.223 bolt action as a plinker/trainer

260madman

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I bought one as a ”trainer”. Sighted in and then shot another box. Took it squirrel hunting and it was fun. Then rifle deer rolled around and took it deer hunting and took a big 6pt buck with it and it went less than 10 yards and died. I used the heavy barrel 223 for a trainer after that and then used the Hawkeye 223 for deer hunting and having my wife warm up with it before shooting her 260.

I’ve burned through almost 1000 rounds of 223 this summer in several ARs and about 100 in a couple different bolt guns and a bulk pack of old Federal 22LR from Walmart in my heavy barreled 22. I told a friend I’m not sure why I use more than a 223 for deer anymore.
 
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Loper

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Why not a .22 as a trainer? The ammo is cheaper. The rifle is cheaper. Tikka makes one too if you want that.

Good question. I’ve thought about this as I have a .22 LR in a bolt action, but it just doesn’t seem similar enough to a centerfire rifle. Plus, the target distance is reduced.
 

Lawnboi

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I’ll echo what has been said. Bought one as a trainer/varmint and predator rifle.

It’s all the deer rifle I’ll ever need for under 400 yards. As long as Sierra puts out some 77tmk again eventually. Plenty of bigger options, but I’ll be carrying it again this year.

I don’t think 22lr is a worthy centerfire trainer. Shooting a 22 is just a dry fire with a hole in some paper
 

Doc Holliday

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My Ruger American Ranch in 5.56 gets shot more than any other rifle. Keep the suppressor on it, and a Meopta Optika5 with BDC, and it is always in the back seat
 

260madman

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When I bought my 22 as a trainer years and years ago ammo was dirt cheap and “experts” said shooting it at 100 yards was equivalent to 308 at 300 yards. Wind is tricky with a 22 but on a calm evening a guy can put 10 in under an inch at 100 yards and watch the bullet hit the paper when the sun is just right. Subsonics have a nice rainbow arc coming in which will make you giggle the first few times you see it.
 

thinhorn_AK

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Good question. I’ve thought about this as I have a .22 LR in a bolt action, but it just doesn’t seem similar enough to a centerfire rifle. Plus, the target distance is reduced.
I have that tikka t1x set up very close to how my 2 other tikkas are set up. It’s a fun gun for sure and the trigger is similar/the same as is the stock but I’m not sure it’s really a “trainer”. Kind of I guess but I still want to get another one in 223 with an SWFA 6x on it.
 

Desk Jockey

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I have a Remington 223 bolt gun With a lower grade Nikon scope. IMO it sits between a 22lr and my hunting guns for practice. I also use it for groundhogs and theoretically coyote, although I like an AR for that role. it has proved to be a good gun to intro new shooters - low recoil - to scoped rifle shooting.

if I were buying now, I would go tikka and get some slightly better glass.
 

MLGrace

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My Ruger American Ranch in 5.56 gets shot more than any other rifle. Keep the suppressor on it, and a Meopta Optika5 with BDC, and it is always in the back seat
I have the same But with a vortex and suppressor. Really hard to beat the accuracy that I get from it with the 77tmk hand loads.
 

keeseckb

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Good question. I’ve thought about this as I have a .22 LR in a bolt action, but it just doesn’t seem similar enough to a centerfire rifle. Plus, the target distance is reduced.
If your kids are just getting old enough to get into shooting I'd definately go 22lr trainer route. My two older kids are 6 and 8 and if I tell them we are going to go shoot 22s they are JACKED. If I tell them we going shooting and daddy is taking his big guns (anything centerfire) they are usually not interested.

I have a tikka 7mm and 6.5cm I bought a Bergara B14R this winter (couldn't find a t1x in stock) and have had an absolute blast shooting it. I've shot more this year than I have in the last 3 years combined. I took it to a local NRL22 style match and wow was that humbling. I also picked up a Tikka in 223 and it hasn't seen near as much use as the 22. It's way easier to convince the wife that I'm going to be gone for a half day on the weekend shooting when I take the kids with me. I set up targets at 25, 50 and 100 yards and let the kids plink at 25 while daddy gets to practice shooting off a knee, a sawhorse or just work on shooting good groups prone. All the match grade 22 ammo is subsonic so if a kid or I pull their ear muff off and a round goes off, not a big deal.

