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223 rifle reviews

LAST UPDATED: July 5th, 2020

Before we get to the list, let’s talk about what a .223 rifle is and what it’s generally used for to help the uninitiated.

best 223 rifles 2020

These are firearms made from high-quality materials. Furnished with a reliable rifle chambered in the .223 caliber, these reliable rifles are guaranteed to serve almost any application you can think of. Whether it’s for hunting or target practicing, you can never go wrong with a .223.

5 Best .223 Rifles Review 2020

223 rifles reviews

Purchasing armory shouldn’t be a banal task. Your weapon should have just as much personality as you do. This is why we’ve compiled this review of the top .223 rifles we think will suit your needs.

Primary Weapons: MK-116 Pro Rifle 223 WYLDE

Primary Weapons MK-116 Pro Rifle 223 WYLDE

This top-quality barrel is manufactured for a range of applications, from hunting to to target practice. In comparison to the direct-impingement system commonly seen, gas-piston systems offer some benefits that make this option attractive to many AR enthusiasts.

Gas-piston systems release less fouling into the gun’s receiver, and the long-stroke piston system allows users to fine-tune gas flow for specialized uses. This makes it even more exciting since most proven battle rifles are built around gas pistons.

Each MK-116 Pro Rifle is chambered in .223 Wylde, allowing users to run either .223 Rem. or 5.56 NATO with increased accuracy. The long-stroke system on the gun also affords three different settings for users.

This enables the weapon to be tuned for use with suppressors as well as specific ammunition loads, providing enhanced reliability.

The PWS MK-116 Pro lineup also includes standalone upper receivers that fit onto any standard AR-15 lower receivers, so shooters can upgrade their guns with the long-stroke system without having to order an entirely new weapon.

All fire-arms offered by PWS are outfitted with Radian Raptor charging handles. They also feature free-float M-LOK handguards, as well as specially designed and mounted furniture.

Their upper also features a cool Raptor ambidextrous handle for convenient use by everyone. Also featured is a gas piston system surrounding the barrel that’s a full-length handguard. A lightweight trigger pull weight also enables high-velocity shooting.

With its laser precision, you’ll be battle-ready with this beast of a rod. Its enhanced mil-spec trigger unit coated in Teflon for corrosion resistance, for extra durability.

PROS

  • Can be customized to suit personal taste
  • Much cleaner than other options
  • Boasts laser precision
  • Fits seamlessly with suppressors
  • Lightweight and easy to handle

CONS

  • Incompatible upper with a lower that has an extended bolt catch
  • Trigger could be improved

Aero Precision – AR-15 OEM Rifle 223 WYLDE 18″ Stainless

Aero Precision - AR-15 OEM Rifle 223 WYLDE 18 Stainless

Easily build your dream AR-15 with this fully assembled semi-automatic mean-machine. This high-quality firearm is constructed from second-to-none components. The rifle excludes the extravagant handguard and buttstock, giving you the autonomy to buy the accessories you want.

An already impressive rifle-length gas system comes accompanied by a longer free-float handguard. With an indomitable stainless steel barrel and an SPR heavy profile, this rifle will stand against any wear and tear.

Furthermore, the handy barrel thread pitch with an A2 flash hider allows you to avoid detectability, guaranteeing your success with your endeavors. It also comes with a carbine-length buffer tube assembly.

With this high-level blaster, just pick your handguard, sights, and mil-spec buttstock, snap them on and head to the range. Ballistic Advantage (Aero) guarantees these barrels to have sub MOA performance, and this barrel is no exception.

Time tested precision and accuracy for this rifle length build makes it perfect for a range of tasks. The system features a custom integrated upper receiver and handguard system that provide the shooter a light-weight,

free-floated, rigid design. All this means you should expect nothing less than superior performance and accuracy.

PROS

  • Constructed from high-quality materials
  • Affords camouflage with a barrel and a flash hider
  • Lighter trigger weight to ensure quicker shooting
  • Great MOA performance
  • Durable and reliable

CONS

  • Some adjustments to the sight might be needed to ensure better accuracy

Related Guide: 300 win mag suppressors guide.

Ruger – M77VLEH Rifle 223 Remington 20IN 4+1 7188

Ruger - M77VLEH Rifle 223 Remington 20IN 4+1 7188

If you appreciate entry-level rifles, then this weapon is for you. This dutiful cannon comes with a 5+1 round capacity and long barrel length for enhanced accuracy.

