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Hello and first rifle caliber rec...6.5 or 223?


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  • Hello and first rifle caliber rec...6.5 or 223?

    Hello all,

    I've been a lurker for a long time. Getting ready to buy my first bolt gun, and would like your thoughts. I have researched this question, but the internet is mostly disappointing.

    Want to learn to shoot rifle. So far have worked with handguns, my air rifle, and we have an M&P ar 15. Our range is 100, 200, 600 yd. 1 hour away. Don't get there as much as I'd like.

    Looking at Tikka 223 varmint, Tikka CTR in 6.5 Creedmoor. I won't be at the range as much as I'd like. 6.5 is where I'd like to end up.

    A heavy 223 won't have much recoil...but I have no idea what a 6.5 will be like. Can I start on the 6.5? Seems that the opinion is it doesn't have much recoil, but I can only compare to the ar w/ no butt pad. I've recently fired a 12 gauge with shot and slugs, and with the pad it had wasn't tooo bad, but I wouldn' t want to be behind that much punch for longer range shooting. One option is to see if anyone at the range would let me shoot their gun, if someone happens to be around, but not sure on how that would come across.

    I want to make sure the 6.5 won't have too much to start on, so I can be relaxed with my fundamentals. Some say 223 in a bolt gun not enough recoil to train you, and some say that you can learn so much from a .22 lr gun also. I see the points...and if I could only have one gun, the 6.5 seems to be the best happy medium. And if I get invited hunting I can use it for deer and varmints.

    So much that is written on recoil is that it's subjective, depends on the shooter, my 9 year old daughter can shoot a 300 win mag with a break so don't be a pussy. A 6.5 is like a pussycat cuddling on your neck, my shoulder has 8 screws in it, a .243 can be here I am risking a dumb question with some serious shooters.

    Would you mind commenting on this and the pros and cons? Much appreciated.


  • #2
    I'd say get the 6.5.


    • #3
      If you want to go to a 6.5 eventually start there, use the money for a 223 and put it toward reloading components or ammo. If you only want to get to 600 a 223 can do it but so could the ar you already have. With a brake you won't have any ill effects due to recoil on the 6.5. Just get ear muffs and make sure you wear them for every shot, on top of plugs is better still.


      • #4
        I shoot my Tikka 223 varmint way more than I do the 6.5cm. Cheaper to shoot is one of my big reason. Super versatile bullet with lots of options. I have three pet loads that all shoot insainly well from a 55gr, 62gr and 75gr. I love the lighter bullets for varmint and steel out to 700 yards. The 75gr bullets are great for all the same reasons and even out to 1000 yards. I put a little over 3000 rounds through the tikka in 6 months and only have 800 on the 6.5cm. I would choose the 6.5cm for larger game and competition. It's all up to you and what your goal is.


        • #5
          I'd say get the 6.5 out a break on it and you will be fine. My 6.5 is so light recoil it's funny. Since you you don't go to the range as often as you'd like (trust me that's my life too) use that time to stock up on 6.5 ammo. I know 6.5 is more than 223 but to me it's worth having the extra capabilities. Since you want to end up with the 6.5 just dive in and don't worry about buying something else now and regretting it later.


          • #6
            I say get the 6.5 CTR, it is a very versatile rifle with a barrel profile that is lighter than the varmint but can take longer string of shots than a sporting rifle. The recoil is not bad at all, seriously.

            I took my CTR and dropped it in a Bell and Carlson medalist, it makes for a nice short hunter that I can surpress. (you will have to find a magazine retention spring to use 3 round mags). I removed the pic rail and use Talley removables, so I just swap the scope for the type of shooting I am doing that day. I honestly do not have to re-zero any of them because most of my loads mimic Prime ammo.

            Always remember rule number one!


            • #7
              If you shoot in a part of the nation that's windy-ish then get the 6.5.

              If you intend on shooting the farther distances/past 400Y, half the time then get the 6.5.

              Hunting big game, you know the answer.

              It's easier to spot the dust signature with a bigger bullet - 6.5.

              Two words- muzzle brake.

              Later on if you still want a 223....

              Train at home or close by with a 22rf or your air rifle - trigger time.

              Learn to reload if you don't already.

              Buy good rings and a good scope. If you can't afford a $1500 FFP mil/mil scope - hint, then buy a Athlon Argos 6-24x50 for a starter.


              • #8
                Yep, another vote for a 6.5. With a break, the recoil is a non issue. Since you want to end up there anyway it'll save you money in the mid & long term


                • #9
                  I would normally vote .223 due to your limited range, but get the 6.5. Use your AR to learn wind reading.


                  • #10
                    Get the 6.5. Don't be scared of the recoil. A brake or suppressor will mitigate the recoil to the point that it's about like a .223. Heck my youngest son started shooting my Savage 10/110 Creedmoor when he was 9 without any muzzle devise. My wife can run through 40-50 rounds in an afternoon with zero issues. I don't think recoil will be an issue for you. Get a .223 as your 2nd rifle. 6.5 is easier to learn on IMO - it's got less issues with wind and there's a lot of really accurate factory ammo, like Prime.

                    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                    • #11
                      At the ranges you will be shooting, the 223 will be adequate but only just if there is any wind blowing and poor if you haven't learned to read wind yet. There is really not a heck of a lot of difference in factory ammo costs between the 6.5CM and 223 if you are talking match grade ammo. Recoil will be a non-issue with a good brake on a light gun or do what I did and wind up with 13.5 lbs of gun. Of course, I was cash flush when I bought the gun and the $7000 investment was trivial at that time.
                      Reloading makes things easier and somewhat cheaper if you shoot a bunch and don't charge yourself for your time or the cost of the initial investment in loading gear which can be substantial and never stops growing.


                      • #12
                        I'm leaning towards the .223 for your purposes. You won't make as many hits, but you will learn the wind more quickly.


                        • #13
                          I would get what you want, the 6.5CM, shoot it, enjoy it, and when it comes time to rebarrel get a Rem/Age system that'll allow you to switch between 6.5CM and 5.56. I know PVA and West Texas Ordnance offer them for the Tikka. As noted a good muzzle break will reduce the recoil by about half, a suppressor a little less ~40%. Just my 2 cents.
                          All the Gods, All the Heavens, All the Hells are Within You


                          • #14
                            6.5. In addition to fighting the wind and being able to hunt a larger variety of game, it will be easier to make calls when you begin to reach out past 800. Even with 90gr bullets I have seen very good spotters have difficulty knowing where a 223 round landed.