Help me to choose best rifle in .223

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Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by Islander7 » 27 Dec 2018, 5:50 am

Almost got my licence and ready to buy my first rifle. Will be used 99% for varmint control/hunting. This most probably will be my first, the only one, and last rifle, so I want to find and buy the absolute best within my price. Not planning to sell it or buy another in the next many many years.

My requirements are:
- .223
- Wood or Laminate stock
- stainless steel barrel (preferable, but can live with blued if the gun is exceptional otherwise)
- must be reliable, with no known issues.
- must pe very accurate out of the box.
- must last a lifetime

I'm comfortable with spending anywhere between $1500 and $3500 just for the rifle. Just want to buy once, buy right, don't care much about money at this stage.

Initially I was going to just buy Sako 85 and be done with it, but deeper research revealed a known and well-documented ejection issues with some of their rifles that Beretta doesn't consider a warranty issue. I understand that it's an exceptional rifle otherwise, but personally don't want to gamble.

If not Sako 85, what else would you consider?
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by SCJ429 » 27 Dec 2018, 7:37 am

Sako 75?

A secondhand Stiller Tac 30.
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by Harrynsw » 27 Dec 2018, 7:51 am

If you want the possibility of shooting heavier projectiles, like around the 70 grain mark, you need to pay attention to the twist rate.
Tikka rifles come in a 1:8 or 1:12 for lighter stuff.

I hear nothing but good things about tikka rifles from friends and on the internet. Gonna keep figures rounded up for simplicity. You're looking at about $1100 for the rifle, then another $200 for decent rings and bases. How much you spend on the optic is up to you, let's say you spend $1000 there (do your research on a varminting scope). Then your cleaning apparatus, rods, bore guide, solvent, copper solvent etc another $200, ammo testing say $100 to start off with will buy you 3-4 boxes of different ammo. There's $2600, do you have a safe ready? It adds up fairly quickly.
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by Islander7 » 27 Dec 2018, 8:09 am

Thanks Harry,

I knew Tikka will be recommended. I also have read hundreds of positive reviews and don't doubt it's precision. My personal 'dislikes' with Tikka are plastic parts (including magazine), limited safety switch, and the fact that they use same action for all calibers. I know these facts don't make Tikka a bad rifle, and I still have it on my list, but want something better, if it exists.

As for the money, my budget is up to $3k (can stretch to 3.5k) just for the rifle. The scope, gun safe, mounting rings etc have their own dedicated budget.
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by SCJ429 » 27 Dec 2018, 8:28 am

I have a Tikka with a Tupperware stock and it shoots like a custom rifle, if you would consider a chassis the Tikka Tac A1 would be awesome.

I have a Sako 85, it has never failed to eject and has a best group of 0.181 at 100.
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by TassieTiger » 27 Dec 2018, 8:32 am

I usually kind of frown on ppl simply recommending exactly what they have as it’s always a biased opinion-but I’m going to suggest a steyr varmint pro.
They are about $2400 and come with a set trigger / normal trigger and a 3 position safety, including a “storage” feature where the bolt handle pulls down really low as to not catch in safes or bags, etc. the set trigger is freaking amazing - can dial it to 100 grams of pull if you want. Or use normal trigger at adjustable and around 1kg.
They are a 1:9 twist so can take 70gn projectiles. Mine will shoot golf balls dead at insane distances for me (250m). The bolt and action are machined perfectly, like glass - maybe too slick at times.
The barrel is a semi heavy unit - can fire a good amount before it gets hot...is it a walker? Maybe a bit heavy but that’s why it’s soaccurate and can shoot multiples.
The spiral fluting on barrel is not to everyone’s liking but it’s different.
Steyr have a guarantee to shoot better than Moa with factory ammo, but mine is 1/4 to 1/2 with 24gns ar2206h with 55 hornady ballistic.

Yes, sako, tikka are regarded highly, but if your wanting something a little different...?
Ps - do not confuse this with a steyr pro hunter. Very different rifles and performance is not really comparable.
Tikka T3 .260 (custom)
Steyr Pro Varmint .223
CZ455 .22 & Norinco .22
ATA 686 U/O 12g & Baikal S/S 12g
Steyr Pro Hunt 30-06 (Dud!!!)
Sauer 100 30-06
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by Harrynsw » 27 Dec 2018, 8:47 am

TassieTiger wrote:I usually kind of frown on ppl simply recommending exactly what they have as it’s always a biased opinion-but I’m going to suggest a steyr varmint pro.


Wow...isn't that exactly what you're doing? Reccomending exactly what you have

It's be silly to recommend something you know nothing about, yes?
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by JimTom » 27 Dec 2018, 8:52 am

Sako A7 or Tikka T3x.
I own both of these and can’t fault either.
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by bigrich » 27 Dec 2018, 8:54 am

if it was me go the sako 85. or find a second hand 75. thinking out of the box , what about the kimber ? mauser style action, come in a variety of bedded stocks . supposed to be a good thing ? maybe a higher grade weatherby than the vangaurd . they have a good reputation for accuracy and don't have a lot of plastic in them . you said you don't like plastic mags, that rules a lot of rifles out, including the stainless laminate tikka t3 which would be my choice at the bottom end of price

:drinks: :drinks: :thumbsup:
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by bigrich » 27 Dec 2018, 8:55 am

JimTom wrote:Sako A7 or Tikka T3x.
I own both of these and can’t fault either.


i got the S/S A7 in 308 . awesome rifle :thumbsup:
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by SCJ429 » 27 Dec 2018, 8:57 am

