Home » Blog » 222 vs 223 – Which is better?

222 vs 223 – Which is better?

If you want to take a look at two guns that are great for hunting, we’ll be taking a look at the Remington .222 and the .223. How do these two calibers stack up against each other?

We’ll be talking about the history of each caliber, the differences they may have, and what might serve you best in the long run.

You may be considering purchasing a new gun and it may be coming down to these two choices. What you’re dealing with is a tough decision. By the end of this guide, you may find yourself making a more informed one about which gun you want. With that said, let’s take a look now at the history of both guns and then move on our comparisons.

Brief History Of .222 and .223

The .222 Remington was developed in 1950 by Mike Walker. He was in a shooting competition in upstate New York using a Remington Model 722 rifle. This led to the adoption of the .222 rounds that were designed for varmint hunting and benchrest shooting.

Remington Firearms logo

Even though the .220 Swift and .22-250 Remington had a reach and speed advantage over the .222, the latter showed that it has less muzzle blast and barrel erosion compared to its counterparts.

Seven years later, the Remington .223 was developed. This was designed as one of the rifle rounds of choice for the United States Army. Its intent was to create something that was small in caliber, but was also high in velocity.

It wasn’t until 1963 when the Remington Model 760 rifle was introduced. It was the first of its kind to be chambered for .223 rounds.

Specs

.222.223
First Produced19501964
Case TypeRimlessRimless
Bullet Diameter.224 in (5.7 mm)0.224 in (5.7 mm)
Overall Length2.130 in (54.1 mm)2.26 in (57 mm)
Max Pressure50,000 psi (340 MPa)62,366 psi (430.00 MPa)
Velocity (60 gr)2,937 ft/s (895 m/s)3,160 ft/s (960 m/s)
Energy (60 gr)1,150 ft lbf (1,560 J)1,325 ft lbf (1,796 J)
.222 vs .223 vs. .222 Magnum Rifle Ammo
Size comparison of the two calibers plus a magnum variation

Guns used by each round

Most of the guns that use both the .222 and .223 are for hunting (specifically varmint). Also, they can still be used for benchrest shooting, regular target practice, and in some cases competition shooting. We’ll be taking a look at the following options that are available for both rounds.

Let’s take a look first at the guns that use Remington .222 rounds:

Remington .222 rifles

Savage Model 25
  • Savage Model 25: The Savage Model 25 is perhaps one of the more popular choices for a Remington .222. The rifle in particular will be great for those that want to hunt for varmint. If you are looking to take on those invasive critters that may be going after your crops or anything else, then you’d be hard-pressed to find such a rifle quite like this.
  • CZ-USA 527 Lux: This rifle might be great for benchrest shooting. However, it can be useful for varmint hunting. Most of these rifles will have a shot capacity of 5+1 rounds (unless mentioned otherwise).
  • Ruger No 1 Varmint: If you are looking for a reliable name in firearms, the Ruger does not disappoint. The Ruger No 1 Varmint rifle is without question one of the go-to options for the veteran varmint hunter. Some models have 1-inch rings for a scope that you can fit on. So if you need that additional accuracy, why not add a scope you can rely on and go from there. 

Remington .223 rifles

  • Ruger American Ranch: Yes, we go back to the Ruger brand for another look at their rifles. This time, it’s for the Remington .223. This is a varmint hunting rifle like no other. It’s a bolt action that is affordable for those on a budget. It’s accurate, reliable, and gets the job done on any given day. So if you are looking for a rifle that will be your best friend out in the field, there is no doubt that the Ruger American Ranch will be the one you’ll want for the long haul.
FN Herstal SCAR16 Rifle
  • FN Herstal SCAR16: The SCAR16 was a rifle used by the military. However, a civilian version of this semi-automatic rifle was created soon after. For a short-barrelled rifle, it’s got some pretty good accuracy. Not to mention, the reliability is flawless. Not a single report of jamming or misfiring had been reported by users. That’s a huge plus for those that have experienced such situations before. It’s ergonomically friendly and easy to handle. So if you are looking for a damn good .223 rifle, the SCAR16 could be right up your alley.
  • LWRC International IC-SPR: This last rifle may give the SCAR16 a run for its money. Especially when it comes to reliability. The design of the LWRC International IC-SPR is perhaps the most rugged of them all. However, its accuracy might just be short of the two on the list. It’s not terrible in the slightest, though. Other than that, everything else is pretty good in terms of reliability and handling. If you don’t care about accuracy all that much, this rifle could just be what you’re looking for. A good varmint hunting rifle, but could be acceptable as a range shooting gun as well. 

