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Thread: 223 Twist Rates

  1. #1
    Member Ripper's Avatar
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    Default 223 Twist Rates

    Hi Guys-

    I am looking at getting a Tikka in 223, but I have a question. The Tikkas come with a 1-8 twist. My other 223 has a 1-12 and shoots great, but I am wondering if the 1-8 is too fast. I will be shooting mainly 50gr and 55gr pills. I know the faster twist is to help stabilize the heavier, longer bullets, but I am wondering if it is going to get those 50 grainers spinning too fast to hold together. I won't be loading at MAX, but will be in the upper end of the window. Any ideas if it'll work for me?

  2. #2

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    If you want to shoot the 50 - 55 grainers, get a barrel that is the right twist for that weight. They make the quicker twist for the heavy weight .223 caliber bullets, such as the 64 and 68 grainers for military use. The heavier weight is more efficient in a military setting, but requires a much faster twist. They probably won't fly apart, but the faster twist will probably destroy accuracy with that weight of bullets.

    This is one of those anomolies with the .223 class rounds. Sorta like a muzzleloader. A 1-66 twist is excellent for stabilizing a patched round ball, but a conical will fly all over the place. A 1-32 twist will stabilize a conical bullet very well but a patched round ball will go where it wants to. A 1-48 twist is a compromise (and the most common rate of twist), and though some find a gun that will shoot very well with this twist, it normally won't do both that well.

    I recommend you contact the rifle manufacturer to see what they recommend for the weight you are looking at.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  3. #3

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    Ripper,

    Shooting light weight bullets in fast twist barrels used to result in loss in accuracy. However todays light weight bullets are more streamlined than those of yesteryear. All of the new fangeled varmint bullets have a poly/plastic tip as opposed to the conventional lead tip. This lets the manufactures lengthen out these little bullets more, thus more surface area coming in contact with the rifling. The same is true in many of the hollow points.

    A year or so ago I was playing around in the shop and just for the heck of it I used a brass rod and pushed a couple of different 223 bullets through the bore of an old Contender barrel that I had on hand. I then measured the length of the rifling marks on the bullets. One bullet was a 55 grain Hornady spire point and the other a 40 grain Nosler BT. The length of the rifling mark imprint left on the bullet was indicating the baring surface relationship between the bullet and the bore. There was so little difference in the contrast of these two different bullets that I would concider it a mute point!

    In recent weeks I have zeroed in two different 223 rifles. One a Rock River match rifle with an 18 inch barrel/1 in 8 twist and the other a new Remington 700 VTR with a 24 inch tube/ 1 in 9 twist. Since it is cold here in Iowa my intent was just to get these guns to minute of coyote so the guys could hunt with them. Therefore I just took one brand of ammo that I had plenty of figuring that the fine tuning( playing with different loads) can happen when its warmer out. The ammo that I used was commercial reloads from Roghairs Gun Supply in Alton, Iowa. I have no clue what powder they are loaded with. All I know is that the end of the box says they are 40 gr Nosler BT @ 3960 fps. I also know that this ammo has shot good groups out every gun that I have tried them in. As it turns out neither of these rifles will need any future fine tunning. They both went under an inch with the RR @ 3/4" and the VTR @ under a half inch!

    I can't tell you that the Tikka will shoot this good with little bullets but I know how well they worked in the two fast twist rifles that I tried them in!

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It is absolute bunk that a fast twist barrel won't shoot lighter bullets accurately. I know several folks that are keen on the .223 ackleys as their practice rifles and they put thousands upon thousands of rounds down to extended ranges every year, i.e. out to 1000 yards. How are their rifles configured? 1-8 twist, and what bullets do they use, 50 gr V-max and 75 gr A-max. They moly coat their bullets and push them hard, the 50's are leaving at 3700+ fps (not a typo) and they don't fly apart.

    I wish my rem 700 223 varmint rifle had a fast twist barrel, as I'm limited to the lighter bullets. I will be re-barreling it to a 1-8 twist, and will shoot 50's and 75's.

  5. #5

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    PaulH, you answered your statement yourself. If a fast-twist barrel shoots lightweight bullets so well, why on earth do they have to push them to 3,700fps? This is exactly the point. If you want to shoot standard ammo accurately, I stand by my statement. BTW, I have put a few thousand rounds through my .223's, so this isn't conjecture.
    Nothing wrong with flinging a .223 round at .22-250 or .220 Swift velocities, IF you know what you are doing.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  6. #6

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    Why on earth do they have to push light weight bullets to 3700fps? Why on earth not? Besides are they really being pushed? Thats just how fast they go when loaded to the same pressures as the bigger bullets.

    I guess in my mind it just means that if a fast twist rifle will group good with both light and heavy weight bullets then rather than knock it ,I'm going to enjoy it!

    I might add that I have an old 54 cal White Mountain carbine with a 1 in 21 twist that will hang right with the 1 in 66 guns at black powder shoot offs....shooting patched round balls!

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    Member Superx's Avatar
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    My AR with 1-8" twist shot the best with 50 gr V-Max's. Better than the 55 gr V-Max and 60 gr V-Max.

    I think you'll be okay with 1-8".

  8. #8
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawken54 View Post
    PaulH, you answered your statement yourself. If a fast-twist barrel shoots lightweight bullets so well, why on earth do they have to push them to 3,700fps? This is exactly the point. If you want to shoot standard ammo accurately, I stand by my statement. BTW, I have put a few thousand rounds through my .223's, so this isn't conjecture.
    Nothing wrong with flinging a .223 round at .22-250 or .220 Swift velocities, IF you know what you are doing.
    ??? They don't push the bullets that fast to stabalize them, as the faster twist will need less velocity to stabalize the shorter bullets. They push them that fast for the performance and mild powder consumption compared to larger cases. I was stating the velocity to point out even at that speed the bullets aren't coming apart.

    The point I was making is that there is no handicap in a 1-8 twist .223, it is the 1-12 twist that is the handicap, not allowing folks to load the high bc heavier bullets for long range work.

  9. #9
    Member Ripper's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. It seems the general consensus is that 50gr should be OK in 1-8, and some guys even have sucess with lighter bullets in that twist. 50gr is the lightest I'll go, and more likely 55gr, so I think I should be good. Thanks again! -JR

  10. #10

    Default Hat in hand, looking down, kicking rocks.............

    PaulH is right. I said it backwards, but meant what he said, and put it on paper just backwards. A faster rate will work just fine with the lighter bullets. Frangibles may very well fly apart, but most modern good quality bullets won't, even at those velocities. Heavy bullets won't work as well with a standard twist in the .223, tho.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  11. #11

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    Hawken54 you are right about the frangibles. I had 50 rounds of Hornady 50 grain sx bullets that I had loaded to the limits for a now gone 700 Remington. I shot them up in the Rock River AR. About half the time you would see a puff of smoke about 100 ft down range. That little lead tip would start to melt and they were going off in mid air!

  12. #12

    Default fast twist

    Ripper,
    You'll be fine. My .223 Tika with 1:8 shoots 55gr. V-Max's into one VERY small hole.(5 shots) No modifications to rifle. By the way, in my rifle, 55's shoot better than 50's. Enjoy your Tika, they are tough to beat.

  13. #13

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    I too have had Horn SX 50 GR bullets not make it to the target in the 223 1/8 twist and especially in the 22-250. Not all of them, but quite a few. i don't remember the loads.
    OTOH Sierra's 50 GR and 20.5 of IMR4198 shoot quite nicely in my 1/7 and 1/8 twist AR's.

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