Best to get a second hand rifle, get the owner to take you to the range to show you what it can do. Sure fire way to eliminate the dud three inch grouper. A friend bought a new Remington which couldn't hit the side of a barn, if only he could have test fired it before he bought it. Would have saved a lot of grief.
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by bigrich » 27 Dec 2018, 9:04 am

SCJ429 wrote:Best to get a second hand rifle, get the owner to take you to the range to show you what it can do. Sure fire way to eliminate the dud three inch grouper. A friend bought a new Remington which couldn't hit the side of a barn, if only he could have test fired it before he bought it. Would have saved a lot of grief.


it would be a damn good idea to have a gun shop with a range where you could test drive before you buy. sure as this exists in the US, but i haven't heard of any out here . probably WAAAAAY too much red tape with the fuzz . testing second hand if you can is a good idea as it's a lucky dip at times. i've bought some awesome firearms second hand, but i've had the odd lemon too

:drinks: :drinks: :thumbsup:
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by knowsnothin » 27 Dec 2018, 9:10 am

Islander7 wrote:This most probably will be my first, the only one, and last rifle...


Yes yes, of course it will be...

Also I recommend getting a high end second hand rifle.
Blaser, Mauser Steyr. Etc.
don’t discount their polymer offerings, they are far superior to the cheap stuff and if you are knocking around varminting you are going to ruin nice wood.
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by SCJ429 » 27 Dec 2018, 9:15 am

knowsnothin wrote:
Islander7 wrote:This most probably will be my first, the only one, and last rifle...


Yes yes, of course it will be...

Also I recommend getting a high end second hand rifle.
Blaser, Mauser Steyr. Etc.
don’t discount their polymer offerings, they are far superior to the cheap stuff and if you are knocking around varminting you are going to ruin nice wood.


Famous last words....

I say that after just about every rifle I buy.... Last one, I have everything I need now.
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by Gaznazdiak » 27 Dec 2018, 9:27 am

Well unless you're a competitive grade shooter, most decent rifles will be far more capable than the average, casual shooter.

I'm not casting aspersions here Islander, I don't know you, but the above being the case why pay extra for what will most likely only be a psychological difference.
Why not go for a good mid range brand like a 24" Howa and put the extra dollars into a really good glass?

I'm only an average shooter, with shakes and wobbles from a brain injury and I have managed one hole groups at 100 with my Howa .223.

It always sounds good to go for "the best you can afford", but only if the extra money it costs you gets you a substantive measurably better result.
The again, some like to buy the most expensive they can manage because the price paid is the attraction.
Whatever bloats your goat Islander, and makes you happy with it. Have fun looking, buying a new gun is always exciting.
My 2 cents.
:drinks:
Last edited by Gaznazdiak on 27 Dec 2018, 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by Chappo » 27 Dec 2018, 9:33 am

Hey islander.
Mate I think this question is a very difficult one to answer and I don’t think I wanna recommend anything.
Have you had much experience with firearms?
I’m assuming you haven’t and your looking for the “one and only” and you wanna make sure your money is wisely spent and that’s fair enough.
Personally though I don’t know any shooters that own one rifle.
Like most people, I own a number of them and I have my likes and dislikes about each.
To me it would be impossible to find the perfect gun and even the most informed decisions are not as good as a chance to live with it for a while.
Your budget is pretty big and gunsmithing is a way of eliminating some of the dislikes you might have so maybe something custom built to your budget would be better for you?
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by Stix » 27 Dec 2018, 9:55 am

TassieTiger wrote:I usually kind of frown on ppl simply recommending exactly what they have as it’s always a biased opinion-but I’m going to suggest a steyr varmint pro.
They are about $2400 and come with a set trigger / normal trigger and a 3 position safety, including a “storage” feature where the bolt handle pulls down really low as to not catch in safes or bags, etc. the set trigger is freaking amazing - can dial it to 100 grams of pull if you want. Or use normal trigger at adjustable and around 1kg.
They are a 1:9 twist so can take 70gn projectiles. Mine will shoot golf balls dead at insane distances for me (250m). The bolt and action are machined perfectly, like glass - maybe too slick at times.
The barrel is a semi heavy unit - can fire a good amount before it gets hot...is it a walker? Maybe a bit heavy but that’s why it’s soaccurate and can shoot multiples.
The spiral fluting on barrel is not to everyone’s liking but it’s different.
Steyr have a guarantee to shoot better than Moa with factory ammo, but mine is 1/4 to 1/2 with 24gns ar2206h with 55 hornady ballistic.

Yes, sako, tikka are regarded highly, but if your wanting something a little different...?
Ps - do not confuse this with a steyr pro hunter. Very different rifles and performance is not really comparable.


:wtf: ...?
Tassie...mate...really...???
Where would we be without people sharing their "biased"opinions of the firearms (or anything) they own...
Given they own them, the opinions are MOST often based on experience rather than hoohaa...& that is exactly the kind of recommendations we should want..doesnt mean we need to take them, but educated experienced based opinions are better than taking on board some third hand crap a clown dribbles. :thumbsup: :D
Ive found most people on here dont hold back with their opinions, particularly when it comes to poor quality or features they dont like/poor design etc, which is a really good thing, & equally as good as praising something we own, use & admire... :D :D :D :drinks:
The man who knows everything, doesnt really know everything...he's just stopped learning...
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Re: Help me to choose best rifle in .223

Post by bigrich » 27 Dec 2018, 10:08 am

well said stix, and i like chappos idea of a gunsmith custom build, but islander might not know what he's gunna like yet . A custom build model 70 winchester push feed in a boyd stock and a swan barrel would be ok by me . :D or get a older second hand sako and get it gunsmith smoothed if it needs it.

:drinks: :drinks: :thumbsup:
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