This rifle is very attractive with its blue non-glare matte design and stunning black finish. Also, this bolt-action rifle features a fixed magazine with an indomitable heavy barrel and non-slip, rubber Hogue OverMolded stock.

The slim profile makes it an incredible choice for a range of tasks, from target practice to sport shooting. As a bonus, a hinged floorplate magazine is included along with a plain stock muzzle.

It is highly durable, and quiet, designed to meet all the demands of a precision shooter. The enduring polymer that it’s made from means that you’ll have this rifle with you for a while.

PROS

  • Impressive heightened accuracy
  • Quieter than most .223 alternatives
  • Constructed from durable materials
  • Has the range to be used in different applications
  • Simplistic touch without any of the unnecessary additions

CONS

  • Has no front sight or rear sight
  • May be considered bulky by most users

Related Review: 5.56 suppressor buyer’s guide.

Ruger – AR-556® 16.1″ 5.56X45MM NATO Black 30+1RD

Ruger - AR-556® 16.1 5.56X45MM NATO Black 30+1RD

This rifle is solid in terms of construction and is an ideal depiction of what a .223 rifle should look like. It’s not too long or short in length and is made from the best high-quality parts.

Regardless of your application, it’ll definitely work to your advantage. In short, it’s a rifle worthy of the “best .223 rifle target shooting” overall honor.

It’s made from high-quality materials and includes an impressive 30-round capacity magazine. This semi-automatic tactical rifle simply boasts of efficiency. It has a medium-contour, cold-hammer-forged barrel with ultraprecise rifling.

This affords superior accuracy, durability, and corrosion resistance. Furthermore, this beast breaks the barriers with its low-glare milled gas block located at a carbine-length (M4) position, which offers improved balance and handling.

The exquisite black anodized finish and multiple adjustment points for various sling and accessory options are sure to make you popular at the range. Its specialty is direct impingement, and with 5.56mm NATO cartridge, you can take it for a spin at the range or knockdown varmints. This bad boy will get the job done.

It’s lightweight and has a flash-suppressing, adjustable rear muzzle sight, plus a removable magazine type. Additionally, it features an ergonomic pistol grip and six-position, telescoping M4-style buttstock that provides an excellent hold.

For all firearm enthusiasts who are avid hunters, this rifle is perfect for target practice, from occasional shooters to expert gun collectors.

Glass-filled nylon handguards enable it to withstand wear and tear for long-lasting performance and endow heat resistance. They also have a flat-top upper receiver with forwarding assist, dust cover, and brass deflector.

Across competitive shooting, hunting, self-defense, and tactical target practice, it continues to perform exceptionally well.

PROS

  • Excellent for hunting and target practice operations
  • Durable and can cope with all kinds of impact
  • Not too long or short in length, just about right for a .223 rifle
  • Very reliable, no jamming even after multiple rounds
  • Maintains great target punch even from yards away

CONS

  • Trigger quality needs a bit of improvement
  • Needs cleaning and re-oiling before use

SMITH & WESSON – M&P15 SPORT II 5.56MM 16

SMITH & WESSON - M&P15 SPORT II 5.56MM 16

These rifles are among the quintessential modern sporting rifles. Built to perform multiple functions under various conditions, M&P15 Riflesrifles are as versatile as they are dependable.

Engineered for a wide variety of recreational, sport shooting and professional applications, these rifles are easy to accessorize, but hard to put down. They are lightweight and rugged, embodying the best combination of function and form. You won’t feel like you’re carrying a massive boulder around.

Its action type is gas-operated with a relatively long barrel length. The muzzle is plain and offers rear sight advantage. It is dutifully accurate, easy to adjust, and is made from quality construction materials. On top of everything else, it spits out all types of ammo including brass ammo.

Extremely reliable and portable, this is a great knock around rifle. You’ll be able to take it with you for competitive sports, target practice and hunting.

One other reason you’ll love this rifle is because you’ll get a good sight that will help you land the most accurate shots. On top of that, the M-Lok rail makes customization a lot easier.

