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Web Clavin Extraordinaire
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So I have an old 700 VSS in .223 with a 1:12" twist barrel. I probably got it almost 20 years ago. I rarely ever shoot it, though it does shoot quite well.

I'm just kicking around this idea of using it as a base for a semi-custom rifle. I don't have some real intention of shooting long range with a passion, but I'd like something decently capable and fun to shoot. My home range only goes to 100, but there is a club maybe 45 min from me that goes to 500, I think. Their membership is currently closed and I'm not entirely sure how willing I am to throw $90/year + considerable initiation fees to a club on top of what I pay my current club. Anyway, I digress....

For its intended role as a varmint gun, I suppose the 1:12 twist is ok, but I sorta think that'd need to go, regardless of what route I choose.

So two general questions: what would I be looking at, price wise, just to rebarrel it in .223 with a good barrel w/threaded muzzle? I'm not looking to shoot any matches or anything, set world records or blast targets at 1000 yds. That'd be fun and all, but not realistic.

Secondly, can I repurpose the action (short action, obviously) into a different caliber, just by getting a new barrel and bolt, or is it more complicated than that? Yeah, I could do .300 BO, but I'm not sure if that's what I'm after, even though this gun would be shot suppressed.

Either way, in the end I'd be looking for something with a barrel around 20", threaded muzzle, ability to take detachable magazines, a stock with adjustable LOP (spacers is fine), adjustable comb, oversized bolt knob.

What's my best course: keep .223 or ditch it altogether? I'm fine with the latter, but I suspect it's the far more expensive option.

Fritz? Nikonuser?


Chuck Norris put the laughter in "manslaughter"

Educating the youth of America, one declension at a time.
Posts: 18166 | Location: SE PA | Registered: January 12, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm not all that familiar with the 700 VSS. Understand that the more you replace parts from the original rifle, the more it makes sense to just with a new rifle.

If your stock is decent -- meaning fairly stiff -- then just keep it. Your trigger may be old enough that it's one of the good Remingtons. My two match rifles have tuned Remy 40X triggers, and they are very nice.

Your barrel really isn't the best, as its 1/12 twist is probably maxed out with 60-ish grain bullets. A 1/8 twist is much better, and probably close to optimal for most of us. Other good options are 1/7.7 and 1/7. Quality SS barrel blanks often cost $300 to $350. One good seller is Chambering the barrel for 223 and installing the barrel often costs an additional $300 to $350.

If you're concerned about the accuracy of your current bolt/barrel, truing (blueprinting) it will likely cost around $200.

I don't know what it would cost to change your rifle to a DBM setup. If you're just using it as a range rifle, and not using is as a trainer for competition, then top feeding probably still works.

I wouldn't consider 300blk at all in a 20" bolt action rifle for range use.

IMO a quality 223 bolt action makes a lot of sense, regardless of type and length of range. I'm in the process of assembling a 223 precision bolt rifle. I won a good barrel and stock from prize tables in competition. I just ordered an action, as I have no confidence in my ability or luck to win one. It will be late summer before the action arrives. I still have hopes for winning a good trigger. I have a spare scope and rings in the basement. Start to finish this will be a 2+ year project.

I think you will enjoy shooting a good 223 bolt action, especially when you have the option of using 69-77 grain match bullets.
Posts: 5963 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I love the 223 for a light weight varmint gun, but it wouldn't be my first pick for a 500 yard target gun.

You might be money ahead to sell your 700 and buy a rifle with more of the features you're looking for than spend a money on customizing.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: jaybirdaccountant,
Posts: 657 | Location: WV | Registered: May 30, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Based on your last paragraph, here's my suggestion:
Keep the VSS.
Buy a Ruger American Predator in 308 or 6.5
Spend money on a high end scope.
And aftermarket stocks are beginning to come online for the American.
This outfit ought to do you fine out to 500.
I had an American in 7.62 X 39 and with a middle of the road Vortex on it and it would do MOA at 100 with cheapie Russky ammo. I sold it but plan to replace it with another American in 6.5 CM.

End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
Posts: 8450 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Oat_Action_Man:
My home range only goes to 100, but there is a club maybe 45 min from me that goes to 500

For accuracy at 100 yards, the caliber isn't all that important. As distance increases, wind effects and the cartridge's attributes come in to play.

Let's assume you rely on factory ammo. Possible caliber options include 223 Remy, 6 Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 308 Win. For a range with fixed and known distance targets, elevation requirements are moot. Therefore I'll show only wind deflection for a 10 mph cross wind. Density altitude is 5,000', which may be slightly thinner air than you'll see on a summer's day. Barrel lengths are 20" for 223, 23" for 308, and 26" for the Creedmoors. This isn't quite apples to apples, but I can't see someone buying a 20" barrel for range rifles with bores from .244 through .308. A short rifle makes little sense for square range use.

223 Remy -- Hornady 55 Vmax @ 3080 fps
300 yards -- 3.1 MOA wind drift
500 yards -- 5.8 MOA

223 Remy -- Federal 69 SMK @ 2811 fps
300 yards -- 2.5 MOA
500 yards -- 4.6 MOA

223 Remy -- Hornady 73 ELDM @ 2811 fps
300 yards -- 2.2 MOA
500 yards -- 3.9 MOA

6 Creedmoor -- Hornady 108 ELDM @ 3000 fps
300 yards -- 1.4 MOA
500 yards -- 2.5 MOA

6.5 Creedmoor -- Hornady 140 ELDM @ 2820 fps
300 yards -- 1.3 MOA
500 yards -- 2.4 MOA

308 Win -- Federal 175 SMK @ 2620 fps
300 yards -- 1.9 MOA
500 yards -- 3.3 MOA

308 Win -- Hornady 168 ELDM @ 2736 fps
300 yards -- 1.6 MOA
500 yards -- 2.9 MOA

The wind deflection of lighter 223 bullets becomes a handicap at distance increases. It's not bad at 300 yards, but is noticeable at 500 yards. Should you stay with 223, the above numbers show why you should have a faster-twist barrel. I also feel that 223 bullets show more vertical deflection in the wind than the heavier .244 through .308 bullets.

