22-250 vs 223

MontanaPT

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Oct 31, 2015
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After reading Form’s posts I have decided that I need to get a lighter caliber practice rifle. I was settled on the Tikka 223. However, I also recently considered the Tikka 22-250. Is there a strong reason to choose the 223 over the 22-250. It will be myself and my 10 year old son practicing with the rifle. I would also like it to be an option for my son to use for deer hunting. I think they both have 1:8 twist, and I would like to be able to shoot the 77gr Tmk or something similar. Ammo for the 22-250 is easier to come by where I live. I don’t currently reload, but am strongly considering starting. Any help with my decision would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

4ester

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If your looking for practice.....223 all day long.


22-250 is a great round, but cost to shoot is gonna be a bit more. Speed equals less barrel life. The 22-250 ammo that’s factory is typically varmint type, 50-60 grains. So if your gonna shoot long range with it your gonna have to reload.

223, brass is everywhere, low recoil,


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fightthenoise

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2nd the above. Cases of 223 can still be found, you just have to act quick and it won’t be cheap. But 22-250 won’t be cheap either. Once this all blows over you’ll be glad you went .223
 

w squared

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4ester and fightthenoise are giving you solid advice. There is a run on .223 right now because gun folks love to panic buy every few years. Once that has passed, you'll find that .223 will be far more easily available, have far more suitable loadings for deer that are easily found, and will be about as cheap as you're going to find for centerfire rifle ammo in the US.

Up here in Canada, we can still get crates and spam cans of surplus chicom 7.62X39 - and .223 still gives that stuff a run for it's money when I look at the economics of shooting it for practice.
 
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MontanaPT

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Thanks for all the advice! That settles it, 223 it is. Now to find some ammo, or learn to reload.
 

crich

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My local palmetto state armory had probably 15 different options of 22-250 on the shelf today. Not one box of .223 anywhere in sight. Hopefully things turnaround soon... 🥴
 

robtattoo

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.223, even in times like these, is the obvious choice. 1000 pieces of brass for under $80, massive power choices & dirt cheap practice bullets..... Maybe right now it's a bit awkward, but 6 months from now, you'll be reloading at 12c per & giggling like a loon!
 

fightthenoise

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Small rifle primers are going to be the barrier to entry. If you can beg borrow or steal some, the rest of it should be attainable with minimal patience
 

Lawnboi

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223 for barrel life alone. If your willing to drive you can still find 223 around. If your near central SD anytime soon let me know I’ll send along some info.

223 is also stupid easy to load for. Primers are hard to find currently but everything else you need to make a 223 go bang is still very available.

Make sure it’s an 8 twist if you plan to stretch it.

You can still find primers if you look atleast around me. Just got 2k in the last month. Cci 450s too.

Food for thought. 77tmk loaded ammo is going to run you 1+ dollar a round. Lapua brass .60, 77tmk .30, primer .5 and powder .10. 1.05 a round. Change the brass to .10 cents considering 6 reloads and now look at the price. These are current prices. Considering how many loads you will get out of the premium cases.

You can even go super cheap and still make good ammo. I had 600 pieces of hornady brass and loaded it with 75 hornady hpbt and eldm for 35 cents a round.
 
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vonb

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I have both .223 and .22-250. I’d choose the .223 every day of the week for your needs. I actually like shooting the .223 and .243 better than the .22-250.
 
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MontanaPT

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I am excited to get the 223! I have started learning about the reloading process. Plan to buy the components and get with some friends to fully learn the process. I definitely appreciate all the insight here on this forum!
 

Bushfire

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I'm a fan of the 22 250 myself.
I've never had a issue with ammo. If your going to hunt deer I'd get the 22 250 for sure and still would be cautions with what bullet you use and shot placement. I believe it's a 1:10 twist on the tikka 22 250
 

B23

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Tikka did make a special run of 8tw 22-250's awhile back so it's possible the OP has one of those.

To answer the OP's question, even though I'm a big 22-250 fan, I think for the described use a 223 would be the better choice.
 

Millertime30

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I was in the same boat a year ago except I was looking at coyotes instead of deer. I was originally going to get a 22-250 but got a deal on a 223 so went with that. Extremely glad I did because I wouldn’t shoot it near as much as I do if I was paying 22-250 prices. As mentioned above the variety of bullets makes it multi-use.
 

ChasingSqwach

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223. You can watch the bullet impact. 22-250 recoils just enough so you cant watch your impact. Cant lose either way. If it's a deer gun I would probably jump up to 243. 243 and 22-250 have the exact same ballistics if loaded for it.
 