I would agree that a 22 isn't quite as good of a trainer as a 223... but if the 22 means you are going to double or triple your trigger time, especially if you live somewhere where you could shoot a 22 in your backyard, go for a 22.
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Holmes

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I did exactly this based upon the recommendation of this forum, bought a matching Tikka Superlight in .223. It's a very pricey way to just get practice, but it cured my flinch with my .30-06 and now I feel very confident shooting at big critters in the field.
I already had a 10/22, but it was so different than the experience of shooting a centerfire bolt action that it didn't work as a practice rifle for me. One bummer is that my Tikka .223 will not shoot basic factory ammo, it will only group with the fancy stuff, so shooting it is barely cheaper than shooting my .30-06

I take both to the range and run through drills with the .223. I work on building rests efficiently and shooting from kneeling/sitting/prone, and dialing up/down for range as follow up shots. I'll shoot 15-20 rounds. Once I'm feeling good, I'll then put 3-6 shots through the .30-06 from prone at 300+ yds and quit, never let that flinch come back.

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yycyak

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Yup, highly recommended. I thought it was dumb, til I tried it. Wish I'd done it this way from the start. Two matching rifles, one "Big" and one in 223. 80% of the time I'm working/practicing with the 223, with the 30-06 coming out for hunts.
 

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sargent

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The first shots with the trainer went well. I used some Frontier ammo and got it zeroed in about 12 rounds, shot a 1" three shot group with Sierra Matchking ammo, then shot a Kraft drill with the Sierra ammo off a lightweight tripod. I think I'm going to like the .223.

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Steve300xcw

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Bought a ruger american ranch, a 10x SS, and a pile of 75gr Amax's a while back. Wanted to see what this long range thing was all about without spending a ton of money.

After a different stock, bedding, and trigger work its been a pretty accurate gun. Learned alot with it. That said, it is a POS budget gun. If I were to do it over, I would have just bought the tikka.

Have had a ruger m77 hawkeye 223 since they first came out. One of the few rifles that I own that doesnt have turrets on it. Keep it fed with 62gr btsp's. I cant shoot that gun enough
 

RadDad

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Sorry to hijack this thread but I have a question that could likely be answered by those “watching” here.

I’m looking for an out of the box shooter bolt action .223 that’s threaded. My price range is <$1k without optics - not looking for combos. I’d also like a 1:8 twist since I may eventually shoot monos and that seems to be a “faster” rate for that rifle. Anybody have one they love? The Tikka T3x Lite isn’t threaded and the Ruger American seems to need some upgrades to be a “shooter”.

Thanks everyone in advance. I’ve been reinvigorated to find a .223 range gun after my trip to SHOT Show this week!

- RadDad
 

BLJ

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IMO. For your budget and criteria, buy the Tikka and have it threaded. Better in the long run.
With that being said, I’ve got a RAR with about 500ish(?) rounds on it without any issues. I clipped the trigger spring and that’s it. Shoots the 77 TMK’s well. If you have specific questions or concerns about the RAR, PM me. I’ll do my best to help.
 

RadDad

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IMO. For your budget and criteria, buy the Tikka and have it threaded. Better in the long run.
With that being said, I’ve got a RAR with about 500ish(?) rounds on it without any issues. I clipped the trigger spring and that’s it. Shoots the 77 TMK’s well. If you have specific questions or concerns about the RAR, PM me. I’ll do my best to help.
Appreciate that. May go the Tikka route and find someone local to thread it. Was hoping for something right out of the box but getting it threaded isn’t a dealbreaker.

-RadDad
 

BLJ

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No worries. Hope you get it worked out. The sooner that happens, the sooner your shoot. 😁
 

BBob

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If you want to go the cheap route buy a Howa Mini barreled action and put it in a Stocky’s carbon 2nds stock. They have a couple of models and have minor blemishes but totally usable as is. If they don’t list it call them and they’ll sell you one. I was told they aren’t really second’s just not fully finished. I went for the slimmer sporter style stock.

Others here have done the same or nearly the same as this one. 6lb 6oz
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