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Thread: 223 WSSM -a good choice

  1. #1

    223 WSSM -a good choice

    Hi all,

    I thought I would make a post regarding the 223 WSSM, and my experiences to date with the cartridge and the Browning Abolt Medallion.

    Why did I choose the WSSM? I wanted a .224 cal rifle, and was interested in using slightly heavier bullets for Roe, but also maintain good velocity with these heavier rounds. This is not to say that 55gr bullets are inadequate, just my preference. I already had a 308 which is great for Reds but not all land is cleared for .30 cal, but a .224 cal could double up as a Roe rifle, as well as fox and other vermin. I was also attracted to the Winchester power point factory cartridges that were 64gr at 3600 fps.

    Browning Abolt 223 WSSM? These rifles are well built, smooth and really worth more than they are sold for in the UK. Elsewhere in the world, these are not seen as budget offerings as here. I purchased a couple of boxes of 64gr power point ammunition with my new rifle and was dismayed to find it was grouping 3 to 4 " at 100m. After checking everything I decided to bed the rifle with Devcon (and at the same time strip off the varnish for an oil finished stock). The rifle then shot just under 2" groups, which was acceptable for a deer rifle, but not great.

    Barrel life:
    I see alot of uninformed people making fleeting statements about it being a barrel burner, but the factory Browning barrels were chrome lined, and during testing done by Browning to dispel the barrel burning myth, showed less wear than a standard 22-250 barrel. My experience is that I have yet to see a drop off in accuracy after 650 rounds, though there is some throat errosion, but again no more than I have seen on a comparrable 22-250.

    Handloads?
    This where the rifle started to show real potential, considering it is a lightweight stalking rifle. Loaded with 62gr Barnes TSX behind 47gr of Lovex S071 (Accurate 3100) returns groups of 0.75" at 3650 fps. The same bullet loaded behind 41gr of Vihtavuori N540 grouped around 0.8".

    Conclusion:
    As a factory rifle with factory ammunition I can see why people have been dissapointed, but with a little patience, it is a rewarding rifle and calibre to own.

  2. #2
    Thanks. Nice to hear about an obscure calibre. The 62 TSX load sounds fantastic.

  3. #3
    Rifles in 22WSSM are almost free here in the US. Winchester has relegated the brass to "special run only" status -right up there with 30-40 Krag, 219 Zipper, 218 Bee, 25-20, etc. Two of the largest distributors (Midway and Graf & Sons) are listing it as "Unavailable from Manufacturer" right now so were I you, I would buy as much brass as I could.~Muir

  4. #4
    Takbok is that South African...The 62gr Barnes is really good. The bullets are very uniform and offer outstanding accuracy ( I also get excellent groups with 150gr TSX for the 308). Oddly my Barnes manual recommends the 62gr for 223WSSM with a 1:9 or faster twist rate. The rifle is 1:10. I can only assume that if using reduced charges it will not stabilise the round, but my experience with the WSSM is that best results are at max loadings.

  5. #5
    Muir

    The demise of the WSSM was inevitable. There was a lot of bad press, some justified, a lot just misinformed or prejudiced based on online reviews done by people who never actually shot one. While the super high speed of lighter bullets is a little lost on me and replicated by other rounds to some extent, these rifles typically have 1:12 or 1:14 twist rates, so cannot really make the most of the heavier .224 cal bullets (though I am sure there are exceptions).

    Buying brass has been relatively easy since it was not popular, but will get more difficult. I have a stock of new brass, which should last a couple years of stalking. It may be worth pointing out that the Winchester brass is not very good and requires some work to make it relatively uniform...

  6. #6
    I had a win model 70 in .223wssm and was very impressed , it shot .75 with factory 55gr but I believe it needed a longer barrel it make the most of the performance that said it was a fantastic fox and Roe(Scotland) rifle.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by savdp View Post
    Takbok is that South African...The 62gr Barnes is really good. The bullets are very uniform and offer outstanding accuracy ( I also get excellent groups with 150gr TSX for the 308). Oddly my Barnes manual recommends the 62gr for 223WSSM with a 1:9 or faster twist rate. The rifle is 1:10. I can only assume that if using reduced charges it will not stabilise the round, but my experience with the WSSM is that best results are at max loadings.
    Yes, from S.A. I like the monolithic copper bullets too. I'm using 110gr GS Custom bullets in my 270 at about 3450fps. Monolithic munitions in the US has an interesting video on Youtube showing 223 WSSM loads with GS 40gr bullets at well above 4000fps! Where do you get the TSX's from locally?

    Cheers,

    Rory

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by savdp View Post
    Muir

    The demise of the WSSM was inevitable. There was a lot of bad press, some justified, a lot just misinformed or prejudiced based on online reviews done by people who never actually shot one. While the super high speed of lighter bullets is a little lost on me and replicated by other rounds to some extent, these rifles typically have 1:12 or 1:14 twist rates, so cannot really make the most of the heavier .224 cal bullets (though I am sure there are exceptions).

    Buying brass has been relatively easy since it was not popular, but will get more difficult. I have a stock of new brass, which should last a couple years of stalking. It may be worth pointing out that the Winchester brass is not very good and requires some work to make it relatively uniform...
    I have shot the 22WSSM. A friend of mine won two model 70, 22WSSM's at two "Ducks Unlimited" banquets, in two separate years. One shot "OK" with handloads @ 1.4 inches but wouldn't feed worth a hoot. The other fed OK but was impossible to make shoot accurately. Neither the owner nor I are new to handloading and we through everything we had at this round to bring it into line. It never happened. I was offered one of the rifles, gratis, but declined the headache. I think they are both in his gunroom still.

    I find most brass, regardless of the manufacturer, needs attending to. Unfortunately, Winchester is about the only game in town for the WSSM. Glad you're well heeled with brass.~Muir

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