.223 Rifles
Ruger/Savage Arms

.223 Rifles: 6 Solid Picks for Varmint Hunting and More


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The iconic .223 Remington is one of most popular centerfire rifle calibers here in the United States. The .223 Rem is capable of blistering muzzle velocities over 3,200 feet per second depending on the types of bullet used. The .223 is a smaller round, so it is suited more for varmints and predators like coyotes than big game. One of the major arguments on the Internet is .308 Winchester vs .223 Remington. We won't get into that today, although it is worth noting that some hunters swear by .223 for deer. The recoil of the round is also light, which makes it a good weapon to train a new shooter in the basics of firearms handling. Especially younger shooters with smaller frames. Today we'll look at a variety of different styles of rifle in .223 to suit a variety of practical uses. You're sure to find something you'll like on this list.

Ruger American Rifle Predator

If you are looking for a solid bolt action rifle for coyotes and other small predators, the Ruger is a gun to consider. The company sells a complete hunting package with this gun that includes a Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x44 scope. Just head to the range, sight it in, and you're ready to start hunting. Ruger also makes an un-scoped version if you already have an optic choice in mind. This rifle has a synthetic stock that will help stand up to the elements and the 1:8 rate of twist and 22-inch barrel length will help with the accuracy on long range shots. This would be a solid option for younger hunters just learning the ropes. The nice recoil pad will soak up what little kick this gun has and will allow newer shooters to gain confidence before they head into the field for the first time. Ruger also makes left handed versions of this gun for all the lefties who may feel left out on other offerings that seem to cater only to right-handed shooters.

Savage Axis XP

For anyone looking for a solid first gun for a young hunter or simply anyone looking for a solid .223 on a budget, the Savage Arms Axis XP is a great option. The price comes in under $400. Savage's XP packages come with a 3-9x40mm Weaver scope already mounted and bore sighted at the factory, saving you some time. If you're looking for a slightly better optic, consider the Savage Axis II, which comes with a Bushnell scope. The II is also available in a camo finish. Regardless of which you choose, the .223 Rem version of the Axis has a four round magazine capacity and comes with a 22-inch barrel with a 1:9 rate of twist. The receiver and barrel are carbon steel with a matte black finish. Savage also makes a stainless version for hunters looking for something that will stand up to the elements a little better. The stock is synthetic and for a budget rifle, the weight isn't bad either at a little over seven pounds. Overall, it's an accurate hunting rifle package that won't break the bank the way some other .223s will.

Weatherby Vanguard H-Bar

The Weatherby name is trusted by some of the most die-hard hunters on the planet and this gun is built for accuracy straight out of the box. This rifle has proven incredibly popular for other rounds like 6.5 Creedmoor, but the .223 version should be a deadly accurate varmint and predator rifle. In fact, Weatherby makes a three round, sub-MOA group guarantee at 100 yards using Weatherby or premium ammo. Pretty bold move. The gun features a two-stage trigger, a fluted bolt body and a contour heavy barrel. The barrel length is 22 inches, helping you get those tiny groups at a distance. This rifle features a tactical grey Cerakote finish that is built to take a beating from the elements. The receiver is drilled and tapped for a scope mount. This rifle holds 5+1 rounds. We were surprised to learn it's only $600. This rifle has a ton of great features for that price. It's a gun you'll be dropping coyotes with for years to come.

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Henry Long Ranger Rifle

.223 Rifles

Sportsman's Warehouse

A lever action offering in .223? Why not? Henry makes some of the best lever action guns on the planet and the Long Ranger would make for an excellent brush gun if you live in an area with a lot of coyotes. It has that classic Henry look with walnut for the stock and forend and blued steel for the barrel. Speaking of the barrel, it's 20 inches long and has a 1:09 rate of twist. The reciever is drilled and tapped for hunters who want optics. This rifle has a five round capacity and a black recoil pad to soak up what little kick there is with this gun. It's one of the more unusual .223s on the market, but an incredibly useful and reliable gun just the same.

Remington 700 5R

.223 Rifles

Sportsman's Warehouse

The legendary, buttery-smooth action of the Remington Model 700 is always worth considering with any new hunting rifle. The 700 5R is so named because the 27-inch cold hammer forged barrel has 5R rifling. The company says this increases the barrel life. To help protect the barrel even more, both barrel and action have a Cerkote finish. This rifle also has Remington's signature X-Mark Pro Trigger that lets you adjust the weight of the trigger pull. It has a 5+1 capacity. It does come in a little heavy for a .223 at 8.31 pounds, but this is a tough rifle that should stand up to the elements of a long hunt quite nicely.

CZ-USA 527 Carbine

.223 Rifles

Sportsman's Warehouse

While most people who buy this gun get it in 7.62x39, it is little-known that CZ-USA also offers it in .223 Remington. This gun has a great look thanks to the Turkish walnut stock. It has a cold hammer forged barrel that is 18.5 inches and has a 1:9 rate of twist. The magazine holds five rounds. Somehow CZ-USA impressively got the weight of this gun down under six pounds. That should make it a breeze for younger hunters to handle. CZ has a great reputation for reliable guns and the 527 should last for years of hunting adventures.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram For original videos, check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels

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