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.223

13 Dec 2011
@ 06:23 pm (GMT)

tim Kollat

I read the info on the performance of the 223 and have a question.
I know the m195 55gr fmj is a good tumbling/fragmenting round but Ive never heard of anyone saying its the best for hunting like the article stated. Ive always thought that a hunting round was much better performer on game than a military fmj.
Are all 55 gr fmj good for yawing/fragmenting above say 2500 fps?
I have a bunch of hornady 55gr fmj to load up.
Would the best bullet be the norinco 55 gr? I have no idea where to get these. Are all of the pulldowns on surplus sites that say they are xm193 pollouts, are these them?
Also my ar-15 has a 20" 1-7 twist. Will that be too fast of a twist for the 55 gr to yaw on impact

Replies

14 Dec 2011
@ 11:00 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .223
Hi Tim, I put a photo at the end of the .223 article to highlight the wound channels created by tumbling .223 FMJ projectiles. There is no other projectile on the market capable of this level of wounding and penetration combined in the .223 REM so it is safe to say that it is the best hunting projectile. That said, this performance was specific to the Norinco brand projectiles or loaded ammunition.

With other brands of FMJ ammunition, performance varies and you would need to test each brand accordingly. However, the twist rate of your AR is indeed too fast to induce yaw on impact with 55gr and heavier projectiles. In your rifle, you will need to focus on choosing a suitable hunting projectile.

Most .223 hunting projectiles are designed for varminting and can at times produce cruel, inhumane wounds when chest shooting game, as is the case with non tumbling FMJ ammunition. The heavy Speer,Sierra, Partition as well as the Barnes projectiles produce somewhat between performance than the likes of the standard 55 grain soft points- with chest shots. On the other hand, providing game weights are not too heavy, you can take advantage of the 75-80 grain A-Max for chest shooting. These work well on game weighing up to 60kg (130lb).

If you find that you are encountering game body weights over 60kg and are unable to use exact shot placement to secure fast kills (such as areas where range, wind or terrain limits your ability to utilize exacting POI's), you may experience slow kills. If this occurs, do not muck around chasing the comments of others on the net or youtube clips of the wonderful performance of the .223. Instead, move on. If you enjoy military style firearms, utilize something in the .308 caliber.

I spent a lot of time testing the .223 as well as using it myself for culling. During my research, I also had the opportunity to spend time with NZ government cullers. The original guys are now a rare breed. One man I was most interested in had retired from culling but spent the last decade living in a tent at his base camp trapping possums for fur. His Red deer rifle was a .223 but he insisted that if he did not neck shoot (usually the base of the ear / axis of the spine), he could not guarantee that the animal would go down or that if it did eventually go down, whether he would be able to locate/retrieve it. At the same time, he could not guarantee that a neck shot stag (center neck) would go down if the neck was swollen during the roar (rut).

The hunter was a very careful stalker and a precise shot. He knew when he could hunt with the .223, what shots he could take and which shots he shouldn't take- even at ranges inside 100 yards. He was an honest man and being a good shot, he knew that if he took the shot and the animal ran, it was not a miss- it was a cruel, slow kill. The hunter had a .308 rifle in camp for roar (rut) hunting though he seldom used it as his primary interest was in securing meat animals/ yearlings.

Although I have shot many animals with the .223 and have watched many other hunters do the same, I think the ex government culler had the most impact on me. Spending time in camp with him, drawing on his years of experience was a gift.

Understanding strengths and limitations, thats the key. You have to first decide whether your hunting allows you to take neck shots which will then allow you to use a soft, frangible projectile. If you will be taking body shots (as well as neck shots), one of the heavier or tougher projectiles will be required. Along with this, you need to consider range, body weights, the type of winds you encounter in your hunting area. The .223 can be problematic in heavy bush/wooded areas where snap shots have to be taken- even though you are using a fast handling platform, follow up shots will almost always be tail on or quartering away. Semi open conditions are the best environment for the .223. The .223 definitely finds its strengths in niche conditions.

Sorry to move away from your original question but I thought you might appreciate more information.
14 Dec 2011
@ 03:22 pm (GMT)

tim Kollat

Re: .223
Thanks so much for all the info! I also own a 308, 270 and a 30-06 but I want to use the most acceptable round for my 5.56 ar-15. I bought it with a 1-7 twist being under the assumption that the heavier bullets was the way to go with the .223 since its such a small caliber. Alot of guys here rag on the 55gr xm193 round and say its only good for plinking and thats it, but other guys that know more about the round know that it is a highly lethal round and fragments well at velocities (if I remember correctly) over 2500 fps.
I can get xm193 from just about anywhere and its fairly cheap and Im considering stocking up on it. Ill just get an upper for my AR that has a 1-12 twist just for the lighter grain rounds and use the 1-7 for the 62 on up to 77 gr loads.
I have 55gr Hornady fmj, 62 gr Barnes ttsx, 77gr Nosler bthp, 77gr SMK, Berger 73gr bthp, 55gr Nosler BT varmint and a few other to play around with different loadings. Im thinking the 55gr BT Nosler Varmint rounds will be ok in the 1-7 twist since they do not rely on yaw once they hit tissue.
By the way I really like your site and the info on it is great!
Thanks for passing it on

Im also getting ready to build a long range rifle and see that is right up your alley. I just cant settle on caliber. I have it narrowed down to 300rum, 30-338, or just keep it simple with a 300 win mag.
Im wanting a long range rifle capable of cleanly taking antelope, big horn sheep and elk. Ill probably end up going with the 300rum...what do you think?
By the way, I wish I could come out to NZ and hunt with you. Looks like paradise..beautiful country
-Tim
20 Dec 2011
@ 12:19 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .223
Hi Tim, with the .30 calibers, choose your cartridge based on range. Work out how far you want to shoot to, then choose the cartridge that will get this job in the most efficient manner. As you say, the .300 Win Mag for example, is a no fuss cartridge and will easily get you out to 1000 yards. The Rem M700 Sendero is a simple platform that will allow you to achieve this goal after bedding a possibly a trigger swap. If you want to shoot further than 1000 yards, the Weatherby is the next step. If you want to hunt to extreme ranges, the RUM and .30-378 are extreme performers. But as you have already read, there is no free lunch.

Personally, I have found it fairly simple to shoot the .30-06 to 1000 yards. To me, the 300 Win mag is a boon for reducing wind drift at this range while the Weatherby is all I could ever ask of a long range .30, performing very well out past 100 yards.

20 Dec 2011
@ 04:03 pm (GMT)

faulkner

Re: .223
Hi Tim, Nathan coached me through a long range rife build for similar animals "Canada, B.C." this fall. I used a local gunsmith for the build and went with a 300 Win Mag, came in at 12.3lbs , and I couldn't be more PLEASED! I have not harvested anything yet with it but recoil is tolerable for good practice. Still working on loads but H-1000 and a 208 Amax really seams to shine. I like that I can get good components and most places have ammo in the event that my hand loads didn't make it to my hunting destination.
Prior to this I was trying to get a 338 RUM,-9.5 lbs scoped "big recoil" to really get out there, 800yrd was my limit in mild wind for a high probability hit but bullet speed was down around 1850ft/sec and bullets construction was way to stout for that impact.

Well good luck and happy hunting! Aj. And Nathan thanks for all the help!!
21 Dec 2011
@ 04:37 pm (GMT)

tim Kollat

Re: .223
Im just going to stick with 300 win mag. The 30-06 is my dads that he gave me a long time ago and I think Im going to fix it up nice and give it back.
I know this thread started as a .223 thread, so Ill ask one more thing:
Nathan, Ive read from many sources that the spin of the 55 grain fmj has no effect on yaw and does not stabilize it so much that it wont yaw and frag on impact. Your writings that the slower twists that just stabilize it enough in flight but yaw and fragment on impact sound more sensible.
Im just trying to decide if buying an upper for my ar-15 with a 1-14 or 1-12 twist for that bullet is justified.
I guess even then I could shoot the light 223's like the 35 and 40 grainers
23 Dec 2011
@ 07:53 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .223
Hi Tim, if you were able to obtain Norinco facory ammunition, yes it would be worth purchasing the upper. But apart from that, if you are reloading, in this instance, I think it would be better to simply adopt the 80gr A-Max and explore how you can best utilize it or if a tougher bullet is required combined with economy for semi auto use, the 65gr Sierra GameKing.
 

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