Both entry-level occasional shooters and military experts will be quite happy with the rifle overall. The shooting ability is good, and most of them are able to utilize the red/green sight. You would be able to knock down targets with consistent accuracy from 50 yards and up

PROS

  • Features super durable quality
  • M-Lok handguard makes customization easy
  • Guarantees very reliable shooting and still holds well after numerous rounds
  • The red/green optic makes shooting a lot more accurate and precise
  • Collapsible stock makes the rifle more portable

CONS

  • The trigger pull weight might be a little heavy at first
  • Red/green dot sight might seem a little distorted for those with poor eyesight
  • M-LOK rail may not accept other accessories that would otherwise fit on Picatinny or Weaver Rails

Related Review: Check out AR 15 Suppressor.

What to Look for Before Buying 223 Rifles?

What to Look for Before Buying 223 Rifles

When choosing the right .223 rifle, taking some time and forethought can go a long way. There are some characteristics and aspects that you need to factor in so you can choose a .223 for your own use. Here’s what you need to consider as part of your final purchasing decision:

Identify Your Needs

Knowing what you’ll be using your firearm will help narrow down your decision when choosing what to buy. Some weapons may check several boxes and be suitable for hunting, sports shooting, target shooting, and even personal protection.

So, think introspectively about what kinds of activities you like to involve yourself in. Thereafter, the choice should be easier to make

Proper Fit

To ensure that it’ll be a perfect fit as you’re handling it, check how comfortable you are with it in your apparel. Having an improper fit is the surest route to accuracy difficulties while on the field.

If the size is right for you, then you’ll be able to move effortlessly and enjoy your time with your new toy. Practice some of your favorite poses and running with it because while it may look great if your chemistry is off, you won’t enjoy using it.

Price

A good rifle doesn’t have to be overpriced. You can find one that will work very well and not cost you an arm and a leg.

Keep in mind that if you’re looking for better quality, you may end up paying what might be the “higher-end” of your budget scale. It’s a lot better than having to spend less money on a rifle that is considered a disappointment in terms of quality and performance.

Overall Performance

One of the things to look for while going through the list of reviews is taking note of what recent buyers are saying about each rifle. You might look for a gun that has the best reliability or best accuracy. Or you could be looking for a rifle that might be best for hunting big game.

Either way, the overall performance should be a good indicator of whether or not a .223 rifle might be worth investing in. How accurate is it? Which application does it perform the best? These are a sample of the questions you should be asking while looking for a rifle.

Quality

The overall quality will be based on the kind of materials that each component is made with. For example, your upper and lower receivers should be made from high-quality aluminum. These are designed to handle all kinds of impact and abuse like nothing else.

Other materials to look out for include polymer (which can be found on some parts and accessories like magazines). The better the quality, the better chance it has of lasting you a long period of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does barrel length affect velocity?


Barrel length helps determine a specific cartridge’s muzzle velocity. A longer barrel typically yields a greater muzzle velocity, while shorter ones will produce a lower one. Ammunition may lose or gain about 25.7ft/sec for each inch of barrel length for .223 rifles.

What length handguard will fit RUGER – AR-556? Can you use any after-market free-float handguard?


In order to cover the gas tube, you will need at least a 12″ guard. Generally, any handguard that will clear the low profile gas block will work well.

What is a .223 used for?


These rifles are commonly used for range hunting, target shooting, competitive shooting, varmint, or big game hunting. No matter what your target is, this kind of rifle has just enough firepower to knock a markdown from various distances.

The rounds themselves have a good enough velocity to tear through hiding and bone. Another exciting application is target shooting.

With the right kind of scope or optic, a .223 can be dangerously accurate (assuming you’ve sighted it correctly). Most of these .223 rifles will have the ability to reach targets that are 200 to even 300 yards away (or more).

What is a .223 used for

What is the effective range of a .223?


It really depends on the application. A very effective range can be anywhere between 200 to 300 yards. However, if you’re target shooting, the range will be a little farther. Don’t be shocked when you’re target shooting, and you can reach out and touch something as far as 500 yards out.

This also depends on the kind of .223 you have and the scope or optic that you’re using. Competitively, the closer you are to the bullseye, the better chance you have at getting an advantage over your opponent. This is where reliability and accuracy meet. You need it to fire precisely at the right time.

Are .22 and .223 the same diameter?


Both rounds are roughly the same size, but if you want to go into more precise measurements, the .223 is slightly larger than a .22 round.

Conclusion

The best .223 rifles will be versatile and allow you to perform a range of tasks comfortably. Here we’ve listed those that will enable you to aptly move from hunting a big game to participating in sports shooting. Whatever you decide to purchase, these rifles offer accuracy that any enthusiast would be proud of.

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