Differences between the 222 & 223 Calibers

223 Remington Bullet

So now that you know which rifles are chambered for either round, it’s time to take a look now at how each stack up. Which one wins out for the budget shopper?

Which one has more velocity, use, power, and more. This is where we get down to the nitty gritty. At this point, if you haven’t decided on either one, this section might play a factor.

Let’s take a look now at the following categories:

Price

The .223 is the most cost effective in terms of bullets and rifles. Thus, the .222 rifles are also a bit more expensive. So if you are looking at the possibility of purchasing a rifle, one chambered in .223 rounds will be the best option if you are on a budget. Firearms and rounds don’t come cheap. But if you are looking to save cash without sacrificing quality, it’s clear what the choice will be.

Winner: Remington .223

Velocity

In the category of velocity, let’s take a look at how they stack up with one another. A Remington .222 round weighing at 50 gn will travel 3140 fps. The muzzle energy will be 1095 ft/lb.

Meanwhile, a .223 round weighing at 55 gn will move at 3240fps at 1280 ft/lb of muzzle energy. As you can see, .223 appears to travel faster at 100 fps more. Keep in mind that it weighs 5gn heavier and has more muzzle energy.

Chalk it up to another win in the column of Remington .223.

Winner: Remington .223

Use

The .222 and .223 have been useful for hunting for the longest time. They have also been useful in target and benchrest applications. To that end, both of them are great for their intended purpose.

The .222 can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they didn’t lose out in another category. While the .223 might be shaking its head for not scoring another victory. Nevertheless, it’s a draw in terms of use.

Winner: Tie

Power

If you have probably picked up on the stats in the velocity section, you may have already guessed who won this round. The Remington .223 has quite a bit of an edge over the .222 in terms of power. Because of that, it has given itself a disadvantage (we’ll explain where in a moment).

If you want something that will provide stopping power for your varmint targets, there is no doubt that the .223 gets the job done. When you want to knock your target down with a little bit of ‘umph’, accept no substitute.

Winner: Remington .223

Accuracy

As we’ve mentioned in the last section, the Remington .223’s power has put it in a disadvantage in the accuracy department. Sure, it’s not terrible in terms of accuracy per se. You can still get a good clean shot exactly where you want to. However, in terms of shot groupings, the .222 shots were quite tight. If you hold accuracy to a high priority, it’s perhaps best to get a rifle chambered for Remington .222.

However, if you choose the .223, it won’t be much of a downgrade. Sometimes it comes right down to the littlest of details.

Winner: Remington .222

Overall

As you can see, the Remington .223 will win out here in terms of the differences between the two. While both are excellent rifles, it all comes down to the performance. If fast and powerful is what you want, it’s obvious the .223 will get the job done.

However, accuracy will be in the favor of the .222, but at a price. You lose a bit of power and velocity, but you will in all likelihood get pinpoint accuracy when and where it counts. If you want something that will be easy on the wallet, the .223 is your best bet.

Winner: Remington .223

Final Thoughts

While the Remington .223 got the better of its .222 counterpart in our head to head battle, it’s up to you on which one to choose. But at the end of the day, the former will be great for varmint hunting and even a long day at the range. All that’s left for you to do now is find the right kind of rifle.  

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend