with loads it likes.
    It will kill a coyote where it stands up to 400yds (If your skills are up to it) and with lighter bullets (40grs) will shoot flat out to 300 yds.Did I mention it is easy on barrels too.
    If and when the time comes to add another take a look at one of the .17 family of cartridges the .17hmr, new .17 hornet,fireball or .17 rem.They are FFFFFUUUUUNNNN to shoot more than any other and are really really accurate.
    What I said of the 223 can be said of the 222 or 221 execpt that the 223 IS more popular and thus loaded ammo and brass are cheaper and more readily available.If you are new to the sport and belong to a range you will find more 223 owners to share info with than 222 or 221 simply because of its popularity.

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