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Thread: Recommendations for a .223 bolt gun for shooting cast

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Recommendations for a .223 bolt gun for shooting cast

    Hey everyone—

    I'm considering picking up a bolt action rifle in .223 to shoot cast through. The objective for this rifle is to do target practice out to maybe 200 yards, maybe 300 max. But probably most at 100 yards.

    I have had people talk me down from the Ruger American series, R700s, and Savage Axis rifles for various reasons.

    Is anybody shooting cast .223 successfully through a bolt gun? Achieving MOA? I'd love to know which rifle you're shooting (and load data if you care to share). Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    Edit: I'd like to stay in the range of $300 or less if possible. Not opposed to waiting patiently for a great deal on a used rifle.
    Currently in the process of developing the "perfect" cast .223 load for my AR-15. Click here to follow my progress

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    I'm shooting cast with the CZ-527 FS model (Full stock-- all the way to the muzzle). I get less than one inch for a 5 shot group at 100 yards using a Lyman 225646 GC bullet (not every day, of course-- but I've done it on some good days). The CZ 527 FS is very much like a floating barrel, and has a set trigger with adjusting screws. It is one very fine shooting bolt action! 223 Rem, of course. The trouble is-- you can't get it for $300-- think double that.
    Hick: Iron sights!

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I've no experience with cast in .223, but I would think if you wait, an older 1-14" twist Remington, Savage 110, or Winchester Post 64 could be found. All newer .223 AFAIK are fast twist and the slower twist MIGHT be best.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Anyone have experience with the Remington 783? The .223 model is right around the $300 mark new if I find a deal. It’s a 1:9 twist which will allow me to shoot heavier bullets up to around 69gr if I want.
    Currently in the process of developing the "perfect" cast .223 load for my AR-15. Click here to follow my progress

  5. #5
    Boolit Master mattw's Avatar
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    I have been shooting cast in an old 700 with a 1:12 twist barrel and 55 grainers for several years. Very good gun for the purpose.

  6. #6
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    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Concur with the slower twists of 12 - 14". I've been shooting cast in 12 and 14" twist 223s since the late '60s with excellent success. The problem you are faced with is your $300 limit. Instead of compromising to stay under that price I suggest you save your money until you can afford a older M700, M788 or M70 with a 12 or 14" twist.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Savage Predator. all day long! 1-8 twist, it likes the heavies a lot.

  8. #8
    Moderator Emeritus


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    I believe a contender in 223 had a 1 in 12 twist. It isn't that difficult to pick up a 23" 223 but it isn't a bolt.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I would suggest a .222 instead. Not only do most of them have a 1:14" twist; the .222 also has a longer neck which is good for cast. The Savage models 322, 325, and 340 (perhaps others) were made in .222 and can be found in your price range.

    Another possibility is a .22-250. Both new and used ones are common, there are new ones in or close to your price range, most are 1:12" and most shoot great with cast bullets.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



    Crash_Corrigan's Avatar
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    I had a Rem 788 in 22-250 and I sold it off as it was boringly accurate. It was a very well made rifle but butt ugly in my mind. I went out and found a CZ 527FS in .223. A great looking gun and handles just right. I bought the smallest Leupold Scope I could find and now with a 3x9 glass it still looks balanced and will gut a fly at 100 yds. Unless it is a calm day the tiny .223 boolit will drift some and it really doesn't have that much power.

    I am looking for another CZ527 FS in 6.5x55MM Sweede as I have a very old Mauser in that caliber and I love the accuracy and terminal ballistics of that round. It in 140 to 160 gr is a very long boolit and it handles the wind very well. The Norse, Sweeds and Finns have used this caliber forever for big game and this boolit hits it's targets way above the weight of the caliber. The recoil is mild along with the report and it shoots cast very well.

    I would also like to lay my paws on the CZ527FS in 7.62x39 as that is such a fun plinking round and easy and cheap to reload.
    Pax Nobiscum Dan (Crash) Corrigan

    Currently casting, reloading and shooting: 223 Rem, 6.5x55 Sweede, 30 Carbine, 30-06 Springfield, 30-30 WCF, 303 Brit., 7.62x39, 7.92x57 Mauser, .32 Long, 32 H&R Mag, 327 Fed Mag, 380 ACP. 9x19, 38 Spcl, 357 Mag, 38-55 Win, 41 Mag, 44 Spcl., 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 45 ACP, 454 Casull, 457 RB for ROA and 50-90 Sharps. Shooting .22 LR & 12 Gauge seldom and buying ammo for same.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    You need to understand how the "direction" for the intended use will,or does,define the rifle.

    If you just need something to get your "feet wet" vs say going down a rabbit hole with a dedicated "bench gun".

    A CZ in .222 makes a fine sporting rifle.Easy on the eyes,vg resale,accuracy. But it is a skinny barrel.... and will get hot on long strings of fire. A bench gun is more dependent on either,how deep your pockets are or,you're sitting on a machine shop? I guess a factory varmint rig would come closest to splitting the difference? But you are starting to compromise. For 300,go snag a used Savage...at least you can change the barrel down the rd,at home.Their triggers and stiff bolt work holds them back.... enter R700.The latter has pretty much all the bases covered on parts/support but break out the wallet.

    I love our 223's and 22-250's. The rifles themselves are pretty std,WRT what's required vs larger bores.What makes them a challenge is the bullet handling.And this ain't about JB's. It's cast only.The things are dang small,and bend/upset easily if care isn't taken in every part of the process..... even down to running them up through a mag.Good luck with your project.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    A nice Zastava M85 or the Charles Daly/Interarms/Remington version should be well within your budget. I have a late model example imported by Century. The bore shines like a mirror, twist is something like 1:9.8 I understand.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master chsparkman's Avatar
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    Not a bolt-action, but my Ruger No. 3 in .223 shoots a 45 gr. Lyman 225438 over 5.7 grains of Green Dot amazingly well. It's my favorite squirrel rifle for head shots out to 125 yards.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I bought a T/C Venture earlier this year in 223 with a 1/12 twist. With jacketed 50's and 55's out of the box it was under MOA as advertised. My CB shooting with it is still a work in progress but it is under 1.75 MOA but not quite as good as my T/C carbine Hornet yet.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shopdog View Post
    I love our 223's and 22-250's. The rifles themselves are pretty std,WRT what's required vs larger bores.What makes them a challenge is the bullet handling.And this ain't about JB's. It's cast only.The things are dang small,and bend/upset easily if care isn't taken in every part of the process..... even down to running them up through a mag.Good luck with your project.
    This is why I never tried cast in small bores. I am not that detail oriented when casting. I could do well with .308 dia bullets but smaller than that and I had trouble.

    As far as rifles, my Savage Axis in .223 heavy barrel is only limited by how well I can shoot it. Less than MOA with good bullets is the norm. Frequently half inch groups. It is a 1:9 twist and likes the 69gn match bullets.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check