If wind isn't an issue in your neck of the woods, then there will be less issues with target shooting at 500 yards with a 223. I deal with winds of 10+ mph almost every day I shoot, so I'm aware of its effects.

Another thing to consider is recoil, and its effects on a shooter's ability to keep the sights on target all the way through the recoil cycle. A lower recoiling rifle is easier to shoot accurately, especially from less stable shooting positions. Typical recoil values in foot-pounds for average rifles:
223 -- 3 to 4 foot pounds
6CM -- 9 to 10
6.5CM -- 12 to 13
308 -- 16 to 18
Posts: 5963 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have not participated in this thread so far for two reason: 1- fritz has been stunningly effective and with his excellent answers and I would only be repeating what he says or picking at inconsequential nits. 2- I'm really not sure what the OP is trying to do and unlike CNN "journalists" I do not read minds.

In his latest post here, fritz, brings up an excellent point; handloads or factory ammo?

A simple barrel change allows the OP to choose multiple calibers sharing the same bolt face as the .223 and for shooting to 500 yards (which seems to be infrequently at best,) a 223/6mm might be good, but the .223 ammo can easily be loaded with 80 and 82 grain bullets since this is a bolt gun, not really limited by mag-length ammo.

However, if the OP does not handload, the 80-82 grainers are out, as is the 223/6mm and similar.
Posts: 2929 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Web Clavin Extraordinaire
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I am set up to reload .223 for the VSS.


Chuck Norris put the laughter in "manslaughter"

Educating the youth of America, one declension at a time.
Posts: 18166 | Location: SE PA | Registered: January 12, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In that case, (pun intended,) you should visit the Berger site ( and look at the target bullets in .22 caliber. The twist calculator shows that 1:8 twist is fine for all their bullets except the 90gr VLD. That last is a long range bullet, for the 1000 yard game.

For varmint, they have several from 40 to 64grains.

The other easily implement option is a 223/6mm which requires nothing more than resizing a .223 case to 6mm. I have one of those rifles and I find the 90gr 6mm bullets about as heavy as I can use from the .223 case. It's only incrementally better than the .223 with 80grainers.

You have lots of options here, and reread fritz's posts; they are loaded with good info.
Posts: 2929 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am in no way an expert on this matter, but I have been doing a little research because I am also planning to upgrade an existing rifle.

Grayboe has stocks and bottom metal to convert to detachable magazine. So do others, but their package is pretty neat. Oddly enough, they don't sell the magazines, but their metal uses the widely available AICS pattern. Surgeon rifles also sell a neat bottom metal including mag, as does HS Precision. Most of the prominent custom stock makers can accommodate these bottom metal packages.

If you just want a short barreled bolt action .223 with a detachable magazine though, the Ruger American Ranch rifle is available for less than what it will cost to convert yours.
Posts: 941 | Registered: January 23, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My .223 Rem 700 VSSF also has a 1-12 barrel, and now sits in a Plaster ultimate varmint stock with a Jewell Trigger.
It's an absolute Tack Driver up to 100 yards with 52 gr. match ammo.

I've seen .223's shot with excellent accuracy out to 600 yards by the AMU Rifle team, BUT they are shooting special handloads and I believe could be 77's or even 80 grain SMK's.

You can trick-up your .223, but you will always face it's limitations. Yes, you will hear about excellent .223 accuracy by some here out extended distances.

But for extended ranges, I'd look at a 5R Remington 700 in some .30 caliber flavor or even a 6.5 creedmore.

Like sports cars, a V8 offers more horsepower and reliability in the long run than most turbo/supercharged 6 cylinder versions.

Sell the .223 and use the $$$ for a new rifle. Or keep the .223 for affordable range use, and use the heavier caliber for longer range targets.

My old CMP 1903A1 Springfield in 30.06 is still a tack driver at extended yardage...which is what it was designed for!
Posts: 908 | Registered: March 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you stay .223, I would put a 1:7, 1:7.7 or 1:8 twist barrel on it and shoot 80-90gr bullets. You'll do great at 500 with that combination. I shoot service rifle matches with a 1:8, 20" .223 AR and 600 is no problem. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Montour County Rifles in Danville, PA. His prices are on his site:

Alternately, if you want to change calibers, I'd go with a 6.5 Grendel on that action. Opening up a .223 bolt face is the way to go. Great factory ammo available, too. I'm building mine on a 1:8.5 twist barrel for shooting 129gr. bullets.
Posts: 32 | Location: Virginia | Registered: May 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
semi-reformed sailor
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I have a sps 700 in 223 that is factory threaded and I took it out of the shitty Remington stock and put it into an XLR Element chassis and it’s great now.

I also put a good trigger on it and it made the gun into something wayyyyy better.

With hand loaded ammo it’s great. The chassis uses ACIS mags, but man are they expensive

"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor.”
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Posts: 5963 | Location: Texas! | Registered: October 07, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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