Zappaman

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I'd ask what "practice" means here... I practice (shoot every few months- all reloads) and both these calibers are usually taken to the range. Actually the 22-250 is an Akley Improved and so I shoot standard rounds to fire-form brass for it on about every trip down. That said, I never shoot more than a few rounds of any rifle (including my 6.8 SPC and 5.56 ARs)

Occasionally, there is the long day of working up a new reload and that particular gun gets shot more while working the load up proper. But still, rarely more than a dozen shots are taken on those guns I'm working a load for. I then prefer to shoot cold barrel when I get a load tweaked (after several times to the range). So those guns (already dialed in) are shot 3-6 times at most. Sometimes I'm just cleaning the rifle, taking the first "fouling shot", and confirming my zero (3-4 shots do fine for that).

I say the above to demonstrate that although I shoot pretty regular year round, I don't fire a lot of rounds. In this case, given the OP's question I'd give serious thought to whatever caliber I MAY ALSO find useful to me given what I hunt. I'd give the 22-250 the nod in my own case here.

It also gets cheaper to shoot a 22-250 if you reload... and if you don't run hot charges ANY brass will take many reloads (*if you anneal every few loads). I mostly prefer the 22-250 as it closer replicates the ballistics and speeds of my larger caliber rifles (I am practicing for). Yes, you can shoot SLOW 223 rounds long-range, but it's more of a "lob" than a "laser" and I find it better to "practice" with a rifle with similar ballistics to my larger calibers. The 22-250 is capable of use for longer range hunting putting some SPEED on the .223 heavies (*with the BC needed to "keep on going"). Reloder 26 helps here too ;)

All this said, I have an amazing 223 bold gun for shredding p-dogs and I use it WITH the 22-250ai on those rare, but fun hunts. The 223 shoots 40g at 3850 FPS- point and click out to 200 yards- a FLAT laser rifle for sure. The 22-250 shoots 75g about 3350 BUT with 300 yard head shot range ability and better in the wind (especially here in Kansas).

BOTH are excellent "practice" calibers without a doubt but the 22-250 can kill way out there and for the larger bullet and speed, I'll take the (lower twist) 22-250 if it came down to one gun more usable in the field I typically hunt in AND given my "practice" preferences and reloading capability.
 

wind gypsy

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I'm pretty new to the 223 bolt gun world but am a little sad about how fast my t3x lite 223 barrel heats up and that's with me not caring if I trash it in short order because I'm already antsy for a faster twist and longer throat. All that to say I wouldn't want to baby a 22-250 as required to avoid burning it out right away with practice sessions.
 

Zappaman

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22-250 barrels are somewhat short lived in general- this is true. But if you shoot like me, a 22-250 will last me a while (even running a few hundred down it on P-dog hunts). And... as I run Savage (and mount/headspace my own barrels), the cost of ownership isn't bad since I'm not waiting in line for a (good) smith to do work I'd rather do myself anyway.

I shoot a 75g Hornady a-max (now EDL) out of mine at 3350 fps (it can hit 3450 but I backed it down for barrel life) and it tracks about the same as my larger calibers (also known as barrel burners: 260ai, 243, 7mm RM, etc.) running up to about that same speeds as those gubs can get to (depending on the load). I bought a matching set of 22-250ai barrels (same reamer used to cut the chambers) and so when one finally gives up the ghost-- I'll just slap on the exact replacement and keep on shooting. But after about 600 rounds down my current gun (and one P-dog hunt with 200 rounds run hot down it in two days), my stainless Apache barrels shoots 3/4" groups at 200 all day long still.

But if someone wanted a lighter carry (in a practice gun) I'd just go 243 (running 70-85g bullets) to replicate the calibers I'm practicing for. The 223 is a great gun, but for me it's running 40g bullets close to 4000 fps. where it's not a practice gun more that a P-dog laser out to 200 or so. I also run the 40g V-max in my super lightweight AR upper for coyote, rabbit, crow, and coons out to 200 yards where that bullet is hitting about 3400 fps.

The 223 just can't "replicate" the ballistics of larger caliber rifles. But if that's WHAT you want to hunt with there are bullets now that will put down a deer or pig (TSX, Partition, etc.) within 150 yards with enough energy to make an ethical kill. Still for an AR, I like reloading the newer Fed Gold Dots (Fusion) 115g in my 6.8 SPC upper. We killed three pigs last month at 50-100 yards and two dropped on the spot with one running about 30 yards before piling up. Pigs ran from 120 - 180 lbs (prefect for the grill ;)>

Again... the question is really WHAT are you practicing for? If you are just wanting to improve form a 22 LR will do (and it's a lot cheaper). But if you want to shoot one gun a few days before a large bore hunt-- I'd practice with a similar ballistic bolt rifle at the range you plan to hunt out to-- and that is where the 22-250 (or 243) fits nicely.
 
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